Who's afraid of The Darkness?

NEVER mind when Harry met Sally, it's when Harry met Sandy that set the scene for the saviours of British rock music.The parents of the rock star siblings in Lowestoft band The Darkness have put their hands in the air to their sons' music as well as in their own pockets to help them follow their dream.

NEVER mind when Harry met Sally, it's when Harry met Sandy that set the scene for the saviours of British rock music.

The parents of the rock star siblings in Lowestoft band The Darkness have put their hands in the air to their sons' music as well as in their own pockets to help them follow their dream.

Harry and Sandy Hawkins have seen sons Justin and Dan shoot to fame as the driving force behind the much-hyped band, whose debut CD is at number two in the album charts.

"I brought them up on rock n' roll and I'm so proud of them I'm at bursting point," said Mrs Hawkins.


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"I love their songs and I find that I'm singing them all day - they're very catchy and their personalities shine through."

The Darkness have become the hottest ticket in town on the back of hit single Growing on Me, which got to number 11 in the charts, and the success of debut album Permission To Land.

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They have also rocked the Glastonbury and T in the Park festivals and strutted their stuff on TV shows such as Top Of The Pops, CD:UK and Later with Jools Holland.

The Hawkins boys were raised in Lowestoft and brought up on the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

Their mother, who shared a bottle of whisky with Jimi Hendrix in the 60s, said they started learning to play musical instruments at an early age. The brothers were set on becoming rock stars from their days at Pakefield Middle School and Kirkley High, she added.

Lead guitarist Dan started playing the drums when he was seven before progressing to the bass guitar and then a six-string.

Mr and Mrs Hawkins first saw their youngest son perform in public at Snape Maltings - a drum solo - with the Lowestoft Youth Orchestra.

"Daniel is a perfectionist. I've known him to join a band and sack everyone except himself," said Mrs Hawkins.

Singer and guitarist Justin learned the guitar "out of boredom" when he was 11, said Mr Hawkins, and was "more talk than natural talent" at that stage.

But the older Hawkins brother has always been a showman, according to his parents, and he is making a name for himself with his extravagant on-stage antics and outrageous outfits.

"He's so decorated, it's lovely. He's very flamboyant and he's a real character - and he's even larger in real life. He's always been a screamer," said Mrs Hawkins.

"I loved it when they were on the Jools Holland show and Justin jumped up on Jools' piano - that was wonderful.

"I don't think he takes anything too seriously, but he knows his limits. I don't have to tell him to calm down."

The brothers formed The Darkness at the turn of the Millennium with old schoolfriend Ed Graham on drums and Frankie Poullain on bass.

They toured London's "toilet circuit" building up their reputation and, before they signed a major deal earlier this year, funded the recording of Permission To Land themselves - with a little help from their parents, who double up as their biggest fans.

"The media couldn't work out at first whether they were taking the micky or not," added Mr Hawkins.

"But you don't work that hard - and become that good - for a joke. I think they're great."

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