One of the nice things about a band like Steel Panther is that, like a box of chocolates, you always know what you’re gonna get. And with the Panther, you get the chocolate too; vocalist “Michael Starr” dips right in on the opening track of Lower the Bar (Open E), dropping this little nugget of wisdom: “Sometimes the back door is the only way in.”
Take that, Hemingway.
The Panther’s fifth album rocks as hard as anything they’ve done, with the sexy riffs and shreddy guitar solos that would give any aging eighties rocker a chub faster than the Viagra they’ve been taking since grunge took over and the drug money ran out. And in this day of hyper-sensitive social justice warriors and political correctness (in what may be the most politically incorrect era this world has ever seen), the fact that Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxx, and drummer Stix Zadinia continue to be so unabashedly vulgar and profane is a breath of fresh air.
But don’t read too deeply into it. Steel Panther is no more satire than Howard Stern is. They’re very simply all about having fun and making you laugh. And who doesn’t enjoy a good dick joke, especially when delivered in a screech straight from Van Halen II (Warners).
Steel Panther’s recorded works suffer only from the simple fact that you don’t get to see them perform it live while listening. The sights, the smells (to pilfer a line from Spinal Tap) of Steel Panther on stage bring the music to a new level. Hell, close your eyes and listen to a song like ‘Poontang Boomerang’ and you can almost taste the sweaty sheen of Lexxi’s absurdly pouted lips.
And let’s face it; it sure is fun singing along in traffic to majestic, ballady lyrics like, “That’s when you came in and blew me . . . away,” and the many filthy gems in ‘Anything Goes’, where, indeed, anything does go, including lassos, Nikki Sixx masks, German Shepherds, and astronauts.
Roll down the windows. Turn up the volume. And be sure to make eye contact with that Kanye West fan one lane over when you sing, “I’ve wasted too much time fucking you.”
JASON “JaySinn” KOROLENKO