Queen & The Darkness: Emma Shares Experiences of Meeting Her Heroes & A Letter From Roger Taylor!
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
"I can’t explain my love for music; it has connected me to some great people, helped me in times of need and I mean, music is always there - so that’s the best thing about it." - Emma
Hi Emma, Thank-You so much for agreeing to take participate in Fan Features! It's a pleasure to have you on board! Before we begin, why don’t you introduce yourself?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me - I’m excited to talk to you. Hello everyone, I’m Emma. I’m a teenager who finds comfort in some good old Rock n’ Roll bands. I’d like to call myself a regular concert-goer, but most of the time I just wait until the bands come near me… I can’t explain my love for music; it has connected me to some great people, helped me in times of need and I mean, music is always there - so that’s the best thing about it.
Today we’re going to be talking about your love for Queen and The Darkness, can I ask how you came to discover both bands?
Oh gosh. Wow - we’re going back 6/7 years… I mean, I’ve always been aware of Queen, as everyone is and I enjoyed them. Though I actually discovered The Darkness first. I used to have really long blonde hair, like Justin Hawkins in the ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)' music video. It was a few days before Christmas and I put the music channels on as we had friends round. As soon as I heard the guitars, I was drawn in - it reminded me of Thin Lizzy. Then, all of our friends started pointing at the screen and saying, “Oh look, it’s you!”
From then on, I just became obsessed with them. I found an old Darkness book on one of our shelves and read it from cover to cover, over and over again. As a 10 year old, I literally just started dedicating my life to them. It was something I’d never really experienced before. Obviously with Rufus Taylor joining the band, my parents informed me that he was the son of “Roger from Queen.” So then, I went and watched the Bohemian Rhapsody music video and fell in love. On from that, it’s always been Queen and The Darkness, really. They’re now such a big part of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Elaborating on the previous question, what was it about them that first stood out to you?
Justin’s performance mainly - though my eyes were mostly on his brother Dan as he was everything I wanted to be. Justin and the band always put on such a great show that just leaves you wanting more. When I listened to Queen, it was Brian’s guitar and Freddie’s voice that left me speechless. There are no words to describe Freddie’s voice - it’s outstanding.
A lot of people might wonder why someone so young might choose to listen to what some may consider to be “old people’s music”? What would your response be to those people?
Oh my… well… Music today isn’t really my cup of tea, though I’ll make a few exceptions because Louis Tomlinson’s music is extraordinary and I’ve been a huge fan of him for most of my life but apart from him, (and a few others) I don’t listen to modern music. It doesn’t have the same feel as music back then. Most of the songs now you can’t understand; the artist hasn’t written the song themselves (which isn’t a problem, but to me I find it more authentic if it comes from the person singing), or just doesn’t click with you. I’ve grown up with ‘old music,’ like Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Dire Straits, ABBA, The Beatles and Queen so naturally I feel more of a connection to those bands than artists now.
Can you describe the impact both bands have made in your life? How have they helped you personally?
Man… I don’t even think I can. They’ve brought me so much and I’m so grateful. I have had some incredibly hard times and they have helped me through it with their music.
Do you have a favourite song by both bands?
Queen - 'I’m In Love With My Car' and 'Radio GaGa'. Both were written by Roger, which is quite ironic because he’s my favourite, but they are incredible songs- I understand some people may disagree with my first choice but I love that song. It never fails to make me laugh and Taylor’s voice is incredible on that track.
The Darkness - It varies. 'Love Is Only A Feeling' is my favourite to hear live, and was my first favourite Darkness song. Dan’s solos in it are incredible and I really admire his playing. I’m gonna have to go with that or 'Everybody Have A Good Time'. 'Hot Cakes' is my favourite Darkness album and it annoys me that they don’t play much of it live nowadays.
Both bands have had such colourful yet exciting careers and are highly respected in the world of rock. What would you deem the highlight of their respective careers?
For Queen, perhaps the release of Bohemian Rhapsody. It was popular everywhere and brought fame that would skyrocket them even further. For The Darkness, probably around the PTL release, as 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' had a lot of success.
Let’s talk a little about the fanbases behind Queen and The Darkness. First things first, are there any names for either fandom?
I believe fans call themselves “Queenies” and “Darklings.”
How would you define each fanbase? What sort of role do the fans play in supporting each band?
Queen fans are some of the best people ever and I’m going to have to say that with Darklings too. They are lovely people sharing the joy of music. The fans are very passionate and it’s great when you get talking to likeminded people.
And what about friendships…have you made any friends through Queen or The Darkness? How did your favourite bands inspired those friendships?
I have met many people - too many to talk about but I have more friends in The Darkness fandom. Some are older and some are around my age. Most of them I met on the Facebook group ‘The Darkness Army,’ or at a Darkness gig. My very first Darkness friend was Nathan; I met him at my very first Darkness gig, not knowing what to expect. I’m so glad we decided to stay in contact as he’s one of my best friends and I have The Darkness to thank for that. I can’t imagine my life without him. Another two I should mention, I met online. Jess and I discovered we were going to the same gig and months leading up to it, we FaceTimed every day and finally got to meet up at the Darkness gig which was incredible. She’s one of the most dedicated, kind and genuine people I’ve ever met. I also went to see them with her in December 2019, our last gig together before COVID. Pénélope and I met online a few days after my first gig, and it was instant friendship from there. There are so many other amazing people that I’d love to talk about but I’d be here all day. Charlie, Dries, James, Liz, Lee- tons of people. I love them very much! All thanks to The Darkness.
