The Duke Spirit
"The Duke Spirit" are an English rock band based in London. Their sound has been seen as a melding of many influences ranging from the alternative noise of 1980s/90s guitar bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Spacemen 3, the tremulous rock n roll of bands such as The Gun Club and The Cramps, early R&B, garage and psychedelia, through to a distinctive rhythmic 'Atlantic soul' and Motown influence.
The band is currently in the U.K. writing and recording its third album.
*Liela Moss - vocals, tambourine, harmonica, piano, wood block
*Luke Ford - guitar, backing vocals, Farfisa, piano, Autoharp
*Toby Butler - guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals, organs, piano
*Olly 'The Kid' Betts - drums, glockenspiel, percussion, piano, backing vocals
*Marc Sallis - bass guitar
The band was formed in London in 2003 by Ford, Moss and Butler. Ford and Moss met at art college in Cheltenham where he was studying Photography and Moss was studying a Fine Art Foundation Course. Butler and Ford also met at the same college at around the same time and briefly played in a band together. Creating The Duke Spirit they set about writing, recording and self-producing a bunch of songs that formed the basis of their first single and "Roll Spirit Roll" E.P.
The band released their first single "Darling You're Mean/Bottom of the Sea" in May on the City Rockers label, without having performed live. After a chance meeting with drummer Olly Betts, the band was complete and played their first show at the Brixton Windmill later that year. They released the "Roll, Spirit, Roll" EP toward the end of 2003, which won the band critical acclaim from publications such as "NME". The band's debut album was due to be released in September 2004 until their record label, City Rockers, ran out of financial steam. They moved over to Loog Records/Polydor and released the album in the UK on 16 May 2005. The album's producers were Simon Raymonde (formerly the bass player in Cocteau Twins, and now Bella Union Label boss) and Flood, best known for his work with Nick Cave, NIN and U2. After headlining tours of the UK, the album was released in the U.S. and the band found themselves travelling through America for much of 2006, including a highly praised performance at the Coachella 2006 festival, California. The only release of 2006 was a downloadable EP and limited 7" single entitled, "Covered In Love", (released through Velo Recordings). This was a collection of songs, recorded to 8-track by the band, written by the recently deceased (Arthur Lee, Desmond Dekker and Jessie Mae Hemphill). In early 2007 the band signed to You Are Here a new independent Anglo-Canadian label. The track "Mayday", a collaboration between UNKLE and The Duke Spirit was released on the latest UNKLE album, "War Stories", in the UK on 9 July 2007. The track was recorded with Chris Goss at the Rancho De La Luna studio in Joshua Tree, California where they returned in April 2007 to record their own second album,also with Goss. "Neptune" was released in February 2008.
In February 2009, the band released a 10-track compilation CD featuring three songs never released in the US ("Masca", "Souvenir", "Do What You Love") as well as a cover of Alex Chilton's "Baby Doll". The CD was sold alongside a McQ Alexander McQueen collection, one of the shirts of which featured the face of singer Liela Moss.
The band have finished their 3rd album named "Bruiser", produced by Andrew Scheps and Rich File, and is due for release in early 2011. The Kusama EP will be released in December 2010.
The Duke Spirit have received acclaim and increasing success despite relatively little advertising based promotion on television and radio.Initially a 'word of mouth' band, their touring schedules have helped them to spread their music across the country and eventually into America and the rest of Europe.They have played a number of high-profile support slots for Queens of the Stone Age, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, R.E.M., BRMC, Supergrass, and Eagles Of Death Metal. Since 2008 the band have performed on American TV more than six times - appearing on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Jimmy Kimmel Live", "Last Call with Carson Daly", "It's On with Alexa Chung", "The Henry Rollins Show", and the "Late Show with David Letterman".