The Darkness. These guys are the epitome of stage performances. Like Lady Gaga, who they are currently touring with, they are full of theatrics – both off and on stage… we found this out for ourselves when we spoke to bass player Frankie Poullain…
Where have you been for the last few years and how did it happen that you are touring with Lady Gaga?
In the last two years, well, the band got back together, we decided to do a new album and we did not want to do anything till the album came out. But then Download Festival in the UK offered us a really nice slot, headlining with Def Leppard last summer. So we came back with that gig and since then we have toured the States twice, we have been to Australia and we have done all the European festivals. We have our album coming out in a couple of weeks…evidently, Lady Gaga asked us to support her on her world tour, so we are very pleased with the way things have worked out.
What is the band’s relationship with her?
It’s one of mutual admiration and respect because she does not care what people think of her and she is ready to be ridiculed and, I think, having the courage to be different is the most important thing.
I read somewhere of the groups idea – while touring with her – of having everyone dress a different historical era, why would you have you been a Greek Philosopher?
Haha, well, properly because I am the Philosopher of the band, Bass playing is black art, it’s a different mystery, and for that reason Bass players hold the key, which unlocks the portal of dreams.
What’s your philosophy on life?
Time is a human mind construct and the future and the past are intermingled, that’s what I believe… Deep in our subconsciousness we know what is happening next.
Have you ever been to South Africa?
Justin has been there on holiday and he said he had a great time – really nice lifestyle great people, fantastic food and just freedom to be what you want to be. But that the water was really cold!
Did you hear about ticket servers being crashed in a ticket frenzy for the concert here in South Africa in December?
Frankie: Oh? No, I did not hear about that… but that great.
oss: Yeah, fans rushed to web retailer ‘computicket‘ so hard that servers shut down after being overwhelmed by traffic.
Frankie: So there are two gigs? One in Joburg and one in Cape Town.
Frankie: It’s the first gig that we picked in the whole of Africa, we are really excited… I remember in 2004 we got a lot of emails from fans in South Africa asking why we had not been there, so this is long overdue….
With your new album ‘Hot Cakes‘ to be realized soon, any chance we can get a sneak peek/favorite line or lyric?
Well, what I can tell you that one of the songs is called ‘She is Just a Girl Eddie’ and it’s all about our younger time and Justin is singing the song to him, on his relationship when his girlfriend broke up, and I think that characterizes a lot of the album because, even though we are being perceived as a cult help-band, our songs are not about fast cars and fast living, although we have a lot of bravado on stage.
Who would win a match of tennis between you and Justin?
I used to beat him! But the very last time I played him…his sheer level of fitness…he is such an amazing physical specimen these days he managed to overpower me with sheer stamina. It’s close between us, we have not played this year… We will properly play in South Africa because we will have a lot of time on our hands. It’s quite a big production this Gaga tour, which means there are quite a lot of days off in between two gigs.
Yeah it’s true, at one stage I was staying in the Del Orinoco Delta, with a bunch of students, we were sleeping on hammocks in the jungle for two weeks, with the one-eyed Indians – very gentle type of Indians…
And basically I went to collect some wood and I went to pick up a machete in the middle of a wasps nest, there was this jungle of brow bees and I was stung over 30 times by these bees, and I almost died, so I had to give up tour guiding. I came back to the UK and that was when Justin told me he had started to be a singer in The Darkness.
How would you sum up your comeback?
I would say it has to do with the collective responsibility to repair the damage we did to ourselves and the band, our reputation towards the end, we are very lucky to have a second chance to come back and hopefully fulfill our potential and repay the fans for believing in us. We are 100% focused on being a great roll model for what we believe rock and roll to be.
You know everyone’s idea of rock and roll is different, our vision of rock and roll is something which advocates/accumulates the ludicrous aspects. So with bits of Jeremy lewis, Lewi Richard and moving along to the more modern aspects ACDC, Queen.
In a dream world, lets go back 30 years, who would you have liked to tour with. ’60/’70
Yeah that’s a good question, 1970s would have been maybe ABBA?! They were actually really amazing, some of their elements were kinda rocking, just the tin planet pop, you know, the aspect of that, to do what we do, just the song idea and the euphonic nature, the songs…
What are you wearing?
Funny enough, now I am wearing the same underwear I did for our Funny or Die sketch, you can check it online, they gave us brown underpants to wear to accentuate what we were doing. I actually kept them and put them on this morning.
It was a great honor to speak to you, the whole of South Africa is very excited for you to come!
Interview by: David Plenderleith