Interview: Satchel of Steel Panther Takes 'Balls Out' Approach to Gear, Strippers and New Album
Grunge might have killed '80s hair metal, but it couldn't destroy Steel Panther, the raunchiest glam rockers to emerge from the Sunset Strip. No genre convention is safe from the improv troupe, which topped the Billboard Comedy Albums Chart three times with its 2009 debut album, Feel the Steel.
Bassist Lexxi Foxx, drummer Stix Zadinia, singer Michael Starr and guitarist Satchel are a PMRC nightmare, filling concerts and interviews with every filthy ad-lib that comes to mind. A living love letter to a decade whose ridiculousness will never grow old, Steel Panther gets away with hysterical satire like "Asian Hooker" and "Community Property," thanks to musical chops that perfectly match their comedic timing.
Satchel checked in with Guitar World from Las Vegas before taking the stage for its Green Valley Ranch residency to discuss Steel Panther's epic new album, Balls Out, which arrives Nov. 1.
The band's latest recording takes on weighty topics like the deep meaning of commitment for the song "Why Don't You Trust Me" and explains why love is the best medicine on "It Won't Suck Itself," which features Nickback's Chad Kroeger and Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt. Balls Out was primarily recorded at Clear Lake Audio Studios in Burbank, California. It was a convenient location for the band since it's near Foxx's mother's house.
"We're pretty tight with Lexxi's mom, and she kind of takes care of the band. We'll go over there and she'll make us lunch. Occasionally we'll have sex with her and shit," Satchel says. "Don't tell Lexxi that."
GUITAR WORLD: When the band played Gramercy Theatre in New York recently, did you stop by the Occupy Wall Street protest to lend your support?
We don't know New York very well. I didn't know where Wall Street was. We tried to find it but Lexxi was driving the car, and we have a Ford Windstar instead of a tour bus, and he gets lost. He's afraid to make left turns, so it makes it very difficult, so we were driving around in a circle for a lot of the time.
Your first album hit No. 1 three times on the Billboard Comedy Albums chart. How did you guys celebrate?
We celebrated by partying and having sex with some girls. It's kind of what we normally do, but we just did it just a little bit more than normal. Our whole life is like a celebration because we don't really have real jobs, 'cuz we make most of our money hanging out with strippers and stuff. Strippers make a lot of money, don't know if you know that, but guys give them money all the time, so basically we just hang out with strippers and borrow money from them. It's killer 'cuz it's been working out for us for like 25 years straight and we haven't really had to work normal jobs. People ask me the definition of success; well, that's success — when you don't have to basically have a real job, you're successful. I think that's pretty much the whole point of the Occupy Wall Street thing, isn't it?
I didn't think of it that way, but that's a very good point.
Yes! Those people are down there saying, "We don't have a job, and why should the people that have jobs make more money than us?" That's what they're protesting.
Boy, they're real assholes.
[laughs] Yeah. They're saying, "Why should people that work make more money than me when I don't work?" I feel bad. We're basically proof that you can make a bunch of money by not working. Just hang out with strippers. Those people at that Occupy Wall Street thing, their whole problem is, they're not hanging out with strippers enough.
There's footage on YouTube of the band performing "Asian Hooker" in Tokyo, which is the city of the song's inspiration. How did the fans dig it?
They loved it. I was amazed. They understood that Americans, as well as the rest of the world — it's kind of like it's a universal subject. I don't know anybody at any age really, young or old, who doesn't love to fuck Asian hookers. If there was life from another planet, extra-terrestrials landed here on our planet, the first thing I would give them would be an Asian hooker. That would be the best gift you could give an alien from another planet. Everybody loves Asian hookers. I mean, what kid wouldn't want to wake up on Christmas morning and find an Asian hooker in its stocking? Anybody would.
Did any of them give you guys a freebie to show their appreciation?
I had sex with a lot of girls when I went to Japan, but most of those were groupies. Which doesn't really count as a hooker. [Unless] you're paying for it, it's a groupie. That's pretty much the whole difference. You could be a slut, but most of the girls we find are groupies 'cuz they're at our shows, so they're definitely there to screw the band. It's very rare that I could find a slut that isn't a groupie. Most groupies are sluts; not all sluts are groupies. Some hookers are groupies and sluts, and some sluts are hookers, but not all hookers are sluts. Understand?
Yeah. Just one thing: What's the difference between a slut and a groupie?
Well, a groupie is a slut that wants to fuck the band mainly. A slut will fuck pretty much anybody, so for us being in the band, the competition is a little bit stiffer, because a slut just wants to get fucking laid and they're just looking for cock, where the groupie is looking for band cock.
Oh, I see.
Yes. A groupie will fuck guys in the audience if she can't get into the band's spandex, but they're aiming for band cock first and foremost. Some of those girls are gold-diggin' whores, which is a song on our new record, and the gold-diggin' whores are lookin' for anybody with money. Now some girls who are groupies are gold-diggin' whores and that's why they try to get guys like Keith Urban or rich rock stars. Like Bon Jovi's got a lot of money. Some gold-diggin' whores go after him, but a lot of the groupies out there are just looking' for band cock to say that they slept with somebody in the band, and then a lot of them fall short and they end up fuckin' the roadies or they fuck somebody in the audience who has a Steel Panther shirt on. That's just how it works.