THE DARKNESS - Tarts But No Longer Upstarts Page 2
by Martin Popoff

"For the three years leading up to the first album, I fully listened to nothing but AC/DC," answers Dan, when asked what kind of band The Darkness had been in its embryonic stages. "Obviously, different periods of AC/DC. But yeah, in the run-up to us making that first album, that was it. And that's what actually brought me and Justin together. That was the one thing, apart from Queen, that we had in common. And that's what we focused on musically with the band. We're quite different as people and you have to find your common ground, and that was ours."

Taking the piss. It's an English expression, and one that's been hurled at The Darkness from day one. The lyrics, Justin's amusing falsetto, and on the new album, cheesy Moog, sitar, string arrangements and pan flute. Are they? Have they ever? Taken the piss, I mean.

"I'll tell you what," says Dan, hackles only slightly up. "If the first time I met Brian May, if he said 'Are you taking the piss?' or whatever, or the first time I met Jimmy Page, if he thought that, that would probably upset me, because these bands are our peers. The people I consider our peers are like Metallica, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Aerosmith, the remaining members of Queen, and we've met them all and we are friends with them all and they all love the band and they get it. The people who think we are taking the piss or don't understand this band, don't know enough about rock music, so I don't give a shit what they think anyway."

So you never are taking the piss?

"No. I mean, lyrically there's an element of humour in Justin's turn of phrase. There are a few things that are outrageous and sometimes make us laugh, but we're not taking the piss. Do you think Angus Young is taking the piss when he wears his school uniform? I mean, yes, but no."

"Do you think Bon Scott was taking the piss when he was writing his double entendres all over his lyrics?" adds Richie. "No one sees him as a f**king joke, but their lyrics are as funny as Justin's lyrics are."

"That's the thing, isn't it?" says Dan. "It's like, you can't afford to worry about how people perceive you, really, unless it's going really badly and everyone thinks you're a total joke. I'd rather keep it like, half the people don't get it and half the people do. It's special that way."