Balls Out: Our Interview With Steel Panther's Michael Starr

It would be easy for detractors to write Steel Panther off as a joke band, a parody. But what's often lost in the discussion is that they're a damn talented band. Listen to the music. Check out the vocals. This is something you would've dug back in the '80s. Yeah, you with the Warrant t-shirt that you pretend to wear ironically.

Steel Panther just released their second album, Balls Out, which perfectly sums up the affair. With tracks like "Weenie Ride," "It Won't Suck Itself," and "17 Girls In A Row," you know what you're getting before you hit Play. It's a funny, sexist, and immature album, but it's awesome as hell. As Michael Starr proclaims below, they're hoping to "bring back having a good time." If this album is any indication, they're gonna make that happen.

I got to sit down with Starr, Steel Panther's outspoken lead singer. We talked about the new album, bad press, touring with Motley Crue and Def Leppard, whether metal's making a comeback, and sex.

How's it going today?
Good man! Just hanging out looking at some fucking stuff on the Internet.

Cool. Your sophomore album, Balls Out, came out November 1st. That's an awesome title. Is that a personal motto of yours?
Well, it's actually been coined by race car drivers. You know, they're "balls out" around the track and I think it really relates to what Steel Panther is all about. We don't leave anything on the table. We're balls out.

Were there any other titles in consideration?
There were. Several, actually. One of them was Sloppy Seconds.

That would be great!
Yeah, it's pretty cool. And then we were thinking about Smells Like Number Two.

And Tongue Punch In The Fart Box. That's about it. I think Balls Out's the best.

Yeah. I saw where Balls Out debuted as the #1 album on Billboard's Comedy Chart and #40 on the overall chart. How does that feel?
I got to tell you, it feels fucking great, man. It's something I've always wanted to have happen, but at the same time it's hard to believe that it's actually happening. And it's happening, mind you, with very little radio support because station programmers are still a little bit nervous about playing Panther because of the content.

It's not so much the content, I think it's—it's not even a word, but I'm going to use it—the overthetopness of Steel Panther. There's other bands that sing about fucking chicks and doing blow and all that shit but when it comes to us doing it, I think they're a little hesitant. So yeah, it's amazing to reach that. And it's not done! It's continuing to climb. It's 38 with a bullet now.

Cool. "17 Girls In A Row" was the album's first single. How much medication is needed for something like that?
Well, at our age a lot. There's a new Cialis out now. I don't know if it's out there or everywhere across the world, but you take it daily so you're ready to go at any time. You don't have to like take it, and then have the chick wait. When you have seventeen chicks waiting or eighteen chicks waiting, they get a little restless so you've got to have it in your system at all times so when you're ready to go, you're ready to go. And you want to stay away from drugs that deflate your cock.

I think I smell a tour sponsor. How much medication is needed after something like that?
Well, you're definitely going to need some Neosporin for the chafing. And that's when you can really start doing some blow and just party, after you exert that kind of energy like that. I don't know if you've done this, but I've masturbated to Internet porn over and over and over and over again and then I fall right asleep.

I just saw your brand new video for "If You Really Really Love Me," but I've got to ask: where are the women?
Where are the women in the video?

Well, if you watch "Death To All But Metal," there's only one girl in it, and that's Sarah Sil—no, actually there's chicks in the fucking classroom. That's right!

I don't know, dude. I didn't even think about that. I was so excited just to feature our faces, you know.

It's a cool video. It's got that classic look to it.
I love it. I think it's great. It really showcases who we are, what we do, and it's not an expensive video. I think we shot it for like five grand. It's just us. It's kind of like Van Halen's "Jump." There's nothing really to it, it's just us playing the song. The song's really short, it's a really good song, the words are really important for up-and-coming rockers to learn because you don't want to be with a chick that fucking gives you a hassle for going to rehearsal or playing Xbox or anything like that. I think it was important for us to be a little more intimate so the message can come through.

What's your favorite song on Balls Out?
Right now, I'm really enjoying performing a song called "Tomorrow Night."

That's the one where the party's happening tomorrow night but tonight we're not doing anything.
Yeah. Actually, this guy who used to be a friend of the band who's passed away since from partying said, "Hey! I know where a party is!" We're like, "Fuck yeah!" He goes, "Yeah, tomorrow night, though." So that's where the song came from.

Let's talk about "Just Like Tiger Woods." Have you heard from his attorneys yet?
Not yet but we're hoping that happens very soon.

All press is good press, right?
Oh hell yeah! That's the cool thing about Steel Panther: either you love us or you hate us. There's no middle ground. There's nobody that walks around, "Yeah, I kind of like Steel Panther. They're pretty good." It's either "Oh, I love them" or "That band fucking sucks," so our press can go both ways. So when we get some negative press, I love to read it because it makes me feel like when I was a little kid and my Daddy used to beat me.

Describe a Steel Panther live show for those of us who haven't had a chance to catch you live yet.
Well, I can describe what it's not. If you want to go watch paint dry or some grass grow, then you probably don't want to come to our show. If you want a good time, if you want to laugh, if you want to see some titties, want to get your fucking balls rocked off, and you want to leave feeling like you spent fifty bucks on the best time of your life, that's a Steel Panther show.

Cool. You're getting ready to do your UK tour with Def Leppard and Motley Crue. How excited are you about that?
I've been doing push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts. I'm ready to roll.

Do you have any special plans for the tour?
Well, we plan on playing our songs the way they sound on the record.

At this point dude, financially, it's pretty hard for us to bring in anything that's going to blow up or shoot out in space except for our sperm, so we really have to focus on playing the songs like they are on the record so when you see us, not only do you get the enhancement of us being on stage and the overwhelmingness of our beauty, you also get the exact same sound as the record because that's really important.

Except for the lyrics. I'll fuck those up.

Let me ask you a serious question: do you think metal's making a comeback?
I think Steel Panther is making headway in becoming one of the most amazing rock bands to ever come out in the 2000s. I think when you have something like that happening, you're going to end up invariably getting people copying what you're doing. That's been our goal since we started, to bring heavy metal back. That's what we want to do, bring metal back. Not necessarily like it was in the '80s, because that's never gonna happen. But just bring back having a good time, you know?

Who's your favorite metal singer? Who inspires you?
Well, I can tell you who inspired me. David Lee Roth inspired me to do what I'm doing today. Straight up, that to me was the blueprint for a lead singer in heavy metal band. And I think that Van Halen started heavy metal, in my opinion, along with The Scorpions and a couple of other bands. Van Halen is the band I'd like to say was my major influence. And I'm talking about the first five years, just to be clear.

I won't keep you much longer. We have three questions we ask every guest called The CB3. First one's Thriller or Purple Rain?

Sixteen Candles or Pretty In Pink?
Pretty In Pink.

Last one: Tiffany or Debbie Gibson?
That's a fucking tough one. I guess Tiffany was way hotter than Debbie Gibson could ever be. Tiffany.

OK. Cool. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. Best of luck with Balls Out!
I appreciate it, man!

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