29 Jul 2008

Light follows the Darkness

+ posted by FlamingWhopper

Former Huddersfield student Justin Hawkins shot to fame with Darkness ... before drink and drugs took its toll. Now he's back with a new band. ANDREW BALDWIN reports

JUSTIN Hawkins was a rock guitarist and singer with the world at his feet.

He was the flamboyant frontman for The Darkness - famed for his falsetto voice and jumpsuits.

The band shot into the rock stratosphere in 2003, with debut album Permission To Land selling 1.5 million copies in the UK. It included hit single I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

A year later they headlined T in the Park and won three Brit Awards.

But success and the pressure that goes with it took its toll and Justin stunned fans in August 2006 when he was admitted into rehab at celebrity clinic The Priory.

The musician revealed he was no longer in control of himself due to drugs and alcohol.

He had spent £150,000 in three years on cocaine and admitted to taking ecstasy every day at one stage.

Justin re-emerged briefly into the public eye in early 2007 when he became one of six acts competing to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest competition in Helsinki.

He performed a duet with singer Beverlei Brown, but they did not win the viewers' vote.

Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon was backstage when Justin lost.

She later said: “I could hear all this banging and effing and blinding from the dressing room next door to me, like someone was throwing things.

“I don't know what was going on - it was all a bit crazy. It was so funny, he was really annoyed.”

And then Justin seemed to disappear again - 15 minutes of fame apparently over.

Well, the 33-year-old who studied music technology at Huddersfield Technical College is back and cleaned up as far as drugs and drink are concerned.

He's formed new band, Hot Leg, and they play Manchester's Roadhouse next week during their first tour.

The venue for their gig on August 8 is a far cry from the stadium days of The Darkness, reflected in the ticket prices of only £10.

For Justin, who describes himself as Hot Leg's master of ceremonies, it's almost starting from scratch again.

Mind you, he's feeling better than he has done in a long time.

He says: “This year is going great. I've been working hard at the most important thing in my life - Man Rock.

“I've given up trying to demonstrate my versatility and I'm concentrating on being me without random acts of self-subversion and career suicide. I'm super happy and excited about Hot Leg.

“I don't drink, take drugs or even smoke and I don't like being around people that are doing so. I've got loads more tattoo ink in my body nowadays and I'm keen to add more. I think that's my last remaining vice. I am a slave to the needle.”

These days he tends to live the rock n' roll life style only when he's working - preferring in private to eat sushi, play tennis and spend time with his friends and his cats.

Fans can still expect to see him in his trademark garb on stage, though.

“I like dressing up - I associate flamboyance with happiness. I now fit into my old cat suits so my latest dilemma is whether to wear a one-piece singing uniform whilst rocking with the Leg or whether to move on.

“Is there a stronger look to be obtained?” he asks.

Lowestoft-born Justin was at Huddersfield Technical College from 1995 to 1997, living in Fartown and Sowerby Bridge.

He knew he had made it big when he unveiled a wax model of him at Madame Tussauds in London.

He's now known as Justin ‘Dave' Hawkins and describes Hot Leg as an entirely hairier beast than The Darkness.

Justin has recruited guitarist Pete Rinaldi, bassist Samuel SJ Stokes and drummer Darby Todd for the new group which has already released a free download of a new song, Heroes, which features more of Hawkins' trademark high-pitched vocals and crashing guitar riffs.

“Four men with at least one machine apiece operating in pitch-perfect harmony. Who could ask for more?” he says with the fervour of a salesman.

Hot Legs have recorded their debut album and took it to Los Angeles for mastering. As yet untitled, it's due for release in October on Barbecue Rock Records.

“It's absolutely stunning,” says Justin.

Credit: Andrew Baldwin | www.examiner.co.uk
Follow Justin Hawkins on Twitter

Reassuring vet display. Link
2562 days ago

RT @etvapos: @DrBrianMay and @why don't you follow each other!? ;)
2564 days ago

Wowzers, Madrid folk really know how to make you feel welcome. This was a fun show. Right, home time for me :)
2564 days ago

RT @AlClarkofficial: Big cup game today, lovely weather for it. @jimbohuz @justinhawkins #NHTIFD
2564 days ago

@railcomjon soon, Jon, soon. 3 more shows and I get a little break. NHTIFD!!
2565 days ago


New Album - Red Light Fever OUT NOW

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