The Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins described a “tender moment” with frontman Justin Hawkins, his elder brother, that took place after they’d hardly spoken as a result of the band splitting up in 2006.
The group had achieved several important milestones after the release of debut album Permission to Land three years prior – but in a new interview with the Guardian, Justin admitted he’d lost control of himself, and it damaged his relationship with his sibling.
“When the Darkness properly formed, Dan was a driving force in terms of ambition whereas I was doing it in a defiant way,” Justin explained. “I wanted to piss a few people off … Dan’s drive was a bit clearer: win an Ivor Novello [songwriting award]. We both achieved our goals. But the latter was really significant.”
He continued: “At that point, everything I did was determined by drug addiction. It was really damaging; we would have achieved much more if I’d been able to keep it together. … I was white-knuckling it and it affected all my relationships – the most important one being the one with my brother.” Justin said he had to “leave the whole infrastructure around the Darkness” because “everything was a trigger,” adding that he and his brother “went through a two-year period of not really speaking.”
Dan agreed that they’d reached a point “when we needed to be apart,” and compared the period of silence to a similar time when his elder brother had first moved out of the family home, and they’d had to rebuild their relationship. A turning point came in 2007 when Dan was diagnosed with testicular cancer. “While I was recovering, I stayed away from my family, so I was going to get chemo on my own,” he recalled. “Justin said: ‘I’ll go. I’ll take you.’ I remember sitting there in the hospital and wondering how many people realize that this bond is still there between us. People didn’t even know we were friends. It was a tender moment.”
The Darkness’ original lineup regrouped in 2011, and released latest their album Motorheart in November. “When the band split… it got to boiling point – puff – then we came back stronger,” Dan said. “Now we have proper life rules in place that will enable us to avoid reaching boiling point again.” Justin noted: “Everyone knew we would be all right. We just needed a bit of time. … These days, my relationship with Dan is fearsome. We’re the Hawkins brothers. People are terrified of us. And rightly so.”