No need to transcribe the interview. The sound quality came out “bitchin’,” as Lexxi would say. Satchel’s the one who talks first with me about the t-shirt I won in an eating contest. Lexxi chimes in a little bit, but he mostly does his hair. I analyze the interview and Steel Panther after the jump.
Thoughts on Steel Panther
1. Steel Panther is just as much Andy Kaufman as they are Motley Crue. Before the interview, I peaked inside the dressing room and saw Satchel teasing up his hair with the full intention of his being. He was making kissy lips at himself in the mirror without a hint of irony. Maybe these guys have been their characters for so long, they’re becoming the characters.
If Steel Panther isn’t Andy Kaufman, then they’re at least an improv troupe. Notice how Satchel and Lexxi take one word from a sentence somebody says and riff on it in a different direction. This is a classic improv technique, and they’re totally good at it. Plus they do it from their characters, which is super funny. The recorder doesn’t pick up how much I’m actually laughing.
2. Satchel is the most intense dude I’ve ever met. He leans in and stares you down when he talks to you, and if you let him he could probably keep on talking forever. Even when I know these guys are a parody and intentionally putting on a show for the interview, I still found myself thinking, “I need be more like that.”
3. These guys are super smart. The rumor is that Steel Panther’s lead singer, Michael Starr, has a PhD in English Literature. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. Even Lexxi, as he acts disengaged, gives off an air of intelligence. It takes smarts to act dumb in a funny way. Real dumbness is depressing and boring. Listen to a Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee interview if you don’t believe me.
4. If this was 1985, Steel Panther would be a serious band. We the fans come to a Steel Panther show because we love metal. We love Steel Panther, too. And our reaction to the band is genuine. I talked to a few other fans before the show, and they weren’t there to laugh. A few even said they wished Steel Panther would be more serious. When I saw Steel Panther for the first time in 2005 (when they were Metal Skool), I thought it was a serious band. I wanted to believe they were a serious band—turns out I’m not the only one.
Steel Panther may be number one on the Billboard comedy charts, but this isn’t Weird Al, or even Spinal Tap. In a post-feminism world, singing about liking pussy has to be a joke, otherwise people will think you’re a joke. But like all good jokes, Steel Panther gets at something serious. The heavy metal stage maybe isn’t the place to point at this something serious. Hence Animus Empire.