Everybody Wants The Struts, reads the cover of the British rockers’ debut album. It’s not that much of an exaggeration. In 2016, the band opened for Guns N’ Roses; shortly after, opening slots for The Who and the Rolling Stones followed. It’s easy to see why the band is adored by the greats—their shows are full of call-and-response antics that turn every club or arena into a rock and roll circus, and their sound, which draws heavily from glam rock giants like Queen, is larger than life.
Now the band’s sophomore LP Young & Dangerous is out, and The Struts are strutting into the limelight once again. They traversed across America with the Foo Fighters earlier in the year; currently, they’re on their headlining tour. Their latest single, “Body Talks,” features Kesha—and they just performed it on Jimmy Fallon. Also of note: they’ve got some fabulous new outfits, including a jacket that says “21st Century Dandy” for lead singer Luke Spiller. If you like your concerts with plenty of costume changes and your singers with moves like Jagger, The Struts are your guys.
Recently, we had the chance to talk to all four Struts in Baltimore—Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies. Backstage at Rams Head Live, they were wearing hoodies and sweatpants instead of sequins, but they still had an air of glamour—and Spiller was wearing his black and gold top hat the whole time. We chatted about the new album, the “Primadonna Like Me” music video, the Vegas experience, Scooby-Doo, and what it’s like to have your very own cereal.
TYF: You guys have been on tour for a little while now. What are some of your most memorable moments?
Luke Spiller: We’ve been on tour for… It seems like a lifetime. A lifetime now. Honestly, it feels like we’ve been on and off since 2015, as soon as we arrived in the States. We haven’t worked this hard, ever, in anything in our lives, and we’ve been doing long, long tours and making this album [during] all of the time off. It feels like we’ve been constantly on the road. This tour will be just over three months, I think, once it’s completed.
Adam Slack: (to Spiller) So what’s the highlight of the tour?
Spiller: Tonight! It’s going to be tonight, for sure.
Slack: Give them a proper answer.
Spiller: Getting this jumper! Getting this jumper! (Gestures to his sweatshirt) This jumper has a nice cat on it. And I think it pissed on it… (He bends down and sniffs his own sweatshirt) No, it’s clean.
TYF: (Laughs) You guys also just went on tour with the Foo Fighters. Can you tell me what that was like?
Jed Elliott: It was wonderful. A lot of times, if you get a support slot, it can come through management or agents or labels. So to get somebody that we all love and respect as much as the Foo Fighters pick us out because Dave [Grohl] was a fan was ridiculous. And we spent a year on the road with them, so we had the opportunity to make very real friendships with all of them. And the fans were amazing. Now, the shows that we’re doing as headliners are having more and more people attend [due to] the buzz from the Foos. It’s been wonderful.
Spiller: Every night, [a fan] goes, (trying on American accent) “We saw you with the Foo Fighters!” (reverting to British accent) That’s one thing, actually, that I’ve realized… I’d say 95 percent of fans, when you meet them, feel so inclined to tell you where they saw you last or where they found you, and there must be some sort of reason behind that, and I’m trying to actually figure it out. I found myself doing the same thing, actually, when we had the pleasure of going to an awards ceremony in the UK, and I met one of my heroes, Justin Hawkins. I actually remember saying to him, (using the American accent again), “I was front row Reading Festival and I saw you!” And I was like, “Oh my God, what have I become?”
Slack: I think it’s because we’re not super well known yet.
Spiller: We’re not?
Slack: Well, I don’t think so.
Spiller: But look at this gold hat! (Gestures to gold top hat)
Slack: I think people still feel the need to tell him when they found out about us because they still think we’re their little secret or something… But then it’s the same thing [with larger artists]…
Spiller: There must be some psychological thread that makes people want to say, “Wow, I love you. I saw you here.”
Elliott: It’s their first talking point.
Spiller: It’s really cool. It’s lovely. We love our fans.
TYF: Incidentally, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard British people doing American accents.
Spiller: Oh, really? (Laughs)
TYF: Pretty wild. And you guys just released your album Young & Dangerous. The single from that is “Body Talks” featuring Kesha. What has it been like working with Kesha?
Spiller: Been really fun! We recently just did Fallon, and that was really fun. She was a bit nervous for that, which is understandable. I think it’s a little bit more difficult for women, especially singers, because not only have you got to concentrate on your performance as a vocalist; it’s also the appearance, as well. A lot of thought goes into it. So I felt for her on that. And she didn’t have to do any of that [for us], which was probably the most admirable thing about the whole entire situation. Just having her on board with us—and not only that, but actually going out of her way in doing The Tonight Show with us, and then a few days later doing a show with us and having us open for her. We did “Body Talks” as our encore. You know, she doesn’t have to do that. She’s Kesha—you know what I mean? She’s an international, world-renowned popstar. She’s been very gracious with us, and we’re really grateful. It’s been great. All of her fans have been amazing. I think they call themselves the Animals. So shout-out to the Animals for being so accepting of these four lads from the outskirts .
