Michael Starr Insists It’s ‘Not Easy to Play’ in Steel Panther
Steel Panther vocalist Michael Starr said it wasn’t easy to be a member of the band after they revealed the replacement for former bassist Lexxi Foxx.
The group announced his departure a year ago, but only recently named Joe "Spyder" Lester – a longtime collaborator who’s stood in for Foxx in the past – as a permanent member of the lineup.
“He’s doing good, man,” Starr said of Foxx in a new episode of the Everblack Podcast (video below). “He did exactly what he wanted to do. He started a family. He’s living in Chicago. Him and his wife just had a baby.”
“We were together for 27 years, 26 years, and we know each others’ moms and dads and all of our cousins," the frontman added. "We know everything about one another. So it’s been really, really sad not having him in the band – but I understand why he’s doing what he's doing. And he was one of the smart guys: he saved up all his money. Not me – I’m still living at my mom’s.”
Describing Spyder as a “super-close friend of the band,” Starr noted his long history with Steel Panther's newest member. “As a matter of fact, [guitarist] Satchel and I were in a Van Halen tribute band for a while, and Spyder was the bass player in that. We have a rich history with him… He did all of Europe with us and he did a great job.”
According to Starr, the challenges of hiring a new bandmate included “trying to find somebody that has the ability to make somebody laugh, do choreography moves from 40 years ago, jump around on stage and know what to wear... And not only that – most people think that Steel Panther’s music is super easy to play, and it’s not. Satchel’s an incredible writer and the stuff he writes? Not easy to play. So you’ve really got to be able to play bass, you’ve got to be able to sing, you’ve got to be able to engage the audience, you’ve got to be able to talk to them. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
Ultimately, Starr said the decision came down to chemistry, both on and off the stage. “Seriously, it’s really hard to find someone that has all those qualities and you can hang out with them," he explained. "The show is an hour and a half. The other 22 and a half hours we’re together… sleeping or hanging out, soundchecking or whatever. So it’s a lot of time to spend together offstage. So you’d better be cool with him.”
Steel Panther return to the road with a tour of New Zealand and Australia starting on Oct. 17, with North America dates commencing on Oct. 28.
Watch Michael Starr’s Interview