- - Friday, August 2, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Don Henley of The Eagles once put out an album called “Building the Perfect Beast.” In 2019, Interscope Records is promoting four guys who may be building the perfect band.

Stop and think about what the perfect rock ’n’ roll band would consist of. How about an over-the-top charismatic lead singer with a multi-octave vocal range? Add in a seemingly never-ending supply of guitar riffs that get in your head and simply won’t leave. Create anthems that stadium audiences can sing along with … song after song after song. How about a dose of that palpable rock ’n’ roll attitude that tells a concert audience reality has been suspended for the next two hours. In the case of the band itself, what if that unspoken aura that they can do anything carries over to everything whether live, in studio or impromptu, and what if the four gents responsible for all this are remarkably likable. The women love them, guys want to be them and kids are welcome at their family friendly shows.

Enter The Struts.



Not only do these four guys from the U.K. drive live crowds into a virtual frenzy with clever pop/rock hooks and the most talented vocalist in music since Freddy Mercury of Queen, The Struts have an energy and charisma on stage that is unmatched anywhere. If you go to one of their shows you will dance, guaranteed. You will sing along with a couple thousand of your new best friends, even if you haven’t heard the song before. Oh, and you will smile. It is impossible to watch The Struts play and not do all three of the above.

Rocking the house is important, but this column began by using the word “perfect.” Just how good are these guys?

In the past several months they’ve been the featured guests on “America’s Got Talent,” played two songs live on CBS on the “Victoria’s Secret Christmas” special, woke up millions on “Good Morning America” and are spending the summer as the house band for Dodge, via television commercials and a heavy online presence.

Perhaps most impressive is their fan friendly attitude. Despite the success and the ever increasing fame, Luke Spiller, Jed Elliot, Adam Slack and Gethin Davies remain extremely nice guys, feet firmly grounded in the reality that the fans make it all possible. While touring in Australia earlier this year as part of a festival line-up, some shows were canceled at the last minute due to another band’s illness. How did The Struts respond? They scared up some acoustic instruments and put on a free show for the locals. 

At one particularly hot show this summer here in the U.S., some in the crowd were getting overheated. Bass player Jed Elliot spotted one fan near the front looking a bit unsteady and made eye contact in the midst of one song. “Are you OK?” he mouthed to the man. The next thing the fan remembers is Mr. Elliot was hovered over him with a bottle of water. The fan had passed out, the band quickly finished the song and Jed jumped off stage to help. “Not to get pithy but ultimately everyone is human” explains Mr. Elliot. “Granted there is the line of you’ve got the rock band up on a pedestal and you’ve got the fans that worship it, which is unbelievable. It is amazing for us and we are very thankful. But look, you see somebody suffering, no matter what the situation is, you give the lad a bottle of water.”

All four members of the band are clearly committed to making The Struts as successful as possible. They have been touring nearly non-stop for the better part of four years. Initially, they opened for some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Foo Fighters. Since late last year, they’ve been selling out their own tours in both Europe and the United States.

With a schedule of 200-plus shows annually, has four years of four guys on a tour bus being together almost all the time created problems between them? “In the band things are dandy” offers lead singer Luke Spiller. “Being in a band is simple. You’re all in it together. None of us particularly want to probably be out on the road as much as we have been, but we all understand the importance of it. You are united by this one vision. You’re on a journey and you have a goal.”

The goal is really what sets The Struts apart. They are on the constant quest to be the best. Unlike some bands, the goal isn’t to drink and pick up girls at every tour stop. The goal is clearly to put out the best albums, put on the best shows and build the fan base. Mr. Spiller acknowledges just how essential it is, “For us the road has been our bread and butter.”

That’s not to say the constant touring and the spotlight of fame doesn’t have its challenges. Mr. Elliot recently broke up with his girlfriend of three years and the news was all over the Internet for more than a week. He says it is just part of the business they’ve chosen. “It’s something you never imagine when you get into music, that suddenly your personal lives are in celebrity pages. When people are talking about what to you is so magical in your personal life … to be honest mate, I really don’t know what to feel about it, but it’s just part and parcel of the game we are in.”

Two successful albums, sold-out tours in the U.S. and U.K., a huge ad campaign with Dodge and fans constantly clamoring for more might tempt some to pause and pat themselves on the back. Not these guys. The Struts recognize and appreciate the success, but are driven to do more. Says Mr. Spiller, “I think we are just getting started and I think there is something changing at the moment that I feel … I feel like if we don’t capitalize on this opportunity with the right (third) album, then it might pass us by.” He says this not with worry, but with relish. “… which is super exciting and I love that and that is what motivates us to do the best that we absolutely can.”

Almost as an after thought Luke says, “I feel like we are on the cusp something pretty big.”

They are. The Struts are building the perfect band.

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