How the Darkness Learned to Control Their Egos

Justin Hawkins said bands like the Darkness depended on big egos – but admitted it had landed them in trouble earlier in their careers, and had the potential to do so again.

After finding success in 2003 with debut album Permission to Land, the group disintegrated within three years, finally reuniting in 2011. Since then, Hawkins told Classic Rock in a recent interview, they’ve managed to retain control more effectively.

“If you don’t have an ego, you’re not doing it right,” the singer explained. “But that can lead to problems, as we found out in the past. We saw it all explode once before, and the situations that could potentially lead to that still happen, but we’ve learned to avoid it exploding again. It just takes a little bit of understanding of each other, and of yourself as well.”

“The whole reason we started the Darkness was out of defiance,” he continued, explaining that the band’s perspective was, “Nobody cares about what we’re doing, so fuck it, let’s do what we want to do.”

Things changed with the band’s success. “It became way bigger than we ever imagined, so the defiance changed colour a little bit,” Hawkins explained. “Instead of, ‘We’re going to do this no matter what!’ it became, ‘Yeah, finally, motherfuckers!’ Which was never the plan. There was a period where we were getting lots and lots of opportunities and it was not in our nature to turn anything down. It was snowballing, except we were rolling the snowball and getting caught up in it at the same time. We knew we should have stopped, but we just kept doing it.”

With a decade having passed since they put their differences behind them and a 2022 North America tour recently announced, Hawkins said the group is stronger than ever. “Communication is way better in the Darkness this time around. There’s less grudge-holding, less stewing on things, less sulking – we don’t pretend everything’s okay then have a massive fall-out any more.” He added: “Maybe it’s age, but I think it’s really a case of once bitten, twice shy.”

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