As Steel Panther’s Michael Starr chatted about the band’s latest album, “On The Prowl,” he couldn’t help but get a little sentimental. When asked about one of the band’s lead singles, the ultra catchy and reflective “1987,” Starr reminisced of a bygone era of heavy metal dominance.
“I was reading an article that someone wrote,” Starr explained. “It was an album review of our record, and I like to read those just to hear what people are thinking of it and their perception of it. And this guy said, ‘1987, what a love song.’ That’s a perfect way to describe it, because it really is. I love that era. It was the peak of heavy metal. And you don’t realize it’s the peak when you’re in it.”
Just a few years later, the landscape drastically changed.
“Grunge came out, and if you’re my age, you know what happened,” he said. “You were there and lived it, so you can feel that in the song. Even if you’re young and don’t know but you know the history slightly, it call still pull at your heartstrings.”
In classic Michael Starr/Steel Panther fashion, a touching story has to wrap up with humor.
”And you’ll go, ‘Wow. Man, just hearing those guys reminisce about old times, they are old as f*ck.’”
Steel Panther are approaching nearly a quarter of a century as the kings of parody metal. They have re-captured the hard rock sounds and sights of the 1980s so brilliantly, that if there wasn’t the comedy aspect to the group, listeners would think that the band originated from the decade of decadence and not the early 2000s.
“On The Prowl” (set to drop February 24) is 13 slabs of hilarious hard rock that keeps the Steel Panther party the place to be. Recorded largely during the pandemic, it comes on the heels of the band losing long-time bassist Lexxi Foxx and Starr going through some health struggles allegedly caused by FOZZY singer and All Elite Wrestling star, Chris Jericho.
Drummer Stix Zadinia revealed that prior to the band’s last record, “Heavy Metal Rules,” Starr had double hernia surgery.
“I got the hernia wresting Chris when we were on tour together in France,” Starr said. “He body slammed me and tore my groin, and I instantly got a hernia. Then I was fighting our guitar player on stage, he knocked one of my veneers out of my mouth. And when I went to punch him, I tore the other side. So when the pandemic hit, I finally got the surgery done. Now I can do sit-ups and I can punch people. And the next time I see Chris, I’m gonna body slam him.”
Starr talked all things “On The Prowl,” the band’s new bassist and getting respect from peers in this Web Is Jericho exclusive.
Talk a little about Spyder and what kind of effect new blood has had on the band. “It’s been great to see Steel Panther’s success through the eyes of a newcomer in Spyder. He’s been out on the road with us before filling in for Lexxi, but it’s different now years later. We’re doing these festivals with 60,000 people, sometimes even 90,000 people. It’s overwhelmingly amazing, and his excitement is infectious. He’s so stoked seeing all the chicks, and all the p*ssy he’s getting now. He’s definitely leveled up his game. He’s getting sloppy fourths, which he’s very f*cking happy with.”
You guys did virtual auditions prior to selecting Spyder. What were some of the craziest videos that you got from prospective bass players? “Some of them were really funny. I would say probably 30% of them were just people going, “I love your band, and if you guys teach me how to play bass, I’ll be really good at it.’ We’re like, ‘Well I don’t know if we want to teach somebody how to play bass,’ you know? Then we just had some ones of dudes f*cking girls while they’re doing the bass parts. People snorting blow while they’re doing the bass part. All the sh*t you can possibly think of. People were really getting into the spirit of Steel Panther, and it was f*cking great. We got over 500 submissions. We went through every single one of them more than once. We searched high and low, and it’s so funny, cause we did that big search and right in our own backyard Spyder is just sitting there on the web waiting for us.”
Any female bass players try out? “Oh yeah. Tons. As a matter of fact we had couple of them get up on stage and jam with us. It doesn’t matter if you’re boy or a girl. I mean, look at Lexxi. Who knew if he was a boy or a girl, right? To us, it really doesn’t matter. We’re pretty open with that. We got submissions from transgender people as well. For us, Steel Panther is all inclusive. There’s a lot of people that don’t even really love heavy metal that are fans of Steel Panther. They’re fans of the show. Because when you go there and watch us play, you’re gonna laugh. You’re gonna have some beers with your buddies or your girlfriends. And you’re gonna have a great time and see some crazy s*it happen and hear some crazy s*it. The lyrical content of Steel Panther songs are fun in itself, so you don’t even have to be a Steel Panther fan to enjoy the live show.”
