THE DARKNESS Singer Says Opening For DISTURBED Was His 'Worst Experience As A Support Act'
July 14, 2022
THE DARKNESS singer Justin Hawkins says that opening for DISTURBED in London was his "worst experience as a support act."
The 47-year-old British-born rocker who currently lives in Switzerland recalled sharing the stage with the David Draiman-fronted outfit via his YouTube series "Justin Hawkins Rides Again" where he posts a mixture of serious musician analysis and fun hot takes to his 166,000 subscribers.
Asked by one viewed what his worst experience was as a support act, Hawkins said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "THE DARKNESS supported DISTURBED [in 2002] at Brixton Academy. And I really love Brixton Academy; I think it's probably my favorite venue. It was the worst and also one of the best experiences because people were just throwing stuff. But some of the things they were throwing were, like, shoes, bottles and coins and stuff. But the thing about coins is it's money, so in a way that was a good thing, really. It's funny, though, 'cause I was right at the front of the stage. It kind of made me perform more, which made them more angry. And somebody — one of the DISTURBED fans who… I've got a lot of time for DISTURBED as a band; I think they're just brilliant — if you like that sort of thing. But one of their fans threw a piece of chewing gum that presumably had been in their mouth, and it actually landed in my mouth. I was singing [makes choking sound]. It was just a brilliant shot; I had to respect it, really. And then afterwards, David Draiman wasn't very pleased with me. I don't know; I think I may have issued an admonishment to the throng, which didn't go down very well with him. But what are you gonna do? Who gives a fuck? I'm just kidding."
Justin added: "When things like that happen… If a band is supporting my band and then our crowd is not very nice to them, I would always go and apologize. That didn't happen with DISTURBED. I think it actually had the opposite effect and they were angry with us. But… not my problem."
Nearly two decades ago, Draiman slammed THE DARKNESS as "a joke" and took issue with the British rock band's alleged characterization of DISTURBED as a band that symbolizes "this whole wave of nu-metal that is near its death." Speaking to Metal Edge magazine for its May 2004 issue, Draiman said: "To be perfectly honest with you, I think that THE DARKNESS is a joke, and that's, unfortunately, exactly what the world wants. The world wants rock bands to be idiots. The world wants rock bands to be these bumbling buffoons, these morons who made fun of themselves and their music and their art and don't take themselves seriously in any way. It's all supposed to be a joke. It's all supposed to be a joke. It's unfortunate. I think that there's always a time to be tongue-in-cheek, and there's always time for humor, but there's a time to be serious and a time for emotional content.
"And it's funny, I wouldn't even go ahead and say anything about them per se, unless they had already laid down the gauntlet," David continued. "I heard of late that they have decided to start slinging shit in our direction, that we are an example of one of the bands that they're completely against. That to them, we symbolize this whole wave of nu-metal that is near its death. Are you fucking kidding me? The irony is that they opened up for us in London at Brixton Academy, and here they are talking shit about us. I like [THE DARKNESS's single]. I have nothing against the song. I can't argue that it's a catchy goddamn song, but it's not metal. It's pop-rock. How dare they call themselves metal? That's not metal. It'll never be metal."
Draiman added: "They're a great band. I have nothing against them. But don't claim to be something you're not. Don't claim to be metal. Don't claim that you're authentic and we're not. Fuck you! Who the hell do you think you are? You consider yourselves and you treat yourselves and you conduct yourselves like clowns. And I enjoy laughing, because it's funny and the music is catchy. I even enjoyed them when they opened for us, even though the crowd was booing them to high hell. They were ready to lynch them! We're not looking to pick fights with anybody. We respect everybody. We don't talk shit about anybody."
Hawkins previously touched upon THE DARKNESS's experience opening for DISTURBED in a 2011 interview with Music Radar. He said at the time: "We played Brixton Academy with DISTURBED and their fans were a strange bunch. I think half of them despised us and the other half loved it. There was stuff being thrown at us and fights breaking out. We knew it would happen; we were expecting that kind of reaction from the start. But those bottles still hurt."