Steel Panther Drummer: 'KISS Is More Influential Than Nirvana'

Singer Michael Starr not as confident about the answer. Who do you think is more influential?

Ultimate Guitar

Steel Panther were recently asked an interesting question in relation to this year's Rock Hall inductees - who's more influential, KISS or Nirvana?

Responding to Artisan News' question first, drummer Stix Zadinia somewhat confidently noted, "KISS," but singer Michael Starr wasn't as certain, giving a more elaborate answer.

"Really? God I have to say I'm dramatically affected with what happened to Nirvana. I really am. I mean, that really changed - it f--ked my world up, man," Starr kicked off. "I was rockin' with KISS and Van Halen, all of a sudden boom, this guy with short blonde hair comes out with a dirty sweater and some big jeans and I was like, 'Damn, s--t's changing!'

"But I didn't change," the vocalist stressed. "You know why? 'Cause heavy metal rules. Anyway, I think that they both had a lot of relevance in the transition of each style of music, but it combulates into a fundamentical..."

After being instantly ripped by his bandmates for using words like "combulates" and "fundamentical," Michael continued, "So you combulate these bands together, you can't put them in the same thermicity because intermatically, times are changing, incrementally - it happens man, and there's nothing you can do."

In related KISS news, bassist Gene Simmons touched on the matter of Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing, giving the late actor zero sympathy. "I don't think it's sad at all," he told Rolling Stone. "He was white in this racist world. He was f--kin' rich. And he was a movie star. If you wanna take your life, good luck to you. You know what's sad? A loving husband or mother who crosses the street and gets run over by a truck. That's sad. Because you didn't have anything to do with it."

Back to the big question - who's more influential: KISS or Nirvana? Let us know in the comments.

