This is an interview with Michael Starr and Stix Zadinia of comedy glam metallers Steel Panther, conducted on 14th November 2012 at Southampton Guildhall.
“Nick, you’re way better than most journalists that we’ve been interviewed by.” – Michael Starr, lead singer of Steel Panther.
“You’re a good interviewer, man. You’re a fuckin’ awesome interviewer and you can put that inside the interview.” – Stix Zadinia, ‘lead drummer’ of Steel Panther.
While those quotes haven’t found their way into the interview itself, and may well have been sarcastic, it is impossible to resist letting the world see them.
This was an interesting experience. The questions are spectacularly conventional, but the subject was Steel Panther, so the answers are going to be anything but conventional. Due to the awkward alternating nature of their answers, the interview stretched across many pages, making it a nightmare to transcribe.
So here it is in its entirety*, (a tale of vermin, chlamydia, necrophilia, murdering Justin Bieber, and a questionable tour of Chad Kroeger’s house) something that you won’t find anywhere else.
*Aside from a quick singalong of ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie by Michael Starr as we discussed when the interview would be published. I will treasure that recording forever.
Tonight is sold out. What is it that you think brings so many people to you, night after night?
MICHAEL STARR: To our shows? Well, it’s simple. We have a great lead singer. An amazing drummer. A great lead guitar player…
STIX ZADINIA: And a very feminine bass player.
MS: And you put all those things together that… it’s just…
SZ: Too totally bitchin’. And… if you think about it like this, Michael Starr – lead singer of Steel Panther…
MS: Go ahead Stix Zadinia – lead drummer of Steel Panther.
SZ: Thank you. If you think about it like… Julia Child. If she’s cooking a stew, she wants to make the best stew possible. What does she put in there?
BOTH: The best ingredients!
MS: And then you have a great dish.
SZ: She comes out with the most heavy metal stew she could possibly make by putting the best ingredients in.
MS: And then everybody wants to eat it, right?
SZ: Everybody wants to take a bite. We’re like a heavy metal fuckin’ soup.
MS: You can throw anything in there too, but it has to be good quality.
SZ: Yeah, you couldn’t through anything in there. You don’t throw Justin Bieber in there.
MS: Unless you wanna cook him dead.
SZ: But that’s kinda Jeffrey Dahmer shit. That’s where it gets weird.
MS: I like to eat pussy, but not dead pussy.
What appeals about the UK? Why have you come here?
MS: That’s a great question. The UK is a beautiful place, number one. Number two, it’s the first place that really embraced Steel Panther what we are really all about.
SZ: And mice.
Browsing your tracklists, there are some interesting titles. ‘Party All Day (Fuck All Night)’, ‘It Won’t Suck Itself’, ‘Asian Hooker’, ‘Gold-Digging Whore’… has no one ever complained?
SZ: Nobody has ever, ever, ever in the history of this band, complained about our lyrics.
SZ: Yep. Dead serious.
MS: How interesting is that? That’s great journalism there, that question. Nobody does.
SZ: Nobody complains about our lyrics. Do you know why? ‘Coz the shit that we say is what’s on everyone’s minds. Seriously.
MS: It’s just that we’re honest about it.
SZ: We’re straight up. If we see a chick who wants to fuck a guy because he’s got a lot of money, that’s a gold-digging whore. Everyone knows it, we’re just saying it! It’s true.
MS: Nick, if you think about, like… you’re interviewing us right now, and there’s a lot of thing you wanna tell us, right? And ask us, but if you don’t ask us questions, you’re never going to get the answers. That’s the same basic principal for us.
SZ: We’re fuckin’ truth seekers, man.
MS: Yeah, man. We’re out for the truth and we fuckin’ preach it, and love it, and we rock it. All the time.
SZ: Suck on that!
You worked with Chad Kroeger on…
SZ: Jack Kruger?
(laughs) No. Chad.
SZ: Oh, Chad Kroeger! Jack Kruger, he was a paleontologist.
MS: Yeah, he was a paleontologist, but he also writes songs on the side.
SZ: He’s a pain-in-the-assogist.
MS: Chad Kroeger is the coolest guy in the library.
He’s very stigmatized, and everyone seems to have a lot nasty things to say about him…
SZ: No, he’s actually really fucking cool. He had us at his house in Vancouver, and we smoked a bunch of weed and we wrote some songs and fuckin’ recorded that one!
MS: Canadian weed. Have you ever smoked Canadian weed?
SZ: Yeah, BC weed!
No, I haven’t. I’ve been to Vancouver though a couple of times. I guess I missed out during my visits.
MS: The BC weed, it’s different. It gives you, almost like a mushroom hallucinogenic type high. It just made us create, like, the most bitchin’ fuckin’ rock song. We fuckin’ wrote that song in one day. Recorded it in one day, and we fuckin’ hung out for the rest of the two days, right? We were stoned the whole time. And we played hockey.
SZ: He’s got an ice rink in his house.
MS: A hockey rink.
SZ: IN his house. Not outside. In. It is incredible.
MS: And he’s got a football field in his house. And we played football for a couple of days.
SZ: A full 100-yard football field in his house. And he has an entire entertainment centre in his house. An arcade. A big screen, like a movie theatre. And he also has a baseball field in there.
MS: Everything you can ever imagine in there. A huge pachinko ball game.
SZ: He’s got a small city in there.
MS: You know why he did that? He just wants to shelter himself from the world. Just living in his own world.
