Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: The Struts

The Struts. (Photo: Courtesy of Joan Akerlund)
The Struts. (Photo: Courtesy of Joan Akerlund)

Unlike the tendency of many rock n’ roll acts of the past 25 years, Luke Spiller, frontman of The Struts, and his bandmates have no desire to be niche. In fact, there is no fakery about their level of ambition – they want to be the biggest band in the world.

“I think we’ve all made a conscious decision from the word go, in terms of songwriting, that we do have to have a pop sensibility about what we do,” Spiller said. “Because we want our audience to be high and wide and we don’t want to be a niche, so to speak. We want to write great tracks, that are undeniable, because we’re aiming for the stars here, we want to be the biggest band in the world.

“I think we feel if that’s your goal then you have to have a popular aspect to your music, which includes a digestibility. And then once you have people in the palm of your hand, you can take them to somewhere else.”

Spiller spoke to the News-Press while he and his bandmates – Adam Slack, Jed Elliott and Gethin Davies – were waiting to board a plane to St. Louis.

The Struts are currently on a U.S. tour, riding the wave of their sleeper hit, at least in the U.S., “Could Have Been Me,” which has reached number 5 on the Billboard U.S. Alternative Songs chart and number 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart. If you haven’t heard it, the song is anthemic and existential, ambitious and vulnerable, fresh and infectious. That song, along with tracks like “Kiss This” and “Put Your Money on Me” from their EP Have You Heard, reflects the group’s pop sensibility, but also displays rock chops reminiscent of Queen, The Rolling Stones and Motley Crue.

The group, who originate from the United Kingdom, had already toured throughout Europe for a few years before some of the songs from the U.K. debut Everybody Wants blew up in the U.S.

And their predecessors have already taken notice. In 2014 they opened for The Rolling Stones at the Paris Stade de France and at the end of this month they are opening for Motley Crue’s last run of shows in Las Vegas.

Spiller said that it’s a “huge” compliment to be considered in the same bracket as these legendary groups, but that he and his bandmates try to keep everything in perspective.

“We try to take that with a pinch of salt,” Spiller said. “We live in a day and age when your career in music can end in a matter of years, so we just try to take every day as it comes and work as hard as we can and appreciate every show that we can. But it’s an honor.”

He thanked Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx while speaking to the News-Press about the Las Vegas shows. The group has been playing a variety of venue sizes – the Las Vegas shows are at the MGM Grand Arena – as their career has been transitioning on an upward trend the past couple of years. On Tuesday, Dec. 15, they are headlining a show at the 400-person capacity Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Regardless of the venue, Spiller said that The Struts deliver an energetic live show with lots of movement on stage and in the crowds. In fact, Spiller’s stage presence had a very early influence from an unlikely source (at least when it comes to rock music): Michael Jackson.

“He was the first person to kind of make me aware of movement and performance on stage,” Spiller said. “That was a huge influence on me…in terms of choreographed moves and trying to create visual aspects to the performance, that’s something where you actually have to put the work in and he was the first musician to teach me that. It played a huge role in my life.”

• For more information about The Struts, visit thestruts.com.