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Return of the Prince of Darkness

February 13, 2009

His new band reiterates Justin’s love for energetic, theatrical rock.

The group’s debut album, Red Light Fever, out this week, is punctuated by driving rhythms and memorable hooks, the latter a throwback to his days penning advertising jingles.

A knack for melody that produced Darkness classics such as I Believe In A Thing Called Love is still intact.

Hawkins stresses that Hot Leg – whose line-up is completed by guitarist Pete Rinaldi, bassist Samuel Stokes and drummer Darby Todd – are not merely the Darkness Mark II.

Enlarge His one regret? Justin (centre) with the other hopefuls wanting to represent Britain in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest

His one regret? Justin (centre) with the other hopefuls wanting to represent Britain in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest

But, having spent the past three years working on solo projects — the novelty electronic act British Whale plus a failed attempt to become the UK’s candidate in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest (‘We don’t talk about that,’ he says, sheepishly) — he is thrilled to be fronting a band once more.

‘I had written a lot of songs and I put some of them up on MySpace as a solo artist,’ he says. ‘But I always get more from collaborating with others. There’s nothing as magical as alive band.

‘Some of the new songs were written while I was still with the Darkness, but they weren’t right for that time. The Darkness was built on fragile foundations and it wasn’t going to last for ever.’

With Red Light Fever released on the singer’s own independent label, Barbeque Rock, the expensive special effects that were an integral part of a typical Darkness show are on hold — at least for now.

‘I’m going to bring the catsuits back, but it might be some time before I can put all my new ideas into action.

‘With The Darkness, the stuffed white tiger was a drawing on a napkin that became a reality. Now, the sketches on the napkins might just stay on the napkins.

‘But if we ever have the money, I’ll spend it on the live show again. You don’t often see rock singers flying twice during a single gig, but I never felt ridiculous up on the stuffed white tiger. To me, that’s all part of the rock ‘n’ roll dream. If you want to be in a stadium band, you have to do it properly.’

This was a pretty long article. For the rest, see www.

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