Interview : Robert Cavuoto
Steel Panther will be releasing their fifth CD, Heavy Metal Rules on September 27th! As you would expect, it’s filled with powerful riffs, infectious melodies, and of course laced with sexual innuendos and double entendres. Songs that once get in your head will be hard to shake and keep you smiling all day!
Steel Panther was formed in 2000 and is comprised of Michael Starr [lead singer], Satchel [guitarist], Lexxi Foxx [bass] and Stix Zadinia [drums]. Hailing from Los Angeles, the epicenter for Rock & Roll in all its debauchery and glamour. Steel Panther has established themselves as the world’s premier party band, melding hard rock virtuosity with parody and criminally good looks.
I caught up with drummer Stix Zadinia to talking about the new CD, the creative process of the band, his inspiration for playing drums, and a hobby of his that fans may be surprised to learn!
Robert Cavuoto: I heard that you are the toughest guy in the band to get an interview with. Is that true and why?
Stix Zadinia: Well, I’m very busy, and I have a lot of things going on. I have parties to attend, events to socialize at, and I like to party, but I’m not too busy to talk with you as you made it through the fray!
Robert Cavuoto: I have some connections in high places! Can you talk a little bit about the vision you had going into making Heavy Metal Rules and maybe how you wanted it to be different from the last CD?
Stix Zadinia: It starts like with every record we do, we want to put the best songs we can on it. As much as we like to talk about partying and rocking out, we realized we can’t do what we do without good songs. When fans buy our CDs, particularly Heavy Metal Rules, which is our fifth one; we want to put our best foot forward. That’s not a stock answer. We made a conscious decision not to put 14 or 15 songs on it. We have done that in the past at the request of record companies who said you need a bonus track for Japan; you need this, and that to really fill it up. We released this record on our own label and decided to take it back to the old school way with of giving the fans nine killer songs. When people play this record from top to bottom, it 30 minutes, then you can go about your day. When there are 14 songs, the listener gets lost, and you can’t listen to it in one sitting as a lot of people don’t have that time. It was important for us to put nine fucking bangers on it.
Robert Cavuoto: There’s definitely no filler on this CD.
Stix Zadinia: Honestly, that was one of the major intentions! You can get excited and listen to every song as there is a part of every song that you can rock to.
Robert Cavuoto: I think this CD is more explicit than your other CDs was that by choice or just the evolution of the band?
Stix Zadinia: I think it is natural; we never intentionally set out to be explicit. We’ve always said things the way we want to say them without radio. Most of the things seem a little more explicit because of the time we live in with “Me Too” and everyone being so sensitive. You may be right that when you hear “Fuck Everybody” that’s explicit and reflects the whole PC movement. Everybody feels that way at some point. I’m sure when you or anyone goes about their day; you can’t help but say “Oh My God Fuck Everyone!” It happens thought-out my day.
Robert Cavuoto: Which song would you say has your biggest imprint on it?
Stix Zadinia: Actually, it would it would be “Fuck Everybody.” [Laughing]. Satchel and I were in a dressing room in the House of Blues in Cleveland, and one of us said it to the other guy and we both thought, “Oh my God that’s a fucking song!” That’s how a song manifests for Steel Panther. I would say that song is the most “Stixish.”
Robert Cavuoto: How has the way the band works together during the creative process changed over the years?
Stix Zadinia: Satchel is our main songwriter, and he comes up with ideas at home and demo’s them up. He sends them to me, and I tell him what I think, and he either goes with it or does what he thinks is best. The process hasn’t changed much throughout the years. There have been times where we will go into the studio to create and write, but with Steel Panther, we are on the road, and the ideas just come. If I have an idea at home, I’ll record it and sent to Satchel, and if he is feeling it, he can take a germ of an idea to develop a verse or chorus. It’s pretty collaborative. A Steel Panther song is a result of four guys and the influence they have together on a song. Going into a studio for two weeks to write a record is not going to happen for us.
Robert Cavuoto: What was the inspiration behind “Gods of Pussy?”
Stix Zadinia: We are huge fans of the vagina, so we want to pull the curtain back for our fans and let them know what it is like to be in Steel Panther and to be “Gods of Pussy!”
