Steel Panther: More Metal than Manowar
Editor's note- since this interview was conducted, Steel Panther has been confirmed for Soundwave 2012 and the band will release its new album Balls Out in October/November. Needless to say, we're pretty excited about this. Click here for more details. Enjoy our hilarious interview with the band below.
Words: Brendan Crabb
Latest release: Feel the Steel (Universal)
Band site: www.steelpantherrocks.com
Los Angeles quartet Steel Panther are the most metal thing around today – just ask them, they’ll tell you. From their origins a decade ago as Danger Kitty, Metal Shop and Metal Skool, the band’s dead-on parody of the 80s Sunset Strip glam metal scene has established a rabid fan base for their sex-crazed, puerile yet undeniably infectious anthems. The band will also make their live debut in Australia as part of the Soundwave Revolution festival in September. Loud got effervescent bassist/backing vocalist Lexxi Foxxx (real name Travis Haley) on the phone to talk about bagging his first Australian female, creating the follow-up to their wildly successful debut album Feel the Steel, whether they’ll write a raucous tell-all autobiography and thoughts on touring with Van Halen and Alice Cooper.
Q: Hey Lexxi, how are you doing?
A: I’m doing awesome. I’m actually shopping, I’m meeting the chick that does my stage clothes and I’m getting some really bitchin’ shit for this next tour to bring down to Australia. So I’m getting some clothes made.
Q: You’re touring here for the first time in September. What took you so long? (laughs)
A: Shit, I know! (laughs) It’s a long flight first of all, I guess it’s 14 fucking hours, I don’t know, I think that’s one reason why it’s taken so long. I don’t even know if we’re taking a plane, I don’t know how the fuck we’re getting there, but I know that we are super stoked to go there and play with Van Halen and Alice Cooper. It’s going to be a blast. We kept hearing, we go on our website and we look at shit and I had no idea … I’m still always humbled by how many people dig us bringing heavy metal back. I had no idea that we have as many fans as we have, but we go online and here in the States even, if we’re doing meet and greets, I’ve met so many people that are Australian fans. And hot fucking Australian girls - I’m not just saying that either. There are a lot of hot Australian women and we are all so super stoked to go and fucking… You know what I’m talking about.
Q: (Laughs) Indeed. What a way to make your inaugural trip here too, with Van Halen and Alice Cooper on the same bill.
A: Yeah, exactly. So that’s pretty awesome, and even people who haven’t heard our stuff and are into Van Halen or whatever, hopefully we’ll win over a couple of their fans.
Q: Will the band be road-testing any new material during the Australian shows?
A: We might do that, because we’re going to find out from the label exactly when they want to release the next record. When we find that out, we’re going to make the decision whether we’ll play some new stuff. I sure would love to and I really believe we will. We’ll just give a taste of one or two songs of the new record. I believe that we’ll do that for the fans that have heard the record and want something new, because it’s been a couple of years that our record’s been out. So I hope that the label’s cool with us playing… Well, fuck the label. We’ll probably play a couple of songs.
Q: How close is the new album to completion?
A: It’s almost done; we have some special guests coming on to finish up. We have (Extreme’s) Nuno Bettencourt coming in to do something and a couple of other surprise guests. Like the last record we had Justin Hawkins, Scott Ian from Anthrax, Matt (Sanders) from Avenged Sevenfold and Corey Taylor. We wanted to get some bitchin’ musicians on the record and then we’re all finished up. The songs are all done, they’re all written and laid out and we’re just stoked to play ‘em.
Q: A few names have been tossed around that are appearing on the record – Gene Simmons and Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy among them.
A: Yeah, they have been tossed around. Gene hasn’t come in yet, but Gene wants to do something with us, we just have to exactly figure out what it’s going to be and how we’re going to do that. But it’s gonna be bitchin’ no matter what. I wanted to get Randy Rhoads and then I forgot that he’s fucking dead and the whole plane crash shit. So that was out. But there’s nobody alive that we couldn’t get on it. You know what, we wanted to get Joe Elliott from Def Leppard, but his schedule is really, really crazy. So that still might be a possibility, but we’re not sure, it’s just his schedule is fucking like bananas I guess. I know he loves the record and he said when we did a festival that he was going to be able to do it, and I just hope he doesn’t puss out.
Q: (Laughs) Do you have a title for the new album yet?
A: No we don’t. We were kicking around a couple of things; Smells Like Number Two, Droppin’ A Deuce, This Album Rocks, we don’t know. There’s a whole bunch of things we’re kicking around, but we haven’t come up with anything yet. In the next couple weeks we’re going to have to knock it down to a couple of album titles, we’re not sure. We’ll figure it out though.
Q: In what ways do you feel this album is a step up from your debut?
