As a guitarist for The Darkness, Dan Hawkins, 38, has spent the majority of his musical life in the shadow of his famous frontman brother.
“Aren’t you that other guy from The Darkness?” I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard that in my life. I just tell them to go fucking Google it if they want to know my name. That kind of thing just makes me laugh.
I’ve never felt a need to be the main attraction. At the beginning of my career I felt painfully shy on stage, and I was sick before every show.
It was my brother who helped me overcome that. I remember lifting my eyes at a gig and realising that nobody was looking at me. They were all staring at Justin, who was screaming his head off in a pink catsuit. That took a lot of pressure off.
Malcolm Young of AC/DC is my hero. When anybody thinks of that band, they picture his brother, Angus, rocking out in a schoolboy outfit, but Malcolm was the quiet beating heart.
Most people wouldn’t even recognise Malcolm if they saw him in the street. He’s a hard-drinking, chain-smoking guy with no interest in performing for the cameras. We share a similar outlook.
Bands can fall apart under the weight of too many egos. Guns N’ Roses were always going to go off the rails, weren’t they? I’m more than happy to work behind the scenes. I’m the producer and engineer of our new album. I’m a complete control freak.
Being the ‘other guy’ gives you a lot of perspective. Lead singers are often preoccupied with their own awesomeness. I’ll never lose myself in a gig; I’ll always be thinking, “Is this shit? How can we become better?”
Sometimes I look over at Justin and think, “What the fuck are you doing?” Without warning, he’ll just stop performing and chat with someone in the crowd. It’s difficult to embrace the chaos sometimes.
People will often just make a beeline for my brother. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve got far more important stuff to be getting on with.
I still have my own hardcore fans. People have had tattoos dedicated to me, and children named after me. It’s scary.
At the end of the day, the spotlight isn’t that attractive. All I want to do is make something good. I want to improve myself and feel in control of my career. The applause only lasts so long.