by Sara Jane Overby
There is a rush of anticipation and excitement that comes with watching artists walk your way to sit down and speak with you. So naturally, when The Struts “strutted” their way into the media tent at the Hangout Music Festival, “rock stars” was the epitomizing term that came to mind. With all the aesthetics of “cool” going on–black denims, black leather, bandannas, lead singer Luke Spiller donning a black cloak with retro circular shades–it was a nice surprise to peel back the leather layers and see what’s underneath.
Mother Plug Music (MPM): Hey guys!
Luke (lead vocalist): Hello.
Jed (bassist): Hey!
Gethin (drummer): Yo, yo, yo.
Adam (guitarist): How are you?
MPM: I’m good, thanks for sitting down with me. So tell me guys, is this your first Hangout?
Jed: Yes, it is indeed.
MPM: What do you think about this crazy weather? The festival has had to call Code Red twice now!
Jed: So far, it reminds us of a seaside day in Great Britain, in the rain.
Gethin: We love it!
Jed: We got locked into artist catering. We thought there could be worse places at a festival than there [everyone laughs].
Luke: It’s nice, it’s like being younger and you have a giant power cut out throughout the whole grid of your village and you wind up congregating in one area whether it be like the biggest house on the street or the village hall and you get together with candles and you tell tales of past.
MPM: I need to come to your village during a power outage! That’s awesome. Since we are telling tales of past, I actually read when you (Luke Spiller) were eleven, you wanted to be a dancer, is that correct?
Luke: Yes, that is correct.
MPM: What type of dance?
Luke: Well, I really didn’t know what type of dance specifically, but I wanted to do something on the stage. Whether it was like ballet or contemporary. I really tried to convince my parents to let me audition for some sort of dance school. But they didn’t want anyone else bringing me up. Because it would have meant I had to board, you see? But, I kind of taught myself, and then I did wind up studying three years of dance and it was sort of my first introduction to the stage.
MPM: Very cool. Speaking of the stage, you guys were all on stage opening for the Rolling Stones, right?
Luke: Yes, we did. It was good. It was about two years ago now. Yeah it was great, it was an honor and a privilege, and you know, definitely one of those things that you feel really lucky to do because you know not a lot of people will get to do that. And, you know, they have had such a big influence on us, it was really fantastic.
MPM: Did I read Zandra Rhodes [stylist for Freddie Mercury] styled you guys for that show?
Luke: Yes, I got in contact with her and I wanted an outfit you know, which would kind of fit the occasion, you know. It was going to be like 75,000 people so I needed some attire to suit that. I just sent her an email and she was really up for it. She hadn’t work with an artist or singer in quite a while. It was really cool because I got to see some of the outfits she did for Queen, and Mark Bolan [of T-Rex] as well.
MPM: Freddie Mercury is one of your inspirations, correct?
Luke: This is true. Freddie Mercury, Mark Bolan, and a lot of the Seventies Glam Rock movement. I think vocally a lot of people compare me to [Freddie Mercury]. I think it’s because he is really one of the only rock stars to sing in a British accent.
MPM: Dialing back to the show in Paris when you opened for Rolling Stones, I read where Luke commanded everyone in the crowd to sit down mid performance. What was that like for you guys on stage? What were you thinking?
Gethin: It was great. We were kind of like, “ballsy move!” It was great, and it did kind of work, but then we actually went over our time. And so the guys actually had to pull the plugs on us and we continued on playing without the sound. So that’s a bit anti-climactic, but still, we did have a bit of fun with the crowd. And yeah, 10,000 people out of 80,000 sitting down to one of your songs and them jumping back up–yeah, that was great!
MPM: That’s so awesome! I am really excited to see you guys perform later. Is there anyone you are excited to see perform?
Jed: We were excited to watch The Weeknd, but now everything’s moved back and we’ve got to drive to St. Louis overnight tonight. Alabama Shakes as well, I saw them this year in Glastonbury and I thought they were brilliant. They’re sort of still fresh in my mind, so I thought I would go and see The Weeknd if I had to choose, sorry to them. But now I am not going to get to see either of them.
MPM: That’s a real bummer. Circling back to Luke wanting to be a dancer, what did the rest of you guys want to be when you grew up?
Gethin: I used to want to either be a milkman or work behind the deli counter at the grocery shop. [laughs]
MPM: Is this for real?
Gethin: [Smirks] Yeah, well the milkman thing, maybe. But the deli thing, yes. When I was like seven I used to want to always go behind the counter. And I don’t know, I like the way they pack their food. I don’t know, it’s weird. [Everyone laughs]
Luke: Big dreams. It’s a sandwich. Everyone knows that you go into Subway.
Gethin: I love how the tomatoes line up perfectly.
Jed: So you could have been a mathematician, but instead you wanted to make sandwiches.
Gethin: Yeah, my love for food and symmetry kind of come together.
Jed: Yeah, well, I guess it does make sense.
Gethin: But hey, I’m a drummer in a great band ya know, so things worked out.
MPM: Yeah, I guess you can say that’s a fair trade. So what about you, Adam?
Adam: Well, when I was really young I wanted to be a postman. Kind of a similar thing, but I wanted a red mini [automobile], like an old mini, red mini. But then, ever since I was nine, I wanted to be performing something and finally started to play guitar when I was twelve.
MPM: Very cool. What about you, Jed?
Jed: When I was early teens, I wanted to be an architect. Mainly because I loved playing the Sims. And I did, for work experience, for when I was like fourteen [laughs]. But other than that, it was always music.
MPM: What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you while you have been touring here in the US?
Jed: One of the coolest rock-and-roll things was when we toured with Motley Crue for a few gigs in Vegas and three in LA. So on New Year’s Eve we were sort of in with Tommy Lee, and he was pouring tequila down a guitar made of ice that said Motley Crue and pouring it through a glass bottle shaped as a shotgun full of tequila down the luge and people were taking shots at the bottom. And I remember thinking this is quite a rock and roll New Years. This is great!
Gethin: My dad was actually with us, and I think he had more of a rock and roll experience than we did. He was the one doing the tequila with Tommy Lee, and we were just spectating. And with all that being said, I think it’s important to note that we attract that sort of rock and roll lifestyle. But we are good.
Luke: You know, we have our moments, but here is the crunch, right? You know, I think when we were younger, even sort of two years ago, even a year ago, our party philosophy was sort of a lot more intense and drove our lifestyles more than it has, let’s say a lot of 2015 going into 2016. And I think that’s because we are a very fucking hardworking touring band. And for instance, if one show in our hectic tour gets cancelled, all of the sudden we will be losing money and we can’t afford to fuck it up and we want to be the biggest band in the world. The more that we’ve said that, the more I think we are realizing, ‘You know what? We have to back that up now!’ Our health and our performance and delivering a great set to the fans and whoever is watching us–that is our upmost priority. So, that’s the crunch.
As anyone can see, these guys are raw, talented, charismatic, and they care about delivering a top-grade performance to their fans. You can see The Struts when they roll through Birmingham and perform at Sloss Music and Arts Festival on July 17th! Stay plugged into our Instagram and Facebook accounts with #slosstix for chances to win 2 tickets!