A conversation with Satchel from Steel Panther
Loud, profane, and perhaps a bit deranged, the high-octane foursome known as Steel Panther summon all of the costumery and buffoonery of vintage ‘80s Sunset Strip hair metal. The band doesn’t hide behind the parody or joke band label. At least not entirely, because when it comes to musicianship these guys are stellar. The Music Zoo’s Steve Ternai caught up with guitarist Satchel, who doesn’t have a last name. Really. Here they discuss the band’s upcoming tour with Judas Priest and the stories behind songs from SP’s recent album, All You Can Eat.
Also, if you haven’t heard by now, we’ve teamed up with Kramer Guitars for “The Ultimate Steel Panther Giveaway” be sure you sign up to win a Kramer Pacer Vintage Guitar, Backstage VIP Passes and Tickets to see AND meet Satchel, along with the rest of his band on Thursday, October 9th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY! Sign up here!
We must warn you, this interview uses explicit vocabulary. Not suitable for minors under the age of 18… seriously.
On to the interview with Satchel…
Let’s talk about this tour going on with Priest. How do you feel about going on tour with the Metal Gods.
Oh fuck! I can’t wait, dude. I mean, Priest is legendary. We’re all huge fans of those guys. They’ve got so many fucking great songs. I mean for me personally, they’re one of my favorite bands of all times. I can’t say enough about Priest. They’re staples of heavy metal. They’re like Sabbath and Maiden. They’re like so good and Priest is one of those bands. They’re like the godfathers of metal.
The first show I saw was Priest when I was 10 years old! I just talked with [Judas Priest guitarist] Richie Faulkner and I asked him about how they chose to bring Steel Panther on tour with them…if it was a label decision or was it Priest coming together and deciding to take you guys. And he said that Priest makes all of those decisions. His exact words on you guys is that your music is expertly crafted. So, he loves you guys.
That’s great. We love him too. He’s jammed with us before. He’s a beautiful guy, Richie. He’s a great guitar player, too.
So, now that you’re going to be doing these arena tours everyday I’m curious if you like the arena tours better than the smaller, intimate ones.
Everybody’s going to say that playing arenas are better, and It’s fun to play for a lot of people. But I like being Steel Panther. We’ve played festivals for 100,000 people and we’ve done many, many shows for just a few hundred. And honestly they’re all fun. When you’re playing music that you love for people who love your music it doesn’t matter how many people there are. I think doing these Priest shows, it’ll definitely be more of a…we’ll be winning the crowds over because there are many people that don’t know about us. There’ll be people who hate us and people that we win over too. You know, we’ve been doing that ever since we started. Before we even had records out we’ve been doing shows for like a dozen people, like at the[L.A. Club] The Viper Room, and we had to win those people over too. And I think we’ve built our entire show on that, on just doing great rock shows. These days people get all their records for free so it really comes down to doing a great live show.
We were all stoked about it because in this day and age you just don’t know what to expect expect doing what we do. But we’ve built a pretty strong following up in the past few years and I knew our fans are super supportive of us, and everybody went and bought this record in the first week, and we’re really happy about having any charting success. So, we’re just happy to be doing records. We feel that All You Can Eat is as good or better than our first two records and the goal for us is to release records that we’re really happy with and that represent Steel Panther as best they can.
One track that stands out is “Gangbang at the Old Folks Home.” That’s a future classic. Which one of you actually had a gangbang at the old folks home?
Well, Michael actually had a gang bang at an old folk’s home. That song was written about an experience that he had because he delivers pizzas when we’re not doing live shows and he delivered a pizza to this place on Shady Oaks Drive and it was an old folks home and there were a lot of old folks there. And you don’t expect to walk in on a gang bang but he did. He just thought it would be like a normal bingo night, but they were having a gang bang and they were like, “Guess what? You’re going to be involved here and you’re not leaving here until you fuck all the chicks.
The other one that sticks out to me is “The Burden of Being Wonderful. Theres a line in there about being a Maserati in a world of Kias.
It’s funny that you should mention that line because I bought an iPod recently and you can engrave anything you want on the iPod and I had that line engraved on there. That’s how you should feel. I dig that song and I thought about Michael that entire time I wrote it, because when you’re the lead singer of any band you have to feel that you are completely the most wonderful person in the world. You have to sing to every girl in the audience and you’ve got to believe that you are the most special guy on the planet. And our singer believes it all of the time.
Let’s talk about Kramer a little bit. I know you’ve been playing them a bit. Ever talk about a signature model or are you happy with what you have.
I’ve got a bunch of Kramers. I’ve got a couple from the ‘80s and a few that have been built recently, custom made, but they’re really all great. I’ve even got a few new ones and they all sound great and they play great. What matters more than anything is that they look great. And they fit with what Steel Panther is doing, which is pure heavy metal.
Any signature model guitars in the works?
That’s going on right now. We’re working on details. But they’re really reliable. I bang them around and beat them up onstage. I’ve swung them around on my back a few times and I had the strap break and the guitar will fly on the stage and I’ve had a guitar fly off of the stage and fall into a cesspool once and it totally still works. The neck almost snapped but it still works.
How many guitars do you take on tour with you?
I only take about four. I’ve got a couple of different tunings and I have a backup guitar for each tuning. But I usually play most of the set with one main guitar and they stay in tune really well. And they sound good. So, a lot of guitar players switch guitars every song but I don’t do that. I run around too much.
Do you do your own setups or do you have a tech?
Usually I don’t mess with my guitars. I have a tech who knows what he’s doing as long as the action’s low and the whammy bar works.
One last thing. The big trend with tours these days are boat cruises. So, you’ve got tours like the 70,000 Tons of Metal and you’ve got Motorhead’s Motorboat tour that’s going out in about two weeks now. Is there any talk about doing a five-day Caribbean cruise. Can you imagine the amount of women that would show up for that?
Yeah we’ve been talking about doing that but we’re only going to allow women on the boat. And they have to be naked.
I’ve got a good name for you. Remember Step brothers? You can use Boats and ‘Hos.
Yeah I like that! Steel Panther presents the All Nude Boats and ‘Hos cruise.