Lock up your stadiums, Steel Panther are on a quest for world domination
Novelty act or going concern? Either way, Steel Panther have become one of metal's most unlikely success stories. Here they discuss selling records, smashing expectations and, erm, STDs
METAL HAMMER STARTED IN 1986. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM ’86?
Michael Starr (vocals): “Dude, ’86 was the year not just for Metal Hammer; it was the year for MTV, the year that people started using credit cards! Also, cocaine was better. Nobody really knew about AIDS that much, so everyone was fuckin’ without condoms. It was a really free, fun time, man. Everyone just had a good time. Nobody was really singing about how they feel – they were just singing about partying!”
BEFORE YOU WERE STEEL PANTHER, YOU WERE METAL SKOOL. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST GIG LIKE?
“We were scared – we had to play a new venue, and we ended up selling it out! But the first gig was glorious. We had all the fear of failing, and not only did we not fail, but it was better for us, because we needed a bigger room. So the manager did us a favour without even knowing.”
YOU BROKE BIG IN THE UK IN 2009, AFTER PLAYING DOWNLOAD. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
“Coming over to the UK was probably the most exciting time of our lives. We were very happy with our success as a cover band in LA and Las Vegas, it was really exciting. We kept going to bigger rooms and selling them out every week, and we had a weekly show and were doing really well. Then we got a record deal, and they said, ‘Man, if you want to do something, you gotta go to the UK right away and support this record.’ We were like, ‘Who the hell is gonna know us in the UK?!’ We had no idea what it’d be like. And we get there, and Download went off for us. It was so exciting! The record wasn’t even out yet and people knew the music. It was really cool.”