Steel Panther's Feel the Steel tries way too hard to be funny

Steel Panther
Feel the Steel (Universal Republic)

It’s a cliché, but there’s something to be said for striking while the iron is hot. The best time to buy a car is when the dealerships are clearing out their showrooms to make way for the new models. The best time to get married is in the winter, because most people wed in the summer, meaning everything’s cheaper in the cold months. And the best time to produce an elaborate parody of Sunset Strip hair metal would arguably have been before that particular genre was already a worn-out joke. Like, say, circa 1987.

Apparently no one told Steel Panther that, hence the L.A. band’s very existence. For the past nine years, Steel Panther’s four members have teased their hair, tied on bandanas, and squeezed their packages into zebra-print Spandex to relive the golden era of sleaze and masturbatory guitar solos. It doesn’t hurt their case that they have the chops, and the credentials—singer Ralph “Michael Starr” Saenz briefly fronted L.A. Guns, and guitarist Russ “Satchel” Parrish played in Rob Halford’s Fight—to pull off a convincing facsimile of ’80s cock rock. It’s kind of fun to figure out the musical references, like the fact that the harmonized guitar lick that opens “Fat Girl” has “Whitesnake” written all over it, or that the synth/talk box/spoken word intro to “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” is a nod to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”.

Trouble is, if you’re going to release an 11-track comedy album, you’d better have more than one joke, and Steel Panther tends to rely on the same theme repeatedly: the guys in the band like to have sex, they’ll fuck anything that moves (provided it’s female), and they have no qualms about providing the listener with graphic play-by-plays of all the banging and blowing. Steel Panther’s unwavering dedication to being offensive actually smacks a little of desperation. Occasionally, though, it actually is offensive, as on “Asian Hooker”, with its refrain of “Sucky fucky/Smells like sushi.” Even more gratuitous is “Death to All But Metal”, on which guest screamer Corey Taylor (of Slipknot fame) sings “50 Cent’s a fag/So is Kanye West/Shooting hot sperm on each other’s chest.”

Okay, admittedly that’s kind of funny. The same goes for some of the song titles (“Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’?”) and the liner notes (bassist Lexxi Foxxx starts out his thank-you list with a shout-out to God for “inventing Aqua Net, hair spray, mirrors you can see yourself in, spray tan stuff, tanning beds, tan makeup, lip gloss, eyeliner, tattoos, and other stuff you put on your body to look bitchin!!!”)

But where Steel Panther fails is that it’s painfully obvious that the lyrics are meant to be comedic, which means that these guys are trying too hard. The reason Spinal Tap worked was that Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer came up with material that seemed like the sort of dumb shit that the coked-up hard-rock stars of the day might actually have played with a straight face. Well, that and the fact that This Is Spinal Tap came out in 1984, not 2009.

Download This: “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” by Spinal Tap

Comments (32) Add New Comment
No Use For A Name
Wow, you take your fake hair metal way too seriously. You suck.
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Rating: +6
John Lucas
You're right. Steel Panther should be immune to criticism. And so should lousy comedies, crappy TV shows, bad novels, and anything else that someone could possibly dislike.
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Rating: -4
This review sucks!...
If you have any sense of humor and musical taste, this album is definitely worth five out of five stars!
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Rating: +10
Live they're ok
but gets old very fast, couldn't ever sit and listen to it
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Rating: 0
...I WILL NEVER FORGET...
My buddy and I stumbled into this place after a day of trying to surf...The scene was a hot late september night featuring cheap booze and hot San Diego girls. The local beach-side hangout was packed to the gills and then "Metal School" aka Steel Panther hit the stage. The Hair band hyjinx blasted for 2 sets of carnal comedy and circus magazine classics!

Go see this Band....travel if needed!!!!!!
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Rating: +3
Poor Review
This was a horrible review.

I've seen these guys live twice and each time i've been blown away. There is a reason why celebrities (mostly comedians) living in LA continually go to see them.... its because they are funny. Last time I saw them. Drew Carey was right beside me. Turns out he is a huge fan as well. I would take Drew's recommendation much sooner than some nobody named John Lucas.

John, you took the "safe" route and wrote a bad review. Not Good.
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Rating: +7
Heavy420
Panther Rules!!!
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Rating: +3
robin
awesome as shit. all you clowns who rag on it dont get it. end of story. fuck off and listen to NICKELBACK.
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Rating: +7
John Lucas
If Steel Panther and Nickelback are the only two choices, can I add voluntary deafness as a third option?
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Rating: -6
john lucas is a chick
this is obviously written by a chick
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Rating: +3
Lighten Up
The fact that people argue about this is hilarious.
The album is funny (in a South Park kinda way) on the first pass, tolerable on the second and annoying by the third. If you want to shock the public, be creative. This is nothing more than 80's glam music with Eminem lyrics. It seems like a last ditch effort at fame for these one dimensional half-wits... which will inspire a new group of 30-something rock warriors to re-emerge and show us that old musicians don't go to Rock n Roll heaven. They wait for stupid people to make them rich.
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Rating: +2
Shon T
I have to agree with this review. Given the material they have to work with, they could get a little more creative with the lyrics. Standout track for me is "Hell's On Fire".

That said, I saw them at the Commodore the other night and it was one of funn(i)est shows I've ever seen. The album may grow on you once you've seen them live.
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Rating: -2
Suzanne
Fuck you. Steel Panther rules! Yeah, go listen Nickelback pussies!
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Rating: +1
AfroGlamurai
Hair metal is not a subtle genre of music. Why should a parody of it be any different? But hell, why does my opinion matter? I don't spend my time listening to shitty indie records, where lack of technical skill is celebrated (minimalism=bullshit), so I'm clearly not culturalized or sophisticated enough to critique an album.
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Rating: +4
Pantera667
How you define comedy as bad, just depends on your own taste, people find different things funny... Steel Panther obviously love to have a laugh and take things less seriously than most people do. If you find it offensive, that's the point of the album, it's supposed to be outrageous, over the top, that's what the 80s sleazy attitude stood for. They don't give a shit if you don't like it, they're just having a blast.
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Rating: 0
deliverance
Saw them in December 2009 supporting ZZ TOP at Wembley in the UK not knowing anything about them, they were musically and comically brilliant, they were completely well received.
To all those who don't appreciate them :- aquire a sense of humour.
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Rating: +3
Kenneth Follows
Being 20 years old, the 80's seemed a thing of the past. Steel panther has re-invented 80's metal. It has not only brought everything good about the 80's back to the 21st century like the "Masturbatory guitar solos" but brought it back with a kick to the balls and a haymaker to the face of today's music industry. Steal Panther has taken all my thoughts and feelings about today's music, and gave it some spice. All I have to say now, "Its about f-ing time someone came to their senses."
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Rating: +3
Dude
Ignorant review.
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Rating: 0
Ethanol
This is my 5 word review of your review... Mate, you are a wanker.
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Rating: +3
Pentagram
This reminds me of when I was in the 4th grade and would buy albums just because they had bad words in them. I purchased this album for my father who is a fanatic of goofy hair metal (Y & T, Mr Big, Whitesnake, etc) , I listened to it and cringed at every songs lyrics (so did he.) I am not christian and listen to some pretty heavy lyrics at times but this is just garbage. Listen to some real comedy and put on a Dokken cd after. I understand this is supposed to be a parody of how real bands act but they are basically doing it themselves...
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Rating: -3

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