A: I’d have to say there’s a bunch of reasons. We brought some public figures into our material, as we did (on) the last record, but I think the ones we’re talking about now are great. I can’t talk about it because I really want it to be a surprise. I just think we’ve had more time to write than we’ve had before. We’ve been writing about the tour that we were on with Feel the Steel and we came up with a bunch of bitchin’ material, just from touring. That gave us a whole heavy metal experience and we wrote just so many fucking cool songs just from the tour. They’re all very personal and all very, very, very bitchin’ songs. After Australia, we come back and we start our promotional tour for the States we start doing the East Coast, doing radio shows and just getting the world ready for the record that’s about to come out.
Q: You lampooned many “public figures” on ‘Death to All But Metal’. Did you receive any feedback from those name-checked in the song?
A: Oh yeah, as far as 50 Cent and stuff like that, I’m a lot thinner than the rest of the guys so if I get shot, it’s not going to be, that bullet will likely miss me. But as far as some of the other dudes I don’t know, I don’t think 50 Cent liked it that much from what I heard, because well, you know. But Blink-182 actually are fans of ours, but they had us on their page, so it’s cool. The Goo Goo Dolls said in an interview that it was one of the funniest things they ever heard. So I didn’t know that they were going to think it was funny; we were telling them to fuck off, but I guess they thought that we didn’t mean “fuck off”. Because yes it does – they don’t play heavy metal, so fuck it.
Q: Shifting topics now, we’ve got some questions from our readers for you to answer. Allen Rudd asks via e-mail, when can we expect the release of a Steel Panther autobiography to rival Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt?
A: That is going to happen sooner than later. We’re talking about doing something like a, it might like even be in a show, it might be like either a 90-minute movie or a series of shows or DVDs or CDs that you can buy that we all want to tell our story about our heavy metal experience. So it should be out within the next, hopefully a year or so. If it was going to be written, somebody else is going to have to do it because I fucking hate to write. I’ll just tell my story and somebody else can fucking write it down, because I can’t stand writing.
Q: (Laughs) ‘Brendo’ asks via Twitter, do the fat girls that attend your shows enjoy the song ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’, or do they blow up and throw punches and food at you instead?
A: (Laughs) Yeah, the second one (laughs).
Q: Hisako Masaki aka ‘Asian Hooker’ asks via e-mail, I’m sure the band the band are excited to play on the same festival as Van Halen. If you could jam with Van Halen on any of their songs, what would it be?
A: Mine would be probably ‘Running with the Devil’, because it’s the only song I know by Van Halen. Well, it’s not the only song I know, I know other songs but sometimes out here in the States we’ll play ‘Running with the Devil’. So I wouldn’t look like a complete donkey, I would want to jam that one because it’s the only one I fucking know.
Q: The same reader asks - have you scored with any Australian girls before?
A: No I haven’t, and that’s one thing I was saying in another interview. I have not scored with any Aussie chicks and that’s why I can’t wait to go down there and score with an Aussie chick and then I’ll be able to answer that question when I’m done doing it.
Q: (Laughs) Steel Panther’s influences have been well-documented, but are there any newer bands that you’re excited by?
A: I don’t know man, any other new bands that I listen to, I don’t think so because I pretty much just listen to metal and there’s just so much shit on the radio I don’t pay attention to it. I like the new Ratt, that’s pretty bitchin’, but I love heavy metal so there’s nothing really out there that I think is more bitchin’ than fuckin’ Ratt, Poison, Dokken, Cinderella, Europe, Bon Jovi. If one of those dudes put out a newer record that’ll probably be my favourite record.
Q: What did you think of the latest Europe album?
A: I did like it. Well, I don’t know about the whole album, I just heard two songs but I thought they were cool. At least I think it was the whole of the original lineup wasn’t it, from Europe?
Q: I think you may be right there (Editor’s note- not entirely correct, but their “newest” members joined in 1984, a year after the release of their debut album, so the point remains the same).
A: The reason that I fucking love Europe, and let me tell you this right now and all you fucking heavy metal bands out there. Find a way to get the original band together; I’ll come and see your show every time. I give Europe so much credit for fucking, they’ve gotta be fucking 70, and they’re out there fucking out there touring like a fucking unit, like a fucking well-oiled machine, a heavy metal machine. Because I’ll go watch LA Guns or Ratt, and I don’t know who the fuck is who. I don’t even know who any of the members are in Ratt. I don’t even know what’s going on, so as long as real heavy metal bands like Europe fucking come out and it’s all the same dudes, that’s fuckin’ bitchin’ and I support that 100 per cent.
Q: On a completely unrelated topic, who is more metal – Steel Panther or Manowar?
A: Fucking Steel Panther, because we look more bitchin’er.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Other than I can’t wait to put my penis in an Australian girl’s vagina, I’ll leave it at that.