STEEL PANTHER singer Michael Starr spoke to the “The Rockman Power Hour “ about his relationship with the band’s original bassist Lexxi Foxx who left the band in July 2021.
“We’re all sad that [Lexxi] left, but we love him and we wish him well,” Michael said. “‘Cause he’s a great guy. Him and I, we’re still in contact. And he’s very happy. He has a new baby and a wife. He’s doing really good. So I’m really happy for him.”
Starr also talked about Foxx‘s replacement, Spyder, whose addition to STEEL PANTHER was officially announced last September.
“He’s amazing,” Michael said. “He’s a great asset to this band and this brand. He’s not only a great friend… And Lexxi knows him very well too as well, ’cause he used to fill in for Lexxi. So Spyder‘s been around for a long time. We know him really well. And he keeps the peace in the band, man, ’cause Satchel [STEEL PANTHER guitarist] and [STEEL PANTHER drummer] Stix [Zadinia, they go at it…
“We did a five-week European tour with Spyder,” Starr added. “He wasn’t the [official] bass player at that time; we were still trying people out. And after we did that tour, we decided that he was the guy. So the first official tour as a brand new member of STEEL PANTHER went amazing. The response from the audience was positive.
“We always address the elephant in the room, because why not? We all miss Lexxi. And it just happened. So here we are at this point. Are you with us or are you not? And everyone was with us. So it was great, man. Feels like we didn’t even miss a beat.”
“Spyder is having the time of his life,” Michael continued. “It’s really cool to see what that’s like for somebody. ‘Cause all four of us, before Lexxi had left, we had worked this brand to where we’re at now. We’ve done a lot of stuff, which is super exciting and has been fun. But we’re repeating some of the bigger landmark things that we’ve done. But to go through it through the eyes of somebody who hasn’t done it, man, it’s really exciting. It makes me realize, wow, this is amazing. You just get in the rhythm of doing your shit, and sometimes you don’t reflect as much as you should. But I see him so excited, and I think, ‘Oh, man. This is exciting.’ It’s heavy metal. We’re doing what we love to do. And what can be better than that?”
Almost a year and a half ago, Lexxi — whose real name is Travis Haley — told Rocking With Jam Man that he hadn’t spoken with his former bandmates since his exit. “I still talk to the singer a little bit; I have in the past,” he said. “But I think that those scars and I think that the departure, the way that it went down, I think there’s some sore spots. But that’s tough for me to talk about.
“That was something that I’m very proud of — to be that character for such a long period of time, and to play with those cats,” he continued. “They’re all amazing musicians. And I just think that it is different to not have that [in my life] — I’d been in character for so long — but I have to say it’s a little refreshing as well.”
When STEEL PANTHER first announced Lexxi‘s exit in July 2021, the band jokingly said that Foxx “started his side business, ‘Sexy Lexxi’s Prettiest Pets,’ to bring in money for Botox during the lockdown.” After realizing that “his love for making pets pretty was greater than his love for being pretty himself,” he chose “to hang up his mirror and focus on his newfound passion: making ugly dogs pretty,” the group wrote in a statement.
Back in December 2018, Lexxi sat out a STEEL PANTHER tour after being admitted to “sex rehab.” The real reason for his absence was never officially disclosed.
During an appearance on an episode of the “2020’d” podcast, Satchel stated about Lexxi‘s departure: “We didn’t want him to quit. Nobody wanted him to quit, including a lot of fans. I’m sure a lot of fans are very sad that he left. But he’s the guy who left the band. I think he’s got his own things he’s dealing with, and he just wanted to go and do that. So, I don’t know… I can’t answer for Lexxi Foxx. But we will all miss Lexxi Foxx, and we all wish him the best in everything that he does. But we didn’t fire him; he quit the band. So we’re gonna have to move on and get somebody else who’s younger and foxier and doesn’t need as much Botox,” referencing the drug doctors have been using for years to treat wrinkles and facial creases.
Formed in 2000, STEEL PANTHER specializes in imitating and exaggerating the less flattering aspects of 1980s hair metal, with unrepentantly crude, non-PC sexual content as a favorite lyrical theme.
The group’s music has been described as “VAN HALEN meets MÖTLEY CRÜE meets RATT meets ‘Wayne’s World’, complete with operatic shrieks, misogyny, shredding guitar solos and libidinal overdrive.”
Fifteen years ago, STEEL PANTHER changed its name from METAL SKOOL to its current moniker and shifted the focus of its act from ’80s metal covers to originals.
STEEL PANTHER‘s sixth studio album, “On The Prowl”, will be released on February 24.