Get ready and prepare to rock!
Multi-platinum UK rock royalty The Darkness are returning to Australia in February 2024 to perform three very special Let There Be Rock events in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary of Permission to Land.
The classic debut album which delivered iconic songs such as I Believe in A Thing Called Love and Love Is Only A Feeling will be performed live, in its entirety, for fans plus a string of album B-sides and rarities.
A party with The Darkness is always a fun time, but to find out just how special these select shows are going to be, HEAVY shot through a bunch of questions for bass player Frankie Poullain to answer, which he did in typically aloof fashion.
HEAVY: The Darkness are heading to this side of the world for a run of dates starting in Wellington on January 26 before hitting Auckland, Adelaide, Fremantle, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra before finishing in Sydney on Feb 10. That’s not long now, are you packed and ready to go?
FP: Yes and here’s the thing: I calculated that if I had gone for a check-in suitcase, then I would have spent around 7 hours of my tour staring forlornly and rather impotently at a rotating luggage carousel. Instead, I purchased a top-of-the-range carry-on wheely case, which admittedly will mean less outfits. It’s taken me this long in life to sacrifice vanity for happiness.
H: You guys are no strangers to travelling, so tell us three NON ESSENTIAL items you always take with you on tour.
FP: Only spoilt planet-wrecking western first-world problem scum like us call these things essential. Caviar, snuff powder and opera glasses.
H: Initially this tour was only supposed to be the three shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne but due to overwhelming demand, you tacked the extra dates on as well. Were you surprised by the fan response, who demanded more dates?
FP: Honestly, no. These are strange, unsettling times, and we need overblown screeching operatic rock music more than ever.
H: The tour is celebrating the 20th anniversary of your debut album Permission To Land, so you will be playing the album start to finish, is that correct?
FP: The problem with most bad art is it is too literal, so in the interests of making good art, the answer is no.
H: Is it difficult to play a whole album like that? I can’t imagine when you first made it, you had a view to playing every song one day.
FP: For 2-3 years they were all the songs we had, with the B sides, so it’s really like going back in a time machine, but this time doing it properly and emphatically.
H: That album received phenomenal worldwide success. Did you have any inkling at all when you finished it that so many people would love it?
FP: Honestly yes. It’s almost like we willed it, by making it the most important thing in our life, period. That was before we had families. Then we made it, and it became the 4th most important thing to booze, drugs and women.
H: What are some of your memories of making that album?
FP: Multiple run throughs of Get Your Hands Off till we found a take of Dan, Ed and I untouched from start to finish, sounding pristine and kickass. Justin recording the vocals to I Believe on 9/11 with us sat on the reception couch watching the visuals unfolding.
H: Any bad memories?
FP: Not really, because we sacrificed our ego in band arguments, realising that the greater good was benefiting. I wanted I Love You 5 Times to close the album instead of Holding My Own, but now the former has a new lease of life in our set. You can’t keep a good song down.
H: How well do you think the songs from the album have stood the test of time?
FP: Not for me to say, but in a Tokyo karaoke bar, Love Is Only A Feeling stood up well next to some of the all-time classics. Even I was surprised. The lyrics and sentiment are beautiful. Nothing stands the test of time like a genuine romantic sensibility.
H: Stupid question, I know, but do you still enjoy playing those songs 20 years later or do you have to change them up from time to time to keep it interesting?
FP: We do give most songs a rest from time to time, but the four singles from PTL are pretty much bulletproof.
H: How would you say your music has changed from that album to your most recent Motorheart?
FP: We’ve gone a bit more proggy and dipped our collective toe into the 90s, but I feel that the next album will be strictly within a 60’s-80’s parameter.
H: That album came out in 2021. How far advanced is work on the next one?
FP: We’re about halfway through and bubbling with giddy joy about the material.
H: So what can Australian fans expect from The Darkness at these shows?
FP: Whatever the opposites of cool, malevolent and miserable are….
H: On the flip side, as a band, what do you expect from your crowds?
FP: Absolutely nothing, it would be crazy, presumptuous and ridiculously arrogant to expect from an audience. Assuming is almost always a bad and stupid approach to anything in life.
H: What’s next for The Darkness after the Australian tour?
FP: A festival in Tasmania and a Rock Cruise to Jamaica and The Bahamas.