Interviews

Published on September 9th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Steel Panther’s Satchel On New Album “Heavy Metal Rules” & His Favorite Rock Documentaries

Steel Panther was formed in 2000 and is comprised of lead singer Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia. Hailing from Los Angeles, Steel Panther has been known to bill itself as “the world’s premier party band,” and that may not be far from the truth. In support of its four previously-released full-length studio albums, Steel Panther has achieved platinum-level YouTube status with a long list of music videos gone-viral, many high-profile radio and television appearances (e.g. Jimmy Kimmel Live, Larry King Now, FOX NFL Sunday), and plenty of world tours.

The group’s new album, Heavy Metal Rules, is its fifth full-length, as scheduled for a September 27th release. The definitely-not-safe-for-work music video for the first single “All I Wanna Do Is F**k (Myself Tonight)” was shot in Las Vegas and has a great cameo from Carrot Top. And if you enjoy that one, you also ought to enjoy the more-recent single (the surprisingly-ballad-y) “Always Gonna Be A Ho.”

I had the pleasure of speaking with Steel Panther’s guitarist Satchel by phone within the early evening of August 27, 2019. Unfortunately, due to a poor Skype-based phone connection, the audio from our interview did not come out well enough for podcasting or even full-on transcribing. But in listening closely, I was able to learn a lot about Satchel and the Steel Panther band as a whole.

Below are 8 things I learned about Steel Panther as a result of this still-glorious conversation.

#1 – The Heavy Metal Rules album title is not just a movie reference.

The phrase “heavy metal rules” is synonymous with the movie Heavy Metal Parking Lot, as immortalized further with the band American Hi-Fi’s music video for “Flavor Of The Weak.” However, according to Satchel, Steel Panther’s album title seriously comes from the fact that “heavy metal rules.”

#2 – But Satchel is a fan of Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

He enjoys Jeff Krulik’s 1986 documentary, Zebra Man especially, but is unsure if it’s his favorite rock doc ever. He is also a fan of the Time Stand Still film of Rush, especially the parts about Alex Lifeson.

#3 – Steel Panther’s journey from cover band to all-original band ended very suddenly.

While Steel Panther did covers for almost 15 years — as part of a series of big-deal residencies around the West Coast — a particular gig in Vancouver reinforced the popularity of Steel Panther’s originals to the band. According to Satchel, the crowd wanted to hear “Asian Hooker” more than they did they “Livin’ On A Prayer,” giving a cold reception to the Bon Jovi classic.

#4 – It took a long time before Steel Panther felt comfortable before going all-original, however.

Per Satchel, Steel Panther slowly began adding original material into its sets, initially having 1 or 2 originals at most of their gigs. But hilariously not everyone in the audience would realize that these were originals.

#5 – While many musicians look down on playing covers, Satchel looks back at that part of Steel Panther’s existence favorably.

To Satchel, Steel Panther’s years as a cover band were not only fun and financially-rewarding, but they also helping the band develop its personas and overall stage show. He encourages other musicians to change their perspective and see covers as helping them “cut their teeth.”

#6 – Satchel is too busy for side projects.

Steel Panther is a very time-consuming band, according to Satchel, who is the band’s principal songwriter. In turn, he said that he did not have any side projects or other bands in the works; I did not delve into his “rumored” prior non-Satchel work with members of Judas Priest, Dokken or Racer X.

#7 – He enjoys the album-making process.

While Steel Panther a lot of money from touring, per Satchel, he loves being in the studio and crafting albums. He hopes there to be many more albums for Steel Panther beyond Heavy Metal Rules.

#8 – Heavy Metal Rules is his favorite Steel Panther album yet.

To Satchel, Heavy Metal Rules is not only the latest album from Steel Panther but also its greatest. He is unbelievably proud of the album, which also includes the songs “Zebraman” (but again, the album was not named after Heavy Metal Parking Lot), “Let’s Get High Tonight” and “F**k Everybody.”

Steel Panther kicks off a 27-date tour on September 26th — eve of the album release date — at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. Other upcoming dates in November 26th and 27th at New York’s Gramercy Theatre, December 2nd at Toronto’s Rebel, December 8th at Chicago’s House Of Blues, and December 15th at Kansas City’s Arvest Bank Theatre At The Midland. Tour dates and everything else Steel Panther-related can be found online at www.steelpantherrocks.com.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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