Meet Steel Panther. Their claims to fame include launching the careers of many a band (From Janes Addiction to Motley Crue), tagging your Mom, and supreme rulers of all things Metal. Owning the 80s, Steel Panther was crowned king of The Sunset Strip and headed towards super-stardom in spandex, then …they disappeared. While the history is a bit fuzzy, two decades later the band is back and ready to pick up right where they left off….in your Mom’s pants.
The band (Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums) have poised themselves for their big comeback with their debut album on Universal Republic Records “Feel the Steel”. With the first single “Community Property” hand delivering STDs from the east coast to the west the band just returned from a trip over the pond to perform at the legendary Download Festival.
At a stop in Boston for a private show for rock station WAAF, the band took some time to sit down with us and talk shop, Metal Shop that is. So if you were wondering who in the band wore Depends or who was uncircumcised, never fear, we’ve covered it all for you…
Interviewed by: Roger Scales | June 2009
(Ed. Note: We recommend listening to the audio as you read through this, it adds to the overall experience! Right click and save: Audio link.)
The band has been described as “the greatest metal band that you never heard” so tell us where things went wrong back in the 80s?
Michael Starr: I don’t think it went wrong anywhere; we just couldn’t get it off the ground. It was like the Wright brothers trying to get their plane off of the ground, the first few didn’t go very well but now there’s jets flying everywhere.
Stix: We’re like the “Spruce Goose” of Metal.
Satchel: It is a lot like the Wright Brothers because once The Wright Brothers got their planes flying people were totally ripping off the patents.
Michael Starr: And they got a lot of pussy too.
Satchel: Yeah they got a lot of pussy, that’s another thing we have in common with them.
The Wright Brothers got a lot of pussy?
Satchel: Fuck yeah! Those guys did a lot of cocaine, so we have a lot in common.
Michael: The Wright Brothers did a lot of cocaine and that enabled them to really study their craft which was learning how to fly, and that’s what we’ve done.
Lexxi: I’m flying right now and I don’t have an airplane.
Michael: you don’t need an airplane to fly in this band.
So why is Feel the Steel only available in the UK right now? When is the US release date?
Michael: Yes, Feel the Steel is only available in the UK right now; it will be available in Japan soon so if you’re vacationing in Japan in July you might want to pick it up.
Satchel: Thanks to the Wright Brothers you can fly right over there and get it.
Michael: Also, if you’re going to be around and alive longer than Michael Jackson was (Flash to TV in club posting the death of MJ – Too soon?) you can buy it in November.
Now that Feel The Steel is gaining momentum what is the level of ass on this tour?
Stix: Same level as I always gets, about that high (hand motions about the height of the table we’re sitting at.) Can you see this? (He says to the voice recorder sitting on the table.)
Satchel: Mine’s a little bit lower than the table because I like Asian chicks.
Stix: He likes chicks with low asses.
Michael: And he likes midgets too.
Speaking of Asian chicks, there’s a rumor going around that George Lynch stole the idea of his ESP Kamikaze guitars from you after you guys opened for Dokken back in 1985? You had a following in Japan at that time & it was in tribute to them?
Satchel: I don’t know for sure, I do know that this band has been around since probably before George Lynch was even in Dokken and a lot of people have ripped off a lot of things from us and we’re not bitter about it but we’ve outlasted all of them. Ratt, Dokken..
Michael: Warren DeMartini ripped off a bunch of shit from George Lynch who ripped off a bunch of shit from Satchel.
Satchel: A lot of people will rip off a lot of people but it all comes back around.
Lexxi: We did a show with those guys just a couple of weeks ago and one guy in Bulletboys and one guy in Ratt ripped off some of my shit in the dressing room. I’m missing a bracelet and a brush…
Michael: I know who stole your brush.
Michael: The singer from Bulletboys.
Lexxi: Fucking asshole.
Michael: ..because he’s got that thick Mexican hair.
Satchel: He needs that thing. He needs it more than you do, your hair still looks good.
Stix: No matter how much he brushes his hair it will never be as cool as yours Lexxi.
Lexxi: He can have my fucking brush then.
Satchel: he can shove it right up his ass that brush.
So Steel Panther, are we going to get any endorsements here, maybe condoms, or a coffin?
Stixx: We don’t endorse condoms; that’s for sure.
Satchel: Actually it’s funny you should say that because our lead singer Michael Starr just started endorsing Viagra, just a few weeks ago.
Michael: That’s not true…it’s Cialis.
Satchel: Oh, it’s Cialis, sorry.
Michael: Viagra makes your nose stuffy, when you party like us you don’t need extra stuffing in your nose. You need it as clear as possible.
