STEEL PANTHER's MICHAEL STARR: 'LEXXI FOXX cannot be replaced'
STEEL PANTHER singer Michael Starr spoke to the “Everblack” podcast about his relationship with the band’s original bassist Lexxi Foxx who left the band in July 2021. “I just talked to him today,” Michael said. “He’s doing good, man. He did exactly what he wanted to do. He started a family. He’s living in Chicago. Him and his wife just had a baby. So Lexxi Foxx is not gay. I thought he was gay this whole time. It’s so weird.”
Starr continued: “The party never stops. Just because he’s not on tour doesn’t mean he’s fucking not having a good time. And we miss him. I fucking miss him. And we still stay in touch and talk. We talk just about every other day — just stay in touch with one another. I mean, we were together for 27 years, 26 years, and we know each other’s moms and dads and all of our cousins. We know everything about one another. So it’s been really, really sad not having him in the band, but I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. And he was one of the smart guys — he saved up all his money. Not me — I’m still living at my mom’s. Let’s go.”
Earlier this week, STEEL PANTHER announced the addition of Spyder as the band’s new bassist.
“Spyder has filled in for Lexxi many times,” Starr told “Everblack”. “He’s a super-close friend of the band. We’ve known him for years. As a matter of fact, (STEEL PANTHER guitarist) Satchel and I were in a VAN HALEN tribute band for a while, and Spyder was the bass player in that. We have a rich history with him… He did all of Europe with us and he did a great job.
“First of all, I just wanna say this: Lexxi Foxxcannot be replaced,” Michael added. “That’s just the way it is. It’s like trying to replace David Lee Roth, in my opinion. You can’t fucking replace Lexxi Foxx. And also trying to find somebody that has the ability to make somebody laugh, do choreography moves from 40 years ago, jump around on stage and know what to wear. And not only that — most people think that STEEL PANTHER’s music is super easy to play, and it’s not. Satchel’s an incredible writer, and the stuff he writes (is) not easy to play. So you’ve really gotta be able to play bass, you’ve gotta be able to sing, you’ve gotta be able to engage the audience, you’ve gotta be able to talk to ‘em. There’s a lot that goes into it… Seriously, it’s really hard to find someone that has all those qualities and you can hang out with them. ‘Cause you think about it — the show is an hour and a half. The other 22 and a half hours we’re together either sleeping or hanging out, soundchecking or whatever. So it’s a lot of time to spend together offstage. So you’d better be cool with him.”
To coincide with the new bassist announcement, STEEL PANTHER announced a U.S. tour, “Claus & Paws Holiday Party”. The eight-city trek will kick off in late November after the band wraps up its recently announced Canadian leg of the “Res-Erections” tour 2022.
Just three months ago, Starr and STEEL PANTHER drummer Stix Zadinia discussed their search for a permanent replacement for Foxx in an interview with RAMzine. Michael said: “We tried out over… We had how many video submissions… probably (over 700). And we went through every single video. And we did some test runs with some people. And when we find the right guy, you guys will know.”
Added Stix: “On this tour, we have our friend Spyder with us, who is a great friend and an even better bass player. He’s not that great a friend. I’m kidding. He’s awesome. We’ve known him since 1990. He’s one of our homies and he’s killing it. And we cannot wait to jam with him. But we are still searching for the permanent guy ‘cause Spyder’s got another gig; he’s got a paper route that he works on.”
Continued Michael: “We may never find another replacement for Lexxi. We love him. We miss him dearly. And I’m glad he’s doing what he wants to do in life. But replacing him, it’s like trying to replace Stix or me — it’s impossible. So we may never, ever have a bass player. We might just be trying out bass players until I die.”
Stix added: “And every time we get a new guy, we just say, ‘Hey, come out. There’s no money involved. So just try out.’ We just keep doing it forever.”
A year 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.”
Fourteen 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.
Haley, who was an original member of STEEL PANTHER, recently announced the formation of his new band HOLLYWOOD GODS N’ MONSTERS with longtime friend and television celebrity from MTV‘s “Pimp My Ride”, Diggity Dave.