Known for their love of Queen and Thin Lizzy, UK rockers, The Darkness, are returning to Australia for a handful of shows around the country. Bassist and all round funny guy, Frankie Poullain, was ready to hit the stage in Boston on the last night of their US tour and decided to take a few moments to chat about their upcoming tour, their new drummer Rufus Taylor, and those extravagant stage clothes.
“We have an Australian clothing designer called Ray Brown who in the 80s was well known for patenting the Motley Crue look but now he does stuff like Arctic Monkeys and Muse and he’s doing us as well,” informs Poullain, “He’s designed us a new look that we designed with him. I’m really happy with how we look now and we have Rufus Taylor on drums now. We feel like we’re evolving as a band in a positive way.”
With a tongue held firmly in cheek, the Darkness’ sense of humour is still there and one must always take a Darkness interview with a pinch of salt. More importantly though is newest member, drummer Rufus Taylor, son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor. Talk about keeping your peers close. “[Queen bassist] John Deacon has two sons so when it’s too much for me as a bassist we’ll get John Deacon’s son on bass. We could keep doing that but the problem is Freddie never had any kids so Justin’s just going to have to keep going.” Poullain admits, probably half-jokingly.
At a young 24 years of age, how has Rufus fitted in with these goofy stalwarts of the rock world? “Rufus is what you’d expect from three middle-aged men having a mid-life crisis, who’s also a blonde bombshell. He’s our mid-life crisis, I guess you could say. Our guilty pleasure,” explains Poullain who is no doubt enjoying the youthful energy Taylor brings to the band. He continues, “There’s subtle differences for sure but if anything it’s more aggressive and powerful. It’s great for the live setting. I don’t want to disrespect anyone that’s done anything else because we were lucky to have Ed (Graham), we were lucky to have Emily (Dolan Davies) and now we’re lucky to have Rufus. It’s great to play with all these different guys and everyone in the States is saying this is the best Darkness line-up ever and it’s been our most successful American tour.”
Well that’s good news for us Aussies who are seeing the band live around the country over the next week where the band will debut a brand new track from their next album. “We’ve got a new song to that we’re going to be playing in Australia. It’s called Rack of Glam. It’s all about man’s relationship with the female boob but from a Freudian perspective. Justin’s exploring it in a Freudian sense and I’m talking obviously about being a baby and the mammary gland and gradually how that changes as you get older from a baby to a boy and to a man. You’re always beholden to the breast. To be honest there are very few things that are deeper than man’s relationship with the female breast. I think it’s quite a profound thing. I think Justin would be the first to say that he was atoning for the song Knockers cos that was done in a more glib superficial manner and this is Justin in his fortitude now. He’s a different beast.”
But wait?! New album? What’s the scoop with that? You have just this year released 'Last Of Our Kind' and you’re already working on new material? Poullain reveals, “We went to Alicante in Spain. For the next album we’re writing in a different way, actually. It’s more improvised. It’s more kind of Paul’s Boutique / White Album vibe with lots of ideas and fun jammy type stuff. I think this new record is going to be very riff based and harder. Part of it is because we’re playing to Rufus’ strength as a drummer. It’s a chemistry thing. We get together as people and just spark off each other. It’s always been like that.”
It’s obviously been working for them because one look at The Darkness’ back catalogue and it’s been hit after hit and those that never were should have been hits also. They have this knack of writing great straight up rock n roll. Whether it’s an album or a B-side, there’s no shortage of quality songs. In fact, some of their B-sides are just as strong as the Growing On Me’s and I Believe In A Thing Called Love’s of their career. Poullain is both surprised and thankful when I brought this up. “Thank you for saying that. I really appreciate you saying that. I think if we were going to do a ten greatest Darkness songs I’d say two or three would be B-sides. I love Out Of My Hands; that’s one of my favourite Darkness songs. That’s in my top 10 for sure. It’s probably my 7th or 8th favourite Darkness song. It’s very heartfelt. I also like I Love You 5 Times; the B-side to the Christmas song. I like Physical Sex too, I think that’s pretty powerful. I’d like to play that with Rufus because I think he could really add something to that one. I think if we did a B-sides album it would be equally our second best album with Last Of Our Kind. It’s a really good idea. Maybe we could mix in some really choice live cuts as well. Make it like an Odds And Sods rarities album. I think that’s a good idea.” I do too! Make it happen. Record Store Day is just six months away.
The Darkness Blast of Our Kind Tour
Friday, 6th November
Saturday, 7th November
Sunday, 8th November
Wednesday, 11th November
Friday, 13th November
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