Glam metal kingpins The Darkness know all about resurgence – they catapulted glam into the 21st century back in 2003 with their chart-topping album, ‘Permission to Land’, and returned in full force after a six-year hiatus in 2011, subsequently releasing three studio albums.
‘Pinewood Smile’, The Darkness’ fifth studio effort, has just hit stores – and the band will be heading to Newcastle this month to give fans a taste of the new record on stage. Frankie Poullain, the band’s bass guitarist, spoke to Jake Graham about the new album, the addition of Rufus Tiger Taylor to the line-up, and what touring the North East offers the band.
What was the inspiration behind ‘Pinewood Smile’?
This was us channelling in fun again, really. It’s the first time since the beginning of the first album that we’ve been able to tap into that euphoric energy, which is the hardest thing to do. Everyone has to be operating one hundred percent.
How did you find working with Adrian Bushby [producer for Muse/Foo Fighters]?
It was a privilege. He [Adrian] is a lovely guy, with no ego, which is amazing for someone with his credentials. He wasn’t a control freak, or on a power trip, he just had such boyish enthusiasm. He had the same vibe as we had.
How did the creative process differ working with Adrian as opposed to other producers?
Basically, we laid tracks at the same time – separated by partition but in the same room. We were in an old chapel, in a big room, so we could still see and hear and feel each other and we caught the energy, which is what we wanted.
What did Rufus Tiger Taylor add to the writing of ‘Pinewood Smile’ which makes it unique to the other records?
I’d say Rufus added edge, virility, mischief, and playfulness. He contributes a lot but that’s the thing, we all do. Everyone has to contribute a lot for a band to be fresh, inventive and relevant. There are no hiding places; you can’t be half-arsed when you do this kind of thing. Alexander Jodorowsky said that ‘all art is a sacrifice to the gods’ which sounds pretentious but if you do something for the financial gain, it’s going to sound watered-down and corrupted.
Is there anything unique about playing in the North East that you don’t find anywhere else in the UK?
I used to visit the ‘monkey hangers’ in Hartlepool so I have memories of the North East. We play rock ‘n’ roll to primarily a working-class audience and that’s what it’s all about. It has gone off in all kinds of strands and tangents over the years so it’s something that you can’t really describe.
I know the band has a distaste for Southern Trains, so I have to ask, how is the transport system up here?
It’s different because southerners never protest. That’s why we did the ‘Southern Trains’ track because everyone grumbles about them but no one actually goes public. Corporations and big companies make up the rules, and the customer doesn’t get good service anymore. It’s impossible to complain anymore; there’s just massive frustration, they take the piss out of you, charging you more and more and nothing ever changes. It all stems back to the idea that we’re all just rats; we have to climb on top of each other to get to the top, and it makes no one happy.
The Darkness will arrive in the region on Tuesday 28th November to play the O2 Academy, Newcastle. Tickets, priced at £31.45 in advance, are available now from ticketweb.co.uk.