Interview: Satchel of Steel Panther Takes 'Balls Out' Approach to Gear, Strippers and New Album
Steel Panther guitarist Satchel comes clean about the Floyd Rose, the Charlie Sheen, strippers and the band's new album, Balls Out.
When you went back to the studio, did you feel pressure to live up to the success of the last album?
There was some pressure because the first album was so fuckin' awesome that we knew there was gonna be people that didn't think that we'd be able to make another album as awesome, because it was so fuckin' good, and then there were some people that hated the shit out of our first record and expected our second record to suck, just because they hated our first record. I think we're gonna be able to please both camps, because our second record is fucking awesome.
But the same people that hated our first record, those people are stupid, so they're gonna think that our second record sucks. But we expect that from stupid people because stupid people don't know shit when they hear it. So even though our second record is totally bitchin' and just as bitchin' as our first record, those stupid people that hated our first record are gonna hate our second record. But the people that loved our first record are gonna realize that our second record is just as genius as our first record.
What gear did you use for this album?
I play Kramer guitars, which are bitchin'. And they're totally heavy metal. Their guitars have six strings. I know a lot of kids these days are playing seven-string guitars and shit. But if you can't get the tone you need out of six strings then you need to fucking put the guitar away and pick up like a harp or a fuckin' bassoon or something, because the guitar is a fucking six-string beast. You should be able to make a guitar sound bitchin' with six strings.
I understand some guys, the seven-string guys, they're tuning low and shit. If you're trying to hit these really low notes, tell the bass player to hit it, because he's got really, really low notes on his instrument. A lot of these guys don't understand that and a lot of kids these days, bass players are hard to find now, because there's a stigma attached to it. If you're playing bass everybody knows that you're probably not smart enough to play guitar. Guys are shying away from that. There's not that many smart bass players out there, so a lot of these guys are picking up guitar because they don't wanna be a bass player, and understandably so. Guitar players get way more pussy than their bass players do.
What Kramer model do you use?
I've been playing the Pacers, and they're awesome. They're absolutely killer, and you got Floyd Rose whammy bars. I'm a big fan of the Floyd Rose. There's a few companies out there that I fuckin' love; Floyd Rose is one of 'em. They're great. Kramer's great. Apple Computers are great. Shit. I don't know. Speedo makes the best bathing suits. Have you ever tried those bathing suits?
And they make your package look killer.
Was the band sad when Steve Jobs died?
I was a huge, huge Steve Jobs fan. He was fuckin' awesome and we've used Apple Computers to record a lot of stuff. I don't know how to use 'em very well but they're killer for lookin' at porn. Oh, my God. And Steve Jobs is a genius. I'm speaking to you on an iPhone right now. It's amazing.
Why the Floyd Rose whammy bar? What makes it so special?
There's always been a rivalry between Floyd Rose and Kahler, for instance. But to me, the design of the Floyd Rose is just superior to any other whammy bar ... the experience of the Floyd Rose and how well it stays in tune, you will never play another whammy bar. They haven't changed the design in frickin' 35 years. It's the best bridge tremolo system made. Any they're not even payin' me to say that. It's just bitchin'. It's always looked bitchin' and it's always worked perfectly, so I've never had a problem with it. They should hire me to endorse them. That's how much I like their shit. But they don't need to. You know why? 'Cuz they make great shit, kind of like Apple. I'm tryin' to get an iPhone endorsement right now and they keep tellin' me to fuck off, which is really not very nice.
Do you think Steel Panther might get an iPhone app made?
Yes. We're makin' an app right now. I don't know what the hell it's gonna do, but I'm pretty sure it's gonna sell. It's probably gonna make us very rich, 'cuz there's probably gonna be naked ladies involved. A whole lot of our bitchin' songs will be on there.
What made the band think that the song "17 Girls in a Row" was the best choice for the first single?
Believe it or not, it was the cleanest song we had. Most of the other ones are pretty filthy. And [the record company was] like, "Well, we gotta figure out something to play on the radio. You guys are filthy." That was the one that was kind of the cleanest song. Plus it really rocks and I don't know anything about radio. I'm an old guy, and I'm pretty bitter and jaded, and people who listen to the radio these days, there's not a whole lot of stuff on the radio that's good, so even getting on the radio is like, it's just strange.
Stuff that gets played on the radio, it's very political. I'm amazed that we're able to get on any radio stations. We sort of threw out that whole thing years ago and went, "You know what? Let's write songs that we really like and let fans spread the word," and that's the secret of our success. It certainly hasn't been radio or anything else. But that song has been getting played in certain markets and chicks seem to dig it. I mean, I've been getting laid even more than normal. Which is a lot.
One of the lyrics in the song says the band didn't believe Michael when he told you guys he banged 17 girls. Why the hate?
Well, Michael's 56 years old, and he's our lead singer and I love him, but I'd be very surprised if he could screw two girls in a row and keep an erection. Because he's not a spring chicken anymore. He's had two hip replacements and 18 liposuction surgeries, and if he can even get an erection at all at this point I'd be surprised. For him to say, "Yeah, I screwed 17 girls in a row," nobody's gonna believe that. But we're talking about Viagra maybe endorsing the band, so, if that happens, you know, you pop 10 or 12 Viagra and you can party for quite some time. Really, really do it for quite a while.
The album looks at some deep relationship issues — "Why Don't You Trust Me" talks trust and commitment and fidelity. Did the band grow up a bit since its last album?
On this album, we really tried not to grow as artists. Because our first record was so good and we figured, "If we grow, we might get worse, so let's try not to grow our artistry or our songwriting, and we'll just try to stagnate in our bitchin-ness. Instead of a second record, a sophomore effort, let's do a second debut record." So it's more like, instead of a sophomore effort, it's the second first record. And it's like the same, but different.
Most of us in the band, the longest relationships we've had have been like, one to two weeks. But girls have a tendency to, when you come home at 6, 7 in the morning, and you have lipstick all over your crotch, they tend to question you like you've been cheating on them, and that's happened to all of us. Girls tend to be jealous and they tend to control who you talk to and who you put your penis into, and that can be a big hassle when you're in a band. 'Cuz there's a lot of girls out there, and when we have sex with girls, as a band, that's not just, "Hey, I'm having sex with this girl because I want to have sex with her," that's also promoting the band. We are promoting the band, and if a girl is with us in the band, they have to understand that, you know? This is self-promotion. You ever heard the song "Community Property" on our first record?
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