Luke Spiller Of
The Struts Interview;
Playing Drive In
Show In PA
July 31, 2020
The Struts are bringing LIVE rock and roll to Butler, PA at the Starlight Drive In on August 21st. Charismatic lead singer, Luke Spiller, spent some time with us to talk about their upcoming show, life in quarantine and the band’s future plans.
Greg Drugan: Hey Luke, it’s great to speak with you! How have you been handling life in quarantine?
Luke Spiller: I’ve been handling it pretty darn well. I’ve been keeping myself busy, I’ve been painting a lot. I’ve been writing an awful lot and you know, I’ve been taking advantage of being in the same place, which is Los Angeles, since the start of February. I know it’s been very difficult for an awful lot of people. For myself, dare I say, it’s been quite the refreshing experience. It’s not been without its annoyances and it’s not been without its inconveniences. It’s not been filled with touring, touring, touring. It’s been nice to step back and look into the future and take the next step musically.
GD: A band like yours is always on the road so I bet it was a nice break for you. You are trying to get some positives out of it.
LS: Yeah. You know, it’s also been difficult. It’s going to be interesting with these shows.
GD: I think that it’s great that the band has released Sunday Service on YouTube for eight weeks. It really gave fans something to look forward to. What made you decide to do that?
LS: Well, it’s just a simple case of we had no idea how long this was going to go on for. To be honest, we would have carried that on to this very day, but we had other things that crept up creatively that need to be done and worked out. It was an inventive way for us staying in contact, and keeping the fans on our social radar. It also gave our fans something to look forward to. It was such a shock for everyone and such uncertain times. It’s our job to bring entertainment and dare say, escapism in a way. That’s why we started it.
GD: That’s excellent. You guys played some great acoustic versions of your songs as well as some covers. Is there any talk of you releasing those songs as an album?
LS: Oh, I mean not right now. But who knows. We do have the acoustic EP that we did quite a few years ago. In terms of the covers, I’m not sure. We’ve been doing something, we have been recording and we have been creative. That kind of took priority over recording The Spice Girls “Stop” for instance.
GD: So like you mentioned, The Struts are going to be playing two live drive-in shows in August, one outside of Pittsburgh and the other in Philly. How did those shows come about?
LS: I’m not entirely sure. Like any other show, really, I get a phone call or an email from the manager. Like any other gig, they say this is the date and this is when you are on and this is what’s expected time wise. It’s my job to put that into play and plan accordingly. How it came about, I’m not quite sure. Admittedly, it was something that I had to get my head around. After some initial thought, it’s like these performances aren’t for my enjoyment like a normal show would be. This is kinda along the same lines of Sunday Service. I know everyone’s been having their own struggles and some live music would be great. We are entertainers and that’s our job and we will provide it when needed.
GD: It definitely is needed and we are looking forward to the show. I’m sure you guys are itching to play live just as much as the fans are ready to experience a live concert. Is this the longest time you have gone without performing?
LS: I’m one of those people, like I work so hard on tour and every night. To be quite honest, I’d be really happy for every three month tour to take six months out and kinda let my mind and body repair. So I think the guys have been really itching to get back out on the road. Myself, I’ve really been enjoying the time off. But it’s not about me at this point. Let’s rethink this thing and let’s adapt and let’s give the people some entertainment.
GD: Speaking of your live performance, do you have a favorite song to perform live?
LS: Oh god! It’s funny, man, because they all kind of merge into one. I don’t think, “oh, here comes my favorite.” It all boils down to moments. There are moments, in the last year there is a moment where I play “Somebody New” just me and the piano. That is a really refreshing part of the set and I’m not going a million miles an hour. I get to sit down on the piano and get back to almost how the song was originally formed. I have this audience singing with me. For me personally, it’s a really unique moment in the set. And it’s something that I really enjoy.
GD: You guys are known for throwing a cover song or two into your set. When I saw you a couple years ago in Cleveland you did Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark.” Is there a song that you’ve been working on that might make the set?
LS: To be honest, it might be more of a case of some brand new material. There’s only a certain amount of time that we have and we might prioritize throwing in some new material rather than another cover. I think people might get more excited about that. We have plenty of that to offer at the moment.
GD: Great! That was my next question, you mentioned that you’ve been writing new songs. Is there a new Struts album that might see the light of day?
LS: I can tell you this, the band has been creative. We have spent some time in the studio but that is all I can tell you before I get into trouble. I can assure you, that this year people are going to be very excited indeed. They will really enjoy what they hear. That I can guarantee!
GD: That would be great. I love hearing new music and hopefully you can put a new song or two into the set. Are you guys playing a ninety minute set in Butler?
LS: That’s a question for my tour manager. I just get up and play! I think so, at least seventy-five. I think so, I can’t see why not. I’ll just have to take out all of the audience participation because that tends to take up some time in the set.
GD: Looking back on your career, who inspired you to become a musician?
LS: I think it all started in my early teens. As a musician I would say bands like AC/DC, The Darkness, Electric Fix and Queen and ABBA to name a few. I think performing, it was Michael Jackson when I was a lot younger. It’s a whole array of people. I was brought up in church, with live music. So it’s always been a part of my life in one shape or another.
GD: Do you remember the first artist who you saw in concert and how did that impact you?
LS: Oh god! I remember seeing some band locally at the end of like, school year party. I can’t remember the name of the band and they definitely aren’t still together now. I remember standing there thinking, “wow, how cool is that?” I remember thinking, I was an absolute sucker for that. I remember being in the front row, and enjoying it and bopping up and down. I can’t remember the band name. I can tell you that they were unsigned and they were from my local town, that’s about it.
GD: Very good. Were you always a musician? I know that you play piano, do you play any other instruments?
LS: I mean, I can play piano basically. I can play guitar basically. I think playing and being accomplished are two very different things. (laughs) I can play lots of things, but I’m not accomplished at anything, including my voice. It’s been something that’s been self taught and it’s something that I tend to kind of discover new things as the years go by. I’m always learning.
GD: You spent some time touring with the Foo Fighters. I was lucky enough to see you in Cleveland and at Sonic Temple in Columbus. How have the Foo Fighters influenced you and are their other bands that have influenced you or taken you under their wing?
LS: Gosh, we’ve had great opportunities. The Foo Fighters would be a unique one just because how long we were out with them and we made genuine connections with the members of the band. As you may know, I got up and sang “Under Pressure” with the Foo Fighters almost every single night touring with them. That would continue when we would play the same festivals with them. That was big. We’ve done three shows with the Rolling Stones and the first one definitely changed our lives. Just because of the exposure we had in Paris and that made its way over to the US. In terms of getting us signed to an American management company. Joe Elliot from Def Leppard, Tom Morrello, and Albert Hammond Jr. from The Strokes. Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. There’s quite an array of people.
GD: Luke, I know a lot of people are excited about this show and I am looking forward to seeing you in Butler, PA. What can fans expect from this show?
LS: I think what they expect might be something different then what they’ll get. The show’s going to be approached quite differently with the circumstances. I don’t know what to expect myself, let alone the audience.
GD: Thank you so much for your time. I wish you safe travels and I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.
LS: Thank you very much, man! Thanks for having me.
Come check out The Struts at The Starlight Drive In on August 21st. Tickets start at $150 per car (up to four people) and can be purchased by clicking here.