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.
It’s clear from one of the songs on this album that some women have trust issues with you guys. Can you see why?
Zadinia: No. “Why Can’t You Trust Me” is a song that is seriously saying, Hey, why can’t you trust me? What did I ever do?
Foxxx: Well, there are a lot of things we do. Answer it, dude. I know why they don’t trust us: Because we go around and bang a bunch of girls. Then we don’t tell them, and they find out because we’re starting to get more popular. Then they get mad.
Zadinia: There goes the mystery.
So who’s the biggest womanizer in the band?
Zadinia: Michael Starr.
Zadinia: He’s got the lowest standards.
Foxxx: He will fuck some pretty trippy chicks. He doesn’t care where we are or what we’re doing or if it’s appropriate or not. If he wants to get at a girl, he’ll get at a girl, and he’ll let you know.
Richie Kotzen got booted out of Poison for sleeping with Rikki Rockett’s lady. Has anything like that ever happened in Steel Panther?
Zadinia: I didn’t sleep with Rikki Rockett’s lady.
Foxxx: I don’t know who Richie Kotzen is. Wait, I know, he’s the guitar dude.
Zadinia: Here’s the difference between Poison and Steel Panther: Poison doesn’t understand how to play the game Pass the Hag. If you don’t know that game, then you’re going to have problems.
Foxxx: That’s one difference, and another difference is we spell our name differently than they spell their name.
So why is it that guys who dress like chicks get more chicks?
Zadinia: Because chicks like to look at themselves in the mirror, and when they look at a guy who dresses like a chick, like Lexxi, it’s kind of like looking at a bitchin’ version of themselves. He’s hotter than most of the chicks that he fucks. It’s like a fun house mirror that shows you a reflection of yourself, but instead of a fat or weird shape, you’re just bitchin’.
Foxxx: I’ve always been … I’m not gay, but I think that women are bitchin’ looking. I wouldn’t want to fuck another dude that looked like me—
Zadinia: Yes, you would.
Zadinia: You would, dude.
Foxxx: If nobody else knew …
Zadinia: You totally would. Even if people knew.
Foxxx: Yeah, maybe. Maybe just not a lot of people.
So does this mean you guys are more in touch with your feminine sides?
Zadinia: Lexxi is definitely more in touch with his feminine side than I am. I think he’s just got a lot more estrogen floating around in his tall, lanky body.
Foxxx: Stix, you’re like the alpha male of the group. You’re more the caveman type.
Zadinia: Yeah, I’m just more dude-ish, and the guys in the front are more chick-ish.
Foxxx: Let me just say that Stix does a lot of chicks that like that too. What’s cool about our band is that a lot of chicks like dudes, and just dude-dudes. And I would say more girls probably like that than girly-girly guys. Some girls like bigger dudes, and then some girls like muscular dudes. We don’t have to worry about pouncing on each other’s ladies because ladies are attracted to different features. That and Stix’s muscles and the way he hits things and shit.
Do you remember everybody you’ve been with?
Zadinia: I remember a couple. Here’s how I know: Every now and then I’ll be doing something, and shit will pop into my head like, Oh my God, I gave that chick trick a rusty trombone in fucking San Francisco one night.
Foxxx: It was a jazz club that we were playing in, and there were a lot of leftover instruments that night, so I gave a rusty drum—
Zadinia: That’s a different kind of rusty. It’s a different thing, dude.
Foxxx: I thought there was one time when we were giving chicks gifts … but I think he’s right. He’s talking about a different rusty trombone.
Since you guys were around 25 years ago during the hair metal zenith, what kind of hairspray do you use today?
Zadinia: Aqua Net all the time.
Foxxx: Especially the Super Mega Hold. There’s new products out there, like Paul Mitchell and all kinds of fancy-schmancy things, but our part in bringing heavy metal back is Aqua Net. Even if it’s not the best for your hair, it just looks bitchin’ next to an amp.
The new song “Tomorrow Night” reveals your sensitive side because it shows that life isn’t always a party. Sometimes you’re playing video games solo and pleasuring yourself. Is it tough for you guys when the party’s not going on?
Zadinia: When the party’s not actually going on, we will make the party in our head, even if that means we’ve got to do a little blow or smoke a little weed. There’s never a time that the party’s not going on for me personally, but if the party ain’t happening, I make my own party.
Foxxx: Basically that’s right, yeah. Even if you’re by yourself you can have your own party looking forward to the party tomorrow night. There are things you can do by yourself that’s still a bitchin’ party. The internet is badass. My mom has a computer, and there’s all kinds of cool shit she can do on it that I’m learning.
Do your moms go on your Facebook pages?
Zadinia: My mom actually unfriended me. This is true. This is no bullshit. I was writing to two different girls, and I put, “My balls, your chin, 8 o’clock, the usual spot.” That was the comment that my mom unfriended me for, for real.
Foxxx: His mom is like a prude.
Zadinia: I mean, she’s cool with all the cock stuff, but for some reason the ball imagery on the chin—
Foxxx: My mom read my comments too, but she didn’t unfriend me.
Zadinia: I saw Lexxi’s mom about an hour ago, and she’s cool with that shit, dude. She’s told me many times when we’re hanging out.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to a lady?
Foxxx: “I’m glad you got off your son’s Facebook page, now suck my dick.”
Zadinia: Oh, I get it, that’s my mom.
And what about you, Stix, anything romantic?
Zadinia: “Fuck you, Lexxi’s mom!”
I see how you can score a lot of dates that way.
Foxxx: Well, you know, here’s another romantic thing I just forgot. I’m going to tell Stix that he’s my kid now.
Zadinia: I forgot one other thing. “Lexxi’s mom, I just gave you herpes.” That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever said.
Stix, I think you’re hurting his feelings.
Zadinia: I’m sorry, dude.
Foxxx: Dumb game.
Zadinia: I’m sorry, dude.
Foxxx: I love pounding your mom’s ass.
Zadinia: And seriously, your mom already knew I gave her herpes.
So let’s talk tattoos. Who’s more inked up between the two of you?
Foxxx: Stix is.
Zadinia: Yeah. I’ve got my tribal, here, I have my island here [points to his right arm]. I’ve got my flowers, my bamboo, and my pagoda right here. This is a Japanese elm. I have my waterfalls, my bats, my volcano. I got my flowers here on top of my chest.
You have some swirls on your left hip. That wraps around a bit?
Zadinia: Yeah, it goes around the ass area.
What about your right leg?
Zadinia: Kat Von D did this one.
Foxxx: That’s my favorite one.
Zadinia: Rob Nunez at HB Tattoo did both my arms and my neck. Kat did [the skull] on my right bottom leg.
It’s very feminine skull. It has eyelashes.
Zadinia: That’s the girl, with a big earring and flowers in her hair. Then there’s the dude skull [next to it] with roses. Scott Sylvia did my left shoulder. That was my first tattoo ever, actually. I think the guys at 222 finished a piece of my left calf. I got most of that stuff up in San Francisco.
There’s a lot of tribal and tropical stuff going on here. What’s the significance of it all?
Zadinia: Here’s what happened: I got tribal on my left arm, and then I saw a bunch of fucking douchebags with tribal on their arms, just tribal, and I walked into Rob’s shop and said, Dude, just fill it in with all these Japanese waves underneath because I don’t want to be like Joe Schmo rockin’ the tribal.
Foxxx: Before he had the flower colored in I thought, That is a bitchin’ tattoo; I love that. But it looked like a cock was going in his throat.
Zadinia: So I could remind me of when I choked you with my cock.
Foxxx: You never did that.
What about your ink, Lexxi?
Foxxx: Stix helped me with a lot of this, actually. When I was a lot younger, in my 30s, I started getting a couple of small things. Stix said I should stick with a theme and go with a Japanese-Oriental theme because it is not going to go out of style. Kat has done a lot of my stuff as well. She did my chest. Basically I stuck with the flowers. … I’ve got a sword going right here.
You’ve got the samurai swords with a rose on top, on your tummy.
Foxxx: I’ve got the Buddha on my back, under my neck and down. I have a geisha that Kat did, where she’s alive and bitchin’. One of the coolest tattoos that we did one night is when we all went out partying. We used to do our “drunk tattoos”—me, Kat, Scott Ian, and Stix. Here’s what Scott Ian did on me: an Anthrax tattoo. We were all ham and cheesed. I think that’s the only tattoo he’s given, unless he’s decided to do that more. Then there’s a cardinal on my right hand.
Zadinia: He loooovvvves baseball.
You have a heart on your middle finger. If you flipped somebody off, it’s kind of like saying, “I heart you and I hate you.”
Foxxx: That was another party tattoo with the same group of people, I think. I have a D for dummy under my watch. I did that tattoo.
What is the significance for all these tattoos for you? Why the geisha? Why the dragon?
Foxxx: Asian hookers are bitchin’. … I wanted to stick with the same theme. I wanted to get tattoos that wouldn’t go out of style. I knew that Japanese tattoos wouldn’t go out of style.
During your trip to New York did you check out the Occupy Wall Street movement?
Zadinia: What is that again? I don’t know what the hell that is. I just got PS3. Is that for PS3 or Xbox?
Foxxx: It’s a Charlie Sheen movie.
It’s anti-corporate protests.
Zadinia: The game’s not out? Is it a demo?
Foxxx: It’s a movie that Charlie Sheen’s in.
I guess you could say they’re going through trials right now.
Zadinia: It sounds cool.
Foxxx: It’s a movie, Stix. It’s not a game.
Zadinia: He said it’s a game for Xbox. It sounds cool.
If you guys weren’t in rock ’n’ roll, what would you be doing?
Zadinia: I’m not qualified to do anything else. I would be a street person and get high and bone chicks.
Foxxx: I would want to be a model.
Zadinia: A gay model.
Foxxx: I wouldn’t be a gay model. I would want to be a model for bitchin’ heavy metal clothes.
Back to music. What do you say to bands that think you are not heavy enough or are posers?
Zadinia: Suck our dicks.
Foxxx: Who cares? There will be some people who hate us and some people who like us. Luckily, a lot of bitches like us.
Zadinia: If you don’t like us, we will screw your ladies.