How Steel Panther's search for new bassist ended in reunion with old friend Spyder

A picture of Steel Panther bassist Spyder
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Steel Panther frontman Michael Starr has recalled the moment they realised they'd finally ended their long search for a new bassist.

The band went through an arduous process to replace Lexxi Foxx, who left in 2021. More than 500 people applied for the vacant role, but Starr says most of those were fans who didn't even know how to play the bass guitar.

And after trying out a number of replacements in the wake of Foxx's exit, they called on old friend Joe 'Spyder' Lester to finally end the uncertainty.

Starr tells Heavy Handed: "There was a over 500 submissions and I would say that 30% of them were just people going, 'Hey, I don't know how to play bass, but I wanna be in your band, dude.'

"We went through every single submission twice, and then we picked our favorite 20 or 30, and then we let our fans pick from the last 10 or so. And we ended up choosing a dude, and we went out and toured with him, and it just didn't work out, bottom line.

"And we called the runner-up, and he was, like, 'Oh, dude, I already got another gig, and I can't split.' He just couldn't do it. And then, we were, like, 'Fuck. I guess we've gotta audition again.' So we auditioned a couple of other dudes. But while we were waiting to audition these other couple of dudes, we needed to go do our European tour.

"And I'm, like, 'Joe will do it. Spyder will do it.' And Spyder was, like, 'Yeah, I'll do it. But I've got my other bands and shit.' And we were, like, 'Cool. Thank you for doing it.' So he went out and did it.

"And we were all sitting there, and we were playing, and we were, like, we've known each other for 25 years. I was in a band with Spyder called the Atomic Punks, a Van Halen tribute band. Satchel and I were in that together with Spyder.

"And we were just, like, 'Dude, you should fucking do this gig.' He was having a blast. And by the third or fourth show on our European tour, he was, like, 'Dude, if you guys will have me, I wanna fucking do it.' And we were, like, 'Fuck yes.' And that's really the genesis of Spyder becoming the bass player."

Steel Panther's latest album Heavy Metal Rules was released in 2019.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.