The Darkness To Triumph At Download?

10th Jun 2011 | 14:25

The Darkness To Triumph At Download?
Justin Hawkins, circa 2003
'Understated? Moi?' Justin rocking da fug out, circa 2003
The Darkness To Triumph At Download?
Dan Hawkins, circa 2003
'Hmm, am I loud enough...?"

One of our favourite bands makes a welcome return at Download 2011. Here's some highlights from our very first interview with Dan and Justin, taken from April 2003's issue.

© Katy Winn/Corbis

As you may imagine, Guitarist receives literally hundreds of CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays every month, and as much as we'd like to feature the vast majority of them, we simply don't have the space. What's been true over the years remains so today: some albums are good, fewer are great, most are meh, and some are pure dog-egg.

However, on occasions as rare as sightings of Elvis Presley buying Happy Shopper burgers in ASDA, an album lands arrives that all of us fall instantly in love with. One such album was 2003's Permission To Land by The Darkness and the Lowestoft quartet became, at a stroke, our new favourite band: at one point we were playing it twice a day, and only G'NR's Appetite For Destruction has ever been able to compete with that frequency.

Subsequently we were amongst the first major UK magazines to feature a full interview with Justin and Dan Hawkins and, to mark the original line-up's return to the big-time with a slot at Download this evening (10 June 2011), here are a few choice quotes from the piece, written by former teammate Phil Ascot, that appeared in our April 2003 issue.

On the band...

"I've managed to force a lot of my eighties rock ideals on the rest of the band, which really helps when you're trying to fit three solos into one song." explains Justin. "It's what sets us apart, really. Soloing makes your balls feel bigger, doesn't it?"

On fan's reaction...

"We played Brixton Academy with Disturbed and their fans were a strange bunch." Justin recalls. "I think half of them despised us and the other half loved it. There was stuff being thrown at us and fights breaking out. We knew it would happen, we were expecting that kind of reaction from the start. But those bottles still hurt!"

On the brothers' relationship...

Dan: "I'm interested in ways to make the sound bigger, whereas all Justin wants to do is solo! My job's to create an open goal for Justin to score. He's an awesome lead guitarist but when he's singing he really doesn't want to be bothering with all that rhythm stuff."

On recording..

Dan: "Most of the guitars are double-tracked but I made a point of doing all the rhythm guitars together and keeping all the original guitars, backing them up where we needed to."

On gear...

"He [Justin] got that deal [with Mesa/Boogie] before we'd even put a record out." Dan laughs. "He just went into the showroom and started soloing. The guy was so impressed he just said, You can have one!"

On the tone...

"We were in the studio and I had to do my first solo after two weeks of continuous playing on the rhythm tracks, and I couldn't do it at all." says Dan. "Trying to bend a .22, the G string, it's not even wound; it's like pushing cheese wire. But it sounds massive and it never goes out of tune."

On us...

"This has always been one of my ambitions, a Guitarist interview." Confesses rhythm powerhouse Dan. "I buy it all the time and love seeing what others are using."

Here's the band in their heyday and we're sure they'll kill tonight!

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