Some call them the pride of Los Angeles. Others view them as a categorical disgrace. But irrespective of the labels projected onto them, Steel Panther sure know how to have a good time. The glamorous heavy metal outfit are heading back to Australia next month, following their stint on last year’s Soundwave tour. It’ll officially be wintertime when they return, but that’s no bother – it’s not the weather that lures them back, as bass player Lexxi Foxx explains.
“We were all talking when we were rehearsing for the tour about how many beautiful women are in Australia,” he says. “I cannot believe how lucky you guys are. It was so fun to do Soundwave over there and see everybody – going to the beach there in Sydney and seeing all of the beautiful women there.”
Steel Panther’s sex-crazed lifestyles are essentially the nucleus of the band’s existence, characterising their songs, live shows, and evidently their interviews. The band formed in 2000 and have since released four studio LPs (including one under their original name Metal Shop). But while they’re not as young as they used to be, their libidos haven’t diminished with age.
“I suggest this for everybody – take a bunch of drugs and then take boner pills,” Foxx Says. “Yes, we are getting very old. I’m very old. I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this, but as long as I keep pumping drugs into my system and using those damn boner pills… Those things work like crazy. I’m knocking over pictures and everything in the hotel room. So thank God for technology. I just got my Botox done and my eyebrows done. Technology keeps me going. We’re all old men, but drugs are good.”
Foxx and his band mates are happy to embrace technology in order to sustain their glamorous image and inordinate sex lives, but when it comes to album releases and promotional methods, they stick to what they know. This February they released the live album and accompanying film, Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage. While online hype machines and surprise album releases have started to dominate the mainstream music sphere, Steel Panther prefer a grass roots approach.
“Surprise records? That’s a bunch of crap,” Foxx says. “You should be able to just promote like back in the day. Back in the ‘80s, back in the ‘70s, you did your promotional tours, like we did for Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage. We went all the way to the UK and to New York and we had one here in Los Angeles. Technology’s changing so much. Open record stores back up. Record labels should just come back and just do it all ‘80s style again.
Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage was indeed recorded and filmed at Foxx’s mother’s house. It’s been two years since the band’s last studio release, All You Can Eat, and the release of an acoustic live album could be a clue for what’s coming next. However, Foxx clarifies that they’re not abandoning their hard rock sound.
“We did that just to get close to those chicks that are in the DVD. It was my idea we’d all get together in my mum’s garage and invite lots of chicks. When I was a kid the acoustic guitar made vaginas so wet that I’m thinking, ‘Man I’ve got to be in a band.’ Acoustic guitars make girls very, very, very horny. Now we’re going to leave that alone for a while and we’re on our way to making another bitching rock record. Hopefully we can get it out by the beginning of next year.”
Steel Panther are commonly described as a comedy band, and their salacious lyrics and eccentric cock rock arrangements provide plenty of support for this thesis. Though, there’s also a fair amount of darkness strewn throughout their catalogue.
For one, being insatiably sex obsessed doesn’t always sound easy. And then there’s a song like The Burden of Being Wonderful, which speaks of how lonely it is to exist at a superior level, to be a “Maserati in a world of Kias”. As Foxx sees it, they’re just conveying their own truth and trying to enjoy themselves as much as possible while they still can.
“Why I love being in this band so much is because, first of all, we all look bitching in spandex even though we’re really old. The other thing is we do something different, because we don’t give a shit. All the bands that are out there are trying to be so cool and want to get on the radio and they don’t want to offend anyone. Fuck that. If we like writing about sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and just having a good time, and if we happen to offend somebody, then we just do. There’s nothing we can do. If some people find some lyrics to be funny, that’s fine too.
“A lot of people think we’re just a one legged pony or that this is going to be a flash in the pan. But we’re going to be here until one of us either dies or just can’t walk anymore.”
Written by Augustus Welby
Photo David Jackson
When & Where: Festival Hall, Melbourne – June 18
Release: Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage is available now via Kobalt/Inertia.