The Struts guitarist Adam Slack says the recording of the English band’s forthcoming album, “Strange Days,” very much aligns with 2020.
“Strange Days” sees the Struts and singer Luke Spiller pairing with English pop star Robbie Williams, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen.
“Luke and Robbie sang it (the title track) together, socially distanced outside his (Williams’) house in LA,” Slack said. “For the safety of everyone, we just sent Luke and the producer. I have not met Robbie, but I look forward to the day I can. It was a very 2020 style of recording.”
The whole album’s process was similar. After getting tested for COVID-19, the band moved into the Los Angeles home of Jon Levine, a producer who worked on their acclaimed sophomore album, “Young & Dangerous.” Within 10 days of “couch crashing” at Levine’s house, the Struts laid down nine original songs and their cover of Kiss’ “Do You Love Me.” The project was meant to be an EP, but they produced an album’s worth of songs in the sessions.
“We quarantined for 10 days in Jon Levine’s house, and we wrote and recorded the whole thing in 10 days,” he said. “We wrote and recorded the whole thing in 10 days. It was very bizarre. We were sleeping on floors, and all this creativity came out of nowhere.
“We didn’t second guess anything. All the songs started writing themselves. We had been touring for five years. We had a chance to rest and recuperate.”
Levine proved to be a valuable partner once again.
“Jon was in the room with us and writing with us the whole time,” Slack said. “He was a mediator when we were writing something. He’d say, ‘Why don’t you try this?’ He’s an amazing piano player and he’d jam along with us. We worked so well together.
“He really gets us. He says ‘Strange Days’ was one of his favorite things he’s ever done in his career. It was like summer camp. He let us crash at his house, which was really gracious. We were waking up every morning with no idea what we were going to write that day.”
With Morello, the Struts sent tapes back and forth until the song was finished. The act previously worked with him in person for another project.
“He’s a friend of ours now really,” he said. “It was crazy to say, because we listened to Rage when we were kids. It was a real honor. The song ‘Wild Child’ had the heaviest riff I’ve ever come up with. If anyone would do it best, it would be Tom Morello.
“We just wanted to get as many guests on it as possible because it would be really fun to do. Whilst we were writing, we said this would be cool for this person. We did it, asked them and they said ‘yes.’ Not everyone is doing a lot at the moment. They couldn’t really say they were too busy.”
Slack sees “Strange Days” as a gift to fans.
“We wanted to make something for the fans because we can’t tour, basically,” he said. “We went through our phone book and people we met over the years of touring. Joe’s been a fan of ours and he’s given us to much praise in the press. We’re grateful for that. It was lovely. He and Phil wanted to do the song, and that was amazing.
“If it wasn’t for this whole coronavirus, we wouldn’t have this album. So in one aspect, thank you for that. It’s nice to turn something so negative into a positive. It’s a really happy album, a feel-good record.”