Opinion: Steel Panther’s Satchel Claims Being Offensive is “What We Do,” But It’s Kinda Getting Tired
There was a time when I thought Steel Panther were great. It was right around the time that Balls Out dropped and I remembered laughing along with the songs and having a blast with the legitimately killer music that Satchel, Stix Zadinia, Lexxi Foxx, and Michael Starr were putting out. That was 12 years ago, which admittedly makes me feel as old and tired as their schtick.
During a recent interview with YouTuber Belgian Jasper (transcribed by Blabbermouth), Satchel likens the band’s approach to humor to that of a stand up comic. They are a parody band after all, making fun of the insanely wild times from the 80s when hair metal bands ran roughshod over the world’s cocaine supply and underage girls.
“You can say things that offend some people, but they’re gonna give you a long leash, because they’re, like, ‘Well, that’s my buddy. He says inappropriate things at times. It doesn’t matter.’ And they’ll have your back till the end of the show.
“And for us, even though we might lose a small percentage of people, and they’re gonna walk out and go, ‘Ah, fuck that band. I’m never gonna see ’em again,’ more often than not, we get people that go, ‘I’m gonna come back for more. I’m gonna see ’em again.’ And that’s what it’s all about — it’s all about having a good time.
“That’s why there’s people that never thought that they would like us, that never listened to heavy metal, that become fans of the band. It’s all about creating an atmosphere where everybody’s having a good time and enjoying themselves.”
Normally, I would absolutely agree with Satchel here. Again, I’ve seen the band multiple times and laughed along with them. What I’ve come to realize over the years however, is that we live in a time where too many people don’t realize it’s a fucking joke.
I remember plenty of times where grown ass men and women who were alive when Poison and Motley Crue ran the world came dressed like it was still 1984 (even though it wasn’t a good look). And that’s harmless fun, even if it’s a little cringe. But I also remember seeing dudes being kinda gross about things, especially when it pertains to women. And that’s my main issue with it now — when you spend more than a decade writing music for young boys who’ve just seen their first pair of boobs on the internet, you’re going to attract people that haven’t emotionally matured enough to realize you’re joking in the first place.
It’s like going and seeing Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli’s band live and coming dressed like a mobster because you really believe he ran wit’ Tony Soprano. Grown-ass adults know the difference, but unfortunately you’ve made it weird, awkward, and sad.
Then there’s the whole “we’ve heard this all before” issue that I feel the band kinda runs into. Their songs about partying, fucking hookers, catching STIs on the road, and whatnot just kind of fall flat for me these days. I mean, how many times are you going to release a song reminiscing about the ’80s and doing cocaine off a teenage girl’s tits? It’s just kinda getting tired at this point and sadly, it cheapens their incredible musicianship.
And that’s something I want to point out — I’m not saying Steel Panther aren’t a good band. They’re great. But this idea of “we gotta be offensive for the sake of being offensive” is a little boring these days. Being offensive doesn’t mean you gotta write songs that incels can agree with. Nor do you have to write songs that Anthony Kiedis and Ted Nugent could relate to. When you’ve got songs that either of those groups can latch on to, then maybe your jokes aren’t landing as well as they used to…