As he explains in conversation with Yahoo! Entertainment's Lyndsey Parker, back in the late 90s, he was the keyboard player and backing vocalist in a band with his brother Dan Hawkins, and at that point, the two weren't performing under the banner of The Darkness.
However, the group were on the hunt for an official frontman, and weren't yet convinced of Justin's capabilities for the job, until one New Year's Eve party where he proved that he could easily captivate a crowd.
"Everyone knew I could sing," he explains. "I was doing backing vocals and I've sung in things before. Fun stuff when I was much younger...18 or 19."
Speaking of the moment where he won his bandmates over, Hawkins says: "It was more I did an interpretive dance to [Queen's] Bohemian Rhapsody at a New Year's Eve party at the end of 1999, and for some reason my performance captivated the pub that we were in. My brother [guitarist Dan Hawkins] was like, 'You should be the frontman,' that's it.... (laughs). I was like, 'This is what I've been saying.'"
Admitting that he thinks he made quite an unusual band leader at the time, he continues: "I always knew what I would want my frontman to do and so when that band was looking for a frontman, I actually did audition for it. But my idea of a frontman is not the same as what most people who were trying to make it in the music trade in the late 90s would think of it as. That would be Verve-y and Radiohead-y, a bit more 'serious songwriting done in a cool way', and that's really not what I do (laughs)."
Later this year, The Darkness will hit the road for their Permission To Land 20 world tour, in celebration of their debut album's 20th anniversary. On the trek, the band promise to perform every song on the record in full, alongside "all of your favourite Darkness songs from the rest of our illustrious and tipsy turvy career".
View dates below:
UK and Ireland Permission To Land tour dates:
Dec 02: Belfast Telegraph Building
Dec 03: Dublin 3Olympia Theatre
Dec 08: Norwich UEA
Dec 09: London The Roundhouse
Dec 11: Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom
Dec 12: Manchester New Century Hall
Dec 14: Bristol Beacon
Dec 15: Nottingham Rock City
Dec 16: Wolverhampton The Wulfrun at The Halls
US tour dates:
Oct 03: San Francisco The Masonic, CA
Oct 04: Sacramento Ace of Spades, CA
Oct 06: Los Angeles The Wiltern, CA
Oct 07: Tempe Marquee Theatre, AZ
Oct 08: Las Vegas Brooklyn Bowl, NV
Oct 10: Denver Summit Music Hall, CO
Oct 11: Kansas City The Truman, MO
Oct 13: Chicago The Vic Theatre, IL
Oct 14: Indianapolis The Vogue, IN
Oct 15: Detroit Saint Andrew’s Hall, MI
Oct 17: Boston Big Night Live, MA
Oct 18: New York Terminal 5, NY
Oct 19: Philadelphia Franklin Music Hall, PA
Oct 21: Sayreville Starland Ballroom, NJ
Oct 22: Washington 9:30 Club
European tour dates:
Nov 07: Berlin Admiralspalast, Germany
Nov 08: Hamburg Markthalle, Germany
Nov 09: Cologne Essigfabrik, Germany
Nov 11: Munich Technikum, Germany
Nov 13: Rome Orion, Italy
Nov 14: Milan Alcatraz, Italy
Nov 15: Modena Vox, Italy
Nov 17: Prattlen Z7, Switzerland
Nov 18: Luxembourg Den Atelier
Nov 20: Bern Muhle Hunziken, Switzerland
Nov 22: Brussels AB, Belguim
Nov 23: Paris La Cigale, France
Nov 24: Amsterdam Melkweg Max, Holland