Steel Panther‘s next album may be called Lower The Bar, but the comedy metal troupe set out to do just the opposite for its fourth studio outing.
“I think we’ve expanded,” frontman Michael Starr tells Billboard about the set, which is due out in February. “Our style is still the same formula, I guess, but we’ve changed it up a bit. I could say that we used to sing about pussy and partying; now we’re singing about partying and pussy, but the reality is we did switch up a few things. It’s a really solid, fun, intelligent party record. We’re just maturing as a band after being on the road for years together and living together. It shows.”
What kind of specific changes the Los Angeles quartet has made aren’t ready to be defined, however. “It’s hard to put into words without sounding like a typical review, but it feels different to me,” explains Starr (nee Ralph Saenz). “It feels like we’re doing some melody lines we normally wouldn’t do on a couple of sings, different kinds of moods and not necessary just ‘Dr. Feelgood.’ There’s some different stuff in there, but everything’s open for interpretation. Hopefully we connect with it.”
Lower The Bar — which follows this year’s acoustic Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage — was co-produced with regular collaborator Jay Ruston, and is slated to include 11 songs recorded at studios in north Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, with an additional two tracks on a Best Buy deluxe edition. A couple of songs will be released prior to the album, according to Starr, and a special-release show or shows should take place in major cities. Tour plans are currently up in the air, however. “Management hasn’t told us any dates yet,” Starr says. “We’re assuming they’re not telling us dates ’cause they’re gonna put us on a massive tour for 20 weeks or something like that. We’re just waiting to hear.”
Meanwhile, Steel Panther is on the road for its annual holiday tour, playing favorites and also digging in for some deep tracks. The seasonal offering, meanwhile, is a cover of Cheap Trick‘s “She’s Tight,” which hits close to home for the frontman.
“I grew up in Chicago and Cheap Trick was a big deal when I was a teenager. They were huge,” Starr says. “They were my mom’s favorite band; My mom passed away a couple of years back, so it’s kind of a tribute to her. Stix (Zadinia), our drummer, is a huge Cheap Trick fan, as well as Lexxi (Foxx) and Satchel. It’s a fun song, and it’s kind of celebrating everything that helped us along the way; If it wasn’t for all the cover music we played throughout our career trying to get a record deal, we wouldn’t have one.”