Luke Spiller, the charismatic frontman of the glam rock band, the Struts, is known for his Freddie Mercury-style moves and onstage bravado. By the end of each show, he’s usually drenched in sweat.
In a recent phone conversation, the Bristol, UK native promises to bring every ounce of his theatrics to House of Blues
when the Struts return to the venue on Sept. 15.
In fact, he’s always brought star power, even when he was playing to 10 people.
“It was always like that from Day One, just the costumes had a lot less quality to them cause they’re not cheap,” he says. “It started when I was a teenager, tearing up clothes, sewing, trying to make my own outfits... Someone sent me a video of my first-ever show — I had three costume changes.”
Spiller has always approached his shows with an endless pool of energy. The bigger-budget productions for a couple thousand fans have made him take himself a bit more seriously; however. Spiller now performs “a bit more sober” than he did when no one knew his name.
In recent months, the Struts have managed to spend some time recording at the Foo Fighters’ Studio 606, tossing around ideas for the next album. These sessions resulted in six finished tracks.
“We have no idea what will come of those,” says Spiller. “[When shaping an album,] there are no rules. I have no idea how this is going to come together. It could be something we’ve never done before, or it could be what we always do. We just do it, rather than thinking too deeply into it. We know what we like, and we know what we don’t, and it’s just a simple case of that.”
But some songs come together quicker than others.
“In Love with a Camera,” the quirky, guitar-heavy 2018 single about a girl more interested in posing for the perfect shot than in developing her love life, was one of the most difficult songs to complete.
“That song was an absolute bitch,” says Spiller. “I think it had about five or six different rewrites, different versions; it was a real pain in the ass. At first, I was like, ‘Is that too on the nose?’ But it became a neat little song. It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely coming across really well live. The fans enjoy it, so I’m happy.”
Spiller’s favorite live song is the fast-paced diva anthem “Primadonna Like Me,” a song that comes complete with tongue rolls and carefully-placed percussion. He likes it because it gets the crowd the most excited.
“I jump up onstage, and everyone’s going mental,” says Spiller, “I associate it with all the shows we’ve played in the last year, so it’s kind of sentimental.”
The Struts wrapped up June by releasing a cover of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street.” The band put its glam-rock spin on the track, replacing the horns with calculated guitar riffs. Spiller’s dramatic vocal runs made the interpretation easily recognizable. Some modern acts shy away from filling the shoes of legends, but not Spiller.
“Nothing intimidates me,” says Spiller. “I’ll give anything a shot.”
That motto goes for the 30-year-old’s most recent business endeavor, a glitter line that goes by the name Spiller Glitter.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages,” says Spiller.
The line was initially available exclusively at the band’s recent Pier 17 show in New York, but Spiller, who was wildly impressed by the sale of over 100 cases in the first five minutes that the pop-up store put it on sale, is working on distributing the product elsewhere.
For the time being, Spiller is laser-focused on the shows that the Struts have booked in Australia, Japan, Canada and the U.S. through the end of November, followed by some studio time at the end of the year.
The Struts came to the U.S. knowing that rock ’n’ roll could not compete commercially with pop, EDM, rap or country. The four-piece started playing shows in the States when they gained a bit of alternative radio traction or because “nowhere else would have us,” in Spiller’s words.
“As far as genre, it’s been like that for the past 10 years, so it really doesn’t make any difference where you go. We’ve definitely given ourselves a large challenge.”
Spiller says that he believes the Struts just might be the only band that can keep rock 'n’ roll alive.
“As long as I’m alive; it’s not dead,” he says.
The Struts, 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., 216-423-2583. Tickets: $30.50-$50.50, houseofblues.com.
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