In the early 1980s they were the greatest metal band in the world. They ruled LA’s Sunset Strip with a gloved fist and turned every show into a cataclysmic event. Steel Panther reigned supreme and was the spearhead of LA’s glam metal movement during the turbulent tide of a fickle music scene. They influenced a generation of musicians and created a style and a buzz that reverberates to this very day. Bands like Motley Crüe, Poison, Ratt, Quiet Riot and Warrant all felt the seismic shift and built careers from their simple philosophy, “Fuck all night and party all day.”
Known for their wild outfits, big hair, energetic stage presence and rockin’ tunes, Steel Panther was the ultimate party band. They sang songs about banging groupies, marathon drinking, snorting copious amounts of blow and havin’ a good time. Songs like “Fat Girl,” “Stripper Girl,” and “Death to All But Metal” were sing-a-long crowd favorites. Frontman Michael Starr, bassist Lexxi Foxxx, drummer Stix Zadinia and guitar phenom Satchel created a glam metal revolution. Satchel altered the lives of every guitarist within earshot, creating a new wave of Satchel-influenced guitarists. His influence was so pervasive that future guitarists would forever be labeled “pre-Satchel” or “post-Satchel.” His innovative guitar style shook the world and broke new ground in every genre of music. A collaboration with Miles Davis was even rumored.
In 1987, a fierce bidding war erupted from every major record label in the world. Steel Panther was about to become the biggest metal band on earth and was being offered the most lucrative record deal in music history. Suddenly it all ended. Shockingly, the band failed to appear at their own showcase. They remained missing for twenty years.
|Steel Panther's album, Feel the Steel comes out this fall. Until then, here's the official video for the track, "Death to All But Metal":
Nobody knows what really happened to Steel Panther, but they have returned to reclaim their metal music monarchy. Their first album Feel the Steel
will be released this fall and it’s a crowning achievement that was twenty years in the making. Satchel shines with blazing yet melodic guitar solos and multi-dexterous rhythmic assaults. It’s a classic sound served with a drunken grin at a party that just won’t stop. I caught up with Satchel between gigs, and it’s an interview I’ll certainly never forget.
How do you feel?
Man, I been up all night doin’ drugs. That means I’m feelin’ pretty good.
Man, you’re livin’ the life.
Anybody can live the life. All you have to do is find a stripper to support you and your lifestyle.
I have no luck with that.
You know what you have to do? You have to lower the bar and go for older strippers in their fifties and up. The older they are the more desperate they get.
I’m really enjoying Feel The Steel. It truly rocks.
Right on! What’s your favorite song?
“Asian Hooker” is classic. They’ve already downloaded that song over a hundred times in Japan. It’s not released over there because it’s illegal, but they’ve been downloading it and we’ve been counting.
All the songs feel very honest. You guys really captured the onstage vibe in the studio.
All the songs were written from real experiences. That’s why the honesty shines through. There are a lot of bands where you can tell that the music is contrived. I know that’s a big word for people who read guitar magazines, but contrived means, “Forced” or “Made up.” You can print that so people will know what I’m talking about. What we do is very organic. It’s like food that you would buy at Whole Foods. There’s no preservatives. It’s totally healthy. It’s like holistic medicine for the soul.
It’s definitely a no bullshit record. You guys lived it, you wrote about it and it rocks.
I think part of that is because when we wrote the record we were all pretty stoned. We really got in touch with our inner selves. I don’t know if your readers are old enough to remember The Beatles, but when Sgt. Pepper came out I had just turned thirty, so I was pretty old already. They were on LSD when they wrote that record, and I thought, “Some day when I learn how to write songs, I’m going to do it while I’m on drugs.” Sgt. Pepper was a great record, but the only thing missing was the ripping guitar solos. I pretty much feel that we’ve created the heavy metal version of Sgt. Pepper. Maybe that’s a pretty bold statement, but we’re a pretty bold band. I think we can say something like that and get away with it.
It’s a unique vision and the sound of a lifestyle. It permeates the entire record.
There are all kinds of things that permeate that record.
Who are some of your influences?
Musically, The Beatles have influenced us. Naturally, if you talk about The Beatles, you have to talk about other great songwriters like Poison, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Motley Crüe and Whitesnake.
Which Whitesnake era is your favorite?
Whitesnake really hit their peak when they were looking their best. I think this was around 1986 or 1987. I don’t remember what album that was, but I do remember that they were looking totally sexy. The girl they had in their videos seemed to correspond with how sexy they looked. I was like, “Hey, this band knows what they’re doing!” I remember the first time I saw that video. I don’t remember what song it was, because I had the TV on mute so I couldn’t hear the song, but I do remember David Coverdale and Tawny Kitaen.
She was so hot.
So hot. I remember writing a song after being inspired by that video. I don’t remember hearing the song because the TV was on mute, but I was very inspired by Tawny Kitaen. So I got out the guitar, started to write and I ended up just masturbating.
So you didn’t finish writing the song?
I wrote the song, but after I was done masturbating. It only took me 20–30 seconds to finish.
The song or the masturbation?
Masturbating. But then I went back to writing, and I was able to write something really great. Back then I couldn’t afford a little cassette recorder, so I forgot the whole song. I remembered how good that song must have been a couple of years after that, while I was on a coke binge. I wrote another song that was just as good.
Would you say that kind of stimulation is good for songwriting?
Absolutely. Anything that’s chemical-based is good for songwriting. A lot of people frown upon that because we live in a very politically correct era, which is totally lame. Let’s face it. They need to legalize it, that’s all I gotta say. Stop the drug war now! If they stop the drug war, the inevitable result from that is going to be a lot more good rock and heavy metal albums. That’s why the music scene sucks right now. People are afraid to score coke and write a great record.
Yeah, today you see people on stage with bottled water. What’s up with that?
What is that?! What is that?! I don’t think I’ve actually drank water in the last thirty years! Have you seen our pictures?! Have you seen how good I look?!
Don’t get too excited.
How much blow do you guys do before a performance?
It all depends on how you would quantify that. We start doing blow after a performance and we don’t really stop until the next performance. It’s a constant stream of blow. I try to give myself an extra little boost right before I go on stage. Like six or seven lines, or maybe an eight ball before I go on. I would not recommend that to newer bands. We’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ve built up immunity to the substance. If you want to start bringing heavy metal back, you gotta start drinking more and doing more blow.
Kids need to not only focus on that, but also on the clothes they’re wearing. We look totally slamming hot. A lot bands these days suck musically, but they don’t suck just because of their music. Their music sucks because their clothes suck.
Bands also need to be pickier about who they get in their band. Don’t just get a guy because he’s a good bass player. You get a guy because he’s foxy! It’s a better idea to just go out and pick a guy who’s foxy like we did, then teach him how to play the bass. Bass is pretty easy.
It’s the “show” in show business.
Exactly! It’s easy to play an instrument. It’s hard to look killer. We found the foxiest guys for this band.
You’re all very good looking guys.
Thank you. It makes me wonder about you.