Legendary glam/hard rock band Twisted Sister was originally formed in 1972 by guitarist Jay Jay French. In the beginning the band went through numerous line up changes. Eddie Ojeda joined their ranks in 1975 and one year later the band found its true leader Dee Snider who soon became the band’s dominant songwriter. Former Dictators bassist Mark (the Animal) Mendoza joined in 1978 and the band changed their style from glam rock to a more metallic hard rock. The band released their first single ‘Iï¿½ll Never Grow Up Now!’ via their own label TRS in 1981 but it wasnï¿½t until 1982 that they finally got their first deal from independent record company, Secret Records. At this point drummer A.J Pero completed the classic line-up. Later in the same year the band finally, after ten years, released their first studio album UNDER THE BLADE. The album became a surprise underground success and the band was soon signed by major company Atlantic Records. YOU CAN’T STOP ROCK N ROLL came out in 1983. With that album the the band got its first chart-flirting single but it wasnï¿½t until 1984 and STAY HUNGRY that the band hit the BIG time! With the help of such monster hits as "We’re Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" the album soon exceeded multi-platinum sales. Twisted Sister was at the top of their game. Unfortunately, the good times didnï¿½t last too long. The bands 1985 release COME OUT AND PLAY quickly slid off the charts and the band started to lose their media interest. A.J Pero left after the tour and he was replaced by veteran drummer Joe Franco. The band did its final attempt to return with another album LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS in 1987 but after very disappointing sales Twisted Sister wound up disintegrating shortly thereafter.
The classic line-up of Twisted Sister: Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark (the Animal) Mendoza and A.J Pero reformed in 2003 after a sixteen year non existence. Since then the band has since toured sporadically across the globe and though the band has not released any new original songs they have released a bunch of material including the heavy metal Christmas album TWISTED CHRISTMAS which came out in 2006. I had a chance to talk briefly with Jay Jay and Mark before the band’s show in Helsinki on the 12th of November and here are the results of that conversation.
INTERVIEW, REVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJï¿½Lï¿½
THE STATE OF TWISTED SISTER?
Last year it was widely announced that Twisted Sister will quit its successful career and the last release ever from the band would be the album ï¿½Twisted Christmasï¿½ but sometimes things do change: ï¿½Well, about quitting the band, that was something what we never said. It was the press who said that. When someone did ask our plans last year we said we havenï¿½t got anything planned and thatï¿½s how that rumor started. We never said that we are completely done.ï¿½
Band is not over but they havenï¿½t been on road too much lately. Before tonightï¿½s show in Finland band has played only two shows on this whole year: ï¿½People should understand that we are not full time band anymore. We all have other things in life. We do Twisted Sister when we have time and when it fits everyoneï¿½s schedule.
Next year will be the bands 35ï¿½th Anniversary year and band didnï¿½t rule about the possibility that Twisted Sister might continue doing more shows in the future?: ï¿½Well, now we have two shows in Sweden, one in Gothenburg and one in Stockholm and then we have three shows in U.S and thatï¿½s all we are going to do right now. We donï¿½t know about next year? We might do some shows, but where and when, we just donï¿½t know?ï¿½
THE NEW RELEASES
Since the re ï¿½union started in 2003 band has played over 90 shows around the world but they have done a lot of other stuff too: ï¿½During past four years we have released a lotï¿½s of stuff. We have put out three DVDï¿½s and we have released a bunch of CDï¿½s: ï¿½Twisted Christmasï¿½ came out on last autumn, ï¿½Still Hungryï¿½ came out in 2005 and then there are ï¿½Best ofï¿½ ï¿½albums and more, thatï¿½s quite a lot from band which is not a full time band anymore, right?
ï¿½The Video Yearsï¿½ DVD came out last spring: ï¿½ï¿½The Video Yearsï¿½ came out great. Itï¿½s a great cross section of Twisted Sisterï¿½s history. It includes all the MTV hits, classic videos, lots of live clips and the best part on it is, in my opinion, the interviews section where we talk about the details of each video and what was going on behind the scenes and other stuff like that.ï¿½
Band was headlining Rocklahoma festival in U.S on last July. What made the event very special were the performers, it was all about 80ï¿½s metal and hard rock only: ï¿½It was a great festival. We were headlining the last day there and it was all great. It was Poison and Vince Neil headlining the other days. It was great to see a lot of old friends there. Eddie Trunk was there and there were many bands there who are old friends of us.
