British rockers The Darkness found themselves on the verge of splitting up for good while recording their second album this year (05) - and they are grateful to legendary producer ROY THOMAS BAKER for keeping the majority of the band together.

Brothers JUSTIN and Dan Hawkins, who form the band's creative core, struggled to cope with the pressure of writing the follow up to 2003's hugely successful PERMISSION TO LAND, and sacked bassist Frankie Poullain in May citing "musical differences".

Guitarist Dan says, "We'd walk to the studio each day, past all these awards, and I'd think, 'I'm not sure if we can even write another song.'

"We were all over the place and we virtually split up because of the pressure."

The Darkness' hotly anticipated follow-up album ONE WAY TICKET TO HELL... AND BACK will be released in the UK this winter - and singer Justin Hawkins, who considered becoming a permanent solo star, is eternally grateful to THE Rolling Stones producer Baker for making it happen.

He says, "I was ready to bin The Darkness. But I realised I couldn't walk away. Just from hearing the early tracks it was obvious to me that it was something I had to be part of. Roy Thomas Baker is a genius. It's been a privilege to watch him work."