The Duke Spirit are an English rock band, with an affinity to the sound of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and the Pixies, a band The Duke Spirit has covered live in their early shows. Their primal take on Rock and roll, blues and soul music allies them to groups such as Patti Smith Group, Spiritualized, 60's Girl Group such as The Shangri-Las and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.
The band are currently actively touring back and forth between the USA (in support of Incubus), Europe and Australia whilst fitting in time to write new material for their third album.
- Liela Moss - vocals, tambourine, harmonica, piano
- Luke Ford - guitar, backing vocalist|backing vocals, farfisa
- Toby Butler - guitar, Bass guitar, backing vocals, farfisa organ, vox jaguar,
- Olly 'The Kid' Betts - drums, glockenspiel, percussion, piano, backing vocals
- Dan Higgins - guitar, backing vocals, autoharp - Higgins has since left the band, amicably. He has not been permanently replaced, instead the band have worked with various close friends on their '08 - '09 tours.
Currently Marc Sallis is the touring bass player.
The band formed from the meeting of Moss and Ford at an art college in Cheltenham, where they were studying painting and photography, respectively. They moved to London together and began writing songs. After a short time they convinced mutual friend Butler to join the band, and they began to perform under the moniker Solomon. During this period they shared a flat with various other people trying to make it in their various facets of media. One of their flatmates, Higgins (he designed all their sleeves for Cuts Across the Land and resulting singles) turned out to be a guitar player looking for similarly minded musicians. After a chance meeting with drummer Olly Betts, who was at the time studying Music in London, the band developed as a complete unit with a new name, The Duke Spirit by early 2003.
The band released their first single "Darling You're Mean" in May and played their first gig at the Brixton Windmill later that year. Later that year, the label released the "Roll, Spirit, Roll" EP, 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 in the early 2004. 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, enjoying great success with the release of Fleet Foxes in the UK) and the legendary Flood, best known for his work with Nick Cave, NIN and U2 . After headlining the TMF Rock Festival (now known as Offset festival) in the UK, the album was released in the U.S. and the band found themselves touring 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 in May 2006. The Duke Spirit returned to work in the same studio with Goss in April 2007 to record their own second album, Neptune, which 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 fashion collection, one of the shirts of which featured the face of singer Liela Moss.
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 Europe. They have played a number of high-profile support slots for Queens of the Stone Age, Mercury Rev, R.E.M., Supergrass, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Eagles Of Death Metal, and Duran Duran. In 2008 the band performed on American TV five times - appearing on Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno Jimmy Kimmel Live Last Call with Carson Daly and David Letterman.
- Official website
- BBC Collective, editor's review
- Interview with Toby Butler of The Duke Spirit 2007 The Line Of Best Fit
- Interview with Toby Butler & Liela Moss October 2007 The Line Of Best Fit
- 'Neptune' album review The Line Of Best Fit
- The Step and The Walk Review
- Live In-Studio Performance on WOXY.com
- Live in-studio performance on KCRW
- Review of Duke Spirit - Live At The Manchester Academy 3. March 2008.
- Session tracks and interview on Rare FM
- Interview with Liela Moss PlugInMusic.com
- Concert Review
- Interview with SomaFM
Biography from Wikipedia