When the rock 'n' roll rollercoaster that was THE DARKNESS came to an abrupt and messy halt with the departure of Justin Hawkins, the remaining members of the band — guitarist Dan Hawkins, bassist Richie Edwards and drummer Ed Graham — were staring premature retirement in the face. But when rock 'n' roll courses through your veins, surrender is never an option, and so within less than an hour after their erstwhile singer jumped ship, plans were already afoot to get the show back on the road. A year and a half on from those turbulent times, the eight-legged rock apocalypse known as STONE GODS is fired up and ready to roll.
"It's only when you have something taken away from you that you realise how much you love doing it," says Dan Hawkins. "All the bullshit's gone and we can start again. As soon as we recorded the first demos, we felt like we were winning. This is the best and most enjoyable band I've ever been in."
An entirely tougher, edgier and heavier beast than their former band, STONE GODS represents a new dawn for British rock music. Now fronted by Richie Edwards, whose powerful voice resonates with four decades of classic rock gusto, with Hawkins assuming lead guitar duties, former GRAHAM COXON alumnus Toby Macfarlaine on bass guitar and Ed Graham on drums, those road-worn rockers spent the last 18 months slaving away over hot guitars, carefully crafting the songs that will comprise their forthcoming and as yet untitled debut album. A dazzling and diverse mixture of crunching heavy metal anthems, irresistible radio-rock and sumptuous, ballsy ballads; it's a glorious celebration of everything that makes loud, blaring rock 'n' roll so reliably exhilarating. It's also a defiant statement of intent from a group of devoted musicians who simply refused to let life's knocks dent their enthusiasm for making music.
"I see this band as a really straightforward, honest rock band," states Edwards. "We're not afraid to go slightly left of field and not follow one set path. All of the songs would sound equally good just played on an acoustic guitar. It's about songs and not just a sound. I'm convinced that there will be something on this album that will appeal to everyone. I can't stop listening to it. The sense of achievement is far greater than anything any of us have experienced before. I just can't fuckin' wait to play these songs to people."
2008 will be the year that STONE GODS make their presence felt in the UK rock scene with conviction, charisma and some of the best songs you haven't heard yet.
"We're all extremely confident about STONE GODS," concludes Hawkins. "We've taken control of our ambitions and no one's gonna get power hungry or fame mad. We won't repeat any mistakes from the past. We've got a really punk rock attitude. I don't have to play the game anymore. I'm not in a pop band. We don't want to be celebrities. We're not interested in any of that shit. I'm just so happy to be in this band. The music is the only thing that matters."
For more information, visit www.stonegods.co.uk.