Hard rock band shines again after ‘everything started to disintegrate,’ says drummer Ed Graham.
When the Darkness debuted during the dawn of the last decade, the British band was the answer for bleak, nihilistic nu metal and its predecessor, grunge.
The Darkness was hard rock to the hilt with all of the accouterments. The band, which impressed at Philadelphia’s Theater of Living Arts in 2003, put together a larger than life stage show in small theaters.
Spandex-clad vocalist Justin Hawkins would climb to the rafters and sing about sex, drugs and well, anything decadent. Their celebratory 2003 debut Permission To Land found an audience.
“I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” was a minor hit and “Growing On Me” and “Black Shuck” quickly became fan favorites.
“It was an amazing time for us,” drummer Ed Graham tells Atlantic City Weekly while calling from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We just exploded in London and it was incredible getting the reaction we did in the States. The shows were full of energy, us feeding off the fans. And you never knew what Justin would do.”
That became part of the problem for the Darkness.
After recording the followup, One Way Ticket To Hell ... And Back in 2005 Hawkins became a rock cliché circa 1980: the scissor-kicking frontman, who would dive into the maw of a crowd embraced drugs and alcohol.
“With all the problems, well, everything started to disintegrate,” Graham says. “It was horrible. We had this great thing and it just died.”
Hawkins went into rehab and completed the program. However, when he was clean, he went solo and the remaining members, including his brother guitarist Dan Hawkins formed Stone Gods.
“We didn’t speak to each other for awhile,” Graham says. “But it was inevitable that we would have some contact eventually since Dan and Justin are brothers.”
The band, which will perform Friday, Jan. 18, at the House of Blues, made up and reunited in 2012 with original bassist Frankie Poullain, who left after the Permission To Land tour.
“It was all totally unexpected,” Graham says. “I received a call, but it was a call I never thought I would receive. I couldn’t have been more thankful.”
The band quickly signed with Windup records and cranked out Hot Cakes, which is cut from the cloth of its album Permission To Land. The tunes are catchy with big riffs about all that is hedonistic. There are also some love songs in the mix.
Rock of Ages has taken up residence on the Boardwalk at Caesars and unlike most touring musicals presented in Atlantic City, it has not been sliced and diced to fit into a casino-friendly time slot and get the gamblers back at the slots.
Why mince words? Don’t miss the Broadway jukebox musical Rock of Ages, now playing at Caesars Atlantic City through Sept. 2. And certainly don’t avoid it based on past experience with legitimate plays in a casino showroom.
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