Never in the history of music has a band divided public opinion quite like The Darkness. So naturally, when that band imploded spectacularly, all eyes were on Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham, and Richie Edwards to see what they’d do without Jumpin’ Justin. Well, they’re doing quite nicely, thank you very much. One EP down and an album on the way, Stone Gods came back down to Earth this year with new bassist Toby Macfarlaine, a new tour, and a spot at the prestigious Download festival. Not bad. But there are some important questions for these would-be-Gods: just how do refugees from one of the UK’s biggest rock bands start from scratch? Can the Stone Gods keep it together? And can we get through an interview without mentioning the “D” word?

R13: You’ve gone through quite a change of image. Was this a conscious decision, or did it just evolve naturally?

Richie: When we got together to start working on this band there was no agenda at all, we just sat around with some acoustic guitars and wrote a bunch of songs. Stone Gods is definitely an edgier and heavier beast than our previous band but we didn’t consciously intend that to happen, it just sort of did.

R13: Did you enjoy the whole process of starting again with a new band and new direction?

Richie: It was great to have a totally blank canvas and try a new approach to songwriting, all of us together throwing ideas into the pot. It was definitely an exciting time.

R13: Touring must be a bit different now, so how’s it going so far? Is it all Transit vans and motorway cafes?

Richie: Yep, lets say there’s been a ‘back to basics’ approach to touring. It was a bit of a shock at first to go from first class flights, luxury tour busses, 5 star hotels and our own caterers to a van, Ginsters pasties and shared Travelodge rooms but, to be honest, it’s been so much fun, like four kids on a school trip!!

R13: Which has been your favourite gig so far?

Richie: The last night of our headline tour in January at Norwich Waterfront was pretty damn special, but for me supporting Velvet Revolver at Brixton Academy was my favourite, the place went off!!!

R13: Are you looking forward to Download?

Richie: More than you can imagine!! There is so much Rock history surrounding Donington, it’s an honour to be playing there.

R13: Are there any other bands on the bill that you particularly admire or want to see?

Richie: Judas Priest, without a doubt, fuckin’ legends!!!!

R13: How do your audience react to the new songs?

Richie: The response has been awesome. We went out on tour in January playing songs that no one had heard before but the shows were so great, it was as if the audience had had the album for months, they were singing along and going nuts.

R13: The new album, “Silver Spoons and Broken Bones” is out soon. How was the writing process?

Richie: The writing process was a lot of fun. We’d sit around in the writing room with a couple of acoustic guitars, an acoustic bass and a pad of paper and throw ideas around. Every suggestion was tried and everyone was coming up with ideas, awesome!

R13: Nice to hear you’ve kept the sense of humour in your lyrics and titles, but what’s the significance of the album title?

Richie: There’s a great deal of truth in this album, lyrically it’s a very honest and openly emotional record. The title too is honest, taking a perceived position of privilege and revealing the truth behind it.

R13: You’re being a bit ambiguous over signing with a record label. Are you hoping to go back to a major label, or are you happiest working through indie companies now?

Richie: We’ve assembled an awesome team of people who are all totally into this band and everyone is working really hard. The major label business is basically fucked at the moment, totally on it’s arse and, for us, the only way to go was the independent route.

R13: So what are your plans for the future?

Richie: Touring, touring, making an album, touring, touring, touring, making an album, touring, touring, touring, making an album, touring, tou………..