LeBrain will always be straight with you when he doesn’t know something. I have had a few requests for a write up on Steel Panther. The problem is, I’ve never actually listened to Steel Panther. Maybe I should change that.
So I asked the infamous T-Rev, aka Trevor from the Record Store Tales to see if he could do a review. He could, and he did. Enjoy.
STEEL PANTHER: Feel the Steel (2009) & Balls Out (2011)
Steel Panther: Your New Favourite Band, by T-Rev
Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx, and Stix Zadinia are Steel Panther. The X-rated, Spinal Tap-esque modern day Hair band. Intent on bringing back Heavy Metal , with a sound that will impress any fan of the “hair” genre. Formed with ex-members of various metal bands in the 1990’s ( Rob Halford’s Fight, Paul Gilbert’s Racer X, and L.A. Guns!) originally as Metal Skool (yes…Metal’s Cool) in the early 2000’s, and a brief stint as Danger Kitty (getting some recognition on MTV and the Drew Carey Show). Feel the Steel, the first album as Steel Panther, stands out because of its period-correct guitar assaults, its bandana wearing 4-armed drummer and the spandex covered, lipstick sporting, teased hair bass player, (reminding me of Warrant circa Cherry Pie mixed with some early Motley Crue attitude!) and of course, its lyrics!
Feel the Steel has it all, killer riffs (often mimicking classic tunes of the past like “Fuck All Night, Party All Day’s” intentional resemblance to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”) Hilariously refreshing lyrics (like the first time you ever heard “Fuck Her Gently” by the D) throw in some top notch guest star clout (Justin Hawkins duets with Michael Starr) and top it off with manufactured “rock star” personas (a la Spinal Tap), and you’ve got all the best parts of what a hair metal band should be…SEX & DRUGS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL! Crazy stories of sex with asian hookers, sex with fat girls, sex with neighbours, and copious amounts of “blow”, all done in a way you’d never expect…even though it feels strangely familiar. Sounding like it came from 1989, but containing enough modern relevance to remind you it’s current. After about the first verse, I knew I was a fan for good. “Eminem can suck it, so can Dr. Dre, or they can suck each other…just because they’re gay” screams Starr on “Death To All But Metal”. “Two in the pink, one in the stink”describes the “Shocker” to newcomers. And “You’re the only girl that I like to screw…when I’m not on the road,” Michael reassures his girl on “Community Property”.
Balls Out, their sophomore effort, continues where F.T.S. left off. A lot of the same sexual scenarios, but the music seems to have picked up another gear, with more focus on riffage (bigger, faster, louder). The lyrics, however, are lacking the furious onslaught they had on F.T.S. Perhaps because the initial shock is over, now I expect it! There is more celebrity name-dropping than before…mentioning that Charlie Sheen “is winning in the bedroom upstairs”, and that Tiger Woods thinks “3 holes are better than a hole in one”. A good album upon first listen…just didn’t have the impact that Feel the Steel did on me. Having said that, this album grows on you…big time! Like any good album…it takes a while for their sauce to mix with yours!
I should also discuss Starr’s instrument…this guys voice is classic, vintage, powerful, cheesy, awesome, hilarious, and adaptive! Vocal range that would bring a tear to Dio’s eye, heartfelt (x-rated), ballads on par with anything Bon Jovi or Poison ever did, rockers that could have appeared on stage with the great Bon Scott! I don’t mean to come across as though I consider this band “flawless”, but, these guys are PRO’s! Certainly impressive musically…sometimes though, they sway over the cheese line a bit, and even take the lyrics too far, but all in all, I do love these albums. Afterall, isn’t it the cheese that we now love about 80’s metal?
You really get the feeling that these guys are true fans of metal, not just cashing in on the novelty of wearing spandex and makeup. Much like the ribbing the Darkness took during their invasion, some people misunderstood the flattery for ridicule. True fans see past the hair and hear the talent in the music…every time I listen to them, they get better! Like a drug that you can’t get enough of…you want to hear it again and again. In a world where Justin Beiber and Nickelback win music awards, this is a welcome addiction. A perfect mix of metal and comedy! Destined to become a staple at everyone’s annual “sausagefest”
Feel the Steel 5/5
Balls Out 4/5