"I've always liked Detroit," says Dan Hawkins, the band's guitarist and brother to the group's lead singer, Justin Hawkins.
"One of my best friends is from there," he continues. "The rock bars are just unreal. You can actually have a proper conversation there and a proper show."
Having performed at the Majestic Theatre during their visit one year ago, the group will be returning to the same stage for their 1/25 show. While Hawkins says he's looking forward to performing at the legendary venue once more, he still remembers when he last stood on the Majestic's stage.
"I could tell someone was throwing something at us," he laughs.
While Hawkins seems rather cavalier about the art of actually performing, for some it can be rather nerve racking and according to the well-coiffed guitar player, it wasn't long ago that he was too nervous to enjoy the experience.
"For the first ten years of my life performing, from about 22 to 32, I would really work myself up, so much that I wouldn't enjoy it much," he says. "But from 33 on, this last part of my life, I just feel really supremely confident and I'm just loving it. I love catching what's going on in the audience. It's a feeling that when you are enjoying it yourself, you can't really describe."
Writing seems to take a similar path for Hawkins and the rest of his band mates. While it's something they enjoy, there isn't really a rhyme or reason for why and how they come up with new material.
"When it comes to writing, I almost don't care. We just play and play and play until something happens. I don't usually like to be in the same room as my brother when we're writing though," he says somewhat seriously. "I usually write a few things and introduce them to my brother."
Having just released their new album, Hot Cakes, in August, Hawkins says they've only done two performances since releasing the record.
"We performed in Glasgow and Madrid and the reception has just been phenomenal," he says.
With a lot to live up to after the release of their debut album, Permission to Land, Hot Cakes has been met with incredibly favorable reviews by publications from Rolling Stone to NME, The Guardian and even Yours Truly. The group's pulled a phoenix on us in a way, after basically spontaneously combusting due to their lead singer's substance abuse issues, calling it quits for five years and then returning, in true glam rock fashion, with the band's original lineup. They've certainly calmed down and grown up, but that's not to say their live shows are any less entertaining, that the band members are any less enigmatic.
"I'm very much a family guy these days," says Hawkins. "You know, I find a turkey, slaughter it, drink its blood," he jokes, leading back to the fact that while the guys may have taken the drugs out of their rock 'n roll lifestyles, they're still ridiculously fun dudes who know how to light up a room.
When we spoke to Hawkins' brother last year he mimicked the guitarist sentiments, saying the group is tighter-knit than ever before.
"We've been through a lot, you know, just in the last year," Justin Hawkins said in an interview last January. "So I suppose it's different because we understand each other now, whereas I think we were still finding things out about each other along the way."
As much as the band has evolved, their following has as well. And where true rock enthusiasts were some of their first fans, the breadth of their following has grown and stretched, encompassing all those who call themselves music lovers.
"When we first started out we were followed by a lot of classic rockers," says Hawkins. "Then it grew into something a lot larger. It's more of a family type thing now."
Aware that their tenure as an international act is inching up in years, Hawkins says he feels the band is one that has become part and parcel in people's lives.
"I think we've been around long enough to make an impression on young people's lives," he says.
If anything, they've certainly made an impression on us. | RDW
The Darkness • 1/25, 8 p.m. • Majestic Theatre • 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit • majesticdetroit.com • 313.833.9700 • $25