The undeniable force that is Steel Panther first came on the scene during the height of hair metal and wasted no time carving a niche into Los Angeles’ highly competitive music scene. Consisting of frontman Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx and Drummer Stix Zadinia, the band quickly rose to power and were ingrained in the fabric of the legendary Sunset Strip’s most notorious era.
In 1987, the band was set to play their biggest show to date, a music showcase gathering the likes of the industry’s most revered tastemakers. A fierce bidding was about to erupt between every major label as all would try to cage the magic of the ferocious beast of Steel Panther. But this is where the mystery of Steel Panther becomes mysterious: The band never showed for that big showcase and seemed to disappear into thin air. Rumors abounded as heavy metal’s finest minds pondered the whereabouts of Steel Panther and if they would return to save heavy metal.
In the years following, it became evident Steel Panther proved in their short time hot chicks will gladly take their top off if you are in a band. They proved if you rock hard and live hard, you can tear something besides a groin muscle – you can tear the fabric of time. In 2009, these once and future kings of heavy metal emerged out of the mists of history and a cloud of hairspray to reclaim their rightful throne with “Feel The Steel.” With hit singles such as “Community Property” and “Death To All But Metal,” word quickly spread Steel Panther was back and again marking its territory! The hardest rocking band in the land is showing no signs of slowing down and are about to release their latest effort, an amazing heavy metal album titled “Balls Out.” Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon caught up with Lexxi Foxx to discuss his roll in this legendary rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut, the making of the new album and what might lie in store for the musical powerhouse that is Steel Panther.
We always like to give our readers a little background on an artist. How did music first come into your life?
There are a few instances that spring to mind but my very, very first concert was Quiet Riot. I was really young and I went with my babysitter. Since I was young, I didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on or the lyrics to the tunes but I do remember how bitchin’ they looked. Lookin’ back I guess that is how I have always felt — I mean, I like good tunes but I am more concerned with how the band looked. To this day, our tunes are great but it is what is on the outside that counts, not what is on the inside!
For those who may not be aware of the power of Steel Panther, how did you meet the other guys from the group?
Well, when I came out to California, and I don’t remember a whole bunch, I was working in a salon. It was a tanning salon and a hair salon. I was doing somebody’s hair when I saw Michael [Starr] come in. He was talking about some band and I said, “Dude, that would be pretty bitchin’ to be in a band.” He took interest in me because he thought that I looked bitchin’, so he asked what instrument I played and we settled on a bass. At that point, him and Satchel had already formed the band. I started showing up at rehearsals and learned a couple of notes. Basically, that is how it all happened for me. We started looking for a drummer around that time, we went though so many drummers I couldn’t believe it. Stix Zadinia came on board shortly thereafter. It all started from there.
You mentioned image and how important it is for you and the band. You are the pretty one in the band and you make looking good look easy. What is your secret?
There are a lot of things, like going to sleep. Even if I am going to party, I make sure that I get a deep sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you face is going to look all puffy and messed up. I also get Botox, DuoDERM and facials at least once a month. Those are great tips but at the same time, take care of your hair! Make sure you get the proper treatments for your hair, like if you want to get it frosted or highlighted, make sure you know what you are doing. You also want to get the ends cut about once every six to eight weeks.
Steel Panther is about to release a new album “Balls Out.” It hit a few snags as far as its initial release date. What’s up with that?
Yeah, ya know, I think it was all dependent on when we were going to go over to the UK. They were going to release it a month earlier but I think they wanted us to go over there first. [yawns] Sorry, I just got off of a plane and I am shaking it off. It was just the stupid label, they just wanted to screw shit up for whatever reason, so that is what they did. I don’t even know the exact reason, it is all just label crap, I have no idea! So, I probably can’t answer that one good.
What can you tell us about Steel Panther’s writing process both in general and for the new album?
We all get together and came up with some cool ideas but I do have to say that Satchel will come to rehearsal and say, “Here are all of the songs.” Then the rest of us will say, “Awesome!” and we all sit down and try to figure them out from there. The bass parts that he comes up with are really, really hard. When we get together he simplifies them for me and then moves on to the drums and the vocals. We make little changes here and there but, for the most part, Satchel brings something to us and we make little changes if we think anything needs changin’. That has kinda worked for us with the last record as well. The structure pretty much starts with Satchel.
With the band’s lyrics being so autobiographical, so personal, do you find you ever alienate anyone along the way?
I think it is cool, the way we write our songs. We don’t really leave anyone out. With every song we have from “Fat Girl” to “Asian Hooker” to “Just Like Tiger Woods,” we don’t really leave anybody out. We have “Gold-Digging Whore” and “Critter” too. I think that if we didn’t put ourselves out there, our fans would be disappointed to be totally honest with you.
What was the biggest challenge for you in putting this new album together?
The biggest challenge probably was making it look as bitchin’ as possible. We came up with the album title first and then tried to figure out the best way to do it. We wanted to make it similar to the last record but not so similar at the same time. We didn’t want to put our picture on the cover of the record like we did last time but we did want to have them in there. The label gave us a bitchin’ photographer to accomplish that. I think that the initial shots were the toughest thing for us but I think that it all came together. We went back and forth with the label for a while before we decided what we wanted but in the end everyone was happy with their individual shots. Like I said, we wanted to make certain changes but not too over the top. We still want it to be a heavy metal record, ya know?
