The Darkness' frontman Justin Hawkins has apologised to anyone who was offended by the artwork to their latest album 'Easter Is Cancelled'.
Released back on Friday 4th October, the typically tongue-in-cheek ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ sleeve depicts Justin Hawkins as a muscle-bound Jesus seemingly breaking free of the cross using his own brute strength.
Surrounding Hawkins are his Darkness band mates as angelic ‘Marys’ - Frankie Poullain is clutching a sword and fighting a Roman guard, drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor is beating another guard with his drum sticks and Dan Hawkins is clutching a decapitated head.
Due to its religious connotations, the cover has already been banned by streaming platforms in some Middle Eastern and North African countries.
"What we were trying to do was interfere with biblical iconography and the sources we studied to assemble that image was from hundreds of years ago,” Hawkins said.
"We didn't recognise that it might be insensitive in the current climate. We saw it as something as escapism in talking about an imagined scenario from an alternate reality, and if we have offended anybody, all we can do is apologise."
Despite his apology to people unhappy with the image of a blade on the sleeve, Hawkins didn’t apologise for lampooning religious imagery.
"I play Jesus,” Hawins said. “Yes, that's controversial, but then again Willem Dafoe has played Jesus (in 1988 movie The Last Temptation of Christ), no one gives him a hard time. We are not denying the existence of Jesus Christ."
Speaking to Planet Rock backstage at Ramblin’ Man Fair back in July, Justin Hawkins told Wyatt the concept behind the sleeve is “multiverse theory.”
“If we're allowed to talk about multiverse theory, as science folk, which we are, the idea of multiverse theory is that every eventuality that is possible to imagine exists somewhere in an alternate reality — like Schrödinger's cat times infinity," Hawkins said.
"So, the idea is what happens if on the day that the Christ was to be crucified, he just said, 'Well, I'm gonna use my supernatural, wine-turning, water-walking abilities to fight back.' And the crucifixion doesn't happen, the Romans don't stand a chance - one of them is beheaded — and Jesus and three of the Marys, we're saying what if there's a universe like that? Imagine everything goes wrong. Isn't it comforting to know that in a universe somewhere, everything has gone right? Don't you find that comforting?"
Don’t forget, The Darkness hit the road in late November and throughout December on The Easter Is Cancelled Tour. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
The tour dates are as follows:
Belfast Limelight - 26th
Dublin Academy - 27th
Nottingham Rock City - 29th
Birmingham O2 Academy - 1st
Leicester O2 Academy - 2nd
Southend Cliffs Pavilion - 3rd
Norwich UEA - 5th
Cambridge Corn Exchange - 6th
Bath Pavilions - 7th
Portsmouth Pyramids - 9th
Brighton Dome - 10th
Watford Colosseum - 11th
Manchester Academy - 13th
Newcastle O2 Academy - 14th
Glasgow O2 Academy - 15th
York Barbican - 17th
Liverpool O2 Academy - 18th
London Roundhouse - 20th