Steel Panther talk hmv.com through new album Lower The Bar, touring plans and unusual crowdsurfing competitions...
Hair metal parody specialists Steel Panther started life as a tribute act, wowing clubs and bars of Los Angeles with their sleazy riffs and wild tales of excess. But, as time has gone on, they’ve grown into an arena-filling proposition and a band with five albums of their own.
Their newest LP Lower The Bar is out today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page) and we spoke to the band’s frontman Michael Starr about making it...
How did making Lower The Bar compare to the records you’ve done in the past?
“Lower The Bar has some very different flavours on it. It was a really exciting record to make. We’ve expanded our horizons, both in subject matter and in the music we make. I feel like as Steel Panther we’re really coming into our own, this record is really fun and it brings us all together.”
You never seem to be off tour, how do you find time to write albums? Are you always doing it when you’re on the road?
“For us it’s always really fast. Quite often Satchel (Steel Panther guitarist) will write a song in a day and then bring to the studio and we’ll fix it up. We add all our flavours to it and then it becomes a Steel Panther song. We always like to work fast.”
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
“This album was the fastest one for me, I connected pretty instantly with all the songs, but the hardest was a song called ‘Now The Fun Starts’, that was the hardest one to sing.”
Any which was the easiest to do?
“‘Walk Of Shame’, that one was right up my alley, it’s all blues and Chicago, it’s got this great Boston, early Aerosmith feel to it.”
When did you settle on Lower The Bar for the title?
“We’ve got this big master list of titles, we’re always thinking of them, so we’ve got a big list. But we wait until we’ve got the music in place before we decide what the album should be called. This record just celebrates our mindset, we’ve always had low expectations, so the lower your expectations are, the higher the reward, that’s some advice for everyone right there.”
As always with you guys, it’s a hell of an album cover, how did you come up with that idea?
“Back in the early 2000’s we would play every Monday night at the Roxy in Los Angeles and a couple of little people would also come to the show. So we’d get them onstage for some fun and then after a while, we came up with the idea for what we called Midget Crowdsurfing Racing, so we’d have them crowd surf all the way to the back of the room and then back to the stage and whoever got back first won the race. We always like a double entendre for our cover and so we got one of the little people who used to race and put them on the cover.”
Always nice to give back to your old fans…
“Exactly! You can never forget where you came from!”
How’s your live set coming together?
“Ideally we’d like to put a lot of new songs in the set. But I know how fans are and I know they want to hear the songs that got them into the band so we’ll be playing lots of songs from Feel The Steel, our first record, but we’ll be doing plenty of new ones, three at least. We’re going to learn them all and alternate. We’ve got a lot of songs now so it’s getting harder to put the set together.”
Do you have much production planned?
“We’ve got a big video screen and we hope to bring that out again. We love having visual aspects to go along with the show. Pyro is really expensive, it’s about £2,000 a show, maybe we’ll just bring some matches, that might work…”
How are plans for a UK tour booked? We know you’re booked for Download, but how are headlines dates looking?
“No, there’s not a solid plan yet. But we’re constantly trying to get it together, but we always plan on coming back to the UK and we can’t wait to see you guys again.”