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The Struts’ singer says he reserves his debauchery for the stage

By Patrick Ryan | Gannett News Service

Strip away the garish costumes and black eyeliner, and you’ll see that the Struts’ Luke Spiller is no rock star cliché.

“I’m not very rock ‘n’ roll. I’m a quiet person and my days of debauchery are over,” the wild-maned frontman says.

That said, he and his bandmates get to let loose in their new video for single “Could Have Been Me.” Set on a barge floating down London’s River Thames, “we’re smashing guitars and doing all the things that are rock ‘n’ roll into the sun. It’s got booze, [boobs] and rock music — what more could you want?”

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THE STRUTS

WITH HIGHLY SUSPECT

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

Where: Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln

Tickets: Sold out

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As a kid in Clevedon, England, Spiller was introduced to pop music through Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album and aspired to be a contemporary dancer, even enrolling in dance classes at college. But it wasn’t until after graduation, when he met guitarist Adam Slack, that he realized his rock ‘n’ roll ambitions: moving up to Derby, England, in 2010, where they lived and recorded music together for nearly three years.

In 2012, bassist Jed Elliott and drummer Gethin Davies joined the group, and they released their first single as the Struts, “I Just Know.” After a string of overseas releases, the glam-rockers unveiled their formal U.S. debut EP “Have You Heard on Interscope Records last month.

“Could Have Been Me,” the band’s latest single, “was written about a time and a place the band was in. We were really struggling and just didn’t want to look back and say, ‘That could’ve been me,’ ” Spiller, 26, says. “We had this idea of creating something that was very big and Queen-sounding, something anthemic.” The Struts performed the song on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” late last month.

The Struts are in the midst of their first headlining U.S. tour, which comes to Chicago’s Lincoln Hall for sold-out shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. But their most high-profile gig to date was opening for the Rolling Stones in Paris last year, which included some face time with Mick Jagger himself.

After soundcheck, “he walked over to us and said ‘hello’ and was basically saying how amazing the sound was going to be that night,” Spiller says. “I just stood there in awe and tried to make it sound like I was doing that every night as well. He was a really cool guy — very soft hands.”

Spiller aims to enhance the Struts’ live shows through his flashy onstage ensembles, and will usually change a few times during a performance. Wearing flowing, sequin-adorned shirts inspired by British glam-rock artists such as David Bowie, T. Rex and Queen, “I try and alter clothes myself, whether that’s taking jackets and repainting them, putting outfits together in places you really wouldn’t expect, or even buying the odd bit of women’s clothing,” he says.

As part of a San Diego radio contest last month, the Struts hosted a “Could Have Been Tea” party with fans while in town. Asked for meet-and-greet ideas, “I just interjected and said, ‘Well, if it was one of my favorite bands, what would I like to do?’ ” Spiller says. “It’s the same as everyone, which is sit down with that band and have a real conversation. Being English, I thought, ‘What’s the best way to have a nice [talk]?’ It’s, of course, sit down and have tea and cucumber sandwiches.”