“So it’s really unique and a chance for people to reconnect with me and like I said, I’m pretty awesome in these speaking engagements that I do and then I get to rock out on the other night and do what I actually do best and that is front a metal band.”
From Release: He is one of the most recognisable and notorious frontmen of all time and DEE SNIDER ascended to hard rock royalty in the early 1980s as the lead singer for New York-based heavy rockers, the multi-platinum sellers TWISTED SISTER. The charismatic and outspoken SNIDER in 1985, alongside John Denver and Frank Zappa, testified against censorship in regard to the Tipper Gore led PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) — SNIDER and company topped the charts in 1984 with the all-purpose us-against-the-world anthems We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. DEE SNIDER and TWISTED SISTER changed the face of MTV and the rock and metal world forever. Apart from those two monster singles, TWISTED SISTER also released all time classic tracks like Stay Hungry, The Kids Are Back, You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll, The Price, Under The Blade and more! After the 1987 dissolution of the group, he embarked on a series of solo and group projects such as WIDOWMAKER and DESPERADO.
In a studio in Las Vegas we gave the legendary Dee Snider a call to talk about his return to Australia after over thirty years for his upcoming spoken and shouted shows, his solo career, writing some of rocks biggest anthems, what’s next, and more…
Spoken and Shouted is a great concept, a little different for here haven’t had anything like this before, what was the idea behind doing these two nights?
I think it’s a brilliant idea on a part of the promoter, I don’t know how in Australia I haven’t been there in decades with how my ongoing career in The States I think you get some of the reality TV I’ve done, I’ve been a radio personality for over twenty five years , I’ve been doing talk radio, and doing Broadway, you know there’s so many different things and I’m a unique personality in that I can talk and be conversational and not just a soundbite machine like some of my peers like “ALRIGHT HOW WE DOING TONIGHT?!” you know what I mean *laughs* that doesn’t work in a spoken word concept. So it’s really unique and a chance for people to reconnect with me and like I said, I’m pretty awesome in these speaking engagements that I do and then I get to rock out on the other night and do what I actually do best and that is front a metal band.
As they are two very different nights too, do we get to see two sides of Dee also?
Absolutely, I mean it’s kind of interesting I’ve seen it over the years people who would see me perform first and then come back to meet me were very different to people that would meet me before they saw me perform, the ones that saw me perform first were usually very nervous and trepidatious *laughs*. I remember the record company Atlantic Records the head of the company when he decided he wanted to sign us our manager said “great come back and meet the band” he said “oh no no no I don’t want to meet them I just want to sign them” *laughs* so he was literally afraid to go backstage and meet the band. So I mean it’s an interesting conversation I’ve had with a friend of mine and I don’t know how much wrestling you guys get there, Mick Foley who is a WWE legend he and I are very good friends and we both have these on stage quote unquote personas then offstage personas but I was having a conversation with him and they’re both part of the same coin, you can’t have the coin without the head side and the tail side and we couldn’t be as sort of the words people use, down to Earth… and well-adjusted and all those words that I’ve gotten used to describe me, but I couldn’t be that way without having the other side where I get to let my more animalistic tendencies out. So they’re very different but they’re also both sides of the same coin.
With such a huge catalogue to choose from do you have an idea how you’ll be structuring the set lists for the shouted night?
I’ve got a really good idea, it’s a very unique situation that’s happened here, last time I was in Australia Twisted Sister was at their peak and now god, thirty something years, thirty five years later I’ve just really kicked my solo career into gear, ‘For The Love of Metal’ went to number 20 on the Billboard charts in The States, I haven’t been on the charts in over thirty years, since ‘Stay Hungry’ pretty much, it’s one of the biggest metal records in the world right now, so my solo career is really taking off and here I am returning to Australia. So I’m gonna give you half the show will certainly be that Twisted stuff that people are dying to hear by the other half is definitely going to be new stuff but judging by the reaction of seeing it internationally and it’s been great because people are actually interested in my new solo album ‘For The Love of Metal’ which I haven’t really dealt with before, usually you can say here’s one from the new record you can literally see half the place go to the bathroom, they literally leave *laughs* like oh great a new song I wanna get a beer. So the reaction to this record has been tremendous.
It’s been a long long time since you’ve been to Australia, what if anything do you remember about that last trip back in 1985?
