“Life began to imitate art, for better or for worse…”: how The Struts came back from the brink on their ambitious new record

The Struts in 2023
(Image credit: Press)

In the new issue of Classic Rock, Polly Glass joins British rockers The Struts on the road in Nottingham and London as they outline the next phase in their plan for global domination. The quartet’s latest record Pretty Vicious is their most epic effort yet, full of Queen-style melodicism, searing riffs and swaggering grooves, but it’s also their most vulnerable and honest. Frontman Luke Spiller revealed that he’d been to the edge and back on the way to making it. There was a lot of wild nights, lost weekends and heavy partying, he recalls. It’s no coincidence that one of the album’s key songs is titled Bad Decisions.

“I can’t go into too much detail,” he tells Classic Rock. “I hurt a couple of people who didn’t deserve to be hurt. I was kind of seeing someone at the time, I really let them down, and it all came back and blew up in my face. But I managed to smooth everything over. It was sort of…” [he thinks about this] “I think there was a couple of moments last year where I just didn’t really give a fuck. I didn’t care what anyone was thinking.” It ended up, Spiller continues, with the lines being blurred with the tales he was coming up with in his music and his own existence. “In the last couple of years, life began to imitate art, for better or for worse,” he says.

Elsewhere in a wide-ranging feature that goes backstage and into the emotional depths with the four-piece, they look back to their early days, life in LA, rubbing shoulders with celebs and why, despite some poppy diversions, they will always be a rock band at heart. Read the full feature in the new issue of Classic Rock, either in our special Classic Rock Struts bundle which comes with bespoke cover, an exclusive lyric sheet plus an autographed art card hand-signed by the whole band, or order a regular edition of the magazine here.

Classic Rock 321: The Struts bundle

(Image credit: Future)
Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.