Tagged: michael starr

The unmasking of Steel Panther

I spent almost two full days just clicking my way through Steel Panther history. I wasn’t really looking for anything to begin with, but as I started finding stuff, one interesting fact lead to another and it became an obsession…!

I mentioned to my friend Mari that many people have found my blog by searching for terms like “Lexxi without wig” or “Steel panther no wigs” or “Does Satchel wear a wig?“.

I can’t believe they haven’t already found all this stuff! Her only response was: “Most people don’t have the patience for that sort of thing. It’s the journalist in you that comes out“. Maybe.
I truly get a kick from this stuff. Who ARE these guys?

It’s like Kiss back in the day – everybody wanted to know what they looked like before 1983. The mystery would drive people crazy.
Well, since the Steel Panther-guys are basically always in character during their interviews, you won’t get anything out of them. So if you want to know what lies behind the wigs, the spandex and the jokes, you’ve got to find out for yourself.

I’ve visited some pretty godforsaken, forgotten places on the Internet Graveyard today.
MySpace proved to be an underrated museum of interesting stuff. There were old blogs from 2004 that invited fans of The Thornbirds (also named The Ducks) to gigs for free or to five or ten bucks at the door. Little did they know, I’m sure, that tickets to their future band Steel Panther would go for 40 bucks a piece in the UK eight years later.

There were all these old home-made homepages that people used to create before there was any social media out there – even before the days of MySpace or Facebook. It’s been an interesting journey today! I still don’t have ALL the pieces of the puzzle, lots of things I still don’t get. Like whether or not there is an affinity between the band’s manager Glen Parrish and Russ Parrish (aka Satchel).

They sure look a lot alike if you compare photos – it’s the same jawline. Just speculating – I don’t know, but I’m sure there are people out there who DO know. I just haven’t stumbled upon anything yet that would confirm it, so I’ll just save that for another rainy day. :-)

[Steel Panther manager Glen Parrish – family or just pure coincidence…?]

Glen-parrish

I started at Twitter, clicked on an interesting name, which took me to a personal webpage, which took me to a personal Facebook-account – which took me to….everywhere…!
Next thing I know, I’m looking at family- and vacation photos and old band-videos, photos, MySpace stories and blogs and old webpages and cool stuff on YouTube!

So….. This is not even half of it, but who knows, maybe there will be a “Part two” in the future. For now, if you ever wondered what Steel Panther looks like “incognito” – here you go!
Still very cool guys -wigs or no wigs!

STEEL PANTHER – UNMASKED
Travis Haley – Russ Parrish – Ralph Saenz and Darren Leader.
Better known as… Lexxi -Satchel – Michael and Stix

This is what they looked like then this whole thing began….

And sounded like this (Love Rocket):

LEXXI:

SATCHEL:


STIX:

MIX OF PIX – click your way through them all – live pix of Satchel’s and Stix’ former band The Thornbirds and more. This first pic is of Travis and Russ (Lexxi and Satchel):

Russtravis
Russ2
Stix
Thornbirdspromo
10maj2005
10maj2005thornbirds
10maj2005thornbirds2
10maj2005thornbirds3
Big_macaddict
Russ1
Russ-parrish
Russtravis

There was plenty of info on Satchel’s musical past, in the form of videos and old interviews, yet he is the only one I haven’t found on any social media sites. So, if you’re digging for personal stuff on him, good luck – it’s not exactly under your nose if you’re looking for it.
Seems like he really prefers his privacy when he’s offstage, respect to that.
But if you’re curious of his “old sins” music wise – here’s some old shit for you to enjoy…! :-)

The Atomic Punks (Van Halen-tribute band that included Michael Starr as “David Lee”) at the Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, CA – October 22, 2005. Includes former guitarist Russ Parrish – tuning problems with his Frankenstrat.

THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT (around 1991)
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin

Notice at 0.49 where Lexxi’s future “hair flip” probably originates from! ;)
This also includes Billy Sheehanwalking out on stage with a birthday-PIE. :-) Great stuff, I LOVE Paul Gilbert!!

