Tomorrow night (April 23rd) 21st Century glam legends The Darkness will be bringing the Rock N’ Roll spectacle back to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. The band are currently touring their seventh studio album, Motorheart, which dropped last year. They’ll be playing (and possibly defacing, rearranging, or otherwise soiling) the recently opened Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia. Earlier today I got a chance to chat with Frankie Poullain, bassist for The Darkness, about just what you can expect.
Izzy Cihak: First of all, since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask if you have any thoughts on the city. You’ve played here a number of times over the years.
Frankie Poullain: We have some maverick friends who spend time with us here, the free spirited and mercurial Brian Langan, and Thom Lessner, who directed our “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” video and has designed many memorable t-shirts for us. Brian sometimes gets up onstage with us. Watch this space…
Izzy: You recently released Motorheart. How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases in terms of influences, both musical and otherwise?
Frankie: It’s a powder keg of an album, providing us with our best ever set opener, “Welcome Tae Glasgae,” and the gift that keeps giving in the title track, possibly our maddest and certainly our proggiest moment.
Izzy: Do you currently have a favorite song from the album, whether one you’re most proud of, or one that’s most fun to play live?
Frankie: “Speed of the Nite Time” is a bit more-ish, The Darkness doing goth, so wrong it’s right.
Izzy: On a related note, you have a pretty substantial catalogue at this point. Do you have any favorite older works from throughout your career, whether albums or even just particular songs that still resonate with you as strongly as they did when they were new releases?
Frankie: I think our B-sides and bonus tracks contain some real rare gems that resonate strongly —Justin’s chat and charm really flower when he improvises, and the rushed nature of B-sides really suit him. I’m thinking “How Dare You Call This Love,” “I Love You 5 Times,” and “Confirmation Bias.”
Izzy: It’s obvious that you’re all huge fans of ‘70s rock. So, I’m curious, who are some of your favorite artists that you think might surprise fans, that might be doing something completely different from yourselves?
Frankie: Suede and The Cardiacs and Radiohead, of course.
Izzy: You’re currently on a US tour, following a tour of the UK. How has the post-lockdown touring behind Motorheart gone so far? Have there been any particular highlights?
Frankie: It’s been one long, shiny, ball-busting miracle, one which we feel deep gratitude for.
Izzy: You’re touring the US with The Dead Deads, of whom I’m a really big fan. What are your thoughts on the Nashville trio? Have they made good touring partners so far?
Frankie: Yes yes yes. I love their way, they possess a rare swagger and elegance.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you play Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia, both in terms of the setlist and just the general vibe of the evening? Your live show has had an amazing reputation since your very first tour.
Frankie: 7 weeks in, it is a well-oiled party machine, a banquet where every flower reveals itself.
Izzy: The Darkness plays a lot of different types of venues, from nightclubs to theatres to arenas to giant, open-air festivals. Do you have a favorite type of setting to play, that you feel like best fits your sound, or do they each have their own benefits?
Frankie: Mini amphitheaters constructed from mahogany and pine, with the audience clustered around the stage and no crash barriers.
Izzy: Finally, not to detract from your music, but The Darkness has always been known for having an amazing sense of fashion. What inspires your sense of fashion, personally? Who are some of your “style icons?”
Frankie: Animals and flowers because they are the prime sources of fashion and style — giraffes and magnolias. Bougainvillea too…
*Get your tickets here.