Having been in on the band from the start – when they drove a battered little van across the motorways of Britain and conducted interviews on mobile phones with anyone who would listen – the rushonrock staff have always retained a special place in our hearts for the band which made the music we love mainstream listening once more.
Whether playing to tiny club audiences or vast arena crowds, frontman Justin Hawkins and his buddies knew how to put on a show.
And if they were always more Spinal Tap than Sunset Strip there’s no doubt their emergence as major players in the rock world kickstarted interest in a genre of metal much maligned and too long ignored.
Without The Darkness would bands like Skin, Tesla or Cinderella have booked main stage slots at Download? Would the spandex-clad spoofsters that are Steel Panther have been given the opportunity to bring back heavy metal? And would it ever have been cool again for a bona fide rock star to blow everything on drink and drugs under the influence of sudden fame?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But perhaps the greatest legacy we inherited from The Darkness was the bands they spawned in the aftermath of a plain shocking second album.
And when I first heard the news that hatchets had been buried and Britain’s most colourful rock band could be back it was the potential demise of Hot Leg and Stone Gods which dominated my thoughts.
It can be argued both bands, in their own right, are better than their parent act. Hot Leg, under Justin Hawkins, took the best of The Darkness’s sillier moments and made even more outrageously ridiculous pop/cock rock. A laugh-a-minute live proposition backed by bloody good tunes, they oozed potential on the evidence of a slew of high profile supports and a few runs of low key headline shows.
Stone Gods opened Download’s main stage on Classic Rock Sunday just over a year ago and the band featuring the remainder of The Darkness rolled back the years to a time when Brit rockers like Terrorvision, Little Angels, Gun and the rest really ruled. Fronted by Richie Edwards and boasting Dan Hawkins on guitar they married proven songwriting class with a grittier and, some would say, more credible sound.
It’s impossible to imagine either band maintaining their momentum or their fan base at the same time as key members dabbled in all things The Darkness. And for me that obvious downside to any reformation would overshadow the good things which may or may not come out of a glitzy reunion.
Thankfully Justin’s decision to knock any comeback rumours on the head means all fans of Hot Leg and Stone Gods can rest easy. Losing one Hawkins-infused band was hard enough – losing two more would be too much to take.