As part of my ongoing efforts to educate the masses about an archaic musical genre that nobody really liked in the first place, I’ll be highlighting some of the forgotten classics (i.e. all of them) of the hair metal era. Anybody who had harboured any lingering respect for me up to this point will soon see the error of his ways.
OK, I know I’m ever so slightly breaking my own rules by featuring a parody act, but given Steel Panther are more or less carrying the flag for ball-grabbing hair metal I feel it’s justified. Choosing a track for this edition of the series, I was put in the rather awkward position of not really knowing where to start: Steel Panther only have a handful of tracks and they’re more or less all equally awesome.
Steel Panther began life as Metal Skool, a semi-satirical glam metal covers band that set up residency in LA and regularly featured guest spots from the biggest names in rock, from Kelly Clarkson to Billy Ray Cyrus and all the way back to Kelly Clarkson again. All four members are fully paid-up veterans of the Sunset Strip – frontman Michael Starr was briefly a member of LA Guns and guitarist Satchel played with Rob Halford’s post-Priest project Fight – so they know their source material better than almost anybody.
Steel Panther’s first official album (second album proper) features 12 slices of ’80s rock magic closely modeled on the work of some of the eras biggest names. ‘Stripper Girl’ channels Poison’s ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn,’ ‘Girl from Oklahoma’ sends up Extreme’s ‘More Than Words’ and ‘Party All Day’ recalls Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ replete with gratuitous vocoder action. At the risk of revealing spoilers, some of the tracks may be interpreted as NSFW.
In the end I settled for ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows),’ a thinly-disguised tribute to Def Leppard through the eyes of a BBW lover. I hope you all enjoy, and I’ll be back in a few days for a more orthodox/straightforward Hair Metal Classic.
Steel Panther – ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’