The Darkness' Lady Gaga tour diary: the full 48 hours from Justin Hawkins - Q316 preview
The Darkness are supporting Lady Gaga on her Born This Way Ball tour. Get the new issue of Q, out now in the shops or on iPad, as we go behind the scenes with her ladyship. We also have an exclusive tour diary with The Darkness - here's Justin Hawkins' unabridged full update from life on the road with Gaga.
31 August 2012, Stockholm
Just woke up after a delightful post-show evening spent eating seafood in a restaurant called Riche (a lovely contrast to the mystery sandwiches on the ferry) and dancing to our own songs in a rock club called Hell's Kitchen. So what? You would too. The new songs from Hot Cakes sound amazing on the dance floor. This is a fact. Being on the road makes you ask questions about yourself. Today I asked "is it normal for oysters to make your pee smell like oysters?" and "when you only have one wet-wipe do you do your knob first and then bum, or is it the other way round?"
Just to contextualise the second of today's questions: No shower for me, the "Quality Globe Hotel" has failed to provide towels. I don't trust the white sandpaper sheets hanging over the radiator.
It's nice to check out of the "Quality Globe Hotel". At the risk of sounding like a spoilt child, that was the shittiest hotel I've stayed in for many moons. I was up on the ninth floor, the lift didn't work and the whole place genuinely smelt like a brilliant fart. On the upside it has a rotating sign mounted on the rooftop.
I can't decide whether to eat a delicious donut. It matches one of my outfits but sadly if I eat donuts I can't fit into my costumery.
Still can't decide.
I've decided to go hungry.
I'm just about to apply my make up. Tonight I shall be making a surprise appearance as a one-eyed caped warrior who rescues [fellow support act] Lady Starlight from the darkness in act two of her set.
I'm still shaking after my baptism of fire courtesy of Lady Starlight's bizarre performance. All I had to do was stand there in a cape, climb aboard a rotating podium, alight said podium and walk out with Lady Starlight hand in hand. With so little to do, one minor incident can fuck the whole thing up. I entered her performance marquee via a secret door as she was next-to-naked, changing into her 49 Euro wedding dress. I promised not to look at her while she was undressed. I looked at her.
Everything went according to plan until we re-entered her canvas performance tent and one of the curtains failed to close behind us. The object of the Lady Starlight show is to not entertain people. I've never stepped on a stage with that intention before. It was actually quite liberating. Lady Starlight thrives on the awkwardness of failure. I'm learning to love it. This new understanding is a powerful tool to prepare myself for a nonplussed audience.
We've just got back to the dressing room. I wore the classic Evel Knievel style jumpsuit and fittingly, we decided to put our balls on the line and start the set with Love Is Not The Answer. The set is pretty settled now but we rotate the opener between three of the new ones from Hot Cakes. LINTA is what we call the 'ballad option'. Personally I love it, it really settles me down and makes for a super calm and composed show. When you're playing to somebody else's crowd, you need that.
There seemed to be a lot of blank faces staring back at The Darkness tonight but we played from the heart, so I'm pleased. Maximum effort for a tiny yield but as we say in show business, "if you can reach just one person... You will probably need to supplement your income with a normal job".
The 'unwinding process' has begun. This involves holding my head in agony as my tinnitus screams sweet everythings into both of my ears. I just can't use the in-ear monitoring systems that would prevent this condition. I'm too old fashion, I like to be able to hear the whites of their eyes. There's a post mortem being conducted at yelling volume, and the main attraction is on stage.
Everybody has received their homework assignments to be handed in for the next show, so we're all out Front of House enjoying the show. Aces!
We're in a weird smoking booth that extracts all the fumes and makes them into tyres. I don't even smoke. Lady Starlight just told me that she invented Madonna. There's a McDonald's order in pidgin Swedish scrawled on a post-it note. Fork lifts are reversing in the distance. People are talking to each other. Time to leave.
1 September, Copenhagen (Day Off)
Checked in to a lovely hotel. I don't know what it's called. I didn't pay attention. I scurried past the eBayers in case the absence of Lady Starlight would cause them to reluctantly turn their attentions to me. I used to be kind of a big deal around these parts. People knew me. My suite is outstanding! It even has a wall that has been painted to look like a tropical beach. I feel like a million Kroner.
I'm half asleep wandering around the shops in Copenhagen. I found a jacket that resembles the skiing look from Dumb And Dumber. I milked a stuffed cow into some flowers. I misread a LaCoste Fragrance as "Resentment", whereas it actually reads "Essential". Shame, I would have bought that. I love the idea of being able to spray resentment onto others.
I'm in the posh hotel's abandoned cyber-gym. It's total chaos, machines and weights strewn everywhere. Half of it's broken or has bits missing. Neon lights. Broken glass. A dog barking. It has been three days since my last gym visit. After a few moments on the treadmill I'm buckled over, breathing out of my arse, sobbing. The 'slow down' button has actually snapped clean off and the touch screen can't work out what I'm trying to touch. Running at 24km-per-hour is a real shock to the system so I decide to pump iron instead. I don't think people realise just how fucking manly I am sometimes.
I'm waiting for my friend Mads to come and enjoy a fizzy water with me in the hotel bar. Yes, Mads Langer, the exceptionally talented Danish singer/songwriter. He's my friend. What of it?
I've drunk so many bottles of water that my pee actually smells of water. Time to sleep.
Justin Hawkins @thedarkness
For more head to Theactualdarkness.com.
11:01 AM | 27/09/2012
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