SZ: And do you know what he has outside his house? His own gas tank. A gas pump, so he doesn’t have to go to gas stations. For real, he has a gas company deliver gas to his house so he doesn’t have to go to the gas station. I’m fuckin’ serious.
MS: That’s one thing I wanna get! A fucking gas pump! That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a guy owning a gas station.
The band itself is…
SZ: So good?
Well, yes! I was going to say eccentric, and you’re just crying out for odd questions. Have you had anything like that recently?
MS: I’ll give you the most annoying answer for myself personally, Michael Starr – lead singer of Steel Panther. What’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened on stage.
SZ: Yeah, or the weirdest.
MS: The weirdest thing. Or another question, what’s your favourite city in the UK?
SZ: Or what’s your favourite…
BOTH: …song to play.
SZ: Don’t ever ask a band that. If that’s on your question list, cross that shit off!
Do you get that time and time again then?
SZ: Why do you think we’re telling you this? Do you think we’re making shit up?
MS: Yo, dude. Don’t go out on this guy!
SZ: Oh, I’m sorry. Sorry.
MS: Jesus! He’s just a fucking journalist trying to get a fucking comment.
SZ: I snapped. [grabs my hands]
MS: Don’t touch him like that. That’s aggressive too! That’s passive aggressive.
SZ: That was not passive aggressive. That was like… man I’m sorry. I didn’t shake him.
When were you last asked about your name?
MS: Actually, two days ago. And we got the name from another band called Steel Dragon. We stole the idea completely, and just changed it to a panther.
SZ: That’s totally not true. [while nodding]
MS: Yes, it’s not true.
SZ: It’s true.
You covered Backstreet Boys I understand. On YouTube there was a lot of moaning in the comments underneath saying “oh my God, I think I like a Backstreet Boys song…”
MS: Wait, wait, wait. No, no. We lost a bet. Well, actually we didn’t lose. I think we won the bet. Somebody bet… they said ‘I bet you can’t make this song sound heavy metal’, and I said ‘fuck yeah, we can, dude’.
SZ: Yeah, he got us into this mess so we had to take a shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty song, by a shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty band…
MS: And make it killer, killer, killer.
SZ: Make it killer, killer, killer and that’s exactly what you heard.
MS: And that’s exactly what we did, did, did.
SZ: Fuck, fuck, fuck yeah!
MS: Yep, yep, yep, yep. Yep, yep, yep.
What’s your favourite curse word?
MS: Cunt! Michael Starr – lead singer of Steel Panther’s favourite curse word is ‘cunt’. C-U-N-T.
SZ: I’m thinking. Stix Zadinia – lead drummer of Steel Panther is thinking.
MS: Sometimes it’s ‘cunty’, depending on the person. You can say it like ‘she’s fucking cunty!’.
SZ: I think that my favourite curse word, is just straight up ‘asshole’. You know, coz like, if someone is just being an asshole, it’s so descriptive. But I also like to stick my dick in bitches’ assholes, so it’s got dual meaning.
MS: It’s like school.
SZ: It’s exactly like school.
MS: It’s like a metal school.
If you were a food, what would you taste like?
SZ: If I was a food item? What would I taste like? Fuck, man.
MS: I’d taste like pizza.
SZ: He would definitely taste like pizza.
MS: I definitely would. A little garlicky. Not too much. But a lot of cheese.
SZ: I like to think that I would taste like strawberry. With a hint of watermelon.
MS: You’re so fuckin’ Californian, dude.
SZ: Dude! That’s how I roll, bro! It’s where I was born, man!
MS: Holy Taco Bell.
I’m going to leave you with a blank canvas, so if there is anything that you want to plug or preach to readers…
SZ: I’m ready to paint. You should listen to Steel Panther, coz if you don’t, you will go straight to hell. You’ll never get Christmas presents and you’ll get beat up all the time by other people who listen to Steel Panther. Do you want a go?
MS: This is Michael Starr from Steel Panther. I’m going to paint on your open canvas. I like pussy, pizza, partyin’…
SZ: That’s the three ‘P’s!
MS: I know dude! (HIGH FIVE) The three ‘P’s of metal, dude! Pussy, pizza and partyin’.
SZ: And don’t forget prescription pills!
MS: (laughs) Prescription pills! I like pot.
SZ: He’s just perfect.
MS: I am perfect. I like pineapple. Pineapple’s really tasty. I like pop.
SZ: Drinkin’ pop. You drink pop?
MS: Pop. You know in the States, in the Midwest they call soda, ‘pop’.
SZ: Also poppin’ cherries.
MS: Poppin’ cherries! (HIGH FIVE) Three Cs! Didn’t cause it, can’t cure it, can’t control it. Anyways. If you have herpes, don’t worry about it because you can’t catch it twice.
SZ: Also, if you have chlamydia, you can take azithromycin.
MS: Yeah, it gets rid of it really quick. And if you have a girlfriend and you think you may have infected her with the chlamydia virus…
SZ: And you don’t want to tell her…
MS: Tell her she’s getting fat, and put her on a protein shake diet. Make protein shakes for her every day with the azithromycin inside of it.
SZ: Pop that shit in there.
MS: She’ll never know she had it. It will go away and nobody’s hurt.
SZ: Nobody’s worse for wear.
Well, I’ll bear that in mind.
SZ: Nobody’s none the wiser.
MS: (English accent) Nobody’s none the wiser, I say! (Back to American…) You know, you should really print that because it’s helpful.
Thank you very much for your time.
SZ: Dude, you’re awesome.
MS: Thanks Nick.