EXCLUSIVE: Hot Leg Interview

Still no word on whether Justin made it out of his tunnel last night but if this just happens to be his last interview for a while then it’s a belter. Fresh from The Brits and with a new record to peddle, the former Darkness hero was his usual ebullient self as he talked awards, homosexuality and the value of rock icons Def Leppard and Whitesnake. You can pick up a copy of Red Light Fever now and Hot Leg play Newcastle’s o2 Academy on Friday March 6. 

rushonrock: You were back at the Brits this week so what’s the gossip?

Justin Hawkins: Well there isn’t much really. I went as a guest of the BPI and did the red carpet stuff before I ended up sitting at a table with a lady called Sue Whitehouse. It was nice to bump into her. She’s the manager of Hot Leg so we had something in common. Apart from her there were no real names on our table and it was a pretty quiet affair all round. I imagine all the action was backstage. That’s where it all happened when I was invited in the past. For me it was just a chance to get dressed up, do my hair and slap on the make-up.

rushonrock: But it must have kicked off at the aftershow party?

JH: Er, no. The after-show was horrendous and I had to leave early. I was probably the only sober person in Earl’s Court on Wednesday night and it wasn’t the greatest evening out.

rushonrock: At least you got to see the mighty Maiden fly the flag for British rock…

JH: Yeah that was great to see. I was well chuffed and literally leapt out of my seat with delight when it was announced. I thoroughly enjoyed the video piece they did but it’s a shame they weren’t there. On the night it was Kings Of Leon who totally kicked off and they ruled the Brits. Their performance really was superb.

rushonrock: But what about the lack of recognition for AC/DC and Robert Plant?

JH: Mmm that was a bit strange but the Brits is generally like a kind of academy and they like to reward young folks as a rule.

rushonrock: New album Red Light Fever has finally seen the light of day and we wanted to ask you the story behind Ashamed featuring your Eurovision pal Beverlei Brown.

JH: I wrote that song ages ago, probably way back when I was in The Darkness. It’s about reality television and yes, it features Beverlei, who I appeared with on the Eurovision show. But it’s totally unrelated to that. It was written a long time before I appeared on that thing. There’s a good chance Beverlei will pop up with Hot leg at some stage in the future but she’s a busy lady. The last I heard she was touring with Razorlight. I’ll have to chase her up.

rushonrock: Now the other song we like is Gay In The 80s. What’s with that spanking tune?

JH: It’s a look at the fact that homosexuality was taboo in the 80s and a chance to remind people that things are changing in 2009 and that gay people are out there making music. If Katie Perry can sing songs about it why can’t Hot Leg? Just because we’re blokes in a rock band doesn’t mean we can’t tackle the issue. If we can’t then it’s double standards. And getting back to the Brits look who won the long service award – the Pet Shop Boys. Exactly.

rushonrock: Fair point but in the world of rock – and particularly ‘Man Rock’ – being gay and the issue of homosexuality are still relatively taboo.

JH: Like I said a lot is changing. It’s for people like us to stand up and say yes there are gay people in the rock industry. There’s always been a lot of femininity in the rock music that I enjoy – you just have to look at how Poison appeared on the front of Look What The Cat Dragged In to see what I’m saying. And you know what – the ladies love that kind of thing too. The people like it. It’s not the same thing as being gay and I accept that. But I’m saying there’s always been that side to rock music and especially in the 1980s.

rushonrock: And talking of the 1980s what’s your verdict on hair metal heroes Def Leppard and Whitesnake playing Download together this summer?

JH: Well it looks like there’s going to be some kind of Classic Rock Sunday and that should be great. The two bands toured the arenas last year and it was a big success so why not do the same thing outdoors? I don’t think the fact that it’s Download makes any difference. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with both Leppard and Whitesnake over the years and they’re both very nice bands and great musicians. They’re fabulous to watch live and they can teach all of us a thing or two.

I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.

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