When Rufus Tiger Taylor, son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor joined The Darkness in 2015, it made a whole lot of sense. The English rock band, which first topped the charts with “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” is recognized for those eccentric outfit choices, that floppy hair, and the high pitched vocals that draw inspiration from Freddie Mercury himself. Shortly before Rufus joined the Darkness, founding members Justin Hawkes, Dan Hawkes, and Frankie Poullain released Last of Our Kind, the band’s fourth studio album. LIKEYOUSAID had a chance to speak with bassist Frankie Poullain about that album and his experience with his initial fame.
Tonight the Darkness’ USSA Tour will make its way to the Paradise Rock Club in Allston, Massachusetts. As RavenEye opens the show, and the Darkness performance draws closer, we can only hope that Doc Brown’s DeLorean will pass through Allston just in time for some rock and roll history.
Your debut album Permission to Land became an instant hit from the get-go. It must have been a huge change for the band. Can you recall the first moments when you started to be recognized? How did you handle that newfound fame?
Frankie: Yes. It felt like a huge mistake. More problems in the world are caused by ‘answered’ prayers. Usually first world ones performed on the world’s smallest violin. Not especially well. I’m a private person and it was hard to enjoy all the fuss and clamor.
So many bands have covered “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, from Panic! at the Disco to Mel C to Brad Shoemaker at the PAX East convention. Do you have a favorite cover? Are you surprised at the success that song has seen?
Frankie: I don’t have a favourite cover of this song, possibly because nobody does euphoria like Justin Hawkins. I do love the Band of Horses cover of “Love Is Only A Feeling” though.
Queen was a big influence on the Darkness. What are your 5 favorite Queen songs?
[Laughs.] Great answer! Your 2015 album is called Last of Our Kind. Is there a story behind how that name came to be? Is this meant to be a statement about the Darkness specifically?
Frankie: Names are suggested and whichever is still resonating, at close of play, wins. A bit like striking a triangle once in a 3 hour symphony. You get one shot and you have to get it right. It’s easy to quiver, it’s less so to resonate. We call it ‘the jelly conundrum’. The statement could apply to various bands or individuals, we are witnessing a huge cultural sea shift.
There are so many references to the vikings and Middle Ages on Last of Our Kind. What influenced the subject matter? Were you perhaps watching a lot of Game of Thrones episodes when you wrote it?
Frankie: No. We wrote those songs in Ireland and we simply elaborated on the stories we heard first hand. The subject matter was inspired by an urge to channel our collective manhoods.
What can Boston fans expect on the Back To The USSA tour?
Frankie: Four small boys with exploding hearts, crying out for love.
And finally, what’s next for the Darkness?
Frankie: A new album containing new music by four glorious specimens of the human race. And four bonus tracks!
The Darkness will perform tonight at the Paradise Rock Club in Allston, Massachusetts. The show starts at 8PM. Tickets are still available for purchase here. You can keep up with the latest from the Darkness on their Facebook page and listen to Last of Our Kind in full on the band’s YouTube channel.
Interview by Lia Gurin.
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