STEEL PANTHER's MICHAEL STARR: 'We Think We're Good At Making People Laugh And Have A Good Time'

April 19, 2024

In a brand new interview with The Hook Rocks!, singer Michael Starr of California glam metal jokesters STEEL PANTHER spoke about the challenge of combining raucous comedy with undeniably catchy rock tunes. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That's the thing about our music, is we know we're poking fun and we're cracking jokes. We have to play good to be able to do that. You can't just like not be able to play and just be comedians. You have to be able to play. And then the other part that we think we're good at is making people laugh and have a good time."

Asked about the task of balancing comedic timing with putting on a high-energy rock show, the 58-year-old Starr, whose real name is Ralph Saenz, said: "I think for us, it really is just how we are as people. After doing this for so many years, we do have a set of jokes that we use a lot, but we also have stuff we haven't used in years and it just ends up popping up and we just say it. But a lot of it's really organic. I mean, we play off the crowd and we're able just to interact with them.

"When we were a cover band and doing the same type of show as a cover band, we learned that you still have to have some sort of structure to it," he explained. "You can't just talk the whole time. 'Cause we did that stuff, and people were throwing shit at us, like, 'Play some fucking music, man.' And so we learned, when you're a major touring act, you've gotta have some sort of structure. So, we structured it out and we have holes for improv and we have holes for whatever we wanna do. But at the same time there's curfews, there's people that are relying on you ending at a certain time and starting at a certain time, so it's a little bit different, but at the same time, it's still organic. And I think that's what makes us unique."

On the topic of whether he and his STEEL PANTHER bandmates work out the jokes in advance, Michael said: "We work them out while we're hanging out together, just in general. Even when we're offstage, we're still riffing. I don't know what that is, but we still just do it. We'll just riff the whole time, be different people and just fuck around with each other. And especially if we have people on the bus or we're hosting a backstage party, then we just start performing because we just can't help ourselves."

Formed in 2000, STEEL PANTHER specializes in imitating and exaggerating the less flattering aspects of 1980s hair metal, with unrepentantly crude, non-PC sexual content as a favorite lyrical theme.

The group's music has been described as "VAN HALEN meets MÖTLEY CRÜE meets RATT meets 'Wayne's World', complete with operatic shrieks, misogyny, shredding guitar solos and libidinal overdrive."

Sixteen years ago, STEEL PANTHER changed its name from METAL SKOOL to its current moniker and shifted the focus of its act from '80s metal covers to originals.

STEEL PANTHER's sixth studio album, "On The Prowl", was released in February 2023.

In September 2022, STEEL PANTHER announced the addition of Spyder as the band's new bassist.

Photo credit: David Jackson

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