Well I remember it very fondly and my wife has been bugging the shit out of me to go back *laughs*ever since we went there, we’ve been together a very long time and she just loved it, and I loved it, and just seeing part of the unique thing and I put art in quotation marks because I don’t see myself as an artiste but it’s just how you connect with people crossing all kinds of boundaries, oceans and countries and religions and political beliefs and all these kinds of things, so when we went to Australia and saw the response and the connection and reaction it just blew me away that so far away from my home we were connecting the way we did, and so I’m anxious to come back to reconnect with the old fans and hopefully by the time I get there I mean the new album’s already been out for a couple of months and its already taking hold and I’m hoping that it’s well ingrained by the time I get there so people will be enjoying the new stuff as much as the old stuff.
You really haven’t rested at all since Twisted Sister bid us farewell, with two solo albums in the last two years, what has making these solo albums now allowed you to do that you felt you may not have been able to with any of your other bands?
Well when you’re in a band like Twisted Sister which is so defined its sound, its era, its look, on so many different levels it’s a very strange relationship with the audience, while you see them saying they want to see something new, clearly they’re purchasing does not reflect that *laughs* it’s a very small minority who actually follow the band’s new stuff and in concert like I said the new songs are the bathroom songs, time to get a beer or a burger or something. So you’re very limited and also Twisted when we reunited they said hey we should do a new album I said I’m really not crazy about going back to the future, and they said what do you mean back to the future? I said well people want an old sounding album in contemporary times and then they don’t buy it anyway and really don’t want to hear it, and that’s not just me, that’s KISS and Motley Crue across the board for the most part with rare exceptions, so I never felt motivated to do anything new. By retiring Twisted Sister it freed me to take chances, my first solo album didn’t connect, it was more of a mainstream record and I did some crazy shit on there, I did a cover ‘Head Like A Hole’ by Nine Inch Nails, like full synthesizers and I could never so that with Twisted Sister. One thing that did connect was I did a piano vocal version of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ which I wound up donating to the fight against children’s cancer and I don’t know about overseas but in the United States in a really big way people were really blown away by that, but I could never have done that kind of experiment while I was in Twisted Sister.
That was actually my next question as that song just gave me goose bumps on goose bumps, when you arranged it and heard it that way did you find it took on a completely different meaning and power when performed that way?
I’ve gotta give credit to the producer, he suggested it and I literally told him you’re out of your fuckin’ mind, I mean I’m like I hate unplugging, I hate the whole concept of the metal band proving their merit by playing with acoustics, like fuck you let Paul Simon plug into a Marshall stack and ride the lightning see if he can handle that. There’s this unspoken thing that you’re not a real musician until you like strip down, expose yourself, I’m against it. But he laid down the piano track that he had in mind and I walked in and I heard it and I suddenly started to see what he was seeing and that version was literally one take, I just went in and just blasted it out just the way it came out. People say the cry when they hear it, especially if they see the video for the children’s cancer video because there are some images in there and Criss Angel deliberately put them in and fair enough his son is two and has leukaemia and he wanted people to feel it, he wanted people to understand the pain that families are dealing with and the combination was practically lethal.
One take, that’s unbelievable, there’s so much power in your voice it’s just crazy!
One thing I haven’t lost is power, and with Twisted and when I thought I’d retired it wasn’t with the intention to do new music, I never had that intention we just felt it had run its course and we had one of our members AJ Pero pass away, just like are we gonna keep doing this until one by one everybody drops off? *laughs* It’s the inevitable, you can’t beat your gravity, and we decided let’s call it a day. I got literally challenged twice, once for the ‘We Are The Ones’ record to do a mainstream record, I accepted the challenge and I’m really happy with the result but it didn’t connect and then Jamey Jasta and I said ok, I didn’t really think there was a place for me in the contemporary metal scene but Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed he approached me and said hey man, I’ve seen you in concert and you’re as powerful as ever, not only your voice but physically you’re in amazing shape and you’re just shaming twenty year olds up there and dude you’ve gotta do a metal record. I said I’m not sure what I should be doing so he said let me produce and I’ll help you, and so thank you Jamey Jasta for helping me find my spot, because he said there’s a spot for you in contemporary metal, so it looks like he was right.
Jamey is such a great guy too, just a really nice dude.
Yeah he’s another one of those guys, this is back to the two sides of the coin, there was a recent study I don’t know if you saw it but it was a legit study that head bangers grow up to be better adjusted adults than fans of other music and I was actually interviewed by Psychology Today and they were just investigating this study and trying to investigate why and I said, simple, because heavy metal focuses on the dark emotions, hate, depression, hostility, aggression, sorrow, death, heartbreak, all the dark emotions but these are the emotions you can’t keep bottled up we have to let go and we feel better afterwards, after we head bang, after we thrash, after we’re in the pit we come out smiling, sweating and laughing because we let it go. I mean Jamey in Hatebreed I mean fuckin’ HATEBREED!! You get done expressing those emotions and you’re better off for it, so I understand wholly why head bangers are better adjusted adults
You’ve written and recorded some of Rock’s biggest anthems if you like, how does it feel to be associated with such timeless songs?
