The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins Names Rick Rubin as His Most Inspirational Guitarist
What goes into someone wanting to learn how to play guitar? There's usually a wealth of musical inspiration leading up to the point where one notable song or person finally pushes your curiosity to the point to where you won't be denied in finding out how to play. While there are any number of guitar heroes to have inspired people over the years, the one that Justin Hawkins of The Darkness chooses for inspiring him will definitely come as a surprise. His choice? Rick Rubin.
Yes, the same Rick Rubin that has become an in-demand producer across a variety of genres, but who told Anderson Cooper of CBS' 60 Minutes earlier this year that he barely plays any music instruments and proclaimed with a laugh, "I have no technical ability and I know nothing about music."
So how did Rick Rubin then inspire The Darkness' Justin Hawkins to play guitar? Well, as Rubin noted in that interview, he BARELY plays any instruments, but back in the '80s when he was producing some of the early breakout rappers, he did drop some guitar licks when pressed into action.
Hawkins told Guitar World, “One of the things that made me want to play guitar was the Run-D.M.C. album Raising Hell. Obviously 'Walk This Way' is amazing, but the thing that I think was accessible as a novice guitar player was the stuff that Rick Rubin was playing."
“On the title track, 'Raising Hell,' there’s some nasty guitar playing that’s achievable and you can get those kinds of sounds from a practice amp. He was just keeping it simple, but with loads of attitude and it was really cool," recalled Hawkins.
“If you have any aptitude for it, you can play that sort of stuff pretty quickly and it‘s just really satisfying," he added. "It kicks you on to do other playing. So, I'm actually going to say Rick Rubin is one of the most inspirational guitar players of my childhood. It’s a curveball, isn’t it?!”
Rick Rubin Played on Run-DMC's Raising Hell
As Darryl "DMC" McDaniels explained in "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies," Rubin's role went beyond that of a music producer, with his contributions being heard on the record as well. "We did that album in like three months. It was so quick because every rhyme was written on the road and had been practiced and polished. We knew what we wanted to do. Rick was all music and instruments. Jay was music and DJing. And me and Run was lyrics. We definitely had a game plan."
As for the title track that Hawkins was talking about, check out the song below.
Run-DMC, "Raising Hell"
Justin Hawkins Names Other Guitarists Who Shaped His Sound
The Rick Rubin revelation came as part of a bigger feature for Guitar World in which The Darkness frontman shouted out a total of 14 guitarists who helped shape his sound. And while you'll find such expected entries as Jimmy Page, Brian May and Eddie Van Halen, there are also a number of guitarists that might come as a surprise. The full feature can be read here.
The reflective piece comes at a reflective time for the band as they are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their breakout debut album, Permission to Land. Catch them on tour at these stops.
Top 75 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time
Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff