Steel Panther: ‘Concert to Save the World’ to Be a ‘Wonderful Escape,’ Says Stix Zadinia

2020-06-05

Steel Panther – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by David Jackson

Stix Zadinia of Steel Panther talks with Anne Erickson about the band’s “Concert to Save the World,” the coronavirus pandemic and the future of concerts in this exclusive interview

There’s no denying the world is going through a difficult, turbulent time right now, but Steel Panther is here with “The Concert to Save the World” to offer a fun-loving detraction from the madness.

The metal band will play a virtual concert at 5 p.m. EST Sunday (June 7) via its official website, SteelPantherRocks.com. Tickets are $15, and proceeds benefit Heavenly Pets Animal Rescue and Live Nation’s Crew Nation Fund.

Zadinia spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink about “The Concert to Save the World,” his thoughts on what concerts will look like going forward and why he thinks Iron Maiden and Judas Priest deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Read the interview below, and listen to the full chat via the Audio Ink podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anne Erickson: Great to talk with you, Stix. How is Steel Panther holding up during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

Stix Zadinia: I’ll be honest with you. We’ve never been busier. We’re creating content like crazy, writing songs, having our band meetings and we’re not waiting for anyone to tell us it’s okay to go back to work. We are grinding and going forward.

Steel Panther has been releasing these awesome daily videos letting people know what day of the week it is, because time is truly lost during self-quarantine. The videos have featured everyone from LJ of Sevendust to Scott Ian of Anthrax to Jason Hook of Five Finger Death Punch. Tell me about that.

It’s become something we really look forward to, and we love creating and putting out (content) and seeing people’s reactions. It’s been very cool. With the pandemic, when we found out we weren’t going to be doing shows and everything shut down, after I came out of my week-long denial, I was like, you know what, I want Steel Panther to be more well-known at the end of this than we were gong in, because you have a choice as a band. You can either sit or you can go. I feel like we’re going to accomplish the goal.

You guys have a really cool event this weekend. You’re performing your first-ever, completely live, socially distanced, virtual concert, dubbed “The Concert to Save the World.” Tell me about the idea behind the show.

It’s going to be a wonderful escape form the news and everything that’s going on on the planet. “The Concert to Save the World” is going to be somewhere you can go and just unload and watch, listen, chat with other concert-goers. I think one of the biggest things about this show is that it’s not a quarantine show. We’re performing all together live. there’s a chat feature on SteelPantherRocks.com, so you can talk to us. There’s going to be a big, giant monitor, and we’ll be able to interact with fans.

On the subject of in-person concerts, based on what you’re hearing inside the industry, when do you think concerts will be back, and do you think they’ll be like they were before?

I’m hearing– it’s very interesting. I hear a bunch of difference hings. From the people I trust, I don’t know that we’ll have, quote unquote, normal concerts for at least the next six months. That’s my guess, based on everything I’m hearing and seeing. But, I do think that the drive-in concerts are a reality, and they’re trying to figure that out right now with promoters and bands and agents. They’re trying to navigate that and find actual locations that work, and they could make sense, so the bands are happy, and it’s worth it for the bands to go, they’re not losing money, and they’re making some money, and so that the people have a good experience, and the production is right, and it’s a good experience for everybody while maintaining social distance safety. But, what will be interesting to me, more than anything, is because right now, with everything that’s going on, there are very, very, very large mass gatherings, and not everybody is wearing masks to these large gatherings. So, what we will see in the next two weeks as far as an infection rate or spikes, I think this is very interesting, because you have giant clusters of people getting together, and if we don’t have severe spikes, then the thinking and timeline I think will change drastically. Because, obviously we don’t have a vaccine, but if there’s not this giant explosion in major cities where these giant groups are gathering, then I think the conversation changes.

Everybody has been told to stay home, and you have the data from everybody stay home, and that’s fine and cool, but now, we’re going to have data from people being on top of each other, in close proximity, and we’ll see what that looks like. I’m thinking, if that’s not going to cause spikes, then we’ll have concerts sooner than we originally thought, and I’m hopeful for that.

Switching gears, I’m starting to see talk about the next picks for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, probably because a new group of artists are eligible and have been around 25 years at this point. Is there one band that you think deserves to be in the Rock Hall that has been overlooked so far?

To me, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if you’re not going to have Iron Maiden in it, you’re making bad choices. I think, Iron Maiden. How can they not be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Is Judas Priest?

No! Judas Priest has been nominated twice and have gotten past over each time, so neither them nor Iron Maiden.

When you talk about rock ‘n’ roll, and you have hip-hop artists in there, and you don’t have heavy metal artists in there. How do you not include Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? It’s mind-blowing! So, you’ve got Pearl Jam in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but you don’t have Judas Priest, who started in the ’70s and is still going? That is shameful. And, I’m not taking anything away from Pearl Jam, but the fact that Priest and Maiden and what they’ve done for the genre of music that they’re in, and they get passed over. How do you justify that? How do you go, You know what? No. Who says no?

Someone who doesn’t know anything about metal and rock.

It’s a joke to me, and it feels like a popularity contest. When you look at legacies and what these bands have done, I don’t know the criteria to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is… I get it. It’s an honor. Finally, Def Leppard got in. Finally! I guess it’s a sore spot for me, because there are so many bands I think that deserve to be in before other bands are in.

Yeah, an artist like Joan Jett– a trailblazer, right? Been doing it forever. Then, put her career up against Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, and I don’t understand what the difference is. Why one gets in, and why one doesn’t get in. It doesn’t make sense to me. But, it would be an honor for any and every band to get asked to be inducted, but I don’t know what the process is, and to me, to be nominated and passed over, that’s mind-blowing to me. So, I guess the short answer is Priest and Maiden.

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