Frankie Poullain of The Darkness on the Band’s Documentary, its Legacy, and More

Poullain discusses the band's filmmaking endeavors, its longevity, and more in a new interview

the darkness interview frankie poullain

The Darkness have been to hell and back. The louder-than-life rock titans have survived addiction and recovery, breakup and reconcilliation, and much more during their storied career. On the band’s most recent album, Last of Our Kind, they address their legacy in the title track: “We are survivors / The ones left behind / Defenders of the legacy / The last of our kind.” The band are currently touring the U.S. in support of the album; they hit New York’s Irving Plaza (tickets) on Monday, May 2nd.

Darkness bassist Frankie Poullain answered the following interview questions via email for Culture Creature. He reveals plans for a Darkness documentary – the prospect of which is especially tantalizing. Not only does the band have an epic rock and roll saga, but they have the humility and introspection necessary to get it on film. If The Darkness is paired with a great director, would a great rock documentary (a la Dig!, Some Kind of Monster, or Searching for Sugar Man) turn the page in regards to the public’s perception of the band? I can’t wait to see what they have in store.

Dan Redding: The story of The Darkness is an epic tale full of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Would the band ever consider making a Darkness movie/biopic?

Frankie Poullain: Biopics are unfulfilling. Documentaries are where it’s at and we are currently over a year in to a feature-length doc which will surprise a lot of people. As band members we are all a little scared but, coming as it does, 15 years down the line, we are less precious and trying not to give a fuck. Regarding movies, there is something in the pipeline, not about us, but something big and exciting which will thrill and confuse people.

The Darkness has used a ‘boob chariot’ and fake tigers as part of its stage show. I’m reminded of other outrageous stage props from music history – like the Beastie Boys’ legendary ‘hydraulic penis.’ Which live shows (or other sources of inspiration) has The Darkness taken inspiration from for its stage performances?

Some obvious, some less obvious. The best Darkness is when it’s less obvious. Subtle, dry, weird, twisted. Justin’s lyrics embody this, all the best ones have fantastic double entendres or aren’t about what they seem. Stage performances and outfits are best when elements don’t or shouldn’t belong. Justin’s in-between song delivery is also unique and quite often odd. Some labels and management in the past have tried to straighten us out and it is life-sapping and frustrating when that happens. I want to strangle these people. Despicable. I’d rather starve.

the darkness frankie poullain

Frankie Poullain

Your most recent album is Last of Our Kind, and The Darkness does seem to be the last of a dying breed of larger-than-life rock band. Other bands of that breed – Aerosmith, for example – have been to hell and back with highs and lows, addiction and recovery, and so forth. Do you see the durability and rebirths of The Darkness as a core part of the band’s identity?

Durability, yes. It is all about will power and nobility of purpose. You have to be doing it for the right reasons and with that comes the justification and then the durability.

During your absence from The Darkness, what did you miss most about life in a rock and roll band?

The adrenaline.

How has your relationship with the Hawkins brothers evolved since the band’s 2011 reunion?

The old laughter and not giving a fuck is back. We don’t want to mess it up again. It has to be enjoyable and stimulating for us.

You have said that The Darkness is willing to go where other bands fear to tread and occasionally that means a lapse into bad taste. What moment in the band’s history gave you the strongest reaction where you felt like the band had ventured into bad taste?

It depends what you mean by bad taste. There’s good bad taste and bad bad taste. Good bad taste: Our Christmas video for ‘I am Santa.’ Bad bad taste: Our terrible video for ‘With A Woman.’

“The old laughter and not giving a fuck is back. We don’t want to mess it up again.”

The music industry has been turned on its head during the course of The Darkness’ career. What opportunities exist for the band in 2016 that didn’t exist when you started out?

There are always ways to make money if you entertain people and genuinely ‘give’ of yourself. Specifically the VIP upgrade experience which most bands offer now, and of course music being used in games, films and TV shows. We’re exploring all the ways we can prostitute ourselves: ‘Share a Bunk with Rufus’. ‘Catch a Movie with Dan’. ‘Feed the Ducks in the Park with Frankie’. ‘A Trip to Starbucks with Justin.’

What story or incident from the current tour has been discussed the most among the band?

Taping the Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) radio show, called Jonesy’s Jukebox, and then later on he came to the show at The Belasco Theatre in LA. Taylor Hawkins was there too – we talked a lot of nonsense with him, it was so refreshing.

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