TYF: You guys just released a music video for your song “Primadonna Like Me.” Where did you guys film that?
Elliott: That was certainly one of the highest-budget-looking videos that we ever did. We got very lucky with the relationship that was formed with one of the heads at Caesars, and we ended up being in the penthouse of Caesars Palace, and throughout the night, we shot out on the balcony looking over the strip, and then down in the casinos with the table, down by the pool… It was very tiring. I think we’d just flown from the UK straight into the shoot, [which] took all night, to then play a concert in Vegas the following day. So it was pretty wild.
Spiller: No, we finished the video the same day we did the show.
Elliott: That’s what I mean, yeah. It was our flight, music video, and then show, so we were pretty knackered. A few people in our camp weren’t a fan of the logistics of that, but I think the video turned out great. (Laughs)
Spiller: We’re not in any hurry to do that again. (Laughs)
TYF: How do you guys like Vegas in general? I’ve never been.
Spiller: I don’t like it.
TYF: You don’t like it?
Spiller: No. The thing is, I enjoy a small bit of gambling—and funny enough, we were playing blackjack with Kesha and a bunch of her band after the show we did in Atlantic City the other day. And I love the rush of winning the cash, but ultimately, once you’ve done that, I can’t imagine spending more than one or two days in Vegas. It’s a very depressing place. It’s not even a real place. It’s an artificial city built in the middle of the desert. It’s like something out of Mad Max. It’s a very strange thing. But I can appreciate the shows. We saw a show called Absinthe when we were there once. We’ve done some great shows there, but it’s very… it’s, like…
Elliott: When I hear British people say, “Oh, I’d love to get to the States. So jealous you get to go there. I want to go to Vegas,” I’m like, “Mate, having seen pretty much the whole of North America, I can confirm that there are places that are much more desirable than Vegas.” It’s worth seeing once in your life, but when you hear people say that they want to come to America for that, I’m like, “No.”
Gethin Davies: No one goes to Vegas for the sites. You go there for the Vegas experience.
TYF: So what are the more desirable places in America, in your opinion?
Elliott: I’ve got a bunch of favorites. New York and LA are kind of the closest to home we’ve experienced. Same with Nashville… but I love New Orleans. It’s one of my favorites. There’s just so much culture there. You can’t say the same for some of the places that we hit on the tours, [places] that all look the same every day with a strip mall and a car park… Chicago’s amazing, and of course, Baltimore. At this particular venue, we always have a hell of a good time.
Spiller: It depends, as well, how long you’re there for. LA is really nice to hang out and chill—little nice beaches and the weather’s always great.
Slack: Colorado is great.
Spiller: Colorado! I was going to say, I’ve always enjoyed Colorado.
Slack: We got to do a private show in Aspen and it was in the summer time and we went to see the… Burgundy Hills or something?
Spiller: Maroon Vales.
Slack: Close. (Laughs) That was amazing, really beautiful. I’ve heard Montana is really nice… but yeah, Colorado has been really, really lovely.
Spiller: The places that have legal weed seem to be really nice, for some weird reason. Everything seems to be really lovely and laid back.
Elliott: You have the arts districts and places like that… It’s usually it’s the more left places.
Slack: Portland is really nice, in Oregon. It was a rainy, sleepy, hippie town. That was cool. I’d like to explore more of Oregon.
Elliott: It’s got the same climate as the UK!
TYF: Another one of the songs on the album is “Freak Like You.” On that one, you guys mention a bunch of names and anecdotes. Are these the names of real people or are they all totally from your head?
Slack: It’s Luke’s family.
Spiller: Yeah. My family in my head! (Laughs) No. The first line was [written] on the way to the studio. There was a homeless man—well, I don’t know if he was homeless—and he was outside a scrap yard in LA [when] we were driving to the studio. He [had] a shopping cart and [had] spent way too much time over the years welding and adding to this cart and giving it wings. It looked like a spaceship. I jotted down, “Bobby builds a spaceship in his backyard” and then from that it just… I don’t know, I just thought it would be cool to start every line with a new name and then repeat the first letter of the name in part of the sentence. None of it’s really based on anything. Some of the places are—[for example], the Salt House. “Simon’s still swinging in the Salt House…” That’s a pub in Clevedon, where I grew up. But as for people, no, no, they’re not. That would be bad, because I do know people under those names, and they would be quite offended, I guess…
Elliott: There was one meet and greet…
Elliott: There was a girl named Hailey. She was like, “Hi, I’m Hailey,” and we were like…
Spiller: “You’ve never given head!” She was like, “Yeah, thanks for that.” (Laughs)
TYF: Another one of the songs on the album is “Who Am I.” On that one, you say, “I can be your Harley Quinn or your Doctor Strange.” If you guys could be any fictional characters you wanted to be for a day, then who would each of you be?