Talk a little about the lead single, “Never Too Late (To Get Some P*ssy Tonight)” “One day we were setting up for a show, and we were hanging out around the bus. We said, ‘Tonight we’re gonna get laid.’ And we did the show, and there were a bunch of killer chicks, and we handed out a bunch of backstage passes. We come to find out that the train for this show in Europe leaves at a certain time, and there’s only one train after our show. So everybody left. There was no one to f*ck. We said, ‘F*ck, what are we gonna do?’ We had a day off in the same city, and it’s like 6 a.m. And that’s when we decided, ‘It’s never too late to get some p*ssy tonight.’ We decided, ‘Let’s find the 24-hour strip club. We went and found that, and it wasn’t until probably 2 in the afternoon that we all got laid. But that’s the emphasis of the song and where it came from.”
Speaking of p*ssy, you have a song on here called “Magical V*gina.” But what about v*gina that isn’t so magical? “You’re right that some v*ginas are not magical. Some v*ginas are connected to a head you just can’t get away from or you don’t want to hear anymore. When you find the magical v*gina, it’s kind of like when you find a booty call that’s f*cking magical. The v*gina is amazing, the conversation may not be great, but it doesn’t really matter because the v*gina is so magical. So you find yourself making that call a lot. Especially for me when I’m home off the road. I’m like, ‘Should I call her? Because her v*gina is so magical.’ So you do call her, and you work the magical v*gina. And this could go both ways. The girl could be like, ‘Yeah, I know I have a magical v*gina. You have a slightly magical p*nis, I’m gonna get together with you. I don’t really want to talk to you. I just want to match a magical p*nis with a magical v*gina.’ And then that’s the end of the transaction, and everybody is on the same page. So when you find the right magical v*gina, don’t let go.”
“Friends With Benefits” musically sounds a little like Accept. “That song, I think there’s maybe 3 guitar solos in that song, and it’s a banger. Satchel knocked it out of the park with that song. The opening riff is heavy, and I think we’re gonna do that song live, too, because I think it will go over really well. All our songs truly come from experiences we’ve all had in our lives. Sometimes we access ones that have just happened, and sometimes we go back in time and remember a time when we’re just sitting around and talking, and we go ‘You remember that?’ And we write a song about it. And ‘Friends With Benefits’ is no different than that. It’s just basically you find a friend that has a benefit, and again, I can’t say this enough, it goes both ways. Everybody gets something in the transaction. The girl gets something and the guy gets something. And that’s called ‘friends,’ which means you guys are friends. But you also have benefits. So the benefits of having friends that are like-minded or are Steel Panther fans, is most of them like to f*ck. So that’s really what it centers around. But there’s a couple lines that aren’t true in there about chicks spending our cash. We may look like we’re rich and famous, but we’re really not. We’re just an average band just trying to rock and bring metal back. And I’m still in my mom’s garage, and I’m proud of it. I’ll bring a friend here that’s got benefits, and my mom will feed her afterwards, which is cool. ‘Friends With Benefits’ is an anthem for people who believe in that type of relationship, and I believe you do, too.”
Back when you first started a few of your peers in the rock and metal world kind of turned their noses up at you thinking you were taking the p*ss. Do you still deal with any of that? “Early on, when we first started at The Viper Room, we were playing Monday nights. And we would go on after a wet T-shirt contest. The night was called ‘Club Camaro,’ and it wasn’t centered around the band, it was centered around the wet T-shirt contest. We were just the after entertainment. We soon took that show over. They got rid of the contest, because it got in the way of our show, because we were beginning to be the draw of the venue for that night. But they left the chain link fence up they used to keep the guys from grabbing on the chicks. I’m so grateful they did, because people used to throw s*it at us. Once we weeded out all the people that were there for the wet T-shirt contest, we took the fence down. But there were still some people that would come to our show and they would say sh*t like, ‘Shut up and play music!’ And we were like, ‘F*ck you!’ And we would just keep talking. Once Satchel had a bottle thrown at him and it shattered everywhere and we all got glass splinters in our body and started bleeding a little bit. But we just kept rocking, because that’s what you do. If you’re with a chick and she’s on her period, you don’t stop f*cking, you keep going. A little blood never hurt anybody. But nowadays I think people are pretty equipped to handle a Steel Panther show. Every now and then I’ll see somebody at the grocery store, and I’ll tell them what band I’m in. And they go, ‘Got it.’ Then I see them at the grocery store again, and they avoid me. So then I know it’s not their style of music.”
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