Richie Edwards is one of rock music’s true success stories after the one-time roadie rose through the ranks to play bass with The Darkness and become frontman for one of Britain’s best new bands. rushonrock caught up with the Stone Gods frontman ahead of Monday’s gig with Airbourne at Newcastle’s Carling Academy.

rushonrock: Your new song Don’t Drink The Water has been riding high in the rock charts. What’s the story behind the song?

Richie Edwards: The single came about after Ed had just come back from Gran Canaria. We were sitting around writing songs for the album when he started telling us about the horrors of British lager louts invading foreign climes. We started laughing about all of our various experiences abroad and we all painted this picture of your typical Brit abroad. Everyone’s seen the nightmare of a Brit on the piss in another country and before the end of the evening we’d got the basic song. It’s a song bemoaning that element of our society and the title is just the age old cliché you hear from any Englishman abroad.

rushonrock: It seems like the obvious first single from Silver Spoons And Broken Bones but you held it back. Why?

RE: We were very deliberate about what we released as the first single (Burn The Witch). We wanted to set our stall out. Everyone knew we used to be in The Darkness but as a group we wanted to put out a couple of things that were only ever going to stay underground but nevertheless laid down a marker. Don’t Drink The Water is the first song that we have released hoping there’d be some mainstream crossover. We’re confident about who we are now, the album’s been out a while and it’s the right time to release that song. Hopefully it will reach some people who weren’t aware of us. It made Single Of The week on Kerrang! Radio and I think that kind of reaction justified the decision to go with the song at this stage.

rushonrock: Are you pleased with the way SSABB has been received?

RE: The album’s been a slow burner but it’s been doing very well in its own way. Hopefully the fact that we’re out on the road with Airbourne now – and then with Black Stone Cherry after that – will throw the spotlight on it a bit more.

rushonrock: Talking of Airbourne, how is life on tour with those crazy Aussie kids?

RE: Airbourne are an outstanding group and I always knew the two bands would work well together. It’s a fantastic night out and the Airbourne boys like a party as much as we do. When we grabbed the support slot I was just itching to get out there.

rushonrock: Can we expect the odd Darkness ditty in the current set?

RE: We’ve done a couple of tours now and we always get asked if we’ll play a Darkness song. If we don’t then some fans will ask us why after the show. It’s a weird one. On the last tour we enjoyed doing a cover of Metallica’s Whiplash and people were saying if you cover Metallica you might as well cover a few Darkness songs. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Although nobody in this band is shying away from our time in The Darkness this is a new band with a new direction. We don’t want to be riding on the back of past glories. We don’t want people coming to our shows and hanging around all night just to hear me sing I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

rushonrock: But the fact remains some people will turn up at your shows hoping for eactly that…

RE: Justin [Hawkins, former Darkness singer] was and still is such a unique frontman and a unique singer. There’s just no way I could sing a Darkness song and do it justice. I would cheapen the song and cheapen Justin. Justin’s fine singing Darkness songs in his set if that’s what he wants to do. He can get away with it. I’m sure it will go down really well. But if I did it? Personally I think it would cheapen the previous output by the members of Stone Gods.

rushonrock: But you are all responsible for a part of The Darkness legacy. Doesn’t that give you a divine right to tap into the back catalogue?

RE: It would be different if another band did a Darkness cover. In fact virtually any other band in the world could do a Darkness cover except Stone Gods. I’d be very surprised if we go down that road in Newcastle. In fact there’s only really one song we could play and that’s an instrumental called Bareback!

rushonrock: Newcastle on Monday is being billed as the Clash Of The Titans as Stone Gods and Airbourne go head to head with Hot Leg and Extreme in the same city at the same time. There could be power chord carnage…

RE: Yeah, I saw that we’re in Newcastle on the same night as Justin and Hot Leg. How crazy is that? So why should a punter come and watch Airbourne and Stone Gods instead of Extreme and Hot Leg? That’s a tough one because they’ll both be great gigs. I would urge fans to come and see us because it will be cheaper and the fact that we’re in a recession means that every penny counts! I think with the Extreme and Hot Leg show it’s like you’re getting cheese and wine. With Airbourne and Stoen Gods you’re getting a filthy bar room with whisky. Take your pick – but choose us.

rushonrock: So are you a Hot Leg fan?

RE: I think it’s all good that Justin doing his thing and we’re doing ours and isn’t it great that a band like The Darkness has spawned two gigging UK rock bands? I’ve heard some Hot Leg stuff and I love it. I think Justin likes the Stone Gods. But when you look at the two bands you can maybe understand why there was a bit of artistic conflict within the camp at the end. There were clearly certain band members wanting to go in different directions and now we’re doing that. We’re not swimming in the same pond but we’re both making a bit of a splash!