In 2016, U.K. rockers The Struts shot into the spotlight with their vibrant debut album Everybody Wants and have kept the ball rolling ever since by opening for a number of iconic bands, including The Rolling Stones, The Killers, and Foo Fighters. In fact, Foos singer Dave Grohl told Radio X that the Struts were “the best opening band we’ve ever had.” Now, in advance of the release of their forthcoming LP, the group is embarking on a headlining tour of their own.
Led by the flashy singer Luke Spiller, the band has drawn comparisons to Queen, the Stones and David Bowie since they came together in 2009, mostly due to Spiller’s driving, dramatic vocals on upbeat rockers including “Kiss This,” “Could Have Been Me,” and their new single, “Body Talks,” premiering below.
Named after that new track, the Body Talks Tour kicks off on Sept. 21 in Detroit and will travel through the Midwest, the South, and both coasts before closing out on Nov. 9 in San Francisco.
Billboard caught up with Spiller to chat about the band’s recent tour with Foo Fighters, on-the-road delirium, and what fans can expect from their new album.
You’re in the middle of touring with The Foo Fighters and before you’ve toured with the likes of The Stones and have opened for Guns N’ Roses and The Who. Who has been your favorite?
Oh it’s been The Foos by a country mile. And then followed by The Rolling Stones straight after that. You know but, Foo Fighters by no question about it. Absolutely no question whatsoever.
How has that experience been for you and your band mates?
It’s just been incredible for us. The whole band is so welcoming and accommodating and all the crew that work for them are brilliant and it’s very tight-knit, like a giant family and it’s really cool to kinda feel like a part of that. And honestly it’s a great gig! You know it kinda takes the pressure off… you perform 45 minutes and then a couple of hours after I go up and do “Under Pressure” with them and then that’s it and that’s kinda like a night done. It’s not too stressful compared to headlining shows.
Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot with the people you’ve toured with, especially the Foos? What kind of things have you picked up since being on tour with all of these amazing bands?
I definitely think that how long their careers have been going, that’s an inspiring thing unto itself. And even how long they play. I don’t know if that’s something I personally want to aspire to do, like over three hours every night, but it kinda puts into perspective how much you are willing to get down and listen to. Which surprised me, but they stay there right to the end, going on three hours or so.
You had a short residency at The Roxy in L.A. awhile ago. Could you tell me about that?
It was four nights at The Roxy. Sold out! And we were just premiering a lot of our new material. We had guest bands, we had Tommy Lee, Chad Smith, Randy Jackson, Michael Starr — who else did we have? Oh God I can’t remember! There were so many amazing people!
Has being on the road over these past couple of years affected the creative process or your songwriting at all?
I guess the effect of being on the road is that it kinda stunts your creative process. There’s just so much to do all the time at the moment. I like to get really tapped into the songs when I’m songwriting and I couldn’t imagine sitting down for an hour and a half or whatever it is I have between promos, soundcheck, meet and greets, getting ready for the show, warming up for the show, and doing the show. I couldn’t imagine going, “Okay, I need to think of this song for an hour and a half,” you know? Maybe it will work, maybe I’ll have to do it one day. But at the moment I just write on my time off.
What can you tell me about the new music coming out on your second album?
Oh wow, how can I describe it? So, the debut album, Everybody Wants, was this really firm left hook, and this next album is going to be a knockout right hook punch. It’s a similar kind of album. It’s very much a continuation with it’s hammering with what we are and who we are.
What was the most challenging thing about recording the new album?
I guess just the time itself, you know? Not only was [it] the stereotypical second album — which is really hard to do anyway — but there was so much pressure to make this one be the one that would take us to another place and that was in the back of our heads more so than other times. It [was] a hell of a lot of work. It was insane. I think every single song was revisited about 4 or 5 times. It was being recorded in multiple countries, multiple producers, multiple studios… it was just… it was painful. I’m in no hurry to make another album anytime soon.
I know y’all just played Madison Square Garden for the first time. How was that experience? Do you have to prepare differently for arena shows versus smaller shows and venues?
No. You know the preparation is exactly the same. If anything, like I said it’s probably less slightly more laid back. It is like 45 minutes you know versus like an hour and forty minutes. It’s kinda like at the end of the day you know that no one is there to see you. The only thing you have to do is not suck and just try and have fun with as many people as you possibly can. Doing MSG, that was great.
What inspired the single “Body Talks?” How was the song created and fleshed out?
Well it was done fairly late in the creative process. It’s kind of like experimental and you know it’s kinda like a dance, blues track basically. Lyrically, it’s just written about those few seconds of when you make eye contact with someone and without any saying words you find yourself like moving on towards them. But the actual song itself, like, I wasn’t a fan of really.
Yeah I mean look, I was in a total state of delirium you know. And at that point I was so mentally tired. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was a good song or what was a bad song like it was just, you know my head was completely fucked. So, yeah everyone around us was like “That was pretty good. You should finish it.” So we had to finish it and then upon us finishing it I thought, “Wow this is actually quite good.” And it is good, it is a good song. So, uh, good thing cause now it’s a fucking single. So…yay!
Who influenced this new album or this new direction for you and The Struts?
Funny enough, you know, I think people like Lorde. You know, again, The Stones, Scott Walker, ummm who else? I would say funny enough, I think it’s more of an original album really.
I know you’re in no hurry to put out another album after this one, but what would you like to accomplish next?
I used to say such ridiculous things when people used to ask me that question and then they never came true. So now I just want to — now i just hope that my voice is good today and that I put on a good show. That’s the only fucking thing I’m worried about.
The Struts Tour Dates
July 20 — New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
July 21 — Boston, MA @ Fenway Park (support to Foo Fighters)
July 23 — Hampton Beach, NH @ Bernie’s Beach Bar
Jul 24 — Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre?
July 25 — Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center (support to Foo Fighters)
July 26 — Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (support to Foo Fighters)
July 28 — Grand Rapids, MI @ Elevation
July 29 — Chicago, IL @ Wrigley Field (support to Foo Fighters)
Aug 10 — Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
Aug 11 — San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park
Sept 6 — Dewey Beach, DE @ Bottle & Cork
Sept 7 — Timonium, MD @ Maryland State Fairgrounds
Sept 21 — Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s
Sept 22 — Fort Wayne, IN @ Piere’s?
Sept 23 — Franklin, TN @ Pilgrimage Festival
Sept 24 — Richmond, VA @ National
Sept 26 — Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
Sept 30 — Albany, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Oct 2 — New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Oct 3 — New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Oct 5 — Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
Oct 6 — Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
Oct 8 — Washington, DC @ 9:30Club?
Oct 9 — Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Oct 10 — Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Oct 12 — Atlanta, GA @ Variety Theater
Oct 13 — Orlando, FL @ The Beachum Theatre?
Oct 14 — Tampa, FL @ Orpheum Theater
Oct 16 — Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
Oct 17 — Jacksonville, FL @ Maverick’s at the Landing
Oct 19 — Mobile, AL @ Soul Kitchen
Oct 20 — Destin, FL @ Club LA
Oct 21 — Tuscaloosa, AL @ Druid City
Oct 23 — St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Oct 25 — Fort Smith, AR @ Temple Live
Oct 26 — Arlington, TX @ Texas Live!
Oct 29 — Austin, TX @ Emo’s
Nov 2 — Tempe, AZ @ Marquee
Nov 3 — Anaheim, CA @ HOB
Nov 6 — Napa, CA @ Jam Cellars Ballroom
Nov 8 — Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
Nov 9 –. San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore