Feeling The Steel Panther: Interview with Michael Starr

How did the band meet?

I met Satchel at a Ralph’s [grocery store] on Hollywood Boulevard. He had a basket full of chicken parm and I was looking for the Mac ‘N Cheese. We just kind of bumped into each other. At the time, I had dark hair and he had his signature red hair and I knew just by looking at the way that he moved his hand that he was a guitar player. So, I asked him, ‘Are you a guitar player?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, are you a singer? I’m looking for a singer.’ And I was like, ‘Fuck, dude! I’m looking for a guitar player!’ I’m not kidding! That’s how it happened, and he was like ‘Dude, we have to dye your hair blonde!’

That’s how we met Lexxi. He was a hair colorist. Well, actually he was sweeping the floor at the hair salon when we met him. He was never really a bass player. He just had killer hair! So, we taught him how to play bass. For the first five or six shows, all of the bass lines were pre-recorded by Satchel, so Lexxi was basically lip-syncing on the bass until he learned how to play.

Speaking of Lexxi, why do you guys always bust his balls about being so vain and dumb just because he’s a bass player? I mean, I’m a bass player and I look good, but I’m not dumb!

Well, if you think about it, Tim, you’ll probably have like 10 spelling errors in this review because you’re a bass player, and that’s just what happens. Spell check, motherfucker! Bass players are the dumbest guys in the band—there are only four strings on the bass. That’s why they pick that instrument, and it’s easy! The best songs in metal use one string. ‘Running With The Devil’? One string!

Who are your influences?

I’d have to say that my influences are David Lee Roth, Farrah Fawcett, and Johnny Depp. He’s influenced me to change my hair color every now and then, and I liked him as a pirate. Oh, and Robin Zander from Cheap Trick is pretty bitchin’!

Has anyone ever mistaken you for Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe?

Actually, yeah! I gained a bunch of weight once. I was up to 260 pounds, and people were saying, ‘Hey, you look like Vince Neil!’ Then I lost the weight, and haven’t heard it since.

When you guys play the song ‘Asian Hooker’ live in Asia, how is it received?

Funny you asked that. Playing that song at an outdoor festival in Salt Lake City was more uncomfortable than playing it in Japan because Salt Lake is a religious Mormon city. You know, Asians know that they’re hookers over there! They don’t care!

I have to tell you, Michael, I just listened to Feel The Steel, and you sound great! You really sing your ass off!

Well, thanks, man! It comes from years of partying, but at the same time, you just have to know when to say when not to party! Before the show, maybe a little bump, but no pot because that will screw your voice up. During the guitar solo, a big rail is killer so that you won’t hurt your voice. Afterwards, four Advils, some Jack, and then you smoke some bud, you’re cool! But if you do a bunch of blow and smoke a big bong rip before the show, you’re done!

Is that why you have such a large celebrity following? Is it the drugs?

Well, who doesn’t love metal besides you and I? All of the bands from now love it too! We’re the only ones doing it, so they come and see us play. Plus we get the most bitches at our shows!

Feel The Steel is available next week, Oct. 6, through Universal Records. Steel Panther will be performing an acoustic in-store performance at Vintage Vinyl on Oct. 7 and play live at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ, on Oct. 8. steelpantherrocks.com.