Steel Panther: An Academic Analysis Probably Not Suitable for the Workplace


steel panther all you can eat

the honorable spandexpanda, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Motley Crue Studies, Guyliner University

As the title of their latest studio album, All You Can Eat,  suggests, Steel Panther are masters of the double entendre. Their lyrics show they have a firm grasp of the single entendre– among other things– as well. While other glam metal bands may write songs that hint at lives of debauchery and excess, Steel Panther have always delved further into these darker themes and taken a more direct approach to language and lyrics. Their previous albums, Balls Out (2011) and Feel the Steel (2009), feature such titles as “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin'”, “It Won’t Suck Itself”, “Gold Digging Whore”, and of course their signature anthem, “The Shocker.”

This bold, even subversive, execution is based on a deconstruction of the intent found in other metal lyrics, particularly with respect to illicit substances and genitalia. Then these themes are reconstructed and repackaged into parodic schema that simultaneously satirize and celebrate the traditions of Sunset Strip-era sleaze rock, commenting on gender roles, American materialism, and the rock ‘n’roll lifestyle. All You Can Eat exemplifies this ironic approach to lyricism with tracks such as “Pussywhipped”, “Bukkake Tears”, and “Gang Bang at the Old Folks Home.” One of my esteemed colleagues has described them as “the Mel Brooks of metal” (Nay 2014), in reference to the band’s willingness to explicitly state what other bands may merely think and imply. But Steel Panther is no mere novelty act, rather they are a postmodernist examination of all of humanity’s basest instincts and their representation in American popular culture in the decades surrounding the turn of the twenty-first century.

Also, Steel Panther fucking rocks.

Yes, the lyrics are filthy and hilarious, and their live shows are soaked with hairspray and draped in spandex– go see them live, for the love of all that is good and holy, go see them live– but they also bring serious goods of musicianship. Satchel’s riffs demonstrate the power of a true virtuoso, and Michael Starr’s vocals show incredible range– he can scream with the best of them. Even a Fanther or potential Fanther who doesn’t get the lyrics can still groove on drummer Stix Zadinia’s and bassist Lexxi Foxx’s tight rhythms. Lexxi’s fantastic hair is just an added bonus (and force of nature). There is parody in what they do, but always in the good spirit that comes with being true rock fans and talented musicians in their own right.

All You Can Eat is available now from the usual suspects (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.), and the boys are currently touring the East Coast, with dates at the House of Blues in Boston May 21 and Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire on May 23 (I’ll be the one wearing the panda hat, come say hi and stay tuned for a slideshow) and other dates as well.

PLAYLIST- All You Can Eat 

Pussywhipped: Sure, we all know that guy. But get a load of the classical-style acoustic riff in the opening bars and the power shift, complete with closing yowl from Starr. Your balls don’t stand a chance.

Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World:  First single from this album, with a chorus urging you to bone your stepsister and climb the Matterhorn. Take off your pants and get loose.

Gloryhole: Catchy-as-hell riffs, and a real showcase for the rhythm section here. You never really know who’s sucking on the other side.

Bukkake Tears: This. This is a power ballad.

Gangbang at the Old Folks Home: You have to appreciate the harmonies on the chorus here, but it’s also a harrowing tale of pizza delivery gone wrong.

Ten Strikes You’re Out: Everyone has put up with more than they should in the name of a relationship, but can we all just agree to draw the line at dog VD? I’m not sure if I’m repulsed by the image or impressed by the cleverness.

The Burden of Being Wonderful: An anthem of pure ego and the joy of being. People seem to hate me, like I had a choice.

Fucking My Heart in the Ass: An “I Will Survive” for the modern age, but this is better because it comes with power chords, little basic cardiology, and a “YEAHHHHHH!!!” But I won’t even flinch not an inch. It would be a cinch when compared to the pain of the emotional boner you shoved in my heart’s ass today.

B.V.S.: Look it up on urbandictionary. I dare you.

You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk: No, wait. This is a power ballad. The attention span of a pet rock. When you try to connect it becomes quite clear, there’s nothing in between your ears.

If I Was the King: Check out the bass line on this one and see if it doesn’t make you want to swagger down the street. And then there’s the poetic description of a better world if only Michael Starr were in charge. Can’t be worse than what’s going on now… have you seen CNN lately?

She’s on the Rag: I am rendered speechless.

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