If you want to do the ’80s time warp again, get yourself down to the House of Blues in Los Angeles on a Monday or catch Steel Panther on the road. Vocalist Michael Starr, axe master Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxxx, and skin beater Stix Zadinia deliver the kind of over-the-top heavy rock peppered with sensitive balladry that was the norm on the Sunset Strip back in the day. But now their show is anything but normal (thanks to both the band and the current era), and going to a Panther performance is like being in L.A. in the ’80s: sweatbands, spandex, neon shirts, tight skirts, and all.
Some call Steel Panther a novelty act, but we call them a blast from the past. The boys in the band claim to have been around in the ’80s but say they somehow managed to miss out on making the big time, mainly because they didn’t show up for their big showcase and then vanished inexplicably. But that doesn’t stop Zadinia from declaring Steel Panther to be “the world’s best heavy metal band ever, in the history of mankind and beyond.” As a big middle finger to their critics and disbelievers, Steel Panther are back with a vengeance. Their 2009 debut album, Feel the Steel—featuring their catchy ode to infidelity, “Community Property” (sample lyrics: “My heart belongs to you, but my cock is community property”)—made waves across America and Europe. Now their second album, Balls Out, wants to ride that crest of popularity to new heights and has helped them mine new personal depths with fresh tunes such as “17 Girls in a Row” and “It Won’t Suck Itself.” Depth perception is relative.
On stage, the group lets audience members know that they plan to take home everyone else’s girlfriends. Starr bounces around the stage like David Lee Roth but he occasionally pulls a muscle. Satchel shreds like a maniac (for real) and admits that he needs Starr in his band despite the fact that he looks like a pudgy Roth. (Starr retorts that he’s more like a slim Vince Neil.) Foxxx lets his lovely blond locks billow so that women will scream for him, while Zadinia smashes the crap out of his kit with wild abandon. And they are often joined by celebrity fans like Scott Ian and Kelly Clarkson.
Before a recent New York City gig, INKED sat down to interrogate Foxxx and Zadinia about their band, their groupies, and their tattoos. It would be apt to say they are brothers from another mother, including the way they talk about each other’s mothers.
INKED: You guys have played with some pretty famous people on stage: Tom Morello, Paul Stanley, Chester Bennington. Is there anybody you want to jam with? Your musical wet dream?
Stix Zadinia: Do you play?
Zadinia: Well, I’d like to jam with you.
Excellent. Would we do a two-drum jam?
Zadinia: Yeah, we could do a .38 Special thing.
But a little more complex.
Zadinia: Well, if Lexxi’s playing bass, then no.
Lexxi Foxxx: I don’t know if I would really want to jam with anybody. Jamming is fun, but you have to focus on playing the right parts and you have to just do shit.
Zadinia: Lexxi doesn’t like to think.
Foxxx: There’s more important shit than having to play. Just because somebody’s a big rock star, I don’t have to know just his songs. I don’t even want to—
Zadinia: Okay, if you could eat dinner with any rock star, who would it be?
Foxxx: I don’t know if I want to eat dinner because I don’t want to get fat. Because even if I do, I love doughnuts and things like that, but then I’ll throw them up afterward, so dinner isn’t a big deal to me either.
Zadinia: Lexxi cuts costs by throwing up and eating again.
Foxxx: And also the tattoos that we have—since this is for INKED magazine—I don’t have that much to cover. If your arm stays skinny, then your tattoos are cheaper. There’s not so much to tattoo on it.
What is the secret to writing a good lust song?
Zadinia: You write a love song from the heart, and you write a lust song from the ball sack. You really have to get in there to get all up in the vagina and just imagine what it’s like.
Do you have any techniques?
Zadinia: Sometimes we’ll sit around with our ball sacks out and write. Not the penis, just the sack. Lexxi doesn’t like to do that because his is really long, and it will drag. It gets caught up in the cables and stuff.
Foxxx: It’s because I’m tall.