Steel Panther’s 2024 Mission Statement: ‘See Boobs, Play Some Heavy Metal, Make People Stoked’

24 June 2024 | 6:00 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

You’ve gotta check your cool at the door when you come watch us,” says Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadinia.

Steel Panther

Steel Panther (Credit: Dave Jackson)

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With Steel Panther’s On The Prowl tour finally landing Down Under this Rocktober, drummer and stick-trick king Stix Zadinia checks in – mid-tour from Hanover, Germany – to discuss some famous faces within the band’s fanbase and reiterate a fact: “everybody likes boobs.”

Any songs from the band’s latest album, 2023’s On The Prowl, going down a storm?

Stix Zadinia: “We did Copenhell [a heavy metal festival] in Copenhagen two nights ago – it was ridiculous! If you go online and look up Steel Panther’s Instagram and stuff – it was crazy! There’s some photos where you’re just like, ‘What the HELL!?’ It was great.

“We actually did Friends With Benefits, which is a ripper, and then we did 1987 which is, you know, a love letter to 1987 and it was great! People were singing all the words and they’re responding to this record. I mean, it’s been out for a minute, but it’s just nice to put new stuff out and have people get excited about it.”

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Musical legends who doth watch from side-stage…

SZ: “Especially on festival stages, we have a lot of bands watching from the side of the stage. When we played Copenhell, for instance – and this is not unusual – we had The Offspring on one side of the stage and Avenged Sevenfold on the other side, and everybody’s watching.

“There have been moments where I’ve been like, ‘Oh, man, I can’t believe they’re watching on the side of the stage!’ Whether it’s, you know, Robert Trujillo from Metallica or – we did a show in Prague one year, Kirk [Hammett] and James [Hetfield] and Lars [Ulrich] were actually side of stage watching us, and I was like, ‘Shit, this is happening!’ And I think there’s just something about Steel Panther; other bands are super-entertained by what we do, because we’re loud and large and bright and fun. It’s entertainment.

“And then, I think, they’re not threatened by us. It’s not like we’re trying to be the cool new hard kids on the block, like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna take over.’ We’re in our own lane, so we get a licence for people to smile, a licence for people to just enjoy it and I think that enables guys in a band who aren’t worried about perception – you know, you’ve gotta check your cool at the door when you come watch us.”

Stick/hat tricks…

SZ: “The hat [trick] has become part of the show. Everything’s gotta work perfectly for it to go off. So, at the end, we throw it around – everybody has a turn – and then I am the final guy. And if one of us misses, we will stay there. The longest we’ve stayed throwing the hat is probably 12 minutes, which is a loooooong time, I gotta tell ya. Usually we get it, but the payoff after 12 minutes – the crowd was, like, so loud; I think because they were excited they could leave.”

New(ish) bassist Spyder “kills”.

SZ: “[Spyder, bassist Lexxii Foxx’s replacement] came out [to Australia] with us two years ago – that was his first big tour with us – and it was probably overwhelming for him at that point. But he’s now gone all over the world, minus Australia, with us. He’s been to Europe with us twice, Canada, South America – so he’s fully integrated into the whole deal and he kills! He’s such a great bass player. And we’ve known him since the ‘90s so, yeah! There were some weird sorta circumstances and he’s our guy. He’s awesome. I think you’re gonna enjoy it.”

Spandex-ready. Always.

SZ: “You know what? I don’t use talcum powder, I usually have somebody peel them off me. But in Steel Panther we try to be as sexy as we can, ‘cause if we let ourselves go – you know, in the ‘80s, image was important. And it’s important to us still, because it’s part of that entertainment. When somebody buys a ticket they don’t wanna go see a band be super-fat and sweaty and out of breath, they wanna go see a show. But if you’re gonna do this – like, we’re committed, we’re committed to it. We all exercise, we all mind our health and you know what? To be honest with you, touring is so difficult – the way we tour, as well as the amount that we tour – and we go on the road, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not gonna survive it.”

“I’m no stranger to the Cherry Bar and adult entertainment.”

SZ: “I’m not scared of an afterparty. I’m no stranger to the Cherry Bar and I’m no stranger to adult entertainment after the show so, you know, it’s all about moderation. But in the end we wanna put on a great show, and we wanna look great and feel great.”

“I hit the fucking lottery with what I do.”

