Those joyous and—at times—pompous warriors of musical excellence are back: The Darkness have come to save us from the tyranny of the world with their excellent forthcoming album Easter Is Cancelled, and an Australian tour in March. We caught up with drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor to discuss the upcoming mayhem.

TEO: The new album is being portrayed as an album of four heroes saving the world from the detestable figures in rock ‘n’ roll. How much truth of the Darkness’ journey is in this story?
Rufus: There’s a lot truth to the concept. We mainly felt, that with songs like ‘Rock and Roll Deserves to Die,’ we wanted to really push the envelope. We were bored of hearing the same generic stuff on the radio, which is just imitating other artists without bringing their own stuff to the table. So, we wanted to say, “here, have some of fucking this! This is how you do it!”

Easter Is Cancelled is your second album with The Darkness. Have you seen any notable changes within the band?
100%. Pinewood Smile was totally different due to me recently joining. I love the work we did on Pinewood Smile but I can definitely hear a massive marked difference in how comfortable and fluid this is. Pinewood Smile was us thrown in a rehearsal room together, finding some riffs, hooks and ‘do it live right now.’ That’s a great way to do it for someone who has just joined. This one [Easter Is Cancelled] took eight months. We’d sit with some acoustic guitars in Dan Hawkins’ kitchen and thrash out as many arrangements as we could there, before we even thought about walking into the studio. I think it really paid off; I’m really proud of it.

We always work collaboratively, but this album, lyrically, is all Justin Hawkins. He really pulled something amazing out of the bag. Dan and I get the songs arranged and thrash them out in one take, using that as a base. We then present that to Justin who goes, “I fucking love it, give me 10 minutes,” and 10 minutes later he has some very impressive and clever lyrics.

There are some surprises on this album such as ‘Deck Chair.’ How do you feel your fans will react to that song in particular?
I’m a fan and if that song was halfway through the set, for me, that would be a really nice break—a nice change of pace. I even insisted on having zero drums on it. I love it. I’m reasonably close to the master Jeff Beck and we were talking a lot about him during that song, and that’s where that beautiful guitar solo is from. It’s a lovely break from all the mayhem!

The album artwork depicts Justin high on a cross in a Jesus-like pose while the rest of the band members have halos. Some people might consider the album cover art to be controversial. Any standout reactions?
We want people to go “ooh.” We have had a few negative reactions from hardcore Christians in America but that’s Justin up there—no one else. If you’re offended by that, well fuck me, you’ll be offended by the songs. I think it’s light-hearted. It’s a beautiful piece of artwork. It makes us all smile when we look at it.

You’re touring Australia in March. How much of Easter Is Cancelled will be included in the sets?
We might be doing two sets! We haven’t figured it out, the plan is to play as much of this album as we can. What we played during the Ed Sheeran shows went down a real treat.

Australia is home to 9 of the 10 most deadly snakes in the world. Would you rather try your luck surviving those or eating Vegemite?
[Laughs] I’m not really scared of snakes, however, Australian snakes, maybe. That’s a tough one because I really don’t like Vegemite. I’m a Marmite guy all the way. Yeah, I’ll take the snakes!

Easter Is Cancelled is due for release on 4th October 2019 and you can pre-order it here.

Watch the video for ‘Rock and Roll Deserves to Die’ here.
Watch the lyric video for ‘Heart Explodes’ here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 – FREMANTLE, Metropolis

Friday, 13 March 2020 – SYDNEY, Enmore Theatre

Saturday, 14 March 2020 – MELBOURNE, Forum

Sunday, 15 March 2020 – ADELAIDE, The Gov

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 – BRISBANE, The Tivoli

Friday, 20 March 2020 – AUCKLAND, Powerstation

Available here.

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Photo: supplied