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The Darkness: the story so far.

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Alan Fish (Egypt, Uk blues rock band) remembers a teenage Justin Hawkins.


Ages ago I found the following article on the Internet. Now that web page doesn't exist anymore. So I copied all of its contents here.

For more info read here: Biff!

Odd's n'Sodds -Lynn News_ (The Darkness).

Click to adFrom Lynn News (late 2003)
Thanks to Emma Cooney at Lynn News.

THE PAGE has traced Mercury Prize nominees and much-hyped spandex wearing seventies-style rockers THE DARKNESS back to Norfolk blues outfit EGYPT. The rock and blues trio, well-known in the area, were mentioned in a recent article in The Independent about Lowestoft lads The Darkness. In it a former member of BIFF! - a band that featured Justin Hawkins, singer and lead guitarist of The Darkness reminisced about the days before the band's celebrity status sky-rocketed. The Biff! member took us back to the days when Justin played a gig with Egypt in 1991. He said: The evening had been a complete disaster from beginning to end, Chasing a never to materialise support slot with an older local band called Egypt - who boasted members from legendary seventies blues-rock outfit, THE GROUNDHOGS - we had schlepped across East Anglia in the hope that driving a trio of greying rockers to a pub gig in North Norfolk, and loaning them our gear, might somehow further our quest for a record deal and subsequent world domination. In fact the band had simply ignored us all night, got pissed and then made us drive them home without even paying for our diesel. Now it is two in the morning, we are miles from home and the van just won't start. And it's a school night, quite literally. Biff!'s junior guitar player Justin Hawkins suddenly pipes up from the darkness. "I've got my maths GCSE tomorrow and I'm never going to pass it now." Prompted by The Page, Egypt bassist Alan Fish (57) recalled his blurred recollections of the occasion. A polite sounding man, he remembers the night playing a bikers club in Southrepps, between North Walsham and Cromer, differently. said: "It was a tremendous night, people still talk about it. Those biker doos are really, really good. We weren't that horrible. We were a bit concerned because the equipment hadn't turned up. I think the van broke down on the way from London. Everybody went through that kind of apprenticeship. Not that we were deliberately out to get our own back." Remembering the free drinks after the gig he added: "I don't think anyone was in the state to drive." Not realising he had played with the main ingredient of the mighty Darkness, until The Page pointed it out, he watched TV the other day and recognised Justin's face. He's impressed with the band's retro sound, calling it an antidote to bland boy bands who have dominated the charts for so long. He's even bought their album. "It's great to see retro rock and someone advancing the cause of rock" Alan burst in to laughter as he admitted he'd managed to forge a career in music for 40 years. He started out in the skiffle days and played through the punk era. "I think it's come full circle again. Bands like The Darkness, Feeder, Ocean Colour Scene - even Metallica - are playing the more basic stuff. It's turned full circle - from electronica to bands that actually play instruments and are producing heavier stuff again." Rubbing shoulders with Justin Hawkins was not Alan's only brush with fame. At the pinnacle of his career with The Groundhogs, he played to crowds of 40,000 in Nuremberg, Germany, and three fields full of people at Reading and Donnington festivals. The day before playing Reading, the band had played to 50 people in a Thetford pub. "It was a cinderella existence" said Alan. While in Singapore in the 60s - his dad was in the RAF - he forged a career in music playing in bands that supported THE ROLLING STONES, THE WHO and THE BEATLES, all stopping off on their way to tour Australia. "The Beatles had released Please Please Me and My Generation was in the charts for The Who." he said. He also played with THE KINKS, MANFRED MAN and FREDDY AND THE DREAMERS in bands soaked in 60s psychedelia with names such as The Toadstalls. He even toured with CHUCK BERRY for a while. He dropped into the conversation he'd just played with Ken Hensley from Uriah Heep in Spain and is still mates with Dire Straits' drummer. He joined The Groundhogs back in the UK in the 70s. "It's good to look back and see what I've done. It's been an interesting life". Egypt formed late 1987 by Alan and Eric Chipulina on guitar/vocals. Drummer Peter Correa joined the band in 1991, the year the trio played a gig with BIFF! The band play mainly originals and "heavied up" blues standards, throwing in 60s/70s blues and rock covers, including some from The Groundhogs. Alan cites his influences as FREE, JOHN ENTWHISTLE and LED ZEPPELIN. The band gig four of five times a week and will embark on a lengthy tour next year to promote their third album Midnight Sun, due out next month. The last album Preserving the Dead was released several years ago with a small indie label. International label Blues Matters is interested in Egypt's impending release and Alan's confident it could be the start of a breakthrough, leading to bigger and better things once more. "It's looking good," he said, adding: "It's about time.



Comment from Egypt:
Alan remembers the gig because he remembers everything, Eric remembers nothing at all, & Peter remembers talking to the bass player who wasn't even there!