Steel Panther has been rocking the world with its sexualized brand of comedic heavy metal for almost 20 years. They entertained millions with profane and humorous lyrics in songs like Fat Girl (Thar She Blows), Gloryhole, Goin’ In The Backdoor, Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World and the ballad (?) Community Property.
Had these guys performed serious lyrics they would have either been the biggest selling glam rock band in history or they would have flopped. Instead, they are Steel Panther.
The band performs at London Music Hall on Saturday, June 15 as part of a Canadian tour throughout the month. Frontman Michael Starr checked in with 519 ahead of the show.
I’ve read about Lexxi’s rehab a lot, but I bet with all the touring, you guys don’t get much rest?
No, not really. We’ve been home for a bit to get some rest, but we’ve also been recording while we’re home and then we have just been rehabbing and trying to re-gather our selves because after you tour for a while, it kind of wears you down a bit. You have to rehab, like start eating food on a regular basis and maybe do some light lifting and walk around a little and then just get back in shape to tour because touring is the most important thing – going out and playing for people.
It’s getting close to 20 years for you guys since you started as Metal Shop and Metal Skool and almost 10 years since Feel The Steel. Is it still fun for you?
Well, every year it gets more fun and it gets different the more we grow. I don’t want to say bigger, because I don’t know if it’s bigger, but our name is spreading all over and it’s so fun to be able to just slowly grow as opposed to having maybe some success and being gone the next week. For us, we just want to keep on rockin’ till we die, and we are able to do that. We’re able to go out the shows and play in front of people and the shows are getting bigger, we’re selling more t-shirts and more CDs and it’s the dream I’ve always had my whole life.
I’ve been living it for my whole life and it’s just great.
You guys have always been about partying, having a good time and the pussy. Has any of that changed since that first album came out?
The only thing that changes is the length of the sex. I think that the time is dramatically shortened for some of the guys in the band as they age, but for me, I still enjoy women and I enjoy partying. Not only do I enjoy women, I enjoy all walks of human mankind because a party is about being with other people and the music. David Lee Roth said it best “music is a sharing experience and I want to share with everybody”.
You know, I love my hair, but you got me beat. Your hair is amazing. You guys have always been about good looks and good music. Was that always the goal from the start?
I’ve always had long hair and looks are fleeting, they don’t last forever. So no matter what I do, eventually I’m going to be an old man. I’ve been trying to enjoy the aging process and just lettin’ go and lettin’ heavy metal take over and I think when it’s all said and done, what I want to say on my tombstone is “Michael Starr rocked until he dropped. Heavy metal rules!”
I always felt like Steel Panther would make an amazing Las Vegas residency. Sin City and the greatest sinful band of all time – sounds like a perfect match to me.
I agree and we did have a residency there. We played every Friday and Saturday night in Vegas for about eight years, and we did that before we put our records out. And that’s one of the reasons why we were able to get a record deal was because of the following in Vegas, Hollywood, and San Diego. Universal Republic saw that and saw the kind of excitement that we were generating and that’s how we got a deal.
We got out our record deal, we started putting out records, and we slowly stopped doing the weekly shows in Vegas, LA, and San Diego, and we started touring around the world. And now that we’re established around the world, we want to bring back a residency in Vegas and make it steady, but I got to tell you when you are selling tickets all over the world, it’s hard to stay in one place.
Yeah, I can see that. You want to go where the fans are?
We want to play in South America. We did it a few times KISS when we did a tour with them there, and we’ve been to three or four festivals in Mexico. The world is so big, so beautiful and there are so many people that don’t get a lot of heavy metal because it’s hard for bands to travel everywhere. So if we’re able to sell tickets and go and play all these places, then we will do it. Then when we’re getting our knees replaced and hips replaced and all that kind of stuff, we’ll set up shop in Vegas and hang out there for a few years.
One of the great things I love about you guys is that you aren’t afraid to explore cover songs and give them a Steel Panther feel. On the latest album, She’s Tight was selected. Why did you choose that one and how did Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander get involved?
My mom passed away about three years ago from cancer and the reason I tell you that, is because this was a long process for her before she passed away. She loved Cheap Trick, so we would have parties at the house when I was a teenager and she’d always say “Can you play Surrender for me” and we would play Surrender.
Another favorite song of hers was “She’s Tight” so we play that and then as she was going through chemo and all that stuff and we knew it was going to be over. She’s like, it would be really cool if you guys record a Cheap Trick song – that would make me stoked. I asked the guys and they were totally down to do it. Stix, Satchel, and Lexxi were all Cheap Trick fans, and I was born in Chicago and grew up there, so I was a teenager and Cheap Trick was like God in Chicago. They were the biggest band around and our manager at the time Paul Geary is friends with Robin, and he knew that we were doing the song and mentioned it to Robin, who, it turned out, was a fan of Steel Panther, so he was totally down to do it.
We sent him the audio, he just sang the parts and email them over. We put them in the song and God dang it, I’m singing with Robin Zander. It’s for my mom so it’s even better.
Are there covers you love to play?
I’ve got to be honest with you, man, I love me some Van Halen, Motley and maybe even Slaughter – “Up All Night”, what a killer tune. We even do an Autograph song called “Turn Up The Radio” and that is awesome to do. Just this past year, we decided to bring it back our Sunset Strip shows. Our tour is called Sunset Strip Live and what that consists of is the show that we used to do before we got a record deal, but what it is, it’s all the cover songs that we’d love to do and dig and then within that are all the super popular Steel Panther songs, so we did a hybrid of that and it’s called Sunset Strip Live and that’s what you’re going to get. It’s an old school party.
Catch Steel Panther in the 519 at London Music Hall on Saturday, June 15 and Feel The Steel.