Steel Panther’s Satchel Says Gear Obsession is ’Dangerous,’ Claims People Can’t Hear Difference Between Plugins and Amps

While recently talking to Guitar World, Steel Panther guitarist Russ Parrish, better known under his stage name Satchel, shared one gear-related secret from the band’s recent album. Well, it’s more of a non-gear-related secret since he said that lead guitar tones on Steel Panther’s “On the Prowl,” released back in late February this year, are all done through a modeling plugin and not actual physical amplifiers.

Discussing the matter, Satchel revealed that he steered away from his usual EVH 5150 amps, offering:

“For leads, a lot of the time it wasn’t a real amp – there’s no need. I don’t think people can tell the difference, plus you can always change your tone later if you want, so I used the Neural DSP [Archetype] Gojira plugin. But I like to commit to sounds, too. I still use the second and third versions of the 5150s – they’ve been on every record, particularly for rhythms.”

Dubbed “the heaviest plugin in the universe,” Archetype: Gojira is one of Neural DSP’s most popular products today. And, if it works for Satchel, then it must be good, right?

But what Satchel also added is that being obsessed with gear isn’t a good idea. In fact, he believes that it’s “dangerous.” Instead, one should pay more attention to the musical aspect of things, not pedals, amps, or anything else that they might have. He continued:

“Guitar players by nature are gearheads – which is actually dangerous. It’s better [to pay] more attention to being musical. If you keep fucking around, you won’t write a song, let alone a record. And if you don’t write a record, you can’t have any solos!”

Elsewhere in the interview, Satchel also explained how he never seeks to impress other guitar players. Even though he’s well-known as being one of the “shredder” guys, it’s all about sounding the way you want to, not impressing others. He explained:

“I don’t care about impressing other guitar players. Because they’re so fuckin’ hard to please anyway, especially with all those 6-year-olds shredding on Instagram.”

Discussing the matter, he also recalled one important thing that ZZ Top legend Billy Gibbons said about practicing guitar. Satchel continued:

“I remember Billy Gibbons saying something, back before I was born, when he was probably 100. And he said… ‘When I practice, I practice sounding the way I want to sound.’ That makes sense to me.”

Riffs and Licks with Satchel from Steel Panther

And according to what he said in an interview from earlier this year, Satchel seems to be consistent in his guitar-related views, saying that “boomers got it right” when it comes to music. During the said interview, he was discussing albums that made a huge impact on him. Satchel recalled Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” and said:

“I had older cousins that played that for me while we all sat around and did cocaine. That was the one with ‘Smoke on the Water.’ And I know everybody says ‘Smoke on the Water’… ‘We’re tired of that song…’”

“You can’t get tired of ‘Smoke on the Water’! I’m sorry, it is what it is for a reason. It’s only got seven songs, by the way. A lot of records come out, they’ve got like 17, 18 songs on them.”

Steel Panther - Satchel Solo - 4K - Wembley, London 15/10/2016

“More than ever, a band should be cutting songs out. Cut out the fat. Put like 6 or 7 songs on. People don’t have the attention span. Deep Purple figured it out in 1971 or whatever it was. [It was 1972.]”

Looking into other albums that impacted him, Satchel also recalled one particular Van Halen record, saying:

“One of the next albums that I remember hearing before I even picked up a guitar was ‘Van Halen I.’ I think I heard ‘Eruption’ before I picked up guitar and I just thought ‘Well, I guess I shouldn’t really play guitar because this guy just did everything that you could do on a guitar. But I picked it up anyway and now I’m making dozens of dollars a week.”

Steel Panther Panama (Van Halen cover) Sept 28th 2018

“We’re carrying the torch. Eddie passed the torch and we said, ‘You know what? We’re gonna keep on rockin’ for you, Eddie.’ Because somebody’s gotta keep on rocking. And I’ll be dead very soon, in the next few months, and I’m gonna pass the torch to some other kids.”

“He was a great guitar player and a big influence on me and a big influence on an entire generation of rockers. So we’re gonna keep on rockin’ because Eddie told us to, basically.”

Among other records, there was also Rush’s “2112” with Satchel saying:

“The next album I would say that had a really big influence on me was the band Rush and ‘2112.’ So far, every record that I’ve named, people are like ‘Oh, okay… Okay boomer.’ Right?”

Steel Panther "1987" [Official Video]

“Yeah. Yeah, boomer. The boomers got it right, okay?”

“‘2112’ by Rush was an incredible record for a lot of reasons. From the very first notes of that record, you cannot stop listening. This entire record was inspired by a book by someone named Ayn Rand. And if you’ve ever read Ayn Rand, set out and read some of her books because it’s really boring.”

“Neil Peart really did a great job of putting it to lyrics. And the whole band does such an amazing job. They’re really some of the greatest musicians of a generation.”

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“And that’s a very influential record on me, as well as all the boomers out there, all us old musicians. So we all learned every note. And if you’re a kid now and you’ve never heard ‘2112,’ go listen to it in its entirety and learn all the parts on whatever instrument that you’re playing. Because it’s not gonna be easy.”

Photo: S. Bollmann (Steel Panther Rockharz 2022 37)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.