MEB writer/photographer M.J. Rawls recently caught up with bassist Frankie Poullain of The Darkness to talk about their latest album, Last of Our Kind, new drummer Rufus Taylor and more.
MEB: Last Of Our Kind is the second album that you have recorded since you’ve rejoined the band. I would imagine growing older would have an impact on all of you. How would you describe the emotion of the recording process now? Do you all better understand each other?
Yes, that’s the key, we understand each other and are able to bring out the best in each other. We try to trigger acts of creative bravado. That was the key on this album because we had our backs firmly against the wall, separating ourselves from management, labels and, sadly, our drummer Ed Graham.
Speaking of the writing process of the record, Dan produced this album (including engineering and mixing). With recording in the Hawk’s Nest which was smaller, did it make for energetic and Viking theme you hear on “Last of Our Kind”?
The song you mention was written in the Spanish island of Ibiza funnily enough, and I remember the moment Dan began pummeling out those riffs. He’d had enough of the calypso and soft rock we were toying with around the villa pool and earnestly began to riff like a demon, as if his very life depended on it. There’s some great riffs on this album.
It’s been a long time since the band released the debut, Permission To Land. There have been noticeable changes in rock since that time. What do you think about the state of rock music and The Darkness’ place in it?
Rock music has splintered but our wood is still very much intact.
How did it feel to take on lead vocals for “Conquerors?” I hear the band had to convince you a bit.
I wouldn’t say convince, more a case of I wanted to be sure that it was justified as an album track and not merely the grumblings of an old man. The verses and bridges arrived pretty much intact from my subconscious, which is a good thing I think.
Rufus Taylor, who is the son of Roger Taylor from Queen, recently joined you guys as a drummer. You haven’t recorded with him yet, but how does he fit in the schematic of the band?
He’s our midlife crisis, our blonde bombshell, our life support machine. Without him we’d turn into a cock rock Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
John Deacon’s son will be replacing me when it gets too much and we’ll take it from there, although Freddie had no children of course so we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it …
Does The Darkness tailor the set lists differently to the U.S. crowds vs. in the UK and elsewhere? What factors contribute to creating the list?
We simply play what we believe are our 20 best songs at any given time.
In one sentence, if you could sum up the legacy of The Darkness, what would it be?
A banquet where every flower reveals itself.