Akin to the Darkness in their unabashedly over the top, retro-fetishist, classic rock style, English rockers the Struts burst onto an unsuspecting public with big dreams and loud mouths to match. The band was the brainchild of singer Luke Spiller, the child of strict Christian parents, who had dreamed of being a showman ever since becoming obsessed with Michael Jackson at the age of seven. With his sexualized swagger, powerful voice, and outrageous pronouncements like “I was born to do this, and I’ll die doing it,” Spiller came off like a cross between Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Robert Plant. The band’s music was a similar blend of ’60s and ’70s tropes, with big, singalong choruses that earned their videos hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits and won them a deal with Mercury Records.
Born and raised in Bristol before moving with his parents to Devon, Spiller practiced his moves for years in his bedroom before deciding the time was right to form a band. He recruited guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies, and they all lived and rehearsed together in Derby for two years, steadily building a reputation through solid gigging. Eventually, the band got the attention of Mercury, who signed them. Their career was boosted when Spiller was recruited by Mike Oldfield to do all the vocals for his 2014 album Man on the Rocks; they were then invited to support Black Sabbath at their massive Hyde Park gig, winning over a hostile crowd. Their debut album, Everybody Wants, was released in July 2014, peaking at number 52 on the U.K. albums chart. The following year saw the release of the EP Have You Heard. ~ John D. Buchanan