MATG Exclusive Interview: Lane Steel of Worldwide Panic
Written by The Black Metal Bitch
Worldwide Panic isn’t my usual flavor of metal, but in an effort to broaden my horizons and step outside of the grim and chaotic world of black metal and venture into unfamiliar territory I sat down with the bass playing front man of this groove-oriented Nu Metal project.
To bring you up to speed, Lane “Shadow” Steele is no stranger to the music industry. The man has fronted the Los Angeles-based Industrial Groove Metal band Kauze since the early 2000s. Through his time he’s seen the country and opened up for some big names including thrash legends Testament, fellow industrial groove artists Powerman 5000 and Fear Factory, and other household names like Otep and Chimaira. He’s now focusing his efforts to bring Worldwide Panic to fruition, which, for Steele, is long overdue.
In 2016 the band started to take shape with the addition of Lane’s childhood friends, combat veteran and metal enthusiast TJ “Ravage” to fill the guitar slot as well as rounding out the roster with wild man Manny “Crusher” Costanada behind the drum kit. Now, with the lineup set, Worldwide Panic is determined to take the States by storm. They have just released their very first single, ‘Wake Up with an Attitude,’ delivering a mosh friendly nu-metal anthem full of infectious hooks, catchy lyrics and a very 90’s attitude. On top of that, they’re hard at work in the studio producing the band’s very first full length, Press the Red Button.
Black Metal Bitch: Hi Lane, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Congrats on finally getting Worldwide Panic up to snuff. I know this has been sort of a dream of yours since 2003. Going back to the early 2000s, how did you hook up with the guys in Kauze?
Lane: Thanks! Yes, WWP was a long time coming. To answer your question, Kauze started in 2005 in Hollywood, California. Ultimately, Kauze and Worldwide are both my “brain-children” that I have spearheaded. In Kauze there have been many line-up changes, we have achieved making three albums, three music videos and we’ve played with the biggest bands in the world like Testament, Fear Factory, Gemini Syndrome, Otep and Chimaira just to name a few. Kauze has some surprises coming up as well!
BMB: Well, that answers my next question about whether or not you were going to continue with Kauze or direct all of your attention on Worldwide.
Lane: Look, I am not one of those guys who spreads himself too thin. Kauze is my heart and soul and I have been in it for over ten years. I dreamed about Kauze for years and came up with the name and idea about a year before WWP started. Both bands are active and I will not put one focus above the other. However, I have been married to Kauze for years and only done WWP for less than a year, so there’s a lot of love there ya know? I can tell you that Kauze now has a full lineup and we have finished two singles with the artwork just waiting to go! Everything will happen at the right time.
BMB: Now that you’re also working on Worldwide Panic as well, what kind of lessons have you learned with Kauze and how do they translate to the new project?
Lane: (Laughs) Kauze had 17 members/players in all its years. Due to booze, drugs and ego, things can get unmanageable. Hence why I am now three years sober. I was and am the principal writer for all the albums as well as the Worldwide material. That being said, some of the greatest honors I have had has been working with amazing drummers. With Kauze I’ve worked with Raymond Herrera (ex-Fear Factory), Tom Gomes (ex-Killswitch Engage), John Beoclin (ex-Devildriver), Ken Schalk (ex-Candiria, Fuel), which is one of the greatest drummers and smartest dudes I have ever met and also my long time drummer, Zac Morris, who is the current drummer in Ugly Kid Joe. So drummer-wise I am very lucky!
BMB: Tell me more about TJ. I know you guys have been friends for a long time. I know he’s big into the punk rock scene. How did you get him on board with WWP and what does he bring to the table as far as creating music?
Lane: I have known him 16 years! We met in high school, where we argued about whether the Offspring was punk or not and he also made fun of my roller backpack and nerd-like clothes and the rest is history. I mean, we were in class on September 11 and watching it on television together. He went to Afghanistan and fought and when he came back he went to my music school I went to called MI and I approached him with a WWP song called ‘Chowderload,’ which has a punk vibe and he liked it and the rest fell into place. These songs were written a long time ago, most of them anyway, so we’re still planning the future and what’s next to come.
BMB: I had a chance to check out the new single ‘Wake Up with an Attitude’ and it has a very 90’s Nu-Metal sound going on. Do you think that particular genre is due to make a comeback? I’m a little out of date on my Nu-Metal knowledge, but do you personally see that heavy, groove oriented style reemerging?
Lane: (Laughs) I was in high school when we got the band going; our first demo came out in 2002, so it kinda was what it was. As far as Nu-Metal is concerned, I think its thriving now. We do, however, plan on evolving our sound and try to take things into the modern era. That’s the beauty of a single: you can try it out on the world and see how they like it. The video is doing really well with 12,000 views on Facebook and 5,000 views on Youtube in just a day and a half, so I’m proud of it. But you also learn what works and what doesn’t so the future is an open book for WWP.
BMB: Are you guys shopping the single around with any labels? Any chance of using Kauze’s label, Unbound Mind Productions, or are you planning on going a different route?
Lane: Unbound is a business entity that I own, but it’s really just a name. Eventually, we will shop labels more aggressively when the LP comes out. So yes, both bands will be going a different route.
BMB: When are fans going to be able to get their hands on a copy of the new LP, Push the Red Button? Care to give us some details on the release? What can fans expect?
