Luke Spiller has no longer one, no longer, however, 3 top hats that have been made for him with the aid of fanatics. He’s worn two of them on the level. “They’re high-quality,” he tells me, lounging on the sofa in a small lower back room of Philadelphia’s Theater of the Living Arts earlier than taking the stage to a bought-out crowd. (He does not comment on the 1/3, and it looks as if that is kindness.)
Receiving and comparing personalized headwear is, possibly, now not the sort of factor the singer of any vintage rock band might cope with in 2019. But Spiller is the frontman for The Struts. And The Struts are, genuinely, the sort of band that receives hand-bedazzled millinery exceeded their way before playing a gig.
That’s because the Struts are gleefully, refreshingly out-of-synch with the manner maximum popular tune sounds nowadays. Founded in Derby, England, in 2009, the band has embraced a glam-rock ebullience that practically needs pinnacle hats (together with capes, sequins, fringe, and leopard print, for that count). The modern lineup—Spiller, plus guitarist and co-founder Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies—become installed in 2012, and has garnered a recognition not best for anthemic singles like “It Could Have Been Me,” but also downright extraordinary stay indicates, complete with costumes that’d make Freddie Mercury proud.
“When The Struts got here collectively, that became some thing that I very lots carried into this task,” says Spiller, “and from the phrase ‘move’ turned into very focused on creating excitement visually as well as sonically.” He started out making his overall performance portions, sewing collectively “these kind of cape things,” or customizing thrift-keep reveals like simply one of a kind-enough blazers to cause them to suit and experience extra stage-friendly.
In the band’s in advance days, “I assume that Luke perhaps had a clearer concept than the rest people may have” while it came to developing a cultured, says Elliott. Still, all four individuals had been giving it a shot—and all residing in the identical house, where they’d throw themed events. “It’d be Hippie Night, or Mod Night, and it’d be some £10 fucking blazer that we’d pull out that regarded a touch bit extra fancy than what you’d wear down the shops,” recalls Elliott.
“I don’t forget when Jed and Geth first joined the band, I gave ‘em £200 of my very own money because they didn’t have something to wear,” Spiller interjects. “I turned into like, ‘Go! Buy something!’”
“That’s what I loved about joining the band on the start, though,” says Davies. “It was the vision. It didn’t simply track, it turned into the whole lot. And it became us being a collective.”
It did take a few doing, although. “There was a learning curve, for certain,” says Elliott. “I appearance lower back at photos from six years in the past, like ‘What the fuck changed into I wearing on level?’ It became all wrong. But you stay and examine.”
And, if you’re lucky, you book a gig with The Rolling Stones, which The Struts did in 2014 with just a 4-music EP called Kiss This underneath their belts. It became a big milestone—and the instant when the band achieved glam ascendency.
“I didn’t sincerely have whatever custom-made for me at that factor,” Spiller explains. But he changed into eying the paintings of Zandra Rhodes, the English dressmaker who famously dressed now not simplest Mercury, but Queen guitarist Brian May as well. “It becomes my mother, funny enough, who informed me to get in contact along with her,” he says. He reached out via e-mail (“the old fashioned manner”) and commissioned a glance. The gown—with its shiny blue, winged top—changed into a success, and that changed into the beginning of a fair bolder fashion for The Struts. “Once you do something like that, it’s difficult to head lower back,” Spiller says.
For the past 5 years or so, the band has been running with every other legend of rock ‘n’ roll gown design: Ray Brown, who’s created outfits for everybody from AC/DC’s Bon Scott to Mötley Crüe and the Arctic Monkeys. It changed into that final band that placed him on The Struts’ radar.
“I’m a large Arctic Monkeys fan,” says Davies, who determined to reach out to Brown after getting to know he labored with the band. “I simply idea his stuff changed into honestly precise and funky, so I assume I gave him £100 to make me a sequin waistcoat.” That was a dialogue about the importance of visuals for touring bands, and, finally, into an extended-time period partnership. “Since then, all of our costumes are made via him,” says Davies. “It’s absolutely delivered to the showy bit.
And because the band’s sound has stepped forward—first with the 2014 album Everybody Wants (launched in 2016 in the U.S.), and then with closing fall’s Young & Dangerous—so has its style. “It’s type of like the tune,” Spiller says. “The first album, you can pay attention plenty of the whole thing in there, simply directly, influence-clever. And now, our 2d album, is very Struts. It’s now not like, ‘This one sounds like this, and this one seems like that.’ It’s now not like that, it just seems like The Struts. And I think the appearance is like that as well.”
Of path, there’s usually room to develop. Currently, the band’s whole stage cloth wardrobe is managed through the individuals themselves, with some assistance from Spiller’s girlfriend, model Laura Cartier Millon, and their assistant tour supervisor. It’s no mean feat, mainly if you have a frontman who’s doing or three costume modifications over the course of a show. But it’s additionally the fact of the state of affairs.
“I would love with a view to extend what we’re doing and push it and push it and push it. But financially, we genuinely don’t have the cash to do this,” Spiller says. “We should—I don’t want to say play it safe—but we form of ought to move for matters in the mean time that we recognize paintings. Push it a bit bit, after which thread a few kind of consistency throughout all 4 individuals.” (The irony of implying the band’s present day appearance is “secure” doesn’t seem to sign up, which speaks volumes approximately The Struts’ appetite for pageantry.)
Spiller is looking forward to a moment whilst that adjustments, probably while Young & Dangerous gets a comply with-up record. Thanks to singles like “Body Talk,” the remix of which features none apart from Kesha, the band’s profile is developing, specially Stateside. And that would just imply a bigger apparel finances. “I already realize what I want to do on the next album,” Spiller says.