- - Thursday, October 8, 2015

Steel Panther brings its full-frontal aural assault of “heavy metal comedy” to the District this weekend to rock you silly.

Don’t know the Panther? Shame, shame, shame. The Los Angeles-based quartet comprising Michael Starr (vocals), Satchel (guitar), Lexxi Foxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums) plays a patented blend of 1980s hair metal (a la Warrant, Poison and Bon Jovi) and hilariously dirty comedy — all done with precision and wit.

Mr. Starr sat down to discuss the best advice Judas Priest singer Rob Halford ever gave him, his possible ibuprofen addiction and what you can expect when Steel Panther rips into your town.

Question: What can people who have never seen the band expect when they come out to your Virginia shows?

Answer: Even if you’ve seen our videos on YouTube, you cannot compare it to the actual live experience. It’s completely different. It’s really hard to explain to somebody what they are about to see. What can they expect? You’re gonna see some naked chicks on stage. That will just happen.

Q: Do you bring the naked chicks with you?

A: No, we don’t bring them, they show up. Some will be younger. Some will be older. Sometimes it’s some older girls that have given birth several times. They will show their boobs. You just never know. The comedy that ensues is different for each show. It’s a heavy metal comedy show.

Q: How old was the oldest woman to get naked on stage?

A: Really old people get up. At least they look really old. We had a woman that had to be in her 60s. And If she wasn’t in her 60s, then she must have laid out in the sun at the beach since she was 2. She showed her boobs and made out with some younger girls.

Q: Is there a line where you say “You’re too old”?

A: No the line we say is, “You’re too young.” You’re never too old to rock.

Q: Should guys bring their hot wives and girlfriends to the show?

A: Usually if a guy is fully into our band and his wife is not on board, then he’s not gonna bring her. Because he won’t be able to enjoy himself the Steel Panther way. But if your chick is into it? Bring her! You never know, she might be able to get with the band. Then she can tell him all about it.

Q: How do you guys handle groupies?

A: We have a backstage pass system that we took from Van Halen. It’s way, way more simple than Van Halen’s. They had grids set up. We don’t have a grid system. If you have ever watched Peyton Manning or Tom Brady call an audible from the front line, it is basically the same thing. If we wanna give a pass from the stage it’s point, pull, slap. We have two pass guys. The drum tech has really developed a knack for knowing where I’m pointing.

Q: How do you get them to leave?

A: You pick the chicks you know either have to catch a train or have their mom or boyfriend in a car outside waiting for them. And thank God for the invention of Uber. You can just call them an Uber and say, “Uber’s here!”

Q: Because you are the lead singer, do you get first dibs?

A: There is no pecking order. It’s just a matter of taste. My bass player Lexxi and I have similar tastes. But he usually drinks himself into such a stupor that he doesn’t have the ability to “seal the deal.” So I pretty much have free reign. Our drummer likes bigger chicks. And our guitar player likes taller chicks that are really smart. I don’t like smart chicks.

Q: You guys toured last year opening for Judas Priest. Did Rob Halford give you any advice?

A: The very first show we did, Rob came up to catering and sat right next to me. We ate together. The best piece of advice he gave me was, “Don’t eat spaghetti before a show, and ice your knees after the show.” The pasta slows you down. Halford eats salads and chunks of raw meat before he goes on.

Q: Did the Judas Priest fans get it?

A: Not at the beginning of the tour. You have to remember this: We are doing an arena tour with Judas Priest — playing for hard-core Judas Priest fans who don’t give a [expletive] about who’s opening up. To top it off, our band demands your attention. Some of them didn’t like it at all. They would just stand there giving us the finger. Some were like, “What is going on?” Towards the middle of the tour, people were enjoying themselves.

Q: Have you ever not been able to win over the audience?

A: No, [but] there are individuals that you can never win over.

It’s like a girl. It’s the same thing when you go to a party: There are gonna be some chicks that won’t want to get together with you. But then there is always a slut that’s ready to rock.

Q: Is there a new record in the works?

A: We have had four moths off. Satchel has been doing a lot of writing and sending over new demos. It’s not for sure yet, but we’re thinking about doing an acoustic live record — taking some of our classic stuff and redoing it. But in a different way. Hopefully package it with a DVD.

Q: What is the one thing you always need to have on the road these days?

A: Nowadays? Ibuprofen. I have to have that before I go on and when I get off.

Q: Do you have an addiction to it?

A: I’m not addicted to it. If I stop taking it, I’m not gonna swell up everywhere. We really run around on stage. It’s like a sporting event. I drink a lot of water and take a lot of ibuprofen so I can keep going.

Q: You said, “You’re never too old to rock.” But is there a time when you’ll stop?

A: Oh, the expiration date for a rocker. I keep looking at Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler. Look at how long those guys have gone.

I really enjoy it so much that I don’t think I would wanna do anything else. I just wanna keep on going until the wheels fall off.

Steel Panther rocks The National in Richmond, Virginia, Friday. For tickets visit TheNationalva.com.


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