The philosophical side of Steel Panther has been (very) well hidden so far, with their MO centred around dreaming up awesome glam metal anthems, practicing the perfect pout and the relentless pursuit of hot groupie action. But what – if anything – really goes on in the pretty little mind of frontman Michael Starr?
Music came into my life at a super, super young age, and my first experience of music was with The Beatles on vinyl. And then my second experience of music was The Beatles on eight-track. And then the one experience of music that changed my life, amazingly enough, was when I listened to Van Halen for the first time in 1978. That combination of harmony and rad guitar playing, and a sexy lead singer with long blond hair and hot chicks, that’s what started me in music. The look is the most important thing. I would say this; if I was to go out to a club and pick up on a girl, I’m not going to look for her insides, I’m going to look for her beautiful outsides first. Once I find the beautiful outsides we can talk about what’s on the inside. The look is really, really important. I wanna look at a band and see guys that look good, are physically in shape and can dance and sing. I think that’s important.
My religion is basically just spiritually-based. I believe in a power that’s kind of a universal power. Like for me, if I have a higher power, let’s say I wanna pray to my god, I’d just say, “What’s up dude? It’s me, I’m just checking in bro. Just having a heavy metal day.” It’d all be fine. Because religion kind of puts a particular restraint on somebody. So I just believe in what I believe in and keep on rockin’. I was brought up in the Southern Baptists, which is pretty hardcore. And I think that’s what freaked me out. When I was in my twenties I was like “oh this is cool” and studied Christianity, got baptised and the whole deal. But then I started to study it and I kind of had a hard time with it. I just wasn’t buying it. But there’s always something for somebody. Somebody might love being a Christian, it doesn’t matter. It’s like some guys like chicks with blonde hair, some guys like redheads. It doesn’t matter.
Politics is like mathematics in school for me. You would think that Steel Panther would be like, ‘Oh yeah, Trump’s the dude man! He’s so cool!’ But he can’t even stand on stage right. And his hair does not look cool. Somebody needs to go and do a makeover on that guy. I steer away from politics just because our music is so separate from that kind of shit. But now I have to take notice because you see these video clips of Trump and Hilary going at it and it’s so crazy, and the rest of the world is talking about it. Politics and religion, they don’t go with partying and pussy, straight up. You want to ruin a party, just bring up politics.
I used to think that there was this place that you would go that would be totally rad and totally amazing. I once saw this guy who said, “When I die I wanna be cremated and have my body parts spread all over the beach.” I don’t know what I wanna do. But I have no idea what happens, couldn’t tell ya.
I love it. All my friends are there, although since we’ve been touring and putting out records I’ve made lots of friends all over the world. But I do love coming home. I live by Universal Studios, and that area is kind of mellow, and then I can cruise right over the hill and I’m down in Hollywood, which is extremely chaotic, so I get the best of both worlds. I can go skiing if I want and I can go to the beach if I want. It’s just crazy in LA. When you see a film or a news clip about something totally awesome and great and killer they sensationalise it, but it’s still great.
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You’ve gotta be careful of that, man. Some people, they overindulge. Look, partying’s good for you. It’s a good release for your body, you need it, it’s fun, people enjoy it. But if you start stealing money from your mom, and you’re selling shit, and you’re doing heroin and you lose your job, that’s not partying, that’s becoming a drug addict. There’s a fine line. If somebody has a problem with it, it’s probably not a good idea. But if someone doesn’t have a problem with it, and they’re parting hard, that’s called having fun. And you might as well do it while you can because when you get to my age, you need a lot of steroids to stay alive.
The groupie scene is a still big deal. It’s kind of like the lifeline for heavy metal guys. I always like to think that our groupies are more crazy than a lot of the groupies for other bands, because our songs are about partying and fuckin’, so when you come to our show that’s what you have on your mind. Without groupies there’s no reason to rock. They’re the reason why I wanted to be a singer!