THE ELECTRIC FENCE – with PAUL GILBERT and guest ROB HALFORD
The Electric Fence – Paul Gilbert, Russ Parrish, Jeff Martin

THORNBIRDS 

And there’s the HOT dude Russ in FIGHT – too pretty to fit in really. :-)

2948173

And last but not least…. just a few interesting links – I wish I had saved all of those I discovered today, but like I said – maybe in a part two. :)

Russ Parrish – Ratchet 2002 – Metal Sludge 

http://www.metalsludge.tv/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=421&Itemid=52

Danger Kitty – Michael Diamond

http://www.usatoday.com/mchat/20010508001/tscript.htm

BAND WAR AND PEACE
http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/war_and_peace 

Welcome to visit www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror 

Getting together with STEEL PANTHER in Copenhagen….

Wednesday, March 14th 2012 was a beautiful sunny day in Copenhagen, Denmark. One of those mild days with blue skies – the kind that we love so much here in Scandinavia.

I was heading for the SAS Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, where I had a scheduled interview with Steel Panther and I was about 45 minutes early.

I found “camera guy” Henrik and long time friend Mari sitting right across from the hotel entrance, seizing the day as well. We decided to go inside.

We got a table in the lobby bar, cause I wanted something to drink. Just as I was piling all my stuff on one of the leather chairs, I heard somebody behind me yelling “Oh, WHITESNAKE!!”.
I was wearing my WS-jacket, so I turned around and saw the back of a blonde, long-haired guy with a studs-decorated black denim vest. I just smiled to myself and went to get a Coke in the bar. That was the MOST EXPENSIVE Coke I’ve ever had, by the way – $11!!!

“The guy” was Michael Starr. He looked at us and went: “So…. who are you guys here for…?”

I laughed and was about to say “Who do you think??” but Henrik replied: “Steel Panther”.

Michael stops, looks at us, a bit puzzled and goes: “Well… I’M in Steel Panther!”

Once again, I smiled and said: “We’re early and you’re not working, so we’re not gonna bug you. We’ll talk later, it’s cool.”

He ordered a chicken salad and continued: “Oh man, you’re not bugging me. I’m just so bored. There’s nothing to do and I can’t even call anyone at home cause everybody’s still sleeping back in L.A…”.

We all shook hands and introduced ourselves, and he pulled out a chair by the table right next to us.

My first impression of Michael was – what a down-to-earth, pleasant kind of guy. I read somewhere that these guys never step out of character, but I didn’t detect any “acting” when talking to Michael in the bar.

My cell rang and it was the Universal Music-representative who wanted to know if we were all there and if we would like to do the interview right away.
While I was on the phone with her – Stix Zadinia and…hm, my guess is tour manager, or stage manager, cause he kind of looked like one of those, joined Michael.

The rest of us went with the Universal-ladies up to the 26th floor, Suite 2618.
Remember that – crazy Steel Panther-fans.Next time you’re in Copenhagen and want to plant your delicate little tushies on the same leather [-couch] that the Panthers have been sitting on, that’s the room you want to reserve.

The suite was quite impressive. Large windows, amazing view – and 206 m² to move around on. Not exactly the budget-suite. :-)

Henrik started re-arranging the furniture in there cause he had an idea of what he wanted “the set” to look like. In the meantime, I was chit-chatting a bit with the Universal-ladies, very nice people as well.

It didn’t take long before it knocked at the door and the Steel Panther-guys had arrived. There was no way you could miss it, it was close to a Sebastian Bach-sort of entrance.
In other words: You HEAR them when they walk in a room…! :-)




This time, they were all “in character”, no more incognito-being-normal. It was Steel Panther that entered the room. I was gonna shake Stix hand but he just smiled and hugged me instead. Well, the informal approach totally works for me! :-)

I turned around, and there’s the incredibly charismatic Satchel (oh, come on girls, you know you all love him!). He’s all smiles and goes: “Hi! I’m Satchel!” and I wasn’t sure what to say other than “I know!”. :-) And bam, there’s another hug.