Both Queen and The Darkness are still extremely active live bands and are often seem out on the road performing to fans around the world. Have you ever had the chance to catch either band live?
I have! I have seen The Darkness quite a few times. I was meant to see Queen in 2020, but COVID happened and it was postponed to 2021- but now it’s been moved again to 2022. Really hope it can happen!
Fingers crossed the Queen gig goes ahead next year-I'm sure you'll have an absolute blast! Let's talk more about your experiences seeing The Darkness in concert; being such a massive fan, what was it like to see them perform live?
Oh, man! I cried at my first Darkness gig. I was right in front of Dan (as always!) and I couldn’t believe I was actually there. I think I’ve cried at all the Darkness gigs I’ve been to. It’s so overwhelming - to be there with the band, the people and the music you love; it’s the best feeling ever!
There's something really magical about being in a room with your favourite band and experiencing the moment alongside your fellow fans, isn't there? Looking back at The Darkness concerts you've attended, were there any standout moments?
At my first Darkness gig, Nathan (one of my best friends whom I met at the gig) started dancing hilariously to 'Love Is Only A Feeling' with his friend Bobby and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced.
I have had some great experiences with Jess - she knows what I mean. We’ve had some hilarious times!
I’ve also got to mention catching Dan’s sweatbands. Does that count as a highlight? He throws one to me every time and I manage to get it. It’s like he knows I want one, haha!
Those are such lovely memories! Your friends sound like so much fun...the perfect gig buddies! Having seen the Darkness on a number of occasions have you been lucky enough to meet the guys?
I have! I have met The Darkness quite a few times. I have done VIP once at their shows, but I prefer meeting them outside afterwards. There’s a lot more time to talk to them then.
My favourite meeting however, would be from 2018; I was at home, relaxing when Rufus ran past my house with his girlfriend, heading to the pub that’s next to my house.
I decided to go and see what was going on and they invited me to sit with them whilst they got drinks. My Dad was with me and we talked to them for quite a while. I was the first to know what their then-upcoming seventh album (Easter Is Cancelled) would be like. Rufus said something like, “It’s nothing like what we’ve really done before, lots of experimenting, different things. Think you’ll like it.” I love Rufus, I really do. He’s always so kind to fans and makes me feel relaxed.
Oh my goodness! What a fantastic story! Rufus always comes across as a really awesome guy. You mentioned meeting the rest of the band on a number of occasions; what were they like in person and did they live up to your expectations?
Oh 100%. The Darkness are incredible with fans. The last time I met Dan, in December 2019, I gave him a letter and a John Deere keyring as an early birthday present, at VIP (he’s a big John Deere fan) and he loved it. He suddenly disappeared off the stage and I was very confused as I didn’t know where he had gone. Someone tapped me on the shoulder, and I turned around, only to realise it was Dan. He gave me a gift in return, a John Deere lanyard, which I then clipped my VIP pass onto. Dan is lovely. He’s my favourite, and I’m forever grateful for everything he’s done for me. Really nice guy. Justin and Frankie are lovely too- the whole band are just so down to earth and kind.
You recently shared a rather exciting photograph on social media of a letter from the Roger Taylor! That is by far one of the coolest things ever! How did that happen?! Can you give us any hints regarding what he wrote?
Hahaha that’s true! I can’t reveal too much, but I didn’t send it to the usual fanmail address so that’s why I was so surprised I got a reply. I just wrote to him and sent it off, hoping it would reach him. And it did! I told him about lots of things; how he’s helped me, how much I love him and his music, meeting Rufus, how I wanted to be a musician etc. His response was lovely.
How did it feel when you opened the envelope and realised what was inside? Your reaction must have been priceless...Roger Taylor is a legend after all!
I cried for hours. It was just pure shock. My mum actually had to stop me from fainting as I was so surprised when I opened it, I nearly fell backwards. It was very surreal and I never expected anything back from him.
I am genuinely ecstatic for you, Emma! Treasure that letter forever! So it’s fair to say you're an extremely dedicated fan! Do you have a message for Queen and The Darkness?
I do! Thank you for being my rock, getting me through hard times and making me smile in the good times. Queen, I hope I get to see you soon. The Darkness, thank you for making every show and experience so amazing and unique. I’ll always be a fan.
And finally, if you could recommend a song by both artists to someone who’s unfamiliar with their music what would you choose?
Ooh, good one! Queen - Most probably ‘The Show Must Go On’ or ‘Radio GaGa.’
The Darkness- The entirety of Hot Cakes, ‘Solid Gold’ or ‘Growing on Me.’
A huge Thank-You to Emma for taking the time to speak with us here at Fan Features! What an awesome lady with such fantastic taste in music. Imagine being able to say you received a letter from the Roger Taylor?! I am eternally jealous! Keep rocking, Emma!!!
If you're on Instagram be sure to give Emma a follow and keep up with all her adventures: @emmameaddowstaylor