142 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "Back to the big question - who's more influential: KISS or Nirvana? Let us know in the comments." UG, you are asking for the virtual version of the Cold War to start right here.
    I want to say Nirvana. Kiss were influential when hard rock was still being developed and there was a lot of room to experiment. By the 90s, tons of different styles were already in place, and Nirvana basically came along and completely changed the game. Kiss just seemed to develop what was already happening sound-wise. I think i'm going to give it to Nirvana because of that. Plus, I just like them better
    I like your comment , and agree that sonically/musically,Kiss were not influential at all.However, lots of styles were being blended in the late 80's when Nirvana came along,and Kurt borrowed well.Even from Kiss! Nirvana's blend of MELODY and acid hangover/depressoid lyrics is irresistable , and Butch Vig made sure it sounded great on the radio (how often do you hear Bleach?). Great melodies are always fashionable.
    KISS were incredibly influential. Their sound informed much of '80's metal, and they were vritually the hard rock equivalent of Velvet Underground: just about everyone who ever bought "Alive" started a band, from Poison to Pantera.
    Steel panther will be super influential just wait 15 years and Hair bands will again be more popular than electronica!
    I would very much like to see a full on Hair metal revival sort of as if the 1980s were happening all over again. That would be better than this post-grunge trash, by which I mean Nickelback...
    There seems to be a thrash metal revival that is pretty awesome, I'm pretty sure Hair can make a comeback soon
    I think they are both influential in their own way. And that's a good thing. I'm glad that Nirvana and KISS both sound and look different. Imagine if every band in the world looked and sounded the same! We'd get very bored!
    They are two separate bands. They both have had their ups and downs. Why can't people just learn to not cry at each other? KISS - I'm not a fan really, but they have a MASSIVE following and think they are a fantastic band! They have a great live show and have very dedicated followers. Nirvana - I'm more of a fan of Nirvana and yes they were very influential, but, Nirvana and KISS were in their prime in two separate decades. Nirvana gave the teens in the 90's some great tunes to listen to and relate to. KISS inspired bands to BE bands. Can we just chill out a little bit and learn to RESPECT each other's music tastes. Just because you don't like a band, can't say they aren't influential....
    to compare two of the most influential rock bands in their decade of peak success is bound to spark debate. I wouldnt even compare the two, they both played their part in shaping rock music in their own individually unique ways and thats all that really matters
    I didn't ever put anything thought into anything Gene Simmons has said, but this stuck out at me. "He was white in this racist world." Really? Just by being white I'm racist?
    This meant that the world was racist and he was white. He didn't say anything about Hoffman being racist, or any particular white person (yourself included).
    Kiss was not influential in my life during the 90s. I remember seeing detroit rock city and hearing one of their songs but they were more like clowns than actual musicians to me. It's not right I know but true. I'll have to buy an album now to see what the fuss was about.
    Nirvana influenced more people musically and influenced the musical side of the industry more, but KISS influenced stage presence and entertainment more. Done
    This question is almost unanswerable, KISS influenced so much when it comes to the metal side of rock where Nirvana put alternative rock on the charts, each band did a completely different thing for music, and I think both are good things.
    He's probably right. I mean, there's so many guys in bands that talk about a KISS record being their first record and stuff like that.
    Dark Canuck
    Since UG doesn't find it news-worthy, I'm here to spread the word that Big Wreck released a stream of their new song. Its the title track for the upcoming new album, "Ghosts". Feast your ears fellow guitarists. Listen at, its rather delicious.
    Nirvana didn't change a thing except put "grunge" in the spotlight. Pixies, Big Black, now those were the game changers
    Of course Kiss are more influential given that when Kiss first started, Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl were still in Kindergarden
    This article is just a cluster-**** of irrelevant shit opinions from super important Steel Panther; who ****ing cares what they think? Both bands are from different eras and are speaking to different generations.. God, I ****ing hate people. Oh and did I mention Steel Panther is real relevant? Cause they are.
    OMG! Nirvainer is like mer faverate band like Fereva! Kert Kobaine is the illezt guy ever! He givez me my keyberd lessons every wednezday. Who wood wanna to listen to a chick band like kisses anywayz!?! Dave Grehl is my lunch lady too!!
    They both had an impact on their respective generations but i think KISS has been more influential and far-reaching overall.
    No, the difference is that KISS was doing something already being done. Nirvana flipped the music industry on it's head, yeah there was Mudhoney, the Melvis, etc. before them, but in terms of the industry, they sent a shock-wave of immense proportions. Music changed because they got popular. That is being influential.
    Honestly, I've never cared to gauge where bands stand in objective history. It just doesn't matter. How many people Nirvana influenced, the context in which they created their music, whether or not they're 'better' than other bands, is all incredibly irrelevant. It's like people want their taste to be the correct one, so they weigh it against things that are objective (or less subjective than good or bad) in order to reinforce their taste in music. Frankly, these arguments have increasingly less and less to do with music and become a simple number game, who sold more, who influenced more people, etc. In the case of Nirvana, you're literally talking about a band who didn't innovate anything from the scene they were coming from, yet are renowned for 'changing' music. That's the point at which appearances and influence trump context and history.
