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Baker's Dozen

Growing On Me: Justin Hawkins Of The Darkness' Favourite LPs
Valerie Siebert , March 26th, 2013 10:57

The Darkness frontman rifles through his racks and decides on the 13 long-players closest to his heart

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It’s been just over a year now that the UK’s premier power rock purveyors The Darkness have been back, bringing the public all the flashy guitar solos and sweat-drenched Lycra they can handle. Third album Hot Cakes, released in August last year, was well-received, causing more than a little surprise from critics who had written them off, and their live performances have lost none of their energy or flamboyance.

This is not to say there hasn’t been change for the group over the past decade: especially for frontman Justin Hawkins. What with rehab stints and terribly-named solo projects (British Whale, Hot Leg), the reformed rocker had a bumpy road through his band’s explosive rise and implosive downfall and rebirth over the last decade.

The Darkness’ flare for spectacle was certainly missed by one famous fan: Lady Gaga, who requested their attendance on her European tour last year. The band then followed up with a UK tour, but the difference in expense from their heyday was abundantly clear. Back in 2004, with Permission To Land bringing in acclaim, awards and audiences, Hawkins would famously mount a stuffed Siberian tiger and take flight over the crowd, shredding away. This time around he has returned to sitting atop his brother’s shoulders for his guitar-wailing jaunts about the venue.

Budgets aside and now six years sober, Hawkins and the boys have worked through their differences and found the fun in the music again, sounding even tighter than before. For all intents and purposes, if you’ve heard The Darkness you will probably be able to compile this list yourself, as even Hawkins admits: “I’ve made them pretty much as obvious as they could possibly be. Mutt Lange, Roy Thomas Baker, Rick Rubin, Bob Ezrin and Jimmy Page are men that have made pretty much all the albums that I love!“

But there are a few surprises. Despite being mainly a guitar player, Hawkins has an affinity for rock drumming, something he often dwells on and analyses. He also admits that the release of The Darkness’ megalithic Permission To Land in 2003 was followed by his own revelation that his vocals were much closer to the warbling of Kate Bush than the snarl of Bon Scott.

“Not that I really get ideas off her,” he explains, “… well maybe about the way I dance...”

To begin scrolling through Justin's Bakers Dozen, click on the photograph below


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Mar 26, 2013 5:13pm

Holy shit! A list without Bowie, Velvets/Reed, Stooges/Iggy!! How did this get past the censors!

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B Dan
Mar 26, 2013 6:02pm

I saw "The Darkness" for the first time a few weeks ago on the AXS channel and I must say they were the worst band I've seen in a long, long time. How do bands such as these get ahead? Same old shit....Guys- It's a new century, wise up and do something new in the music world.

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Mar 26, 2013 6:21pm

Seems like no-one's told him about Tim Smith :(

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Mar 26, 2013 7:29pm

An interesting enough list and an entertaining read.

"I always wanted to sound like Steven Tyler or Bon Scott or someone like that... but actually I sound more like Kate Bush!" made me p*ss myself. Hilarious, love the honesty.

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Mar 27, 2013 3:10am

Some folks' Bowie worship is horrific, agreed, but fucking Aerosmith (always dogshit and being 14 years old is no excuse) and the goddamn Beatles are no better. Maybe Butch Vig and produce the Darkness and we can just end this feature altogether, music having reached its apotheosis of dire banality.

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John B. Stackwaddy
Mar 27, 2013 3:12am

What, no Styx? No Wire?! Music is the worst.

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Mar 27, 2013 5:11am

the same fucking people reading these articles complaining about the same shite, over and over and over again. either put up your top 13 and show us how "cool" you are or shut the fuck up. I own no music from this man nor his band so I'm not defending him. Just put up or shut the fuck up.

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Mar 27, 2013 5:16am

By the way, love the commenter STILL mentioning Butch Vig's picks. It's been awhile since that article holmes...get a life. You mention him every fucking time you comment. I have an unnatural affection for Shirley and her tiny dresses, but you're obsessed with Butch in a far more creepy manner. What, you get cut from the first incarnation of Garbage? Didn't cut it in Firetown? Sounds like you need a hobby...well, one other than Butch Vig.

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Lucy Licketysplit
Mar 27, 2013 5:53am

Dear Quietus,
Can you please, please, please, please interview some more women for your Bakers Dozen. Correct me if I am wrong but just going through the list of previous interviewees for the BD I counted only 3 women out of the last 30. That is pretty lame

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John Doran
Mar 27, 2013 7:53am

In reply to Lucy Licketysplit:

Hi Lucy, This is a fair point but more to do with female artists of a certain standing not wanting to do features like Bakers Dozen unfortunately. If you look at the Quietus as a whole it's clear we cover more female artists than comparable print magazines MOJO, UNCUT and Q.

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John Doran
Mar 27, 2013 8:14am

In reply to John Doran:

Also, I've had a quick look at we've covered seven female artists in this section over the last half year and we've got Viv Albertine coming up very soon. This might not be the high number that we both want but it hardly speaks of gross misogyny either.

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Mar 27, 2013 10:47am

In reply to Apop:

You have spoken the most sense so far and in an unbiased way.

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Mar 27, 2013 12:53pm

Why are the Quietus even covering this clown? They/he were a one joke novelty act that had been done to death 20 years before they even came along.

