Brace yourselves – Steel Panther release their third album, All You Can Eat, this week, and lyrically they’ve crossed even more taboo boundaries than ever before. How far, SHANE PINNEGAR asks, is too far?
“Well, we write our lyrics from personal experience,” singer Michael Starr, explains, “so it just depends on where we go in our life.
“And that’s the appeal of Steel Panther – the honesty behind it and I think that you can see that in our shows.”
That may seem disturbing when the new album features songs about girls crying during sex parties and gangbanging pensioners at a retirement home, but Steel Panther have always walked a blurry line between fact and fantasy.
“That’s good,” says Starr, laughing at the suggestion that the band must sit around trying to out-gross each other when they’re writing lyrics, before continuing, somewhat open-endedly, “We’re really excited with this record, we spent a lot of time working on it. We went over every single lyric with a fine-tooth comb. We really took our time with it and it’s a little bit darker of a record for us. We’re excited because we feel like we took the best of Feel The Steel and Balls Out, and All You Can Eat is a combination of that. That’s where the title really came from – it’s like, it’s all you can eat: it’s every bit of Steel Panther you could ever want.”
In addition to causing offence with the sexual nature and swearing in their songs, Steel Panther have also raised the ire of a lot of people who love heavy metal, but think you shouldn’t joke about it. Again, Starr is unrepentant.
“Oh, man I look forward to causing offence,” he says with a laugh. “I really spent most of my life having fun and enjoying myself, and not taking myself too serious, because there was a time when I did take my self real serious and it got me nowhere. So we don’t take ourselves too serious because I think that heavy metal’s not about being serious for us. It’s about having a good time. My main influence is Van Halen and when I first saw Van Halen, David Lee Roth didn’t take himself too seriously, but he was the baddest motherfucker on the planet back in the day. That’s what we’re all about.
“My message would be, ‘if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. If you like it, listen to it’. That’s it. You know if you’re in a mood where you want to hang out with a chick that’s super-sensitive you might want to put on some Bruno Mars, but if you’re pissed off about your bills being due and you’re bummed out that your mum’s kicking you out, you might want to listen to Steel Panther to escape.
“And then,” he adds, just in case anyone thought he was getting too serious, “if you’re feeling like you want to kill yourself, you can listen to some Nirvana.”
Steel Panther were last in Australia in December 2013, and Starr reassures that they will be back to play All You Can Eat.
“I don’t know what our plans are yet, but I know it’s going to be at the end of the year, or hopefully it will the very beginning of next year – maybe Soundwave or something. I don’t know yet.”