STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Dan Hawkins, guitarist in unflinchingly over-the-top British hard rockers The Darkness, is cooking dinner for his two children “and trying … not to swear so much.”
“Love Philadelphia,” he said.
In fact, the band is friends with Philly artist Thom Lessner, who has created online content and T-shirt designs for The Darkness; plus he came up with the ideas for the racy cover art for their 2012 album “Hot Cakes” and the animated video for “Northin’s Gonna Stop Us.”
Touring behind a new album, produced by Hawkins, called “Last of Our Kind,” The Darkness is on a collision course with the TLA in Philadelphia on Halloween Eve. It’s their fourth album overall since launching a what-the-heck-was-that salvo in 2003 with “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”
When asked if the new song “Open Fire” was a tip of the hat to the ‘80s rock of The Cult, Hawkins mentioned his brother, the band’s theatrical front man. “Justin and I, the (only) bands we saw eye to eye on were The Cult, AC/DC, Aerosmith and Queen.”
Speaking of Queen, Roger Taylor’s son, Rufus, recently joined The Darkness to play drums. “I just looked at Instagram. (Rufus Taylor’s) playing with Queen in Argentina, and the people are going (expletive),” Hawkins said.
Wearing their nerdiness on their sleeves, the band enlisted Marvel and IDW illustrator Nick Roche to animate the video for the ferocious Viking history lesson, “Barbarian.” Hawkins considers the “Barbarian” video a rare exception to his strong opinion that lyric videos are a waste of time. He said the song “Last of Our Kind” is Justin Hawkins “channeling Crow the Slayer from (the ‘80s British fantasy film) ‘Hawk the Slayer’,” as well as a reference to the cartoon savagery of “The Beastmaster” and “Conan the Barbarian,” where characters are always “going into battle, and you may not come out of it.”
On hiatus for a period between 2006 and 2011 dabbling in side projects and getting sober, Hawkins said the band is learning to be more open about personal issues with one another, to avoid unreasonably high expectations, and adopted an “us vs. the world” mentality.
What’s The Darkness’ 2015 “Blast of Our Kind” Tour like? “Shambolic. You never know what’s gonna happen,” said Hawkins, breaking into laughter. Although the live production values have been toned down from previous years, he said, the band has “amazing outfits we created ourselves.”
Does the band still — as their signature song goes — believe in a thing called love?
“Of course!,” Hawkins said, adding that love will be a common theme on the next Darkness album.
IF YOU GO
What: The Darkness in concert.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 30.
Where: Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia.
Info.: Call (215) 922-1011 or check www.lnphilly.com. For more in the band, check http://thedarkness.co.uk.