    I am influenced greatly as a musician by Nirvana and less by Kiss but I've even heard of Kiss being an influence on Kurt...I can't honestly decide which one is more influential to others
    I dont really know why they have to be compared so much. They were in two completely different genres, glam metal and grunge. The only relation they really have is that the popularity of Nirvana and everything that followed kind of knocked Kiss off the map for a bit. They're both VERY inspirational within there own genres. Thats all there is
    I just hung up a Cobain posted today, actually. But I love Kiss a lot more than Nirvana. These arguments are stupid. You can't compare grunge to classic/hard rock. Kiss is more influential though
    I think it was Alice Cooper that had the biggest influence on Kiss! Plus, Alice Cooper was quite a bit more melodic, with a better sense of humor. Most Kiss tracks I've heard, I perceive as noise. (Sorry for that). Oh dear, that wasn't the question, was it.....
    Didn't Nirvana drive around in a beat up van upon which Cobain had painted "KISS"? Damn straight KISS influenced more bands than Nirvana. But Gene is still a tool.
    This is an decision based solely on what you can tolerate more easily--the sophomoric, misogynistic, masturbatory, junior-high clunkers that Kiss made a career out of writing--or obnoxiously vague, overtly-angry, screaming, whining, drug-induced noise rock of Nirvana. Kind of an arbitrary choice for the individual.
    Kiss definitly took marketing to a whole new level.
    Is that really how we define influence tho? I know the question is not very specific, but other than the make up, KISS didnt show up and change the course of the music scene forever. i am NOT a nirvana fan boy what-so-ever, but we must acknowledge that what they did surely change all of rock 'n roll forever.
    It's hard to compare, because of the generation difference. Nirvana obviously had more impact to the younger people as of now. However, I read many interviews over the years by accomplished musicians/guitarists, and they all say they were influenced by the like's of kiss when they started playing. Ace Frehley was the first guy for example with Dimarzio pickupups and advertising them in his 3 humbucker guitars. Look at Dimarzio now, one of the top pickup company. Now I wouldn't say he's the reason, but pretty influential . Kiss also took theatrics to a whole new level, and I can't help but notice, that after them the whole hair scene came up with people dressing up and having big theatrical shows. So as it stands, maybe not as influential now, but certainly for a lot of your favorite guitar players and musicians.
    Second Rate
    Whether you like their music or not, many pioneering musicians in various subgenres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal that have emerged since 1980 have routinely cited Kiss as a reason they picked up instruments. Based on the fact that one of you has what appears to be a picture of Gary Holt as your avatar, and the other is called DimeBatteryDrrl, I'm going to assume you're both fans of "extreme metal." If you are any kind of fan of that type of music, and deny the influence of kiss, you are a madman.
    "God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you Gave rock and roll to everyone (oh yeah) God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you Put it in the soul of everyone"
    KISS started because they wanted money, fame, and girls - Nirvana did it for the music. Idk
    wasn't KISS an influence on nirvana? so therefore, by extension, an influence on every band that was influenced by nirvana?
    Not really. If people drew from the element of their sound that was inspired by KISS then yes KISS influenced them. But if people were influenced by another part of Nirvana's sound then KISS shouldn't get any credit.
    KISS started because they wanted money, fame, and girls - Nirvana did it for the music. Idk
    Nirvana definitely didn't do it for the chicks. No one in Kiss would sleep with Cortney Love out of pure respect for themselves.
    all these arguments seem retarded. Nirvana was the type of band to just make the music they felt in their hearts. KISS keeps doing the same thing because it's what their sound molded into over the years. Two completely different bands. It's like trying to compare apples to oranges. Most people like them, the weird people hate them for dumb reasons, but they have differences that satisfy the need of our ears.
    But the question isn't who's better, it's who had the bigger influence? So we should be asking ourselves do we see more artists making music purely to make money or do we see more artists making music for the love of their art?
    Is Gene only pissed because Hoffman died of a drugs overdose? Because if not then he could just re-use that paragraph to talk about Kirt in his acceptance speech. Just replace 'film star' with 'rock star'. But some how I dont think that will happen.
    I think he's right there. Kiss influenced a HUGE amount of bands when it comes to stage shows and ''doing your thing'', hell even Rammstein claim Kiss have been one of their biggest influences. Most of the rock and metal musicians born in the 70's and 80's I know stated, that Kiss was the biggest thing when they were kids. ...but doesn't change the fact that I hate Kiss ( and Nirvana ).
    I'd have to say KISS. Sure, Nirvana started a new generation while KISS just enhanced theirs, but as far as musical and performance influences go, KISS have this one.
    I have to reluctantly agree. KISS were more influential but not in a good way. Ever wonder where boy bands like N'Sync come from? How about crappy pop-metal bands like Poison? That's right... KISS laid the groundwork for terrible bands to be very successful based on gimmicks and image. Nirvana helped to bring punk rock and art rock to the masses in the early 90's. They weren't even close to the first but they helped introduce millions of suburbanites to music that may have never gotten out of specific scenes. So... KISS is more influential but Nirvana is a BETTER influence.
