Michael Starr (singer)

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Michael Starr
Starr performing in June 2017
Starr performing in June 2017
Background information
Birth nameRalph Michael Saenz
Also known as
  • David Lee Ralph
  • Michael Diamond
  • Michael Saenz
Born (1965-05-17) May 17, 1965 (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Years active1980s–present

Ralph Michael Saenz (born May 17, 1965), better known as Michael Starr, is an American musician who is best known as the lead vocalist and occasional guitarist of the comedic glam metal band Steel Panther.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ralph Michael Saenz was born in Chicago on May 17, 1965. He is of Spanish and Swedish descent.[2] He was raised primarily in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, where his father was a college professor. He is often cited as having a Ph.D. in English from University of California, Berkeley, however, this is a common misconception, as Saenz had lied about his education to get an apartment when his credit was being checked.[3][4]


Saenz was the lead singer for the David Lee Roth-era Van Halen tribute band Atomic Punks from May 1994 to December 2008, where he used the stage name David Lee Ralph. He formed the band with future bandmate, Steel Panther guitarist Russ Parrish. Saenz was briefly the lead singer for L.A. Guns, singing on the Wasted EP. He also has sung for the band 7% Solution.

Saenz formed Steel Panther, a satirical metal band, in 2000 with Parrish under the name Metal Shop (soon changed into Metal Skool, Danger Kitty [for a commercial], then into Steel Panther). The band has become successful worldwide, and has many celebrity fans who have performed onstage with them.

He provided background vocals for AFI on the albums Sing the Sorrow and Decemberunderground [5]

Ralph Michael Saenz is famed for turning down the opportunity to have been the first rock star featured as a playboy centrefold.

Saenz also briefly appeared in the 2001 film Rock Star, playing the part of a singer auditioning for the fictitious band Steel Dragon.


Starr (center) with Steel Panther at Nova Rock 2017

With Steel Panther[edit]

With Metal Sludge[edit]

  • Hey That's What I Call Sludge – Vol 1 (2003)

With L.A. Guns[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Home". steelpantherrocks.com.
  2. ^ From an interview with the Swedish magazine Hårdrock.
  3. ^ "Interview – Steel Panther's Michael Starr". www.therockpit.net. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  4. ^ "Steel Panther: Is the joke starting to wear thin?". February 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ralph Saenz".

External links[edit]