By Christine Leonard
CALGARY — It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, but it’s only a short trip to the back of the tour bus if you want to record a new album. That is if you’re the lead-singer for the internationally celebrated glam metal-comedy band Steel Panther. Bonded in 2000 under the moniker Metal Shop (later changed to Metal Skool and eventually Steel Panther in 2008) vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia have discovered the best way to squeeze recording sessions into their busy tour schedule is to take the studio with them on the road.
“Right now we’re working on a brand new full-length record,” says Starr. “We’re going to be recording a lot of the vocals live on the tour during the rest of the year. If you record in the hallway where the bunks are and you put a lot of heavier girls in there it gets a real warm, thick sound. So, that’s a really good way to record a ballad. If we’re doing a full-out ‘Pussy Whipped’ or ‘Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World’ we’ll go into the back-lounge where’s there’s a lot of mirrors to get a harder sound.”
Despite the tight quarters, fleshing out their latest vision with plenty of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is just business as usual for the L.A.-based entertainers. Having spent the past sweet 16 years travelling the globe and performing live alongside Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Slipknot and Guns N’ Roses, Steel Panther has enjoyed enormous success, particularly in Australia and Canada where they’re keeping the spirit of ‘80s hair metal alive and kicking.
“Canadian people love metal… still and so do Australians, they miss it. Canada and Australia embraced Steel Panther right out of the gate; it’s been fantastic for us,” he says. “Is heavy metal aging well? Probably not. But does it matter? No. Shit, I’m a sabretooth, for Christ’s sake! But think about this, if you look at any guy that you went to high school with that’s 53 – do you think they look like Axl Rose right now? Not a chance. He looks fantastic! His singin’ is amazing! You know what the biggest offender is for weight-gain in rockers? Lack of cocaine and too much beer. I don’t do any cocaine before a show; I wait for the guitar solo.”
As sagacious as he is salacious, Starr knows exactly when to put the pedal to the metal and when to ease off the throttle whether he’s romancing groupies, eating candy, or partying all night long. It takes certain amount finesse and a strong constitution. Mandatory traits if you’re going make a living pumping out Sunset Strip satire albums like Feel the Steel (Universal, 2009), Balls Out (Universal, 2011) and All You Can Eat (Universal 2014).
“If somebody doesn’t like Steel Panther because of our lyrical content, or the way we look, or the fact that we’re bringing glory to heavy metal from the ‘80s they’re not going to like us no matter how good we are. There’s just no way around it. Kinda like if you get together with a girl and you know it’s not gonna go right. You just move on and go to the next girl. If you have a sense of humour, don’t’ take yourself super serious, and you like to have fun, and you like to party – we’re your band!”
Steel Panther perform at The Ranch Roadhouse in Edmonton on July 7th and at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary on July 8th and 9th.AB, Alberta, Deerfoot Inn & Casino, Steel Panther, The Ranch Roadhouse