    lol, if you think KISS were the archetype for disposable pop, you have literally no idea what you're talking about. Teeny boppers have existed since the 50s. If you want to dislike KISS for whatever legitimate reasons, fine, but it might help your argument if you got a clue. KISS wrote their songs, played their own instruments, and started their band. Not even close to the same thing, so I'm not sure why this revisionist history is considered a fair point.
    Dude you need to go back further back in history than KISS to find aggressively promoted shitty pre-fab boy bands. Try all the safe pretty boy knock offs that record companies tried to jump on after Elvis. Then there's the massive success of The Osmonds, Jackson 5, and The Monkees in the 60s. You could even throw in the very early Beatles. Yep KISS did their uber marketing well, but associating them with boy bands is just wrong.
    I like Nirvana but I don't think they were influential in a good way, most of the bands they influenced are terrible, and also, ever since then there is no exciting rock bands, all rock bands now are alternative, which is weird because it's not that alternative if every other new rock band is alternative too.
    I was going to argue the same about KISS. They were really influential in that they shifted the focus from the music to the spectacle. I'm not saying that you shouldn't put on a good show but you should know a band by the music as opposed to a gimmick.
    "Most of the bands they influenced are terrible" is a pretty ridiculous statement to make. If you know where to look then you can find great music. You just gotta look for it. Yes, they were copied by plenty of shitty bands, but thats the same for any hugely influential band. There are plenty of exciting and groundbreaking bands around today. You just need to find them because they won't be getting played on FM radio.
    It's like most things. First wave (and to a lesser extent) second wave genre bands tend to be the best. But once you get to third and fourth wave bands the bad outweigh the good. We seem to be in a time where there seems to be a lot of third and fourth wave bands.
    I think alternative rock has run it's course now, it's lasted way longer than most sub genres and it's boring.
    What would you even define as "alternative" rock? These sub-genres have got to go. Its a shame that people will just make up a genre any time a band comes up with an original sound. Can't people just make the music they want to make? Stop worrying about genres of music that you don't enjoy. If someone else loves it then it is obviously just as important ad whatever you may like.
    You could argue that people just haven't taken to the new sub genres very well (metalcore, electronic rock etc)and so people stick with alternative rock. I get what you mean but people in general seem to dislike the new wave of stuff and are more inclined to listen to alternative
    Yeah, "Alternative Rock" has always been such a vague term. I remember in the early 90's every band that didn't look and sound like Winger was called "alternative". It's been almost 25 years and countless bands later and so many people still call all or most of them "alternative". It doesn't make much sense anymore... In 1991 it was fair to call Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Faith No More "alternative rock" but by the time you had bands like Nickelback and Creed selling millions of albums it was just ridiculous to call them "alternative". Alternative to WHAT? Glam metal bands that your older siblings or parents listened to in the 1980's? That term just needs to go, it doesn't mean ANYTHING anymore.
    In my opinion, the only good band that sounds like Nirvana is Nirvana. Most of the other stuff is so cringe-worthy.
    Man, good thing his opinion really matters
    Haha I know right everyone's going crazy about something the drummer from steel panther says I'm a big fan of panther but who gives a ****
    Who gives a shit? You two and everyone else who posted in this thread, a durr.
    I mean... it's not even close, is it? KISS didn't change anything in music. Nirvana changed everything. I think Tom Petty said the only band more important than Nirvana is the Beatles, and it's pretty tough to argue against that.
    You know what album changed everything? Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf
    SFTD is a great album but it didn't change anything.
    I know, I was joking. That was a reference to the guy who keeps mentioning that album on every single "top 10" article just to troll the shit out of them. Seems like my fellow UGers got up on the wrong side of the bed today, though.
    KISS were the inspiration for several of the first generation of visual kei bands. While visual kei now is a completely different genre, the early influence of KISS is pretty important. And I say that from the viewpoint of really not enjoying KISS's music. You might argue the irrelevance of visual kei - I can see that, as much as I love it - but then you still can't say KISS changed nothing.
    "He was white in this racist world. He was f--kin' rich. And he was a movie star. If you wanna take your life, good luck to you. You know what's sad? A loving husband or mother who crosses the street and gets run over by a truck. That's sad. Because you didn't have anything to do with it." Harsh but true.
    Not really, no. People don't just commit suicide because they want to. You might not feel he had any problems, Gene apparently doesn't, but until you've tried being him you don't know. Even if everything was more or less fine in his life externally, pressure or any number of other things associated with success could've ****ed with his mental state. If you think you or Gene Simmons - or anyone else - has any idea what it was like to be in his position, or that you or he can judge a man's death to be less tragic because he committed the deed, you are vastly mistaken. Worse, Simmons' issue seems to be that he was a rich, white man. This particular git might be living easy off his latest line of toilet paper but his ego's even bigger than I thought if he thinks he can claim insight into the life of someone he didn't know (I'll admit that's an assumption - but can you imagine him saying that about a friend?). That said, I guess being rich must be great for Simmons at least, he's got so little worth complaining about he's resorted to bitching about the lives of people he's never met.
    To be honest, I should have done half a second's research there - he was having drug issues at the time. Does being rich or white make that not a problem?