With soon to be four albums into their widely successful career, the always rockin’ and sexual Steel Panther don’t need any fucking introduction. On March 24th, singer Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia will be releasing their new album, aptly titled ‘Lower The Bar’ and guess bloody what? It’s more Steel Panther for your ear holes!
Earlier this month, timekeeper Stix Zadinia – real name Darren Leader – spoke with me amid a solid music writing/getting stoned session at his humble home over in the States. During our chat, we talk about the lyrics of recent single, ‘Anything Goes’, the meaning behind the first song off their new album, ‘Goin’ In The Back Door’ (shockingly, it’s about anal sex), covering Cheap Trick, his favourite rock n’ roll bars, and his love of golf. It really is a journey you need to go on.
Oh yeah, he also told me that I’ve fucked up by moving in with my girlfriend which was just…lovely.
Suss it out below, you kinky freaks.
My first question relates to the first song off the new album – ‘Goin’ In The Back Door’. As such, is there a deeper metaphorical meaning there or is that just about ejaculating inside of a girl’s ass? Like, is that…is that it?
Well…if I’m being honest, that’s pretty much what it’s about. But – ha, butt – I will say that there are a lot of things you can take from that. Going in the back door is a special thing to do. You gotta put the effort in for it, you know? Anything worth getting is worth trying for. And at the end of it, you’ll realise that it just tastes a little bit. Here’s an analogy: you’re super duper full after a big meal and someone puts an orange in front of you, you’d say “Nah, I’m good.” But if you’ve been starving for days and days on water and sunflower, and someone put that orange in front of you, you’d be like “Dayumn, that looks good!”
That’s ‘Goin’ In The Back Door’.
Right, I gotcha – you gotta put in a lot of hard work for the real payoff. Is that maybe some sort of unintentional metaphor for the band’s career or am I just really reaching?
No, dude, that’s it. You know, there’s only one way for us to do what we do and that’s to just go for it. We are individually and collectively built to rock. We just don’t know any other way. I couldn’t not rock and go grind what we’ve been doing as I’m just hardwired to do that. Some people are hardwired differently for other things in life, and this is what we do. And it’s nice, more people keep coming and more and more chicks keep coming out too. That’s really the end game for us.
[Laughs]. Also on the new songs, Stix, one track that really stood out to me is ‘Pussy Isn’t Free’. When I heard it on the album stream, I thought “Oh man, I need to ask Stix about this!” So yeah, can you please enlighten anyone reading this as to why pussy isn’t free in your eyes?
Because it’s valuable and girls know it! In any business, in any commerce, if you have something that people want, you’re gonna want to charge for it. Whether it’s a direct dollar or something more indirect. If you meet a girl and you keep seeing her, you’re gonna pay for her dinner or maybe move into together – which I would say don’t do – and you’ll be paying someway or another. DO NOT be disillusioned, my friend, it’s not free.
Well shit man, I just moved in with my girlfriend of five years. Would you say that I’ve fucked up?
Well, Alex, I don’t wanna say to your face that you fucked up because that would not be cool. But bro…you fucked up!
Nah, you know what dude? I’m super happy for you. But as I said, ain’t nothing free. Especially pussy!
Moving on. I’m not sure if you can speak for the other band members but the lyrics of ‘Anything Goes’ purely seemed like they were written from the pure fact that they rhymed and not because of their actual content? As the song title suggested, anything potentially goes with that song.
That’s just it – the concept of anything goes and you imagine the kookiest shit that you can, anything really does go! “Tie a couple lassos around those tits, pour syrup on her ass like she’s chicken and grits” – yes, it does rhyme and that’s killer songwriting right there [laughs.] It’s like a puzzle when it comes to lyrics, and when a song like that where there are no limits, you gotta get creative.
So did you or anyone else have any input on Michael’s lyrics for that song?
No, those lyrics were actually all written by Satchel!
