METAL HAMMER STARTED IN 1986. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM ’86?
Michael Starr (vocals): “Dude, ’86 was the year not just for Metal Hammer; it was the year for MTV, the year that people started using credit cards! Also, cocaine was better. Nobody really knew about AIDS that much, so everyone was fuckin’ without condoms. It was a really free, fun time, man. Everyone just had a good time. Nobody was really singing about how they feel – they were just singing about partying!”
BEFORE YOU WERE STEEL PANTHER, YOU WERE METAL SKOOL. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST GIG LIKE?
“We were scared – we had to play a new venue, and we ended up selling it out! But the first gig was glorious. We had all the fear of failing, and not only did we not fail, but it was better for us, because we needed a bigger room. So the manager did us a favour without even knowing.”
YOU BROKE BIG IN THE UK IN 2009, AFTER PLAYING DOWNLOAD. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
“Coming over to the UK was probably the most exciting time of our lives. We were very happy with our success as a cover band in LA and Las Vegas, it was really exciting. We kept going to bigger rooms and selling them out every week, and we had a weekly show and were doing really well. Then we got a record deal, and they said, ‘Man, if you want to do something, you gotta go to the UK right away and support this record.’ We were like, ‘Who the hell is gonna know us in the UK?!’ We had no idea what it’d be like. And we get there, and Download went off for us. It was so exciting! The record wasn’t even out yet and people knew the music. It was really cool.”
SO IT WAS PRETTY UNEXPECTED?
“It was so unexpected, man! Stix and I were backstage before we went on, and people were chanting our name. And it’s the tent stage, it’s a really small stage at Download, but for us it was the biggest stage in the world. Stix and I almost had panic attacks before we went on – we’d never had anyone chant our name! We’d just had people go, ‘Hey – there’s Steel Panther. Alright.’ They were excited to see us, and we were so excited we almost passed out.”
WHY DO YOU THINK THE UK EMBRACED YOU SO MUCH?
“The lyrical content of our music is pretty racy and dirty and in-your-face. It’s pretty honest, too. And America’s so stuck with this PC shit, being ‘politically correct’. You guys don’t seem to be like that – you seem to be extremely proper, for the most part, but there’s a dark side to you.”
HOW DID YOU FEEL STEPPING OUT AT WEMBLEY ARENA LAST YEAR?
“That was pretty epic, man. It’s one of those milestones – it just keeps getting better. Every time we hit a mark that we’ve set ourselves, it feels really good. But once it’s done, we’re on to the next mark. And that was one of the main things we wanted to do. We thought, ‘We’re gonna go to the UK, we’re gonna take it over and we’re gonna be an arena band.’ That was five years ago, and now we’re doing our first arena tour of the UK. And we did it! Now we’re going to be a stadium band. That’s the next one.”
- Discs Of Doom: Satchel, Steel Panther
- GALLERY: Steel Panther headline Wembley Arena
- Steel Panther: Asses All Areas
- Watch Steel Panther busking on the streets of London
DID YOU IMAGINE A HEAVY METAL PARODY BAND COULD GET SO BIG?
“That’s been my goal – I always wanted to have that happen… but I never thought it actually would! I never really thought past a 2,000-seat theatre. I just thought, ‘This is killer! If it stays like this for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy!’”
WHAT’S LEFT FOR STEEL PANTHER TO ACHIEVE? HOW LONG CAN THE JOKE KEEP RUNNING?
“Well, I’d like to sell a lot of records. We’ve gone silver in the UK, but I wanna go quadruple silver. Or three times platinum in the US. We’ve never been on MTV – I wanna be on MTV, just to say, ‘Fuck you!’ And I want to be on The Tonight Show here in the States. And I want to fuck [US model] Emily Ratajkowski. And I’d like to have my own tourbus, that’d be really fun. And bring only the girls I want to live with me on tour.”
WHAT’S THE MOST DEBAUCHED THING YOU’VE DONE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS?
“That’s subjective. For some people, having a girl stick a huge dildo up your ass while she sucks your dick, that’s gross. For some guys, it’s not a big deal. But this might be a big deal for most people: we were in Louisville, Kentucky, and there was a grandmother, her daughter and then her daughter. And they were young – the grandmother was 55, I think. The mom was 34 and the daughter was about 18. And we all had a foursome. It’s called ‘Doing a lineage’. It sounds fuckin’ crazy, but it really happened. Doing a lineage.”