Justin Hawkins Recalls Lemmy Kilmister Removing His ‘Tough’ Mask

The recent episode of ‘Justin Hawkins Rides Again’ took listeners down memory lane, where Justin Hawkins shared stories about the early days of The Darkness, where the lead vocalist played into the press’ encouragement of feuds between artists. Hawkins recalled the initial friction between him and Motörhead’s iconic frontman, Lemmy Kilmister, which eventually evolved into an amicable and mutually respectful relationship.

Hawkins shared that during the early days of The Darkness, he was influenced by the music industry’s culture of feuds and the way the press capitalized on disputes between artists. This culture led to a rift between him and musicians like Kilmister and Noel Gallagher, where they would try to one-up each other.

However, as time passed, the musicians realized that they weren’t those people they fronted to the world at their cores and got along so well that Hawkins and Kilmister discovered that they were both wearing a mask, hiding their true selves behind a tough exterior.

Justin Hawkins’ words about wearing a mask in the early days of his career read:

“I think, like for the early part of our career, I came into a music trade where throughout the 90s there were feuds, and you know the way the sort of British music press and the press in general likes to encourage these sorts of disputes and arguments.

They loved reporting on those things, and it’s partly because of piercing the mystique and showing that people are actually human and they’re passionate about the art that they make. They’ll defend it rigorously by slagging off people that don’t like it. I find that stuff really good fun, and it’s something that I was playing at, whereas now I don’t care about any of those things that were never a real value of mine.”

He added:

“It was kind of like when people are saying, ‘Oh, your music’s a joke,’ and stuff, and that’s I was inviting that, you know because I think when we were doing stuff which had one foot in on each side of that line, we were hoping to be misunderstood so that’s a different kind of masking you know what I mean like we were being abrasive.

The kind of mask I wore was like, ‘Yeah, f*ck you,’ you know I was a punk. I was just like, ‘Well f*ck you,’ yeah Noel Gallagher said something bad about our band, I’ll say it back, and I’ll say it much stronger Lemmy says something bad about a band, I’ll say something back stronger, and I was just playing the game. Then you meet people like Lemmy, and then you get on like a house on fire; he realizes that I’m nicer than I was pretending to be, and he’s nicer than he was pretending to be. That’s just an example of when the mask slips and what’s underneath is just soft.”

These revelations from Hawkins shed light on artists’ struggles while trying to maintain their image and navigate the pressures of the music industry. It also serves as a reminder that behind the facades, musicians are as human and vulnerable as their fans who support them.