The collapse of his former band, the Darkness, and an unsuccessful attempt to represent the United Kingdom in 2007’s Eurovision Song Contest have hardly dampened Justin Hawkins’ drive.
But the frontman of new rock quartet Hot Leg has quite an act to follow. The Darkness’ huge U.K. success saw the band’s 2003 U.K. chart-topping debut album, “Permission to Land” (Atlantic), sell 1.4 million copies domestically, according to the Official Charts Co.; Nielsen SoundScan puts U.S. sales at 710,000.
The band also collected five top 10 U.K. singles, three BRIT Awards and an Ivor Novello songwriting award. However, after second album “One Way Ticket to Hell … and Back” (2005) failed to scale the same heights, the Darkness imploded in 2006.
“We overachieved, really,” Hawkins said. “But I didn’t love it anymore.” After an extended sabbatical that included a stint in rehab, Hawkins returns with Hot Leg’s debut single, “Trojan Guitar,” an October 20 U.K. release through his own Universal-distributed label, Barbeque Rock Records. A January album follows.
“Some people are going to dismiss it because of the Darkness thing, but that’s just the way it is,” Hawkins said.