Ye gods! Dan and Ed are back

PUBLISHED: 16:11 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:37 05 July 2010

They were our area's most successful rock band ever, but when Justin Hawkins quit The Darkness in October 2006 it seemed their rock 'n' roll odyssey was over.

They were our area's most successful rock band ever, but when Justin Hawkins quit The Darkness in October 2006 it seemed their rock 'n' roll odyssey was over. Fast forward 16 months and Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham are back on the road. RICHARD WOOD caught up with the former Kirkley High School pupils during their hectic schedule to see exactly what we can expect from their new band, The Stone Gods.

AS members of The Darkness Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham and Richie Edwards experienced fame and fortune They released platinum-selling albums, toured the world and won a host of awards.

But, when flamboyant frontman Justin Hawkins decided it was time to call an end to the band, brother Dan wasn't ready to hang up his guitar just yet.

“The Darkness folded, and half an hour later I asked Rich to be singer and leader,” he said.

Toby MacFarlaine was brought in on bass, and together they formed the Stone Gods.

Asked to explain the difference between the two bands, Ed said: “Anyone is free to write in this band, so it sounds totally different. I much prefer the music we are doing now. I like listening to it more and it's more interesting to play.

Dan added: “We're a completely new band: a different sound, a lot heavier, a lot edgier. Some people said The Darkness were like Queen, but the Stone Gods are more like AC/DC.”

The band played their first gig together at the end of November, supporting Thin Lizzy in Leicester, and eight weeks later they started their headlining UK tour in Bristol. They went on to call at Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham, Oxford, Nottingham, London and Norwich.

“All shows have been thoroughly enjoyable,” said Dan. “We've had a really good crowd reaction considering we haven't released anything; only MySpace snippets.”

Playing gigs at Nottingham Rock City and The Waterfront in Norwich is quite a change for the band, who were playing sold-out arenas with The Darkness, but Dan and Ed agree that they prefer the smaller venues.

“We go out and talk to people, and we couldn't really do that towards the end of The Darkness,” said Ed.

And Dan? “I prefer the smaller venue given a choice and it works for us as a band. You miss the connection with the audience.”

Playing smaller venues has also given them the opportunity to play a homecoming gig at The Waterfront. Speaking before Wednesday's gig, Dan said: “I'm really excited about it. There's going to be loads of friends and family there.”

The UK tour over, the band say they are to appear at an (as yet unnamed) UK festival and hope to take on the US in 2009.

“We were thinking that Latitude (at Henham) would be nice to do, but they haven't asked us. I'm not sure we're the right sound for them. But it'd be nice to do something locally, though,” said Ed.

And they plan soon to release an EP, entitled Burn the Witch. Two of the tracks will feature on the album to be released later this year.

The album was recorded and mixed at Dan's new studio business - Leeders Farm at Spooner Row, near Wymondham, with business partner and producer Nick Brine, and acted as a test run before the official launch of the studio.

“We are really happy with how the album sounds,” said Ed.

Dan added: “It's still in my nature to be very ambitious, so I hope it'll be a huge rock album.”

Burn the Witch will be available on limited-edition EP from February 25.

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