Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Steel Panther’s Michael Starr Talks On The Prowl Tour, ShipRocked And Favorite Beaches Around The World

Steel Panther is a comedic glam metal band from Los Angeles, California. The band is known for its humorous take on the stereotypical glam metal lifestyle. Led by singer Ralph Saenz (Michael Starr), the band is composed of lead guitarist Russ Parish (Satchel), drummer Darren Leader (Stix Zadinia), and bassist Joe Lester (Spyder.)

Since their beginning in 2000, Steel Panther has released 6 studio albums: Feel The Steel (2009), Balls Out (2011), All You Can Eat (2014), Lower The Bar (2017), Heavy Metal Rules (2019), and their newest release On the Prowl(2023.)

In 2024, Steel Panther will be performing at festivals around the world including the Sweden Rock Festival, Trondheim Rocks, Hellfest, and more. The band just released their dates and location for their US and European tour, Panther On the Prowl. The tour in Europe began in February and will continue into July, while the US tour will take place in April and May. 

We had the pleasure of meeting up with lead vocalist Michael Starr while aboard ShipRocked. We talked about the production of On the Prowl, his favorite songs to play live, and his favorite beach in Australia. 

Steel Panther's Michael Starr Talks On The Prowl Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s your perfect day in LA?

It would be getting up, going to Starbucks, getting a big fat cup of coffee, an Americano, maybe with an added shot, depending on how much sleep I got the night before. Then go for a hike, talk to all my buddies on the hike because I hike every morning. I hike Fryman Canyon a lot and there’s a place called Dixie Canyon, which is a little bit of a secret place. That’s a perfect morning for me.

What’s your craziest travel story?

Well, this one time I was on a cruise and we ported in Jamaica, and there’s this huge storm, and the boat hit the side of the pier and left, and we were stuck on the island for 8 hours, something like that. It was crazy. They picked us back up and we kept on rocking.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Tell me about your album, On the Prowl.

On the Prowl was our COVID record. Our guitar player Satchel and I wrote that record in his house in Las Vegas during COVID. We recorded it all on our own, except for the drums. The drums were recorded in the actual studio, but all the pre-production we did at our houses and I recorded all the vocals at our drummer’s house. 

Our drummer, Stix and Satchel both produced me for the vocals. Then we had our favorite producer of all time, Jay Russ mix it all. We’re really proud of that work. I mean, during the pandemic, it was hard. It was such a difficult time for everybody. I think a lot of people put out a lot of great music during that time. So hopefully people love the record as much as we do.

Steel Panther's Michael Starr Talks On The Prowl Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s your favorite song to play live off of the album?

I really love playing “1987.” “Never Too Late (to Get Some P*ssy Tonight)” is great. We’re also doing this ballad called “Ain’t Dead Yet,” where I get to play guitar and sing. So that’s been really fun for me because I don’t normally play guitar. 

How do you deal with people who take the band’s antics too seriously?

Usually we just say, look, you’re at a show, at a festival, this will happen at our headline shows. I just say, well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay. You can just leave. If I go see a band and I don’t really care for them, I don’t go, ‘Hey, you suck. You’re offending me,’ I just leave, I don’t have to say anything. It’s like a comedy show, you know? I mean, if you take it so f*cking seriously, then go see Sepultura. Get serious there.

You’ve toured all over the world. Any hidden gems you tell people to visit?

You know, I really love Bondi Beach in Australia. That’s a really fun place to get tattooed. That’s where I got this tattoo here. It’s my wife. I got that and surfed there and hung out there. It’s a great place to get tan. It’s cool. It’s really a popular beach. If you’re going to Sydney, Australia you have to go to Bondi Beach. It’s like if you come to LA you have to go to Malibu.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What are your must pack items for touring?

Shampoo and conditioner, of course. A Wet brush, a hair pick and nose trimmers.

What are your must-have items when you go to a truck stop? 

Usually a charging cord I don’t need. A charging block I don’t need. Probably a phone holder that I don’t need. A trucker hat that I don’t need, and a t- shirt with a wolf on it. Some sandals. Maybe some water shoes, a Monster and licorice. Twizzlers. Strawberry flavor. 

Your band just announced a spring tour. Any cities you’re looking forward to?

I love San Antonio, but we’re not playing there. We miss you. I’m looking forward to playing Texas. I have a lot of family out in Houston and Dallas and San Antonio, but most of my family is in Laredo, Texas. So anytime I go to Texas, I get to see a lot of family.

Steel Panther's Michael Starr Talks On The Prowl Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

You brought your family here on ShipRocked. They’re so cute. Any family travel tips?

When you bring your kids, if they’re teenagers, make sure there’s bands like From Ashes to New to watch, The Warning, I Prevail and Beartooth. I mean, seriously, this cruise has been filled with so many great musicians and great shows, and there’s a band that I really wanted them to see called BRKN Love, and they didn’t disappoint and the kids love them. It’s killer to share what I do for work with them and then for them to see all my peers performing. It’s really cool. 

Anything coming in 2024 you want to talk about?

It’s the year of the Panther. Did you know that?

It’s actually the year of the dragon. 

Yeah. Well, we’re going to change it to the year of the Panther. The Steel Panther, in our world. Is House of the Dragon coming out with another season this year? I really like that show. 

Steel Panther's Michael Starr Talks On The Prowl Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

I don’t know, I’ve never watched that. I watch a lot of Bravo when I’m traveling. Laughing

I’m not a movie guy either. I’m an NFL guy. So, during the season I’m watching the games. I’m sad for the Rams but I’m happy for the Chargers because they got a new coach. I’m sad for the Baltimore Ravens.

What’s your perfect tailgate?

The perfect tailgate would be in Tampa Bay when Tom Brady was a quarterback, with a bunch of chicks from the show. 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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