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Interview:
Steel Panther at the Fillmore Detroit, 3 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia, @GraffonMusic on Twitter

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Despite its professed intent to "Lower the Bar" on its most recent album, Steel Panther has actually flies high in the worlds of hard rock and metal.



Formed as Metal Shop in 2000, the quartet has honed its brand of musical comedy over four studio albums, all of which have hit No. 1 on the Billboard Comedy charts, and heavy touring -- along with charting singles such as "Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World," "She's Tight" and the "Burden of Being Wonderful." The group isn't serious but it does take what it does seriously, and it most definitely has fans laughing with, rather than at, its songs.



And as it winds up the current year, the group is already plotting its next release, which will undoubtedly keep smiles plastered on the faces of the Panther patrol...



This year marks 10 since the group changed its name from to Steel Panther, which frontman Michael Starr (nee Ralph Saenz) says "feels like it went by really quick. But I look in the mirror and it doesn't look like that on my face. Time just goes by quicker as you get older. But it's been a fun rise, and we've worked really, really hard. We're doing a steady ascent, and it's been really fun. Hopefully we can do it another 20 years, or longer."



Starr says by phone that the he feels like Steel Panther has proven that what it's doing is not a lark or a joke, even if the songs themselves are intended to be funny. "I think the greatest challenge is outliving the naysayers and the gatekeepers. When we first started out, people were like, 'Oh my God, no way, no no no...' But eventually either they got fired or died or went on to different work, and then the next person is younger and a little bit more hip to what's going on, and we were able to do more things. We were just on Fox's Thursday Night Football halftime show, and that wouldn't have happened 10 years ago. But now the producer of the show is 25 and used to go to our shows in Hollywood. Times change and people move on, and we're going to outlive them."



Steel Panther has already started working on its fifth album with regular producer Jay Ruston, with 14 songs on the docket that Starr predicts will be "whittled down to 10" for the final release. "We already have five of them recorded, and it's the same vein -- maybe a little heavier than our last record. On ('Lower The Bar') we kinda experimented a little bit with some of the writing technique. So this will be a little different than that, and ('Lower The Bar') was different than 'All You Can Eat' was before it -- but that's what we do. We don't ever like to say, 'Oh, this is our best record,' 'cause who wouldn't say that? Hopefully we're just getting better as musicians, which I think we are, and each album is better than the one before it."



Steel Panther and Wilson perform Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 7 p.m. $10.10-$45. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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