Steel Panther’s Drummer Recounts The Time Prince Trashed His Band’s Gear

Steel Panther's Stix Zadinia by Alfred Nitsch via Wikimedia Commons.
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There are bands we think of as inherently destructive, who fans would be disappointed if they didn’t destroy an instrument or hotel room. Hendrix? The guitar’s gone. Mötley Crüe? No more mirrors in that hotel. But Prince? All you’d expect is some glitter and panties left in his wake. And yet according to Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadinia, the pop star was especially destructive onstage when he showed up at a club where Stix was playing and trashed the house band’s gear.

Speaking to Q104.3, Stix said, “I was in a band a long, long time ago. We were doing disco covers many years ago up in San Francisco. And Prince played at the ‘Shark Tank,’ which is the San Jose hockey arena. After his shows, he would find a club in a nearby city and he would go in. And his deal was, ‘Hey, I’m Prince. I’m gonna come play your club after hours. I’m gonna charge at the door and keep the door. You keep the bar.’ And the club goes, ‘Okay. Cool.’

“So word gets out. We were the house band — just kind of a no-name house band at the time. And Prince borrows our gear. Because he doesn’t wanna bring gear, and I understand it. So he goes on an hour late. We get kicked out of our own dressing room. Prince goes in there. You’re not allowed to look at Prince. But he plays the guitar, and then at the end, he holds the guitar up over his head and he drops it behind him onto the ground. And my guitar player is, like, ‘What the fuck?’ Then he switches and he plays bass. And after the song, he takes the bass and he sets it diagonally on the floor and the drum riser, so it’s just at an angle. And he takes his little tiny Prince foot and he [breaks] the neck.

“At the end of the show, we came up to his manager and his entourage, and we go, ‘Dude, what is the deal?’ And the manager flips our guitar player. He goes, ‘Here’s a hundred bucks.’ And he gives our bass player another hundred bucks. He goes, ‘Here you go. Go get it fixed, guys.’ And they left. And we were just standing there… It was some serious assholery going on.”

That’s a bummer to hear, especially about a pop star who seemed to be sympathetic to the rock crowd. It just goes to show you that fame is fame, no matter how well someone can wail on a guitar.


Words by Chris Krovatin