STEEL PANTHER is one of the most fun bands anyone can listen to. And since the last time I spoke with drummer Stix Zadinia in 2014 the guys have gone on to kick ass as the support act for JUDAS PRIEST, deliver another winning record with Lower the Bar (out now, Open E) and continue touring their asses off. This time around Stix was lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be another of my “Hiding in The Supply Closet at Work” interviews, so enjoy:
Amps: Hey Stix, this is actually our second interview. Last time we spoke I was hiding in a stairwell at an alarm company in Dallas, TX.
Stix: (Laughs) know what’s funny? For a second I thought you meant this was your second interview ever. I was just like, “Well that’s cool. Let’s rock it!”
Amps: (Laughing) well considering I STILL don’t know what I’m doing, this may as well be!
Stix: Are you in a stairwell now?!?
Amps: Nope, but my lunch break isn’t for 10 minutes so this time I’m in a supply closet.
Stix: (Busts out laughing) you’re the best, dude!!
Amps: It just lines up that every time you’re available it’s always right before or after my lunch. When I saw the band open for JUDAS PRIEST in late 2014, you guys killed it. Excellent show! Plus, you did “Just Like Tiger Woods” which is both mine and Mrs. Amps’ favorite.
Stix: That was a really fun tour, man.
Amps: So moving on to current events, you directed the video for “Wasted Too Much Time.” Was that your first foray into directing? And is it something you want to do again?
Stix: Dude, it’s something I wanna do again in a bad way. I really, really enjoyed it. I’ve always toyed with the idea, and we’ve shot some little things here and there that I did, but this is the first thing that people were gonna see. And we got submissions and treatments from other directors and nothing crushed me like, “YESSS! We’ve gotta make THAT video!” And I’m speaking for all of us. No treatment really thrilled us. So I showed them my idea and they loved it, and it was off to the races after that.
Two weeks before we had a shoot date somebody in the band sent out a group text going, “Hey, who’s directing this thing?” And I said, “I am?” and they loved it.
They were like, “Dude, if it’s awesome the credit will go to you. If it sucks, the fuckin’ credit will go to YOU.” And I was willing to take that chance. It was scary, even though it’s not a million dollar movie. It’s still money that you’re spending to create something you hope people will dig. So far people seem to be enjoying it and it’s very rewarding.
Amps: I’m sure. And getting the STONE SOUR guys in there playing the band is priceless.
Stix: Yeah, they flew in for that. That was a great experience for us. They had fun and I got ’em in and got ’em out because I know how it is on a video set. But they were troopers and didn’t complain once. It was great.
Amps: And what about touring with them? Because to some that might seem like an odd pairing.
Stix: The tour was great, man. We opened in America and it was killer because we played some of the same venues we’d headlined but we played for different fans and I feel like we moved that needle, so when we go back to those places we’ll have our fans and some of the new ones we’ve made. It was a good move for us. And those guys were all really fantastic to us.
Amps: You’re out through March of 2018. What’s the plan after that?
Stix: I’m sure we’ll do some overseas festivals but nothing’s booked yet. I think we’ll stay in the States for the most part. I think we might go back to some of our U.S. residencies for awhile and take ourselves out of that loop, and let it simmer, and simmer, and simmer. Then when we go back it’ll be like, “Holy shit! It’s been so long!” It’ll be a giant fuckin’ orgy for everybody.
Amps: Tell me about this Lower the Bar Bitchin’ Edition. I really like that last track “Momentary Epiphany”.
Stix: Yeah, Satchel wrote that and it’s kind of different. It’s something different and we’re branching out. We do songs about partying, pussy, drugs, and heavy metal, and we love that, but sometimes you gotta get sensitive.
Amps: Speaking of different, “Now the Fun Starts” is one that I just love that whole groove of.
Stix: Yeah, that one is heavy. I think that’s the heaviest song on the album in terms of the groove and the bass line. It’s a gnarly song, and I can see us doing more songs in that direction. Uptempo heavy metal songs are killer, but we’ve done a lot of them and it’s fun to play a little different style musically. It’s sexy rock to me. When you fuck a chick you can’t fuck her all one way; sometimes you gotta slow fuck her, you know?
Amps: I was initially nervous when I heard you were covering CHEAP TRICK’S “She’s Tight”, but you did a great job with it!
Stix: Thank you so much! You know, we’re all big fans of the band, and there was no way we were gonna make it shitty. We kept really true to the original because it’s so good that why try to fuck it up?
Amps: You’re very busy, so away from the band what do you do to relax and unwind?
Stix: I write and record music and that’s what I enjoy. I play golf. I’m a golf junkie, and I play soccer. That’s pretty much it.
Amps: What are you listening to right now?
Stix: Right now I’m listening to a band from L.A. called BATTLE TAPES, and I love NINE INCH NAILS, and this killer, killer band called SELF.
Amps: Have you given any thought to material for the next record, or are you just focusing on live dates for now?
Stix: You know, we’re perpetually writing to be honest. Ideas are flying back and forth for song titles, and we draw from experiences we have on tour because that’s what we’re always doing. It’s an ongoing process and we just need to decide what kind of record we wanna do next. And that’s what we’re discussing right now, you know?
Amps: By the way, how was Rock Allegiance in Camden for you guys?
Stix: It was killer, actually. I was shocked at how many people were there to see us at 2:45 in the afternoon. And we slayed. Because it was in a shed, the lights were effective, it looked great, it sounded great, and the people chanted, “One more song!” We smoked it!
Amps: Lower the Bar is a great collection of songs. What do you hope the listener gets from this album?
Stix: I want them to put the record on and say to themselves, “This is what a heavy metal record should sound like.” Whether it’s 2017 or 1987 this is what a heavy metal record should sound like. When they hear those riffs, those tones, and the vocals, and they take it in, I want that to be a blueprint for what heavy metal should sound like to them.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the STEEL PANTHER fans out there in the world?
Stix: I just wanna say thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to do what we do, for coming to the shows, and participating in this movement we call heavy metal. It’s a lifestyle and it’s a fucking great time, and we couldn’t do it without you.
It’s always a blast anytime we do something STEEL PANTHER-related. And once again talking to Stix Zadinia provided me with many laughs, as well as more insight into what makes the guys tick. Make sure you check out Stix’s directorial debut with the “Wasted Too Much Time” video; it’s really well done. By the way, if you don’t have Lower the Bar by now, especially this new Bitchin’ Edition, you should probably fix that. And of course, go see them live ASAP!!
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX