“Rick Rubin is one of the most inspirational guitar players of my childhood. It’s a curveball, isn’t it?!” Justin Hawkins names the 14 guitarists who shaped his sound

Justin Hawkins of The Darkness performs during Alcatraz Metal Fest on August 12, 2022 in Kortrijk, Belgium.
(Image credit: Elsie Roymans/Getty Images)

As the late ‘90s rolled into the early 2000s, Justin Hawkins was making a living as an advertising jingles writer, relying on his “slightly encyclopedic understanding of a lot of certain types of music” to knock out quirky commercial earworms and canny sound-alikes to order for a range of household name brands’ ad campaigns.

“With a lot of those gigs, it would always be that they wanted something but they couldn't afford it, so they’d get me to copy it and do something that’s not suable,” laughs the charismatic guitarist, speaking to Guitar World from the instantly recognizable home studio of his Justin Hawkins Rides Again YouTube series. “I’d change enough chords and make the melody different enough to be able to get away with it, really.”

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Ellie Rogers

Since graduating university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and GuitarWorld.com, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.