Ahah, that makes a lot more sense now! Now, with the recent Cheap Trick cover of ‘She’s Tight’, there haven’t been any Steel Panther covers since the band’s very early days. I also found it was a good song for a band like Steel Panther to cover too. Was it weird to go back to doing a cover or did it feel like a solid nod towards where you then and where you guys are at now?
For us, as you said, we came from covers. We made a conscious effort not to do any covers on our first three album’s as we wanted to cement our position in rock with our own original songs. But this is our fourth album and we were really comfortable to put a cover on their, and Cheap Trick isn’t something you’d really expect from us. Most people would have assumed a bunch of different bands before doing Cheap Trick, but we all love that band. We have made the point that we are an original band, and there’s no confusion about that.
For sure. And that cover was both faithful and it gelled with the vibe of your music really well too.
Exactly! That was another reason why we chose that song too.
Right on. Although, Less Than Jake covered ‘Surrender’ like ten plus years ago now, so they beat you to that one, my man.
Yeah, ‘Surrender’ has been covered a lot. It was actually a toss-up between ‘She’s Tight’ Or He’s A Whore’ for us covering Cheap Trick. ‘She’s Tight’ is just two and a half minutes of rock n’ roll and that’s what we’re all about.
So with the cover the album and its title, ‘Lower The Bar’, I am wondering if you or the other members have ever considered owning or opening a bar? Cause I think a Steel Panther bar would be a real experience.
It’s funny you mention that as just the other day I was thinking about that. There’s actually not a lot of rock n’ roll bars and I think that a Steel Panther bar would be the place that many people would want to hang out.
Well, down here in Melbourne Australia, there’s Cherry Bar, which I’m sure you know very well.
Oh yeah! Dude, I have been to that bar many, many times.
Do you have a favourite rock bar?
Well, when I am in Gothenburg, Sweden, I go to 21 12 which is actually owned by my buddy Bjorn from In Flames. It’s great, they have great food and killer whisky. Cherry also comes to my mind. There’s just so many bars that we go to that I can just never remember the name of [laughs.] But wherever we go, we always get treated really well. But those two bars are almost like second homes now.
I find it very cool that you can go to these places all around the world and get treated like family and maybe that’s telling of the love for Steel Panther the industry has? I don’t know.
Yeah! We have been very fortunate.
And, of course, you don’t take any of it for granted? As starting out as a cover band may have resulted in the band going nowhere.
Yeah, as when you do covers, there is usually a ceiling of how far you’re gonna go. So we decided to roll the die and see how we’d go. People have responded to us so well since that again, I feel very fortunate.
There also doesn’t seem to be a ceiling on your popularity yet either. And I think that ‘Lower The Bar’ will continue that as it’s just another Steel Panther album.
Dude, I hope you’re right. I’m so proud of it. It takes you on a ride like a rollercoaster and I’m super excited about it.
On that note, we’ll leave our chat there, Stix. Apart from writing music today and getting stoned what else will you be up to?
For the rest of the day? Well, our day here in America is coming to an end but tomorrow I’m going to go golf.
Are you a big golfer or is it just something that you do occasionally?
Oh, no, I am big golfer [laughs].
Cool. I used to play it a lot when I was younger but haven’t really touched it in years. I’ll tell you, I do like the idea of just going to a driveway, taking my 5-iron and 1-wood driver and just hitting balls all day long.
Dude, I did that today actually. It takes way less time than regular golf. But I think that what makes it all work is playing against the course and the other players you’re going up against. Next time we’re in Australia, I’ll be bringing my clubs.
Whenever you’re ever back down in Australia this year or next, you should definitely go out to the Moonah Links golf course. It’s like an hour or so out of Melbourne heading towards the end of Victoria. You should check it out, it’s a beautiful course. I loved playing there myself.
Dude, thank you so much for the recommendation. I am so fucking down!
Fucking rad! Until next time, mate, take it easy Stix!
You too Alex, cheers bro!
‘Lower The Bar’ is out March 24th. Sadly, their premiere of ‘Poontang Boomerang’ on Pornhub.com hadn’t happened at the time of our interview, and I wish it had as I have so many damn questions. Oh well, next time, I suppose!