Spiller: I would be the bloke who crash-lands on the island of Wonder Woman. I’d be her boyfriend. You know, the pilot. What a great life that would be—just to know her and then forever be held in her heart so she could never move on.
Slack: But you’d be dead.
Spiller: Yeah, I know. But in the spirit realm, you’d be like, “Yes. She’s still into me. She can’t move on.” (Laughs)
Elliott: I’m struggling, man. I always said the best superpower would be to transform…
Spiller: Well, who’s a well-known teleporter?
Slack: Nightcrawler, from X-Men.
Elliott: I don’t know much about him but I’ll go with him.
Slack: You could teleport, but you’d be butt-ugly.
Elliott: It’s fine.
TYF: I can’t think of many well-known teleporters. I can think of time travelers.
Spiller: Who was that Gordon-Levitt guy? He played… Oh, Looper! That’s time travel. Dr. Who?
Davies: I’d be the Penguin from Batman, but I’d go to a zoo instead of making evil.
Spiller: I’d be the penguin from Wallace and Gromit.
Slack: I’d be Wolverine.
Elliott: Why? He’s not really happy.
Slack: He can’t die!
Elliott: I mean, the man is miserable.
Slack: He’s miserable, but I wouldn’t be.
Elliott: I thought he had really bad pain, though, all his life, because he had metal inside of him.
Slack: All right, I’ll be Spider-Man.
TYF: You guys all picked superheroes!
Spiller: Wait, what?
TYF: I said “any fictional character.”
The Struts: Ohhhh!
Elliott: Scrap that, start again.
Spiller: I still own mine. (Laughs)
TYF: You guys can reevaluate, if you want.
Elliott: I wanna be one of the Stranger Things kids or something like that.
Slack: I’d like to be Wonder Woman’s whip.
Davies: I don’t know. It’s too hard, too many things to think of.
Spiller: Voldemort would be sick, you know?
TYF: You would be Voldemort himself?
Spiller: Yeah! Look, life’s about variety, right? I mean, if he was to lead a really nice life. Why couldn’t you just come back and be Voldermort and switch it up a bit and just be like, “You know, we’ve all got evil in us. It’d be nice to act on it for a lifestyle,” and then just go back to normal again? Cool!
Davies: I’ll be Gandalf.
Slack: Who would you be?
TYF: Hmm, that’s a good question. I always love it when bands turn the question on me.
TYF: Have you guys seen the movie Labyrinth?
TYF: I would be the girl from Labyrinth.
Elliott: Which one’s that?
Spiller: The Bowie one!
Slack: I’d be the kid reading the book in The NeverEnding Story, ’cause in the end, you get to ride Falcor.
TYF: That’s true. You know who else I’d want to be? Have you guys seen Sharkboy and Lavagirl?
Slack: Shark what?
TYF: Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
There is confused murmuring as the guys try to figure out whether they’ve seen it or not.
TYF: I’d be Lavagirl.
Elliott: What is that?
Spiller: It’s this animated thing, isn’t it?
TYF: It’s not animated; it’s a live action movie. It’s by the creators of Spy Kids.
The Struts: Ahhhhhh!
Elliott: Spy Kids. I forgot about that.
Davies: I watched The Little Rascals yesterday. I’d be Froggy.(doing Froggy voice) Speak like this.
TYF: Or I’d be one of the Scooby-Doo gang. I feel like it’d be so much fun to ride around in the Mystery Machine…
Spiller: You never die. You always solve the crime. Very fulfilling.
TYF: You guys also have a very distinctive style of clothing onstage; what are your favorite articles of clothing that you own?
Spiller: I would say my harlequin outfit. I have a red and black harlequin outfit which was made recently, which is really cool.
Elliott: We each have a black and gold outfit, and black and red and black and white—we alternate different nights—and I think the black and white one is my favorite.
Slack: I’d say my black and gold suit.
Davies: I had a sequin waistcoat that I got made for the Stones show in 2014. I don’t wear it anymore, but that’s pretty because that was the first item of clothing that I got made for the band, and it’s just kind of sentimental.
The Struts’ tour manager enters and says that they can only answer one last question; they jokingly protest him, but finally give in.
Spiller: (Singing) One last question.
TYF: Tell me about that cereal commercial that you just made.
Elliot: So Funko, the company—you know, the Pop figures?—one of the guys who’s doing some work with them became a big fan of our band and he came to a meet and greet and he was like, “I’m going to get you made into the Funko Pops!” And we were like, “Okay, man, cool, whatever.” And then it turns out the guy really pulled a big move and then got the owners of Funko—who are such wonderful people; they came to our show in San Diego and they really loved the show—they said “We’d love to…”
Spiller: “…Funko you up.”
Elliot: Yeah, “We’d love to Funko you up!” So we got properly Funkoed up the back side with multigrain goodness. And now we’re on the side of a cereal box, which is available exclusively at Fye stores.
Slack: Preorder now!
Davies: Did you like our advert, our commercial?
TYF: I did! I was a lot of fun. I saw it on Twitter today.