The album’s cover art is nothing short of spectacular. How involved were you guys with the art direction?
We all had ideas that we were kicking around and someone said, “Why don’t we have some girl holdin’ a bitchin’ set of metal balls?” That was cool and Michael, Satchel and Stix were at that photo shoot. I didn’t even go because I was hungover. When that was being shot they all gave their input on it and how she should be posed. That is their thing because when it comes to other people and how they look, I don’t care so much. I mostly care about myself, so I didn’t care. If there is somebody else on the cover, that is fine but I don’t really care how she is laying around, those guys can figure that out.
What about plans for videos off of this album? You have done some in the past, can we expect more from you guys soon?
Yeah, we are actually shooting a video tomorrow [October 18th, 2011] downtown for “If You Really, Really Love Me.” We are so stoked to go in and do that! I am not sure if we are going to do more videos after that or when we might do another. But yeah, “If You Really, Really Love Me” is the first one we are going to do for the new album.
You guys certainly have a busy schedule. What can you tell us about your tour plans in support of “Balls Out?”
We are all over the United States for the next couple of weeks, doing press and things like that! Next month, we go to UK and we will be hosting an award show. After that, we come back to the States to do some more dates before we head back overseas with Motley Crue and Def Leppard! I think it is a 12-day run or something like that at some arenas in the UK! It is going to be pretty cool! The end of this year and the start of next year are going to be so insane! We are stoked to do it because we think our fans are really going to dig this record, way more than they can imagine! It is really a good record and the touring we are going to be doing is going to be crazy but I think we are all excited for it. It will be cool to see some of the places we have seen before, only with a bigger crowd and more bitchin’ tunes!
You guys have a reputation for playing with some of the biggest names around. Who has been the most exciting person for you to play with live?
For me, playing with Justin Hawkins was a lot of fun. I am a huge fan of The Darkness and playing with him was really, really cool! And of course, playing alongside Steven Tyler was another great moment. Those are my two toppers!
You guys had a huge hit with “Death To All But Metal.” Did your band receive any blow back from any of the celebrities or bands mentioned in that track?
A lot of people were super stoked that we mentioned them in that song! But from what I gathered, 50 Cent was not that stoked about it. You kinda have to keep your head on a swivel when you have 50 Cent pissed off at you!
Do you feel there are any misconceptions about the guys in Steel Panther?
Um, I don’t know. What does misconception mean?
Moving on… [laughs] You mentioned some pretty big names you have performed with along the way. Has Steel Panther every been involved with any type of rock ‘n’ roll feuds or perhaps you might be looking to start one?
Nah, not really. We aren’t into all that shit. There were a few words that went back and forth between us and Tommy Lee but that was about it. It was really no big deal. We don’t want to fight with anybody, we just want to bring heavy metal back and live the heavy metal lifestyle, which is partyin’, having fun, doing lots of drugs, hangin’ out with hot chicks and make bitchin’ tunes.
The band has a had a chance to tour the nation and the world for that matter. What is a typical day like on the Steel Panther tour? Is it pretty over the top like we might imagine?
Yeah, it definitely is. Hopefully the press doesn’t start until later in the afternoon because we all like to hang out and party wherever we are that night. We never know when we will get to bed because we are hangin’ out. We met a lot of people on the first tour so this one is probably going to be even crazier because we just got to know everyone from the first run. So yeah, we do press during the day, put on a bitchin’ show and then party all night.
Who is the biggest diva in Steel Panther?
Oh, me for sure! There is no doubt about it. There are certain things that I can’t stand. Michael is a bit of a diva too because he nit-picks a lot but I guess it would be me when it comes to the majority of things!
Steel Panther is known for their live performance. You guys are real pros. Have you ever had a Spinal Tap moment on stage?
Oh yeah, we wear bitchin’ spandex all of the time and those guys wear bitchin’ spandex all the time! That is our Spinal Tap moment!
I was excited to hear you guys were working to get a Steel Panther television series off the ground. What is the status of that project?
Yeah, that is what we are working on right now. We are going to start filming stuff ourselves and putting it on the web as we do it because so many people wanted control of it, it would have just been a waste of time for a camera crew to film us. It was going to be too much, so we are just going to do it our way. You can probably expect something from us around the beginning of next year.
Is there anything you want to say to the dedicated Steel Panther fans out there before I let you go?
Yeah, I just want to let them know that we are really excited for everybody to have this record. These songs are something that we have been working on for a long time and we know that our fans are excited to hear it. We are looking forward to touring and bringing it live. I can’t wait to hang out and meet new people and party with the people we met on the last tour!
Thanks for taking time out to talk to us, Lexi! We are looking forward to spreading the word on “Balls Out!”
Thank you, I really appreciate it man!
Get all the latest news and tour dates from Steel Panther at their official site located at www.steelpantherocks.com!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.