The Darkness Frontman Shares Honest Opinion on Plini, Says This Kind of Music Turns Him Off

The Darkness Frontman Justin Hawkins recently posted another one of his video analyses to his YouTube channel. This time around, he shared his view on Plini, one of the prog guitar heroes of today. But although he couldn’t deny Plini’s musicianship, he found it to be all a bit too “boring,” as Guitar World reports.

During this video, which was titled “I’m Sorry, But What’s The Point?!,” Hawkins even commented on Plini’s image and appearance, claiming that he should look more like Guns N’ Roses’ Slash with a guitar hanging down low, as opposed to the high-strapped position. He offered:

“The one thing that turns me off about this particular type of prog is how static the playing is. I’m talking about choreography, really. You have to have your guitar pretty high to get the spread you need to play these riffs.”

“You don’t get those low-slung Slash types, you always get this [high-strapped guitars]. I don’t think it’s as exciting to watch, and I don’t think I’m going to be the only person who feels that.”

To cement his argument further, Hawkins said that rock music should be a “multi-sensory experience,” even adding that all the favorable and unfavorable smells of a rock show round up the full package. He then continued by saying:

“When you have a guitar that’s static in that position and players are [playing up high], the one advantage is, if you’re in the front row, you can do the fret watching. This stuff sounds amazing, but it doesn’t look that exciting to me.”

Plini - Electric Sunrise, I'll Tell You Someday, Cascade | Live at Finnvox Studios

As Hawkins admits, he’s an “old rocker.” However, as one, he’d like to see more things going on, even mistakes and struggles. The singer continued by saying:

“For old rockers like me, there’s an absence of attitudinal edginess. The stuff that excites me is things like mistakes… I like people to operate at the very edge of their ability. Give [Plini] a Les Paul, low-slung, and it will be much more exciting.”

Nonetheless, despite his personal stance on the matter, The Darkness frontman couldn’t ignore Plini’s technical prowess as a guitar player. He said:

“His technique is unbelievable. It sounds so, so good.”

Plini — "PAN" Live (2022)

And, as he also explains, there’s no cheating here in terms of using other effects to mask all the errors and imperfections. As he argued further:

“Sometimes you hear people who like doing that fast stuff and they disguise it with wah because it smudges the bits they haven’t quite fretted in a nice way, and there’s nothing like that going on here. It’s pretty straight-up saturated guitar sounds played really well.

Reflecting more on Plini’s playing, Hawkins couldn’t hide his awe:

“There’s a really nice taste in his vibrato technique. He’s a great guitar player.”

Plini - "Electric Sunrise" (2016)

To conclude, Hawkins offered:

“It’s amazing playing, it really is. I think that kind of prog metal and all that stuff is a little bit of an acquired taste, but what you can’t deny is the musicianship – it’s really staggering right across the board.”

“But you know what? There’s no reason why they can’t wear a flashier shirt… anything, just something to spice up the visuals. But it’s great stuff.”


Over the past year or so, The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins got more and more attention due to his YouTube channel. His whole online thing started during the COVID-19 pandemic as another way for him to get back on track financially. Late last year, Hawkins appeared on Skin’s “Skin Things” show where he shared a few details on how this came about:

“Well, the first thing I did was I started a Patreon. And that was because when COVID started, I was just in this house and I had no furniture… For lots of different personal reasons, I ended up in this weird situation where I couldn’t work, I was on my own and struggling a bit, emotionally and also financially.

“It was a lot of video-based content — tutorials, zoom calls with patrons, and a lot of stuff that kept me busy, kept me sane, kept the wolf from the door, kept the mortgage payments happening…”

The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love (Official Music Video)

“And then, my producer, who I used for who works with me on Patreon suggested that I do YouTube because she has some experience in doing the YouTube thing for a very, very, very famous and very, very successful YouTube personality… And she thought that, having had some experience in front of the camera, I’d probably be alright to do it.”

He also added:

“The YouTube thing has become my main thing, I suppose, that I do on a daily basis.”

The Darkness - Love Is Only A Feeling (Official Music Video)

Since he’s, obviously, not getting any younger, there were concerns that he’ll be just another “old man yelling at clouds.” But he managed to stray away from such a persona. Hawkins said during this interview:

“Sometimes I worry that I just come across as the old man shouting at a cloud. You know, that whole thing of, ‘Oh, well, when I was young, you had to be able to play your instrument,’ and all that sort of stuff. So I try and avoid those tropes.”

The Darkness - One Way Ticket (Official Music Video)

“But… the times when that becomes something that I need to be really careful of, is when I’m talking about pop music. Because I think pop music has always been just sewage; like a waist-high sea of nothing. You know, it’s vacuous, meaningless stuff that doesn’t move people like you and I…”

Photos: Raulongo (Plini248 300x RG), Joe Mabel (The Darkness 047 (21610243694))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.