Against all expectations the festival was a huge success: ï¿½People didnï¿½t believe that festival with such a lineup would work and they think that the guy who was organizing it was totally crazy. People were sure that the whole thing will be a financial disaster but what happened, there was over 110 000 tickets sold in three days. It was a huge, huge success and there will be another Rocklahoma on next summer.ï¿½
The band was really happy to see that 80ï¿½s bands finally got their very own festival in U.S: ï¿½We have been doing this re ï¿½union thing for about four years now and we have mostly done headlining shows everywhere. We have headlined Wacken Open Air, Bang Your Head, Gods of Metal and Swedenrock ï¿½festivals in Europe. We have played in front of 80 000 people in Canada and so on but we havenï¿½t done things like that in U.S because there hasnï¿½t been such festival like Rocklahoma. Iï¿½m really glad that it went so well.ï¿½
ï¿½Twisted Christmasï¿½ was released last fall and surprisingly it turned out to be very successful especially in the U.S. Where did the band get the whole idea of making Heavy Metal Christmas album?: ï¿½Well at the beginning it was a kind of joke and we weï¿½re not sure if it would destroy what was last left of our credibility but fortunately it turned out to great thing. You know, how many heavy metal bands have released a Christmas album? The idea came about because my singer hasn’t written a new song over a decade. I was really trying to get him excited about anything and I thought ï¿½How about doing a Christmas album?ï¿½ I think that no one has done album like that before, so why we should not to do that? On the other hand, around Christmas time people like to give presents for each other, giving a gift. So when you make music like that around the Christmas holidays probably you will sell a lot of product, because people like to give gifts and so onï¿½ and it did work, that album has sold a lot. New DVD ï¿½Twisted Christmasï¿½ is also becoming a hit, itï¿½s selling very well.ï¿½
The Christmas album was a huge hit especially in the States: ï¿½No, we are not doing too much of the Christmas record in Europe. We are just doing some of it. We have done only “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and ï¿½I Saw My Mommy Kissing Santa Clauseï¿½, not too much. We play more songs from that album in U.S because album did sell a lot in there.ï¿½
LORDI AND ANTHEMS
Jay Jay French and Dee Snider were special quests on Lordiï¿½s latest studio album ï¿½Arockalypseï¿½. Last week Jay Jay joined the Finnish monsters on stage in his hometown New York: ï¿½It went out great. Theyï¿½re really great guys, all of them. I did song ï¿½It Snows in Hellï¿½ which is a song I did on their album too. Usually they donï¿½t do that song live but now we did it together. It was a lot of fun!ï¿½
Twisted Sister is best known for their heavy metal classics like: ï¿½I Wanna Rockï¿½ and ï¿½Weï¿½re Not Gonna Take Itï¿½ but which songs are their own favorite anthems of all time?: ï¿½Well, there are so many great songs and bands there, itï¿½s almost impossible to name just a few but letï¿½s tryï¿½ I do really like old Alice Cooper stuff. I think that ï¿½Schoolï¿½s Outï¿½ and ï¿½Iï¿½m Eighteenï¿½ are some of the best songs ever done? ï¿½Cum On Feel The Noizeï¿½ by Slade is a great anthem, isn’t it? Slade has done a lot of great stuff. Queen has a lot of great anthems, Judas Priestï¿½s ï¿½Youï¿½ve Got another Thing Cominï¿½ï¿½ is a great, great song. They have lots of great songs and then thereï¿½s AC/DCï¿½ The song ï¿½For Those About to Rockï¿½ is one of the greatest songs ever, actually everything what AC/DC have done is brilliant and they have done, more than 20 albums? Theyï¿½re definitely one of the best bands ever!ï¿½
The band also want you to know where to find all the latest Twisted Sister news and info: ï¿½The best way to find out whatï¿½s going on in the world of Twisted Sister is to go www.twistedsister.com, there youï¿½ll find all details whatï¿½s going on? Itï¿½s a page made by band itself, not any outsider or any record company.ï¿½
Twisted Sister live at Helsinki 2007
TWISTED SISTER SET LIST FROM HELSINKI
What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)
The Kids Are Back
We’re Gonna Make It
You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll
We’re Not Gonna Take It
The Fire Still Burns
I Believe In Rock N Roll
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Under The Blade
Burn In Hell
I Wanna Rock
Come Out and Play
LIVE PICTURES FROM HELSINKI SHOW !!!