Part 80: The Darkness

Back in 2003, I was working with this…fucking idiot.  We’ll call him Dandy.  Easily the most superficial person I’ve ever had the displeasure of associating with.  We’ll be talking more about him later on, believe me.

When Dandy told me there was this new band that would be right up my alley called The Darkness, I wanted nothing to do with it.  Not only did I hate pretty much everything he raved about, but he meant it sort of as a joke.  Like, “Watch me get Mike into a shitty band like The Darkness.”

Anyway, the way he decribed them to me sounded spoofy, and I hate 96.5% of spoofy music.  I take my hair rock seriously.

A few months later, we opened another franchise in St. Catharines (a shitty hour and a half long drive in the mornings), and I was assigned training duty for their new manager.  We worked side by side daily for a couple weeks and I found him to be a good guy.  When he put The Darkness on, I was skeptical, but by no means opposed, because he obviously wasn’t a shitface like Dandy.  He wasn’t trying to yank my chain.

Yet, I’d never heard this band before…who the hell were they?  Some new band from England that looked like a cross between Queen and Aerosmith.  And sounded something like a cross between Queen, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses.  Yet was nothing at all like anything that was coming out at the time.  And they could play.

I like bands with unique singers, and Justin Hawkins is definitely unique.  I was into it!  Dandy was wrong — this wasn’t a spoof.  These guys were serious.

We played that album any time we could get away with it — which wasn’t often since Permission To Land is loaded with “fucks”. I grew to love every song.  Great songs like “Growing On Me” and “Friday Night” kept me going on the really bad days, like a shot of Liquid Schwartz in the ol’ engine.    They quickly became my Favourite New Band, and pretty much have remained that for the last ten years!

When the second album came out, I remember one of the head office people made a point of telling me how much she hated it.

“The new Darkness…sucks.”

“Oh yeah?”  I responded, not really surprised I’d hear that from this person.  They loved to rain on my musical parades.  They thought they were doing me a favour, trying to get me out of “cheesey” music, and onto “good” music.

“There’s this one song where all he does is sing, ‘I love what you’ve done with your hair,’ over and over again,” they complained.  (Note:  The song is called “Knockers”, of course.)

Predictably, I loved the second album, although it took a few listens to absorb.  Today I find myself leaning more towards the second Darkness album.  I think their ambition got the better of them in a lot of ways though.  I think One Way Ticket was more appropriate as a fourth album, but as a second, a little shocking for the masses to absorb.  And so, in my store at least, they ignored it in droves!

I followed them through the breakup, Hot Leg and Stone Gods, and now cannot wait to hear the long awaited third record, Hot Cakes, on August 21.  Welcome back, The Darkness!



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