As the larger-than-life frontman for the most flamboyant British rock band since Queen, Justin Hawkins is not a man for whom understatement comes naturally. But when he talks about the way his life has turned around in the past six years, he says simply: "I'm very lucky." Hawkins hasn't touched booze or drugs since he emerged from rehab in August 2006 after blowing £150,000 on cocaine in three years. And having quit The Darkness at the same time in an effort to stay clean, he is now celebrating – with a Starbucks latte – the release of the reunited band’s new album, Hot Cakes, and a successful stadium tour opening for Lady Gaga. “I couldn’t ask for more,” he says.
Q&A: Justin Hawkins
Out of rehab and back in The Darkness, the prodigal frontman celebrated with Classic Rock in 2012, with his usual subtlety
On a scale of one to 10, how happy are you right now?
We’ve got a great album out. The tour with Gaga has been fun. So that’s probably about a seven out of 10. But if we had a platinum-selling mega-album, and I had the added mania from some of my former activities, I have to say that would increase the number.
Have you ever been a 10 out of 10 kind of guy?
Well, we always used to say that The Darkness was three depressives and a manic depressive.
Who was the odd one out?
I’m not telling. But have you ever met Ed, our drummer?