Interview with Stix Zadinia from Steel Panther: Indecent Exposure Tim Louie November 30, 2011 Interviews 1 The glam band that brought you “Fat Girls,” “Community Property,” “Asian Hooker” and “The Shocker” is back with a brand new CD called Balls Out! I’m talking about the mighty Steel Panther! This four-piece hair metal parody band is probably the most successful cover band turned full-blown rock act ever. The success that Steel Panther has earned in the past three years is well-deserved, as they might be a few of the hardest working guys in the music business today. They perform at the House of Blues in Las Vegas every Friday night, The Green Valley Ranch, also in Las Vegas every Saturday night and the House of Blues in Hollywood every Monday night, but they still found the time to record their sophomore effort. Steel Panther gained much of their popularity on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood playing under the name Metal Skool in the early 2000s. Singer Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxxx and drummer Stix Zadinia dressed in spandex and teased their hair up ‘80s-style to play various clubs on the Sunset Strip performing their favorite cover songs from that era. Their gimmick and comedic banter in between songs began to really catch on, as celebrities and rock stars began turning up at their performances to jump onstage to jam. In 2008, right before they inked a deal with Universal Records, the band decided to change their name to Steel Panther and in 2009, they released their debut CD of original music called Feel The Steel, which peaked at number one on the Billboard Comedy Album charts. Steel Panther is back with Balls Out, featuring songs like the first single “17 Girls In A Row,” “If You Really Really Love Me,” “Gold Digging Whore” and my favorite track: “It Won’t Suck Itself.” In December they’ll be heading to the U.K. to open a handful of dates for Mötely Crüe and Def Leppard, but before they head across the pond, they’ll be making a pit stop at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on Dec. 1. Drummer Stix Zadinia recently called me to talk about the new CD and his band’s return to New Jersey! Here’s what he had to say: Well, Stix, how has your sex life changed since the success of Feel The Steel? Let’s just say, I like to set the bar really low when I go hunting for chicks, so basically what had happened since Feel The Steel is the lower hanging fruit. As far as good looking chicks, on my scale now, the lowest one is now a three when it used to be a one. The uglier girls that I’m fucking have gotten better looking. So, if I go hunting, now I don’t have to settle for a one, which I’m fine with doing, but it just genuinely seems that I’ll end up with, at the very minimum, a three! But will you take a one every now and then for the hell of it? Dude, you can’t have fuckin’ vanilla ice cream every single night. You gotta have fuckin’ chocolate every now and then. So, yes, I’ll take a fuckin’ one! Any dude who tells you that he won’t take a one is a fuckin’ liar! The first single off of the new CD, Balls Out, is “17 Girls In A Row.” Who was the song actually written about? Satchel and I came up with the riff and the groove at one of our regular weekly shows, and lyrically, Satchel had written it about an experience he had. I think it was, in Salt Lake City, and it wasn’t really 17 girls that he boned in a row. It was 15 girls and two blowjobs, plus you can’t say 15 girls because it just doesn’t have enough syllables. You’re a fuckin’ musician. You gotta go, “Alright, there was actually two blowjobs, so that makes 17 girls in a row!” There’s a little fib in there because it says, “I fucked 17 girls in a row last night,” instead of getting head. Well, you fucked 15 and two of them sucked your dick, but that just wouldn’t fit. So, that’s pretty much what it came down to. Sometimes you gotta fudge it a little bit. What’s your favorite song on the Balls Out CD? To play live, my favorite song is one of two: It’s either “Weenie Ride” because I play piano on it and I don’t normally play piano, obviously, at our shows because we don’t have any other piano songs, but that’s kind of really special to me because it’s something completely different! As far as playing the drums, I’d have to say “Gold Digging Whore” because there’s this big break down section and when you see hands going up and people spelling “Gold Digging Whore” at the top of their lungs, there’s something really rewarding about that whole room doing the same thing at the same time and it’s a fuckin’ rockin’ song! I have to tell you that my favorite is “It Won’t Suck Itself.” That’s a fun one, too! You know what? Honestly, that’s a hard question to answer because with this record, I really feel like there’s not just one really good song and a bunch of mediocre shit. I mean “It Won’t Suck Itself” rules! It’s a fuckin’ face smasher right there! Well, you guys really kept the music in the same vein as Feel The Steel. Was the songwriting process different than the first record? Yeah, in the sense that we had a timeframe on this record. We wanted to get it out by a certain time, so you’re kind of forced to finish stuff. Satchel writes the majority of the stuff and he comes in and we take it and we dissect it and rearrange and come up with different