Satchel: Our drummer..should I mention this? I don’t know if I should. Our drummer has been using..
Satchel: … Depends undergarments for awhile.
Stix: Pretty cool dude, pretty cool.
Michael: Don’t worry about it dude, you’re the only guy in the band who gives 110%.
Stix: Well, you know what..that was something that I shared with you guys personally and I didn’t expect you to say it in an interview.
Lexxi: You kind of share it with a bunch of people every time you walk by.
Satchel: You know what though, you can’t really tell, your spandex are actually think enough so that it hides the undergarments.
Stix: I know the look is good. It’s just the fact that I’m walking around with shit inside my diapers. It’s not comfortable and I don’t like to be reminded.
Satchel: Do you need to be changed?
Michael: Did you poo-poo in your pants? Do you need a diaper change?
Stix: No diaper change!
Michael: Let me check. Come here.
Michael: Do you want a time out?
Stix: No time out.
Satchel: The truth is that we tried it a couple of times without the depends and after the show I had to wash his fucking spandex like three times, it was horrible.
Michael: One day you’ll go poo-poo in the potty.
Satchel: If you can make it through a whole show without soiling your diaper then we’ll start using no diaper and see how that goes.
Lexxi: Do you see that his pants are always darker shades.
Michael: Will you guys leave him alone, for God sakes, the guy has a little bowel issue.
Who was the inspiration for the song the Girl from Oklahoma?
Michael: A girl from Cincinnati. Actually her name is Donna.
Stix: She’s from Winnipeg.
Satchel: She’s got feathered hair and she drives a camaro..
Stix: She wears sandals..
Michael: Satchel and I met her when we were at the clinic in Oklahoma City and..
Satchel: Michael pulled her pants down and he gnawed on the zits that were on her vagina. It was amazing, I had never seen anyone do that before.
Michael: In the bathroom..it wasn’t like I just pulled down her pants, we talked and we hooked up.
Stix: She was yelling at him in her gravelly voice the whole time.
Michael: What was she saying?
Stix: “I love it when you do that….eat my zits”
Michael: She didn’t talk like that.
Stix: Yes she did, I could hear her.
I saw you guys back in the day in Boston…The Channel, Narcissus, any great Boston memories???
Satchel: We did play out here a few times.
Michael: I wasn’t in the band.
Satchel: Oh you were in the band, remember, you fucked Steven Tyler’s girlfriend?
Michael: No, I wasn’t in the band.
Satchel: You were in the band dude.
Stix: You were fucked up though, I remember.
Satchel: You’re the only singer we’ve ever had that how I remember. We didn’t ever have another singer so you were definitely in the band.
Michael: I don’t remember that.
Satchel: You don’t remember it?
Michael: No I don’t remember it.
Satchel: You’re right, it wasn’t you. Oh wait, maybe we didn’t play out here.
Lexxi: No, I don’t think it was here. I think it was Cincinnati.
Michael: Bakersfield is where you’re thinking.
Stix: Same difference.
So you guys just played over in the UK at The Download Festival. Did you eat any Spotted Dick while there?
Michael: Did we do any what?
Stix: Spotted Dick. I didn’t eat any Spotted Dick.
Michael: Are you fucking kidding me right now?
Axl Rose swears by the stuff.
Satchel: The only spotted dick that I saw in the UK was in my own spandex, okay.
Michael: No I’ve never eaten spotted dick, I’ve never even heard of it.
Stix: It’s kind of like SPAM right?
Yeah it’s like Spam..
Michael: its fish right?
No I think it’s a bread…
Michael: Wow, why do they call it a dick then?
Satchel: We can’t even afford SPAM so we’re still on Ramen.
Well the Brits do call their cigarettes fags..
Michael: I’m going to have a fag and smoke a dick..
Stix: We didn’t eat spotted dick.
Michael: No we didn’t, I didn’t even see it. That’s amazing though, I wish I had. We didn’t even get a chance to go to a grocery store there, we went to one fast mart/gas station and that was it. Other than that we didn’t go anywhere other than the clubs.
So how was that trip as a whole, you guys were one of the most anticipated bands out there (for Download Festival).
Michael: It was bitchin.
Stix: It was awesome, we were the top band out there.
Michael: We got voted number one band in the UK..
Stix: for that day..
Michael: For the days of June 5th and June 9th.
Stix: Yeah whatever dates we were there we definitely got voted top band.
Michael: The hype was there and we had pretty big shoes to fill. We went out there with all this hype and people were expecting a lot more than we thought we could give but once we got the shit we needed to get before the show..we realized we were going to be able to fill the shoes.
