I was watching a U2 Documentary a few years ago and Larry Mullen has this smirking yet innocent look on his face when he talks about U2 in their first days: “I looked from behind the kit and he sounded terrible but it was clear with a guy like Bono in front, we could do anything.”
What’s great about Rock and Roll is, it just doesn’t matter. Get out there and go at it. If your heart and intent are true, what you deliver will be accepted. This has forever been true in art.
And so it is with Luke Spiller of The Struts. With a guy like that, this band could be anything it wants to be. It’s clearly been seen by their handlers already. That’s a good thing. People with influence and the power to shape the band have done a nice job to date. They have a star on their hands. They know it.
My first impression of The Struts was a random text on a Saturday from a buddy of mine whose mind had just been blown by them. This guy (G7) never sends me texts like that so I was quick to jump. Don’t get me wrong, I was suspect. THIS GUY still sings ABBA songs at full vocal throttle while plowing down the road in his German excellence. Do I trust that guy? I mean…would you?
YouTube is my savior and away we go. On YouTube, Luke moved like a 1967 Mick Jagger, had the swagger of 1976 Steven Tyler mixed with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness (hold on…we’ll get to a rant about this in a moment).
Sidebar: Do you know of the Darkness? If you don’t, trust me…that’s ok.… There is a story of when Lemmy met Justin at the Rainbow. He told him his band was “drivel shit” and he and Justin went at it over several drinks. Eventually, Justin barged out. He couldn’t take the Lemmy. Then again, who could? At the end of the day, Lemmy was right. Of course he was.
OK, I’m interested. I check out the ever excellent Bands in Town app and there is it, The Struts are coming to San Diego and I’m in. Off to the House a Blues a few weeks later to see for myself if this is actually something. What surprised me the moment I hit the floor was, not only was it sold-out but the age group for this show is all over the place, kids to 60s. What? How? Why? I’m perplexed by this. Sure, half the crowd was lusting for Luke, 20-something girls, but there were quite a few of the elder crowd there and they were not there to watch their kids. They were there because The Struts were offering something different.
The Struts sound like retro-fetishist, classic rock…English with some loud mouth swagger. Luke Spiller says things like, “I was BORN to do this!” and “I’ll die doing it!” You have to love it. I did. He’s selling and he’s believing his own bloated charm which to me is just fucking outstanding. Own it or get off the stage. Oh, another thing, not only can Luke move, he can sing, and he got the girls crazy rolling his rrrrr’s in every song.
He’s clearly studied Freddie Mercury. Wouldn’t you, if you had 7% of that kind of talent? Plus, he’s English…so, there you go. Kind of forced on you. Better than studying Chris Martin. He might have named the band Apple..Or, Moses. Because, that’s such a great name. A N Y W A Y….yes, about that rant…
Another sidebar: The Killers. The Darkness. Two bands with absolutely fucking outstanding names and two bands that are hung like a field mouse.The Killers. I don’t even need to go there. You know this. We all know this. I always wished someone had stopped them and said, “Listen. Great name. Great title but….we need to take it from you as it’s in the best interest of music fans everywhere in the world.
Back to the point, The Struts are going to be something. What, exactly? I have no idea. I was extremely surprised they didn’t get an invite for Coachella16. I mean, they are a perfect fit for that crowd yet we got The 1975 instead and everybody was as happy as a Nick Jonas fan at a Slayer show. “Um…no! Let’s just leave…please. My feelings are about to get hurt along with every bone in my body.” (This scene would NEVER happen but it’s fun to visualize it.)
If you get the chance, go see The Struts. They are vibrant, fun, and they can actually play. The guitarist Adam Slack is much like Bowie’s axeman, Mark Ronson. He’s the gel that keeps it all together delivering the licks and crunch. And he does this while dealing with an egomaniac who dresses like he got lost in David Bowie wardrobe closet in 1976, crossed with Motley Crüe’s forgettable Theatre of Pain period, and with some New York Dolls thrown in for grit. Thank god! It’s all fun and it’s something rock is missing. Glam Rock has arrived. AGAIN!