They made music for the David Brent's of this world. That's about the nicest thing you can say about them.

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Mar 27, 2013 1:01pm

'It’s got loads of brilliant songs on it, but they aren’t like mega hit songs'

- thingie out of the darkness on Exile on Main street. Could he actually be more of a cock if he tried?

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Louise Louise
Mar 27, 2013 1:40pm

I've never thought the Quietus sexist... sometimes they're capacious musical taste is a little TOO broad but better that than the alternative... Talking to numbnuts like Justin Hawkins seems kinda lame... Or who was that banal Icelandic dude a couple weeks ago? Ian McCullough is a clown but makes good copy so no foul there...

Hey John, I'm not an uncritical fan of her music (too 'cloudy' repetitive) but Liz Harris of Grouper is over there soon, she'd be very interesting to get a list from (if, hopefully not too shy). Also, why not Marnie Sternm whom ya'll just featured? Etc etc.

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John Doran
Mar 27, 2013 3:29pm

In reply to Louise Louise:

Yeah, but you've answered your own question here, we've run big features on Marnie and Liz within the last few weeks, so it'll be the Bakers treatment (if they want to do it) next time round. And the entire point of the Quietus is that it's supposed to cover a dizzying array of music... we're supposed to be the alternative to NME or UNCUT or what have you. All the colour of the rainbow instead of brown and beige.

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Mar 28, 2013 3:10am

stoked about the news on viv albertine! apop: awesome notion. at the very least these baker's dozen features are entertaining, sometimes for the comments alone, but they're mostly informative and fine fine food/fodder to feed the music geek beasts in all of us. cheers!

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Mar 28, 2013 4:15pm

I would just say: run as many of these features as possible, I love them. How else would you know that the singer of the freakin' Darkness was a closet Cardiacs fan??

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Simon E
Mar 28, 2013 5:15pm

Not into the Darkness, but this list is brilliantly honest. I grew up in East Anglia too, and this is what we listened to in these provincial parts, folks. Just needs a bit of Marillion or Tull in there....

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Mar 28, 2013 9:24pm

In reply to B Dan:

FUCK OFF and listen to coldplay .THe Darkness is brilliant

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Mar 28, 2013 9:47pm

In reply to B Dan:

Until you see them live I would pipe down....

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Mar 28, 2013 9:53pm

This is a great read. Hawkins is obviously not very concerned about what is cool (though I appreciate his honesty about feeling the peer pressure about "Exile"), but also isn't an obnoxious contrarian. And his observations about The Cult and Kate Bush show he's a real listener and actually knows a thing or two about music. And yeah, Foreigner is deceptively great. I can totally relate to this: "I once bought an Agent Provocateur t-shirt ironically and then worked my way back from there" HA!

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Mar 28, 2013 10:15pm

I'm genuinely wondering why some people on here have so much hatred of The Darkness. Maybe they're re-doing a sound but they came out at around the same time as The Killers, The Thrills, The Arctic Monkeys, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Kooks, etc, etc, etc I found them really refreshing.

As for the albums, some nice artists but original choices for the album e.g. Jazz from Queen, White Album from The Beatles.

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Mar 28, 2013 11:39pm

Seriously? Why would anybody bitch about someone else's fave records? Get a friggin' life. Nobody asked you what you're favorites were? Gigantic babies. Go cry into your humongous pillow, dopey twats.

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G. Waters
Mar 29, 2013 12:44am

Justin, I too own a few of these great albums. Anyway, in my eyes you can do no wrong. Fuck off haters.

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Apr 1, 2013 11:09am

I'm a big Darkness fan and it's interesting but perhaps not surprising to see that half of Justin's faves would also be on my list. And he's very honest too. I went to see them play in London and it was a great night. No pretentiousness, just great, great music. The new album is awesome and I can't wait for the next one.

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Miss Blueberry
Apr 2, 2013 8:23pm

Gotta love the freaking hypocritic hipsters who don't know nothing about liking something without feeling like they have to justify it by playing my horse is more indie than your horse.

The Darkness' sounds are an echo from when relevant music was good music. If you can't appreciate that, we don't hold it against you. But stop being negative and stick to your Justin Bieber's LPs

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James Brown
Apr 13, 2013 11:11am

The Darkness, musically, a are fantastic band. Justin Hawkins was being honest about what he likes to listen to, and isn't this what's it's all about?? Would you like it if he just gave the 13 most famous albums of all time?? People saying that the darkness' music and classic rock has no place today are wrong..older music is just better musically. Now the 'best music' is some unknown band player in a shadow playing chords on an acoustic guitar with someone sitting on a stool 2 metres in front singing three semitones out of tune...lighten up and respect that these albums are honest choices from an honest band

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Nov 4, 2013 11:21pm

I've liked Baker's Dozoen fro the same reason I likes Melody Maker's Rebellious Jukebox: it's always interesting reading about a musician's favorite or formative albums, and the chances are that there will be at least one mentioned that you'll want to seek out. It's just another way of finding out about more cool music.

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Dave Dawson
Dec 6, 2013 12:11am

In reply to B Dan:

Fuck off B Dan it's called 'respectable pastiche' you stupid American wanker

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