Bassist Frankie Poullian of rock band The Darkness has spoken to exclusively to Daily Star, as the band prepare to return to Download Festival this summer, following sell-out shows in both the UK and America.
After travelling over 17,000 miles in just seven weeks for their US tour, Frankie has said it is time to "bring it on" as the band gear up for a summer of festival appearances including Cornbury, Download and Tons of Rock, declaring that "rock and roll will never die."
Ahead of Download Festival, which takes place at Donnington Park, Derby from June 10-12, Frankie opened up about their return to Download, new music, Abbey Clancy's music video cameo, supporting Queen and 20 years of Permission To Land.
The group, who rose to fame with songs including I Believe In a Thing Called Love and Growing On Me from 2003's Permission To Land, will be celebrating the album's 20th anniversary next year, with Frankie revealing that he never could have imagined how much time had already passed.
"I did think maybe we would make it, when we got the record deal I could feel this momentum, but I could never have imagined that it would be 20 years by now," said Frankie.
The album went on to sell over 1.5million copies in the UK alone, with the band going on to win three BRIT Awards and locked in a chart battle for a Christmas number one in the same year with Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End).
Following the release of their follow up album, One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back, the band took a hiatus between 2006-2011, but came back stronger than ever as the group later made a triumphant return to Download Festival.
"The comeback in 2011 with the original line-up, that was incredible, we had lost contact with each other," said Frankie.
"Basically we all made up after the five-year hiatus and then did a couple of warm-up shows and were just thrust onto the main stage at Download in front of 70,000 people. It was just incredible.
"You can see it on YouTube us just walking on stage, you can see how wired we all are."
That's not all, as the band would also make another incredible memory when they returned to the festival in 2015, with Frankie adding: "Several years after that we did a secret, unannounced gig, where Justin was carried onstage by a Viking society.
"A bunch of guys in Viking costumes and they carried Justin on a shield. That was two incredible highlights – 2011 and 2015."
They were also joined in 2015 by a new addition to the band – their drummer Rufus Taylor, who music fans may also know as the son of Queen icon and drummer Roger Taylor.
Talking about the exciting dynamic that Rufus brings to the group, Frankie explained: "More than the music, it's the person," reflecting on the incredible energy he brings to the band.
Speaking about his impressive playing, Frankie also added: "He has a fabulous backbeat, and every year that he is with us, he is maturing as a drummer, and he's got a real groove.
"His backing vocals are very good aswell – he looks great. He ticks a lot of boxes."
As the son of Queen's Roger Taylor, would The Darkness ever collaborate with the band onstage at Download Festival?
"That could be something," said Frankie.
"We've played a couple of shows with them, supporting them in Glasgow, but in terms of coming on stage with us, I guess we'd have to write a song that had two drum kits."
He added: "I think these things, it's nice if you don't plan them. They just kind of fall into place. I think somehow if you don't pay attention to the idea, it will just along sometime.
"Also it's better for it to be spontaneous. It's almost like you want to tap into it the night before or on the day with a phone call."
Since 2015, the line-up has consisted of brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins, alongside Frankie Poullain and Rufus Taylor, with the band delighting fans across the world with their albums including Last Of Our Kind, Pinewood Smile and Motorheart.
Songs from their latest album Motorheart, released in 2021, have become favourites with fans, with Frankie explaining: "Across the states, the ones from the albums that they loved were the title track from the album Motorheart, which celebrates Ru's wild kind of drumming.
"It's got a Led Zep vibe to it, with cheeky lyrics from Justin. It has a lot of elements that make The Darkness special – and for once, it has a bass intro, so I get to shine for a couple of minutes before the guitars come in."
Not only this, but their music videos have also showed their trademark humour and wit, with the band even bringing in cameos from some very famous faces.
Eagle eyed viewers would have spotted a particularly famous model in their video for In Another Life, with Frankie saying: "A friend of a friend helped us to put the Abbey Clancy thing together, which was a great experience."
After their summer festival appearances, Frankie also hinted that there will be new music on the way from The Darkness – and that there might even be a surprise collaboration – but he wasn't giving any secrets away about who they could be with.
"We're going to try do different things, there could be a collaboration or two," said Frankie.
"We're going to mix it up on this album for sure and we've promised each other and ourselves we're going to do everything it takes to create something special. It should be coming out next year I should imagine."
With a career spanning nearly 20 years and new music on the way, Frankie also added that the band have been humbled by the legacy that The Darkness have left since the release of their debut album two decades ago- with fans sharing stories about how the group have inspired them at recent shows.
"In the states, we had so many people who came to us, and it made me think, the most important part of the band is the legacy.
"I think the great thing is, people who were inspired to go off and do their own thing. I heard that so often in the states.
Looking ahead to their festival dates and the past months of touring, he added: "Not having any gigs to go to for nearly two years – it's one of the oldest traditions listening to live music – and all I can say is that we appreciate it more than ever, and I think the fans do as well.
"Rock and Roll will never die. It's here to stay."
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