WITH his flamboyant dress sense, flowing locks and well publicised drugs problems, Justin Hawkins is the archetypal rock star.

Despite being out of the spotlight since he quit chart-toppers The Darkness two years ago, he still made heads turn as he strolled into Southampton Solent University.

Students were in rock ‘n’ roll heaven as Justin dropped in to see the music department’s new music practice rooms yesterday.

Accompanied by his new band Hot Leg, the 33-year-old singer and guitarist was shown round the state-of-the-art department before watching a performance by students.

Music stars of the future then grilled the group on all things rock and roll in a question and answer session.

Justin, best known for writing The Darkness hits I Believe in a Thing Called Love and Growing On Me, said: “The practice rooms at Solent University are great – the most important thing for young people interested in music is for them to have some place to play.

“You can’t rely on having a garage that hasn’t got a classic car in it – that’s my experience anyway.”

Earlier this year Trevor Horn – the man behind 1970s new wave band The Buggles – opened the department’s £1m recording studios.

Justin’s visit to the university came ahead of Hot Leg’s show at Southampton Guildhall last night where they supported US heavy metal legends Extreme.

He formed the band after leaving award-winning group The Darkness in 2006, and described their music as “much better” than The Darkness.

The falsetto-voiced fretboard wizard, who beat cocaine addiction thanks to a spell in The Priory clinic, added: “I’ve been through quite a bit in the music industry and I think I have a lot I can pass on to the students.

“I have two bits of advice for any aspiring young rock stars – keep practising, and grow your hair long.”