He turns to Stix and says: “Uh-oh…! She’s got a Judas Priest necklace and a Whitesnake-jacket. Do you know what that means??”

Both shouting: “YEAH, SHE’S METAL!!” followed by a loud high-five. I mean, it was entertainment from the minute they walked in!

I can’t even reproduce the whole “conversation”, and that was just BEFORE the actual interview. I explained I wasn’t Danish, but Swedish, which brought back some memories for Satchel apparently, as he mentioned once having a Swedish girlfriend from Gävle (but he pronounced it like “Geffeley“- I think…!).
Then he went on with some Swedish phrases that reminded me of the Swedish chef more than anything!

Lexxi was busy with his pink can of hairspray, brush and sparkly mirror, but even he greeted me with a hug. Guess I’ve officially been almost-group hugged by Steel Panther then. Can’t be bad!
(I said HUGGED! Get your minds out of the gutter. ;P)

When it was time to start the actual interview I quickly realized that whatever scenario I might have had in my head of how this was going to go down, it was anything BUT what I had thought, planned or possibly expected.

There was a mix of questions, some of them my own, some of them coming from other creative fans, and it could have been pretty funny hearing their answers to those. However…. they weren’t quiet long enough to let me finish a sentence, so I quickly realized that I was going to get answers to stuff I hadn’t actually asked. But the cool thing about that is that the whole thing was improvised and you really had no idea what was going to happen from one second to another.

The first question for instance was about how spandex works in cold Scandinavian weather as it makes stuff shrink and, well – you get the picture. The somewhat unexpected answer to that was that Stix had batteries in his pants (you’ll hear the whole explanation in the video eventually) and the others had “natural heat”. Once again, use your imagination.

The next question, submitted by Sean in Canada, asking if they would have sex with Gene Simmons to maximize their “count” (as they’ve often said that when you’re having sex with someone, you’re actually also sleeping with every person they’ve ever been with). Michael quickly replied that he would never want to suck Gene Simmons tiny d**k, followed by a few well chosen words by Satchel before they all started singing God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You.

I sent that video to their website and next thing I know, it’s been submitted everywhere, on every official Steel Panther channel – bringing the count up to 5100+ views in less than 24 hrs!  I’ve never seen such amazing enthusiasm and steady fanbase.

The Tweet had a few re-tweets, the Facebook-post a whole bunch of “likes” and “shares”, I was blown away watching it as it was happening! Crazy! Only goes to show that this band is making it BIG.

But I guess I saw that later in the evening outside the venue when Michael walked by some female fans and one of them went totally nuts SCREAMING for all she was worth: “OH MY GOD!!!! THAT’S MICHAEL STARR!!! WEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Ouch.There goes my ear drum…

[From outside the venue, hours before anyone else showed up…]

Imag3700

But, back to the suite at SAS Radisson and the interview with Steel Panther. I mean, you’ve all seen the interviews – they are out of their minds. :) The Universal-ladies were trying to hard not to laugh, and quite honestly, at times I even forgot that I was there to ask questions!

I was sitting there watching them like I’ve done so many times before on YouTube, wishing that I was just a spectator who could sit back and just enjoy the show! So, if I sound unfocused when you see the video later, it’s because I was! 

In most interviews, you ask a question, the artist answers and you either ask your other question on the list or you ask a follow-up question based on what he or she just said. With Steel Panther is was hard to do either of those things. And most of all – you’re not even sure when they’re kidding or when they’re serious. Are they EVER serious? :)

Time just flew, I could have stayed there all day as far as I was concerned. Who wouldn’t? You’ve got 4 funny and good looking men in front of you, where else would you rather be? :)

Img_0385

I felt a hand on my shoulder, and a voice whispering: “Last question….”. OK, there were other people waiting to talk to the band. The timing was perfect though, I only had one question left.

