Michael Starr insists it’s “not easy to play” in Steel Panther
Steel Panther vocalist Michael Starr has said it wasn’t easy being a member of the band after revealing former bassist Lexxi Foxx’s replacement.
The band announced their departure a year ago, but only recently named Joe “Spyder” Lester — a longtime collaborator who replaced Foxx in the past — as a permanent member of the lineup.
“He’s fine, 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 lives in Chicago. He and his wife just had a baby.
“We were together 27 years, 26 years, and we know each other’s moms and dads and all of our cousins,” the frontman added. “We know everything about each other. So it was really, really sad not to have him in the band – but I understand why he does what he does. And he was one of the smart guys: he saved all his money. Not me – I still live with my mother.
Describing Spyder as a “super close friend of the band”, Starr noted his long history with the new member of Steel Panther. “In reality, [guitarist] Satchel and I were in a Van Halen tribute band for a while, and Spyder was the bassist. 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 bringing on a new band member included “trying to find someone who has the ability to make someone laugh, do choreography moves from 40 years ago, to jump on stage and know what to wear… And not only that – most people think Steel Panther’s music is super easy to play, and it’s not Satchel is an amazing writer and everything what he writes? Not easy to play. So you really have to be able to play bass, you have to be able to sing, you have to be able to engage the audience, you have to be able to talk to them. There’s lots to do in there.
Ultimately, Starr said the decision came down to chemistry, both onstage and off. “Seriously, it’s really hard to find someone who 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 that we’re together…sleeping or hanging out, doing soundchecks or whatever. So that’s a lot of time to spend together offstage. So you better be cool with him.
Steel Panther hits the road again with a tour of New Zealand and Australia starting October 17, with dates in North America starting October 28.
Watch the interview with Michael Starr