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Justin Hawkins: my week

February 17, 2009

Justin Hawkins, former frontman with the Darkness, now with Hot Leg describes his week.

Justin Hawkins of Hot Leg

Justin Hawkins of Hot Leg Photo: Getty


I went to pick up a picture of me riding a horse that I have just had framed. On the way back, some kids threw sludgy snowballs at me. Later on, Pete Rinaldi, the guitarist in Hot Leg, came over to my house in north-west London and we started work on the band’s third album. Even though our first album has just come out, we’ve already written the second one – we just had too many songs. The third one is going to be a concept album, probably a three-hour epic rock opera, but at the moment we’ve just got the opening riff, which sounds like Guns N’ Roses.


A lot of the day was spent doing promotion and talking to some radio shows in Ireland. I don’t mind doing it; when our first single came out last year it was a bit more tedious because I had to talk about the past with the Darkness and all the bad things that have happened. It’s quite exciting for Hot Leg to be treated as a band in its own right. In the evening I worked on a cover version of the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles that my friends have asked me to perform at their wedding. If I cook in the evening it tends to be simple food. Chili con carne is my speciality.


I was producing an album for a young band called Saving Amy. The six of them were all pulling in different directions, so they wanted me to give them some shape. My basic approach is to make songs simpler, especially the drumming. All great songs, from Michael Jackson to AC/DC, have really simple drums. To thank me, the band bought me a lovely leg of cured ham. I’ve got nowhere high to hang it, so it’s being used as a punchbag by the cat.


Usually on a Saturday I’d stay in bed for the day, but we’ve got a tour coming up so the whole band went over to the rehearsal studios to prepare. We play high-intensity man‑rock – basically everything is loud. I’m not sure what costumes we are going to wear, but I am getting quite into frilly shirts. In the evening I went home to read my favourite book at the moment, Frank Tallis’s Mortal Mischief. I’m not a big reader, but I love Agatha Christie.


I worked on a soundtrack for my friend’s film. I used to write music for adverts and it’s a very similar process to that. You learn a lot about music by trying to reproduce sounds. I was trying to recreate the sound of Benedictine nuns singing by overlaying me singing falsetto and then putting some reverb on it, but it didn’t sound right. I might have to record myself singing in a real church. I do music all the time, even in my leisure time. I suppose I am a bit of a workaholic.

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