Lane: It’s not that simple. We conceptualized the album and I love the name. We have compiled over fifteen songs that are in our current live rotation, plus some newer stuff I did, as well as some stuff we are still working on. Yes, we wanna stick to the style we have created, but we are toying with a lot of ideas of maybe changing formats to make something a little more personal, from the heart and a bit more modern. So to answer your question it’s an open book on how and when. People can expect in-your-face palming riffs, unrelenting vocals and super catchy choruses that will sear themselves in your brain for weeks, months, years…fuck it, forever!
BMB: Walk us through the creative process of creating music. From start to finish, how do you guys arrive at the final product? How does each member of the band contribute to the process?
Lane: That’s the thing. I have a writing pattern that is so formatted. The final product comes to us when we’re ready. I have been in this game too long to settle. TJ and I are trying our best to collaborate and we will see the result soon.
BMB: What’s your favorite part of being in a band?
Lane: The togetherness and just hanging with other bands, meeting new people and being on the road. Showing up somewhere to destroy and then pack up and do it all again tomorrow.
BMB: What are some of your influences as a musician?
Lane: (Laughs) How much time you got!? I love Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad.
The most impressive stage show I’ve ever seen is Rammstein and as far as my personal hero bass player/vocalists like myself it would have to be Tom Araya, Lemmy and Gene.
BMB: I always ask the guys I interview who have experience on the road: what’s the craziest shit you’ve seen while touring?
Lane: On the last WWP tour we played this place where they had a volume meter and we couldn’t go above it, but since we are called Worldwide Panic we just had to bust the meter; the police came (laughs), but the moment that took the cake on this last tour we played this place in a small town, I don’t even name and we arrived at the venue, we arrived and started loading in. We got all our stuff on stage and there were speakers on the wall and no floor monitors and there was a little nook across the floor where there seemed to be a mixing board looking thing so it’s a little weird, there’s no floor monitors but everything at a glance seemed OK, but no sound man. So I looked around the stage for a snake (a floor input that connected microphones to the PA) so no PA, no sound (laughs) and there wasn’t one, so I went to the bar and asked the guy “Hey bro when is the sound guy getting here? I can’t seem to find the snake to the PA,” He said “What PA? We don’t have a PA, bands bring their own,” yeah, said no venue ever! Never, ever will a band need to bring their own sound system, so here we are in this small fucking town with no entertainment, so these fans banded together and asked all around town and got us a PA from, like, friends of friends. I mean that’s true love; these people wanted entertainment and that’s what the Panic gave ’em! That’s not even the craziest part. After the show there was this girl who has seen many miles let’s say. Kinda heavy set and looks like she’s high on serious shit and with, like, some kinda eye patch type thing who was just like all over us. So me and the fill-in drummer we had were talking and she comes up and grabs his cock while we’re talking, so he just ran with it and we continued our convo like nothing happened! After all is said and done we’re packing the trailer and she stumbles outside and is like “Can anyone drive me” and this dude rushed out of the shadows and was like “ME ME ME!” They got in his 1970’s rape van and sped off (laughs again). We went in to get paid out and we asked the bar guy “Whats the deal with her” he’s like “oh who? That chick? Yeah, we call her ‘Gimmie’.” “Gimmie,” we said “Yeah, gimmie a beer, gimmie a dick, gimmie this and that” he replied. So that was the deal. Crazy fucking times!
BMB: Where are your favorite places to play live and why?
Lane: Wherever the people go the craziest.
BMB: If you could pick five bands that you would tour with, who would you pick?
Lane: Shit…Metallica, duh! Lamb of God, Black Label Society, Hatebreed and Slayer!
BMB: Give us a day in the life of Lane Steele. Are there any other projects outside of music that you are a part of? What are some of your other passions beyond making music?
Lane: Oh, you can go on our Youtube page to see a day in the life shit and all the wacky pranks and hi jinx. It’s more crazy than you would think. I do sometimes do solo unplugged shows and I love those chances to showcase my full vocal ability. I do session work and I produce other bands and artists. Passions outside of metal? I love horror movies, Howard Stern, Trailer Park Boys and I love really lame reality, girly shows and I love watching them in a candlelit bathtub (laughs). Here’s a few: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kardashians, Vanderpump Rules, Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab and Intervention. Why you ask “Does a super testosterone soldier of METAL like such garbage?” I have no clue but I am all man, baby!
BMB: What do you have planned after you guys get the LP released? Are you guys planning a tour? We’re still at the beginning of 2017, what’s this year going to look like for Worldwide Panic?
Lane: We are still conceptualizing what the record will sound like and what path were gonna choose; that might take a minute. Maybe drop another single and video before that to stay current or maybe not. Who knows? We have some management offers and some really big tour opportunities that are all being looked over as we speak. I can’t go into to more detail legally. You will, however, see us on the road at some point this year. We promise a West Coast run, so that’s one thing you can bet on for this year as well as we will continue to make funny content and provide fans with an inside look at the band so stay tuned.
BMB: Thanks, Lane and we wish you the best of luck!
Be sure to check out Worldwide Panic on Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldwidepanic or Instagram worldwidepanicband and be sure to follow them on Twitter @wwpband. Buy the new single on I-Tunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wake-up-attitude-single/id1205635859?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4