parts. When it comes to the lyrics, we’re all at every vocal session because at the last minute someone could come up with a line that just smokes any existing line. So, we were under a time constraint, which was kind of nice because when you’re under those kinds of parameters, you’re kind of like, “All right! We’ve gotta make this painting! What is it going to be of? And what colors are we using?” And then you’re just forced to do it! Where did you find the time to do all this recording? I mean, you’re constantly playing shows. Yeah, we did 15 tracks. We recorded 15 tracks and two bonus tracks for the Japan release. We’d record three batches of five songs in separate sessions and I’m pretty quick when I record my drums and Lexxi will come in and we’ll rip through the rough tracks in one or two days for five songs, then overdubs with solos and of course, vocals take the longest because of the scheduling. We’d go over to our producer’s house for the overdubs, but you really have to dedicate time during your day because you just can’t be cavalier about it. We wanted to get this thing done, so we just made it a priority! So, what about the special guests on Balls Out? Chad Kroeger from Nickelback and Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme are on the CD? Yup! They’re both on “It Won’t Suck Itself” and we’re wrote that song up at Chad’s house right near Vancouver. He had come to a few of our shows and we kept saying, “Dude, we should write, we should write, blah, blah, blah.” And he’s off doing this and we’re doing that and so finally, we’re up in Vancouver and he happened to be up there, we went over to his house. He has a fuckin’ hockey rink in his house! An ice hockey rink in his fucking house! It’s not in a shed outside! It’s in his house! It’s crazy, dude! He also has this killer studio and we go over there, we sat down, smoked a bunch of weed and started writing! It was a true collaboration. It was no riffs. He just had the idea of “It Won’t Suck Itself” and that’s as much as what was written before we walked in there. So, we left there with the skeleton of the song and then we came home, rearranged it, cut it and sent it back up to Chad, he did his vocals and sent it back down and the rest is what’s on the record. Nuno, like Chad, had come to a bunch of shows and jammed with us and has a lot of respect for Satchel and vice-versa. So he was at our House of Blues show in Vegas and he jammed with us and Satchel was just like, “Dude, you have to play on our record!” And he was like “Fuck, I’d love to!” You know, he’s Rihanna’s guitar player, so he hasn’t really played much heavy metal solos lately, but when Satchel sent him “It Won’t Suck Itself,” he turned that solo back to us and you can hear, in the playing, a guy who hasn’t been able to play a heavy metal solo in a long time and just took the opportunity and just annihilated it! After the Starland Ballroom gig, Steel Panther is heading to the U.K. to open for Mötely Crüe and Def Leppard. Now, that Mötely Crüe is half sober and Def Leppard is just boring, what kind of partying do you expect to do on this tour? I’m not gonna let anyone hinder my partying! I have to say the opportunity to open for Mötely Crüe and Def Leppard is literally once in a lifetime because they’ve never toured together and to be on that bill is just ridiculous! So, I’m going to take every opportunity that I can to fuckin’ enjoy the shit out of it! And if that involves hookers and cocaine, so be it! Honestly, I don’t even know if I’m going to sleep the week before I leave for the Mötely Crüe and Def Leppard tour. I am not even kidding! I’m trippin’ in like a good way! I am very proud that we’re on that bill! It’s very surreal! When I step back, I always envisioned us doing really great stuff because I believe in what we do and now that it’s here, it’s very surreal. Even though, it feels right and we’ve taken all the steps to get here and it’s not like anybody gave us a free pass, but it’s kind of like, “What the fuck? How’d I get here?” Don’t get me wrong, I still have my sites on bigger and better things! I mean, I want to headline arenas! You’re coming to Jersey to headline the Starland Ballroom in on Dec. 1, what can my fellow Jerseyans expect from the mighty Steel Panther? When we hit the stage, you seriously can expect to have one and a half to two hours of complete ball-rocking! We’re gonna play songs off of Feel The Steel, we’re gonna play songs off of Balls Out and you will enjoy from beginning to end, and there won’t be a moment where you’re going to go, “Fuck, dude! Do you want to go get a beer?” Because you’re not going to want to miss what happens! We don’t even know what’s going to happen at our shows. A lot of bands go out with a pre-scripted set and though we might go out with a set list, we never know what’s gonna happen in between songs because the crowd is always different and I expect that in New Jersey, you guys are such fuckin’ heavy metal fans, I think that I’m gonna have just as much fuckin’ fun as you guys! I can’t wait to come out there! Catch Steel Panther Nov. 30 at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philly or Dec. 1, at The Starland Ballroom. Their latest CD, Balls Out, is out now and check them out at steelpantherrocks.com. 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