The Darkness (Credit: Simon Emmett)
Permission To Land...?

The Darkness are one of the hardest working bands around.

Determinedly uncool, defiantly avoiding trends, the band's ballsy rock sound is driven by a commitment to touring across the world countless times over.

They've learned a few things along the way, too. And they want to give something back, teaming with Nordoff Robbins - a truly supreme music charity - for a special show in Bristol this week.

Ahead of this, frontman Justin Hawkins looked back on his touring memories for a special edition of Good Trip, Bad Trip.

As Bon Scott once put it: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll...

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Best Trip…

In 2000 my pal Chas Bayfield shipped his 1960s Reliant Regale to the Americas and spent six weeks driving across the USA in it. Trevor 'Roy' Webb and I joined in for the Las Vegas-San Francisco leg. I'd never been to America before and I loved it. They eat jam with their omelettes.

Worst Trip…

Some of the lower level touring can be a little demoralising. I remember sharing a twin room in a Premier Inn with guitarist Pete Rinaldi at the end of a UK run. We literally cried. I have it on video, it's hilarious. Earlier in that same tour, his partner was joining us for an evening so we asked Travel Lodge to put them in the best room they had. There was an unflushed stool waiting to greet them in the bathroom. How romantic. It's a long way to the top. Actually, it's a long way from the bottom.

Our favourite foreign venue…

Alcatraz in Milano, Brooklyn Steel. We always play at Alcatraz, the crowd is mental (in a good way) and the facilities are great. Brooklyn Steel is a brand new venue, with gender neutral bathrooms and cutting edge sound equipment. Plus, everybody who works there is really nice.

We’re surprisingly popular in…

Malaysia and Italy.

Best or worst exotic foodstuff…

I love sampling the local delicacies. It's hard to beat the breakfast curry I had in Kuala Lumpur before boarding the plane home. Unbelievably spicy. Quite irresponsible before a long journey. Certainly not recommended if you're travelling with elderly relatives. You should pack some ReadyBrek for them.

Most interesting individual you've met on the road…

Our van driver Bradley. He's a fascinating creature. Why is he so brown? You'd imagine he was in a van all day every day, gunning it along the highways of Europe in a desperate quest to get our equipment from a festival in Sardinia to another festival in the Shetlands, or wherever. And yet, when we arrive on site after a terror flight boarded at Bastard O'Clock looking like shite, there he is in his Umbro vest, bounding up to greet us, brown as a pair of brown trousers, happy as an innocent newborn lamb who's mother had a solarium in her womb. It doesn't add up.

Worst on-tour injury, or infection, or accident…

In 2003, Def Leppard invited us to open for them on their big UK and Ireland Tour. Nobody knew who we were, it was before we had released the singles from the first album. It was a golden opportunity.

I broke my toe on the first night, by kicking a deceptively heavy chair whilst trashing our dressing room. My big toe ended up where my little toe was supposed to be. It hurt a lot. For the rest of the tour, our soundman and producer Pedro Ferreira had to administer pain killing injections before every show.

Also, we weren't allowed dressing rooms any more. In Newcastle we had to eat our sandwiches in a fuse cupboard. Another valuable lesson ignored.

My essential travel item…

Wallet full of money.

My essential travel tip…

Wear your best clothes on the plane, and always securely fasten every button, zip and buckle. Why? Because that's the best way to avoid creases. Also, it removes the temptation of those mischievous baggage handlers in less affluent nations to playfully steal your most elegant ensemble. Also, nobody wants to bump into their favourite international rock star and see him or her shuffling about in their PJs.

Also, everybody knows that if you die in a plane crash, that's your ghost outfit forever; if the plane happens to be destroyed at a very high altitude, then your loose fitting "comfortable" clothes will be ripped away by the air's resistance as you plummet to your death. Then you'll be a naked ghost.

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The Darkness will play Bristol's Fleece venue on September 26th for Nordoff Robbins presents Get Loud.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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