s an answer to the Disco movement that was sweeping the world in the mid 1970s, the New York Quintet Twisted Sister set up their show. Featuring Dee Snider (vocals), Eddie Ojeda (guitar), Mark 'The Animal' Mendoza (ex-Dictators; bass), Jay Jay French (guitar) and Tony Petri (drums), Twisted Sister borrowed their image from Kiss, Alice Cooper and New York Dolls. On the musical side, they combined sexually provocative Popish silly lyrics with heavy and melodic Rock 'n' Roll. Originally from Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey they signed to an unknown German label for the one-off single I'll Never Grow Up, but it would be the Ruff Cuts EP on the 'Secret Label' that got them some exposure during their gigs around London. A few months later, A.J. Pero (ex-Cities) took over on drums before their debut Pete Way (U.F.O.) produced album Under The Blade (1982) was completed. Following a successful appearance at the Reading Festival and a controversial appearance on the TV show The Tube, 'Atlantic' took over where 'Scarlet' left off.
Although less innovative musically, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll (1982) was nonetheless another hit with the title track, but also on the strength of the track gone single I Am I'm Me (a Who cover) peaking at 18 in the UK The follow-up, Stay Hungry (1984), became their best over-all by achieving a top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic, with another Who cover of We're Not Gonna Take It propelling the band into anthemic infamy.
By the time the next album, Come Out And Play (featuring guest stars Alice Cooper, Don Dokken and Billy Joel) emerged in 1985, Twisted Sister was well on their way to cleaning up in the teen rebel and Pop Metal markets, but it suddenly went terribly wrong when the UK market had suddenly bored of them and the subsequent supporting tour was a flop. Piro quit to return to his former outfit Cities; Joey 'Seven' Franco (ex-Good Rats) replaced him. Love Is For Suckers (1987) was Snider's attempt to make the band more melodic, but by now even the Americans were quickly tiring and the album floundered helplessly in the charts and sales arenas.
With the glam metal movement, and the days of Twisted Sister being "cool" dressed up as Betty Midler gone bad with mascara, tight leather and women's shawls, quickly fading into history, (a movement they paid their rent on) 'Atlantic' too got tired and dropped them. The band split soon after, with Snider going on to form Desperado with ex-Gillian guitarist Bernie Torme; an operation that would evolve into Widowmaker (USA) consisting of himself with Al Pitrelli (ex-Asia/ex-Danger Danger/ex-Great White/ex-Alice Cooper; guitar), Marc Russell (ex-Beki Bondage; bass), Joe Franco (ex-Good Rats/ex-Doro/ex-Vinnie Moore/ex-Leslie West; drums) to release two albums Blood And Bullets (1994) and Stand By For Pain (1994).
Big Hits And Nasty Cuts - The Best Of Twisted Sister (1992), a "best of..." compilation, and the live effort Live At Hammersmith (1994) were released posthumously with the "best of..." compilation Club Daze: The Studio Sessions Vol. 1 (2000) following it up several years later to prove that heavy metal hadn't fully gotten over Twisted Sister yet. Indeed, a reunification of sorts occurred in 2004 when the band re-recorded their multi-platinum album Stay Hungry.
During the 1980s Twisted Sister was one of the bands said the be corrupting the morals of young people by the PMRC with Dee Snider personally speaking to the US government against proposed censoring sanctions; sanctions for the most part which never occurred thanks to testimony of his and others. Rumors of attempted comebacks and guest gigs have come and gone over more recent years but a true and permanent reunion is unlikely and those who speak of it are jokingly considered "insane".
Footrnote: Dee Snider's Widowmaker is not related to the 1970s UK band..
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|City||Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey|
|RRCA File Code||REV00258|
Artists mentioned in this article:
|Great White||Danger Danger||Widowmaker (UK)|
|The New York Dolls|