Lexxi: Do you know what he means by that?
Satchel: Once the audience saw us, they lowered the bar of their expectations and we lived up and passed the bar.
Stix: We definitely exceeded expectations.
How was the weather out there, usually it’s horrible.
Michael: it was beautiful, I was wondering why people were always so down on England.
Stix: It’s like it is right now (beautiful). Wherever we go, the sun comes out.
Yeah it’s been raining here for two weeks straight, this is the first sunny day we’ve had all summer.
Lexxi: We bring a little LA wherever we go.
Michael: Heavy metal brings sunshine, that’s what we’re trying to do, bring heavy metal back and just enlighten everybody. The heavy metal gods have seen fit to help us out with that.
Of all the celebs that have joined you on stage, who sang the worst?
Michael: I’ve been not wanting to say this but the one that comes to mind is at the tip of my tongue right away is Avril Lavigne.
Satchel: I thought she was amazing.
Lexxi: I thought she sounded great myself.
Stix: Yeah she was awesome.
Michael: Yeah she was really good, I think I’m thinking of someone else.
Michael: Um, Jessica Simpson, but she’s not a singer so that doesn’t count.
Stix: I thought she was killer too.
Satchel: I thought she was amazing.
Lexxi: Yeah she was good.
Michael: Steve Perry didn’t sing that well.
Satchel: Steve Perry never sang with us.
Are you thinking of Stephen Pearcy?
Michael: Stephen Pearcy! He fucking ruled dude.
Stix: I didn’t think he was that good.
Satchel: Yeah I didn’t think he was that good either.
Michael: Are you kidding me? He turned around to the drums and was like “Rouuund and Round”…
Satchel: Do your Stephen Pearcy impersonation right now.
Michael: I can’t, it’s just like a weird sound he does, it’s like a RATT.
Satchel: I’m going to do the sound that Michael Jackson makes. (sound of flat liner..) They’re not going to get this through the audio…it’s the sound of an electric…electric….Electric Boys, remember them? Never mind.
Lexxi: I love them. We were listening to Lips n Hips on the way here.
Michael: (To Roger/TWRY Staffer) Wait, I want you to rate some bands for me right now. Van Halen?
Which era, which vocal?
Michael: David Lee Roth..
Satchel: Nine. Fuck dude, how are you gonna get a ten on this?
Michael: Okay wait, hold on…Warrant?
Michael: Nice. Good move.
Satchel: He’s a tough judge man.
Satchel: Whoa that’s a high score.
All: Whooooaaaa! Wow…..(Michael breaks into a Dokken Tune..)
Satchel: How about this…Winger?
(Listen to the audio clip for the rest of this game)
Lexxi: Okay, guess what hand this is going to be in. (Shows both closed fists, and Michael picks on.) No you’re wrong!
Stix: That’s a great game!
Michael: It’s really cool with chicks, when you do that with a condom. They might guess the hand without one in it..
Stix: Or you can just drop it on the floor if they pick that one..
Satchel: Fantastic. What we’ll do is we’ll all fuck the same girl backstage at the same time and we’ll say..”Guess which guy has the condom on?” And then she’ll guess, and she’ll guess everyone but none of us wear condoms!
Lexxi: No, they always think you’re wearing one because you’re not circumcised. The foreskin hangs over the tip of his penis.
Satchel: Do we have to talk about this at the dinner table?
Michael: We’re not at dinner, we’re at a bar doing an interview with TheyWillRockYou.com.
Satchel: I’m uncircumcised.
Janes Addiction credits you with their record deal, what other bands have you helped out along the way by not showing up at gigs?
Michael: No no, not their record deal..forming the band.
Satchel: Well, they wouldn’t have been signed if it wasn’t for us though.
Michael: well yeah, that goes without saying.
Stix: What other bands what?
Did you help out any other bands along the way?
Michael: We’ve helped a lot of bands along the way but none of them have come out and actually given us credit like Jane’s Addiction.
Satchel: Like Poison.
Stix: Like Extreme.
Satchel: Like Bon Jovi.
Stix: Like U2.
Satchel: The Beatles, Elvis…
Stix: Like Led Zeppelin
Satchel: Michael Jackson, Rush, all those bands…
Michael: No, not KISS. They did all that crazy shit on their own.
Stix: Yeah they were the one band we didn’t help.
Michael: they really did do it their way.
Michael: If it wasn’t for me Vince would have brown hair.
Stix: They have Panther written all over them.
Michael: they should be called Motley Panther.
(For the real feel of the conversation feel free to check out the audio as well.)