Dan Hawkins, guitarist for U.K. band the Darkness, is blunt about his group’s career. “Half the people absolutely cannot bear us and think we’re a joke, and the other half absolutely love us and think that we’re the saviors of rock’n’roll,” he says. “But really, quite honestly, we couldn’t give a sh*t either way, you know? As long as our fans are happy and we make good records that our fans really enjoy, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.”
Anyone who ate up the over-the-top classic rock style of the band’s debut, “Permission To Land” (Must Destroy/Atlantic), will love the new “One Way Ticket to Hell … and Back.” Hawkins, his younger brother Justin (vocals/guitars), Ed Graham (drums) and Richie Edwards (bass) present more guitar solos, falsetto singing and arena-ready choruses on the sophomore album, led by the single “One Way Ticket.”
The Darkness is strongly influenced by Queen. Detractors who think the quartet is imitating the legendary group will surely howl about the band’s choice of producer: Roy Thomas Baker, who helmed such Queen masterpieces as “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The band picked Baker after he and Dan met and hit it off at a Los Angeles party, not because it wanted to ride someone’s musical coattails.
“We’re confident, and our souls are clean,” Dan says. “We’re not retroactivists, and we don’t steal from people. We’re heavily influenced, as any other band is, by our peers. It’s just great to work with someone like Roy, and he’s got the experience to just do anything.”