The Darkness's Justin Hawkins Lists His Top 10 Touring Traditions

On Oct. 20, at 7:15 p.m. PT/10:15 p.m ET, Yahoo Live will live stream the Darkness from the House of Blues in Chicago. Tune in HERE to watch!

As rock 'n' roll road warriors the Darkness embark on the Blast of Our Kind tour starting this Friday (see all tour dates here) and prepare for their Yahoo Live stream on the 20th of this month, frontgod Justin Hawkins  has jotted down for Yahoo Music his favorite things about road life. Slip into your unitard and enjoy the ride!


1. Load in

I gather this happens at around midday. All the gear, amps, guitars, and leotards are carefully carried from the van into the venue in almost perfect silence, so that the band may sleep soundly in their bunks.

2. Line check

This is an opportunity for my manservant Andrew to play his favorite songs over the Tannoy system, making minute and pointless adjustments to the graphic equalizer. Eventually, when bass, treble, and middle are all set to MAXIMUM, he then wanders up to the stage and mumbles unintelligible northernisms into my microphone.

3. Exercise

Once Andrew is satisfied that everything is as loud as can be, I force him to prepare my exercise arrangements. I keep it very simple on show day, just a 12k run with bike support, bench-pressing my own weight, and finally I go through a few of the more challenging routines from the exercise bible Martial Dance by Chaz Wilson.

4. Food

A light luncheon. Always the same: braised beetroots with an embarrassment of cress. Unless I like the look of Andrew's luncheon more, in which case I also eat his.

5. Promo

This is the time is when I type lies into the "notes" app on my Phone-on-a-string. Then I email it to the relevant parties, usually a day late. Andrew's role in this is to make convincing excuses.

6. Sleep

A lovely little power-nap. On entering the dressing room, I find the most comfortable snoozing area and "bagsy" it. I don't need to do that, of course: I'm Justin Hawkins. Nonetheless, Andrew is instructed to enforce the bagsy, and I retire at my leisure, while Andrew watches over me.

7. Grooming

I don't wear makeup. Whilst my colleagues are daubing on the warpaint, I put my leotard on and bark orders in Andrew's general direction. It's as much for Andrew's sake as mine. He gets terribly nervous when idle. And I get bored.

8. Warmup

Some folk use the hour window before showtime as a period of somber reflection. Some masturbate furiously. I simply gargle with iced sea water and practice major, minor, and diminished scales across the five main octaves that I shall utilize during the performance. Then I do the same in the Dorian mode.

9. Group hug

Myself and my colleagues embrace just prior to walking onstage. We offer words of encouragement. Words of hope. Sincere declarations of mutual respect. Above all, we offer love. And defacto band leader Dan offers thinly veiled threats, urging us not to "f--- this up."

10. Post mortem

After the final power chord of the final number has decayed, after the tens of hundreds of sated Darkness enthusiasts have filed out and disappeared into the night, after the highly paid technicians have dismantled the show, the Darkness assemble and discuss every bum note that tarnished the evening's entertainment. I watch in silence, having performed impeccably. I love my job.