Robert Cavuoto: Do you ever see the band doing a grunge cover CD and glamming it up as I think your interpretation would be awesome?
Stix Zadinia: [Laughing] That is pretty interesting! The first thing that comes to mind if I’m being totally honest, I don’t know how you could make a song like “Jeremy” into a fun song [laughing]. That’s a heavy bummer. I would be down for the challenge, to start with one song like Sound Garden’s “4th of July” and make it glam rock! I don’t even know if that is possible!
Robert Cavuoto: If there is one band that can pull it off its Steel Panther!
Stix Zadinia: I don’t disagree with you! We will give it a shot [laughing].
Robert Cavuoto: Tell me about the exact moment when you said: “I want to be a drummer” and what was the inspiration?
Stix Zadinia: It was in the third grade, and I’m not bullshitting you! I went over to my friend Brent’s house, and he had a five-piece drum set. I don’t even remember the brand. I started hitting the drums and went home that day and said to my father, “Dude, I want to play the drums.” He said, “Okay, No,” I said, “Yes.” He agreed to get me practice pads and lessons for three months. If the teacher said I’m practicing on my own, and I keep getting better, he will talk about getting a drum set. It was a very clear decision for me in third grade. I didn’t think past playing the drums. As time went on, I got bands in high school, and then after high school, you’re friends are starting peeling off to get real jobs. I was always like, “You guys are fucking crazy!” For me, there was no other choice, and I was going to live or die playing music. There was no other option for me.
Robert Cavuoto: What was your first kit?
Stix Zadinia: I got a brand new gloss black, five-piece Gretsch from my grandparents when I was 13 years old, and I was so stoked. I don’t know where that kit is as I modified and repainted it so many times because it was fun to do. It was fun to experiment. You don’t always make the best decisions as a kid, but you had a blast.
Robert Cavuoto: I heard that Lexxie was in sex rehab. Is he okay and did he graduate?
Stix Zadinia: He graduated magna cum laude and his back and better than ever. He learned how to have really good sex while he was there. He is doing really well, and I’m proud of what he did. I would like to shine a light on the fact that Steel Panther still has all the original members. Not a lot of bands have all original members as they quit or die. I think we have another 20 years in us.
Robert Cavuoto: What is the best thing about being “Stix?”
Stix Zadinia: Oh, God, dude! I get to hit the drums, see titties, fuck chicks, party and get paid $100 a week. When you factor all those things in, I don’t see any downside. It’s amazing to travel the world and make heavy metal music! I don’t cure cancer, but I cause smiles.
Robert Cavuoto: If I asked you to complete the following sentence, how would you complete it? The one thing that fans would be surprised to know about Stix is __________________?
Stix Zadinia: I love golf. I’m a golf junkie. I’m into it so hard that the guys at my local golf shop know me by name like Norm at Cheers. Also that I play soccer too, I think people would be surprised at that.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you good at golf?
Stix Zadinia: Yeah, I got down to a six handicap and now I’m an 8.8 because I’m changing my swing. I want to get down to zero, and the only way to do that is to make my swing better.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you good enough to beat Alice Cooper?
Stix Zadinia: I don’t know, I think he is really good. On any given day where I played well and he wasn’t playing well, I might be able to beat him. He is pretty fucking good. I would like to issue a friendly challenge if he is ever interested in playing golf with me.
Robert Cavuoto: I heard that while on tour, Alice plays golf in the morning and then performs at his show in the evening.
Stix Zadinia: I’m no stranger to that! When we are in a part of the world that weather-wise will allow; I’ll bring my clubs on tour and play golf with Satchel! We will finish our round, get back to the venue, do soundcheck, have dinner, rock a show, have some tequila, see some titties go to sleep, get up, and do it all over again. It’s great because you can see golf courses around the world. It’s a way to kill time during the day. We have a great crew, and when they are doing their job, I just have to watch the clock tick so I would rather be outside playing golf vs. sitting in a dressing room waiting to hit the stage.
Robert Cavuoto: If you ever need a caddie when you come to New Jersey, let me know, and I’ll carry the clubs for you and Satchel.
Stix Zadinia: I love it! Let’s make that happen!