You know my manager and also the guy who signed Twisted Sister and didn’t want to come into the dressing room and meet us, *laughs* his name is Phil Carson and he’s managed some of the greats, he manages Foreigner, and he managed Page and Plant and Ron Wood and Asia and signed some of the greatest bands in history, he signed AC/DC to Atlantic records, OK, he’s the guy, and he said hey man, if you’re only gonna have two hits make them doozies. These songs have a life I never expected, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ is I’d say it’s fair to say it’s a folk song at this point, it’s crossed and transcended the genre, transcended the band and it pops up anywhere and everywhere and pretty much everybody knows the song, they may never know who wrote it at this point but they know the melody and they know the chorus. So it just does blow my mind that all these years later I’ll take my kids, actually my grand kids *laughs* you don’t get a prize for that by the way you just have to knock somebody up when you’re young and you get grand kids, anyway my wife I knocked up, but we went to see Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ and the fuckin’ finale of the movie is ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, the finale of a Spielberg movie in 2018 is ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ that’s fuckin; staying power.
You’ve also done so much over your career, music legend, reality TV star, Broadway alumni, actor, horror movie director, radio host the list goes on, but is there anything you still want to do that you haven’t yet had the chance to do?
I keep saying no I’m pretty much done and then something else pops up like the phone call I got a couple of years ago from a Broadway producer friend of mine who says hey what do you think about doing a cool animated children’s show and I said alright sounds good and I hung up and my wife said you want to do a children’s show? I said I’d never thought of it before *laughs* but I’m game, but we sat down and I can’t get into the details because we sold it to Netflix and it’s in production right now and Netflix has to announce it formally but the inspiration being I’m writing the music for it and just creating a show that parents will not want to kill themselves if they have to watch it with their children and listen to the songs over and over and over because that’s what kids do, they play things on repeat until you want to commit suicide, thank you very much Wiggles. So this was that cool new thing, but anyway I didn’t know I wanted to do that, so I started a production company we’ve got a few horror films in development right now and so I’m doing more producing and writing, so I mean I’ve got plans to write a novel, a fictional novel that I want to get started on, so there’s still things I want to do, I want to do more behind the scenes, I did not expect to be in front of the camera so to speak at this point in my life but for some reason as they said in The Godfather 2, every time I think I’m getting out they keep pulling me back in, so here I am.
I remember seeing Twisted Sister at the first Rocklahoma back in 2007 and two things stood out, you made it snow on stage and played ‘Silver Bells’ in the middle of July and you played ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ mid set and told everyone if they were only there to hear that they could leave, everyone stayed it was amazing. What do you remember most about headlining that first festival?
Thank you, you were there you know I still have the vitality! I remember poignantly for one major reason, people say you’re still kicking ass, if it was fifteen years ago I’m not still kicking ass I’ve had knee surgery shoulder surgery, throat surgery I’m being repaired and getting out there for more, so if I didn’t have the repairs I wouldn’t be back out there and I had a career ending knee injury which was from overuse and jumping around like a lunatic and I just come off surgery and therapy and that was the first show I did after my surgery and I remember it was a cement stage and I was just really, really like conscious of the fact that here I was because I just jump around and pound around and stomp around and I’m going this is like a new me here and I’m slamming my body onto this cement floor, so I remember it for that reason *laughs* it’s not really a glorious reason but I do remember the show.
Lastly, let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me, in 2019 Dee Snider will…
OK… I want to say be on the beach in the house that we built in the Caribbean on the ocean right on the other end of the Great Barrier Reef and I’d like to say be sitting under a palm on the beach in the Caribbean, but, judging by the success of this record I think I will probably be out on the fuckin’ road *laughs* playing as a solo artist.
DEE SNIDER JANUARY 2019 TOUR DATES:
Thursday, 31st January – Sydney – Manning – SPOKEN
Friday, 1st February – Sydney – Manning – SHOUTED!
Saturday, 2nd February – Melbourne – Croxton – SHOUTED!
Sunday, 3rd February – Melbourne – Croxton – SPOKEN
TICKETS ON SALE NOW FROM: http://www.hardlinemedia.net
From: New York, NY, USA
Latest Release: For The Love Of Metal (Out Now – Napalm Records)