SZ: “There are only so many positions to be able to play rock’n’roll drums and entertain people around the world, and have them want to come see what you do, right? So I’m part of this thing. My favourite aspect of it is the fact that I hit the fucking lottery with what I do and how lucky I am to be able to get to do this thing, you know, see boobs, check the world out, play some heavy metal, make people stoked.”

Ever get distracted by boobs?

SZ: “Sometimes. I can do a lot of things while I’m doing stick tricks [laughs] – I’ve had quite the amount of years doing a lotta different stuff – but every now and then there will be a pair that will catch me off guard, I’ll be like ‘Holy shit!’ But I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t get distracted.”

“Titties everywhere!”

SZ: “Well, I would say this: in general society, less [girls get their boobs out]. I’d say at a Steel Panther show, it’s always the same. Like, we played at Nova Rock in Austria – a festival – and it was like it was 1987! I swear to God, girls just came up on stage – titties everywhere! – not even wearing shirts; not like they lifted their shirts up, they just took it all off! Honestly, everybody likes boobs and, on top of that, it’s just such a cool vibe, because everybody is free and just letting it rip and I love that… It’s liberating for people and they do get caught up in the moment, and we celebrate that, you know? We encourage people to get their weird on. And just do what makes you happy in the moment, we are down.”

So which band picks up the second-largest number of chicks (behind Steel Panther, of course)?

SZ: “Oh, that’s a good question. Hold on, let me just think of this. I would say Thirty Seconds To Mars, because everybody thinks Jared Leto’s hot. But, then again, I dunno, ‘cause they’re a weird band. No doubt he’s a great actor, a better actor than – but you know what? He can do it all to a degree, so that’s cool for him. But I would say – honestly, I’m just gonna say it: Poison. They’re all still fit. They’re all still rocking. I’m gonna give it up for all the boys in Poison right now.”

Steel Panther on America’s Got Talent

SZ: “[We had to censor the lyrics] a lot, because we did Eyes Of A Panther and we did Death To All But Metal – if you look at those lyrics, we had to change quite a few of those words to ‘play in a sandbox’ [chuckles]. But, you know, all our fans knew that was gonna happen if we did it and they supported us. It was cool; nobody accused us of selling out. They just knew, they were like, ‘You know what? Most everybody would take that opportunity’.

“The end result was amazing. Actually doing it was quite stressful. It’s not a fun experience, because it’s a lot of, ‘Hurry up,’ and, ‘Hurry up and wait and wait and wait,’ and then, ‘Go, go, go!’ So it’s stressful. You’re not like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so fun!’ It was cool, you know? It was great for our band. A lot of people who may not have seen us before – we were in their living rooms! It was great for our career.

“We noticed a lot of traffic on the [Steel Panther] website and we actually had some people buy some merch, because they saw us on the show. And then they saw Gloryhole and they’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t do this’ [laughs].”

Drum hero trio…

SZ: “Well, Rod Morgenstein from Winger. I’m not kidding. He’s a beast. He’s left-handed, he’s the sweetest man in rock’n’roll and he’s one of the most amazing drummers you’ll ever hear. Listen to him when he plays with the Dixie Dregs, his groove is unbelievable. Then John Bonham. And that’s no bullshit answer, that guy was special. Stewart Copeland from The Police, he’s got his own feel. You can come close [to playing along with his patterns], but you’ll never nail it; he had his own style. So those would be my three favourites: there’s John Bonham, Stewart Copeland and Rod Morgenstein.”

Why Stix picked sticks…

SZ: “Well, to be honest with you, I played piano before I played anything. I've played the piano since I could reach the keys and then, I dunno, I just like the violence of the drums and so I gravitated towards that… I like being physical, but it’s not necessarily anger; I just like the release. So drums was just a natural thing for me – to hit stuff – and I was lucky enough to be musical, so it all kind of made sense to me.”

Can fanthers expect a Tommy Lee – Home Sweet Home piano moment, then?

SZ: “Oh, if you come to the show you’ll see one. We have a song called Weenie Ride that I play piano on.”



Friday 18 October – Metro City, Perth (Boorloo)
Monday 21 October – AEC Theatre, Adelaide (Kaurna)
Wednesday 23 October – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney (Eora)
Thursday 24 October – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane (Meanjin)
Saturday 26 October – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne (Naarm)