When we were done, Satchel asked if we could take a photo, all of us, with me in it. I’ve never been asked BY THE ARTIST to take a photo. :) I don’t even like to be in pictures really, but how could I say no?!

Much like his character requires he said: “So, let’s get naked!” and I repled: “I DARE you! You first!” He started laughing. “You dare ME?” Hell yes. If he would dare to get out of the spandex right there and then, I certainly would flash something, lol! I knew he wouldn’t though, bummer! ;-)

Henrik quickly dismantled his cameras and lights and we left to make room for the next reporter.

I wanted to finish my super-expensive Coke. If I paid 11 bucks for it, I sure was hell was going to finish it before we left. So we went back to the lobby bar and relaxed in the leather chairs once again.

After a few minutes, Henrik smiles and nodds to somebody who’s just passing behind me. I took a quick look and all I saw was a bald guy with tons of tattoos. Didn’t think much of it thugh. Henrik and Mari both started laughing. “Didn’t you see who that was??” I don’t know, didn’t really look… “It’s Stix, the drummer!” Oh boy – without the WIG, you could barely recognize him! He stood in the bar for a while, probably waiting the the other guys to finish.

About 15 minutes later, he was joined by Michael and some other dude with black, short hair and a carry-on suitcase. Holy mother – Satchel “au naturel” – without the wig! Still a handsome dude though – Mari and I started laughing because he reminded us a LOT of a guy who used to be with the European touring group Chippendales back in 1993!!!

[It was difficult finding pics to show EXACTLY what I mean, but I hope you’ll see the resemblance when you see this…!]

I loved Michael’s cool snake-pattern carry-on by the way, very rock’n’roll. :-)

Lexxi looked exactly like he did during the interview when he walked through the lobby, so I guess that the interview they did after me didn’t take long.

Mari and Henrik drove me to the venue where I spent the rest of the day being pretty bored. With some bands, you’ll always find fun people to talk to while you’re standing there waiting for the doors to open.

But the first fans that got to Amager Bio were probably around 18 or 19, with boom-boxes and shit, yelling rather than talking and drinking los of beer. Might have been my type of crowd when I was 20 but not now. :-)

There was not a soul in the “Guest list” line, I was the first. Doesn’t surprise me, most professionals don’t REALLY care about the music or the band. They usually go just because they can, because it’s free. I actually already had a ticket that I bought months ago, just like everybody else. The only reason I got in the guest-list line was because I didn’t have to wait to get in. :-)

The show was beyond anything. I don’t even know what…. I mean…I’m just speechless!

The biggest difference between Steel Panther and all other bands out there, is that they don’t just entertain you with their musical brilliance – because believe me – they KNOW what theyre doing. No question about it. But they also keep you laughing.

You don’t want to leave, because you might miss a really good joke. With any other band, you know that even if you leave, you’re not missing much. You’ve heard the songs on the records or you can see it on YouTube. But with Steel Panther, every night is different. They’re full of surprises and you just don’t know what they’re gonna do. THEY probably don’t know either, they just make it up as they go.

I love their insanely funny vulgar humor. I often hear people comparing them to Spinal Tap. I don’t think they’ve got much in common at all, other than the rockstar-satire idea.

Steel Panther are kickass musicians and they’re for real, not actors. While Spinal Tap was dry British humor, funny in a totally different way, I love the American vulgar Steel Panther kind of humor a lot more. I suppose my mind IS in the gutter a lot of the time, so their shit is just killing me…! :-)

I was a bit nervous to upload one of the videos from the show on YouTube cause I’m pretty sure it’s in breach of ALL of their policies…!

But I just had to anyway..:! This one is unlisted so enjoy the last minute and a half of it…! ;))

DO NOT WATCH IF YOU’RE UNDER 18! (yeah there’s my share of bullshit for today!)

Concert review and video interview coming up soon!