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by Dan Grimmer
(First published Evening News, Wednesday, December 31, 2003)

A self-styled voodoo doctor from Norwich today claimed he helped set The Darkness on their meteoric rise to stardom – by helping lead singer Justin Hawkins make a pact with the devil.

The mysterious Doktor Snake reckoned the spandex-sporting singer got in touch with him when his Lowestoft band were struggling to get their big break in the music industry.

Snake claimed that in 2002, when the retro-rockers were waiting for the world to sit up and take notice of their tunes, Hawkins consulted him on making a pact with the devil for fame and fortune. He said: “I just took Justin out at midnight to a deserted crossroads in some marshes near Lowestoft in Suffolk, where he grew up. He was pretty scared, but he wanted fame badly.”

He claimed Hawkins contacted him after seeing his book Doktor Snake’s Voodoo Spellbook.

Snake said Hawkins was desperate for fame after years of struggling and decided that he too might benefit from a walk on the darkside.

He said: “I knew straight away that Justin had star quality and that making the pact would take him all the way. It was written all over him. But no matter how talented you are, you often need the extra push. Making the pact with Satan gave it to him.”

In a Christmas Day speech on MTV on Christmas Day, Hawkins reflected: “This time last year I was a music nobody. Today I sit at the top of the music tree.”

Regular readers of the Evening News will remember Doktor Snake from the summer when he auctioned off a pact with the devil on internet auction site e-Bay.

Fans of The Darkness worried their boys have turned into devil worshippers need not worry because Doktor Snake’s devil is not the evil, horned creature so often depicted.

He said: “What lies at the heart of the Crossroads Rite is not about the devil. The devil as prince of evil is really a Christian invention. In the Crossroads Rite, the devil is more a teaching spirit that gives you access to your inner genius.

“Whether Snake’s claims are true, The Darkness have certainly enjoyed an extremely successful year. Their début album, Permission To Land, flew to the top of the charts and the single I Believe In A Thing Called Love hit the top 10.

A spokeswoman for The Darkness today said she was unable to find out whether Hawkins and Snake had ever crossed paths – because the band were enjoying a well-earned Christmas break.

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