The Dee Snider interview: “Twisted Sister and Manowar were gonna have fisticuffs”
Even throughout a global pandemic, Dee Snider has been as productive as ever, conjuring up a brand new solo album, Leave A Scar, amongst numerous other crazy projects – if you ever wanted a kids’ TV show created by Dee, then you’re in luck. In celebration of a jam-packed period in his creative life, we asked you lot to pick the questions for the legendary frontman.
You’re an energetic person who can’t stop moving or creating. Besides your upcoming album, have you gained any new skills/hobbies during COVID? Mine’s the drums.
“I’ve not taken this time sitting down, but I can’t say a new skill, I’ve just sharpened other ones. I’ve been writing my first novel, screenplays, I’m gonna be directing my first movie and I’ve helped create a children’s show that’s in development with NBC. I got a call from a producer friend asking if I wanted to work on a children’s show and I said, ‘Yeah, OK!’ When I hung up, my wife said, ‘You wanna do a children’s show?!’ I said, ‘Well, not until I got that call!’ I’ve got four kids and four grandchildren; I’ve suffered through enough shitty kids’ shows for two lifetimes, so if I can help create something cool for parents to listen to and watch rather than want to shoot themselves. I’m doing God’s work! I’m writing all the music for it so when it comes to fruition, I’ve created something that’s connecting with my grandchildren! So I’ve sharpened new skills but I haven’t picked up anything new. Does sitting under a palapa on the beach count? I didn’t do a lot of that in my youth but now I’ve learned how to sit on a chaise lounge under a palapa.”
What’s better: Broadway or heavy metal?
Marco LG (Facebook)
“Heavy metal hands down, no doubt about it. I really had my eyes opened when I was in Rock Of Ages and Rocktopia on Broadway and I’m involved in a new show that’s currently being developed for a Broadway run. I definitely got the Broadway bug – I even did an album called Dee Does Broadway – but nothing will ever replace heavy metal. You face your audience in rock’n’roll but when you’re in theatre, you’re not supposed to acknowledge them. In Rock Of Ages, my character, Dennis Dupree, finds out in a soliloquy from the narrator that he dies a few years later and I look at him and go, ‘I’m dead?!’ One show, a guy in the front row shouted, ‘Thank God!’ One of the toughest moments of my life was to not acknowledge somebody saying thank God I died!”
From your early music years, you seemed to have a sense that you and your band would be iconic. Was that the case?
“When Twisted Sister started out and there were seven people at our first show, we had barricades in front of the stage to keep people back – there was nobody there to keep back, but I felt it was important that people realise how important we were that there had to be barricades. Oddly enough, human nature works that if you see something to keep you back, you immediately move right up to the barricade, so it was a psychological game. One of my famous pictures is of me pointing up and I was playing in these little shitty bars and people say, ‘What are you pointing at?’ I said, ‘The top row of the arena.’ In my mind, I was never in a bar, pub or a little shitty place, I was in an arena. I always joke that God gave me a head this big for arenas! I thought I was iconic in my own mind – it just took a while for people to realise.”If you were to join the Wu-Tang Clan next week, what would your Wu name be?
“Poon… I’d be Poon Tang!”
Do you ever envisage that a day might come when you will, in fact, relent and take it?
“A humour magazine called The Onion had a faux article several years ago called, ‘Twisted Sister calls press conferences, they’ve decided they’re gonna take it.’ I feel in all honesty that I’ve taken it more times than I should have and usually it was for money; I like to say I’m a whore, but I’m an expensive whore! We once allowed We’re Not Gonna Take It to be used for a commercial for pre-menopausal women’s medication. I was mortified by the idea until they told me how much they were willing to pay. I quickly asked, ‘What does it do?’ They ran down the list and when they said it helps stop vaginal dryness, I thought, ‘OK, I’m totally against vaginal dryness, I’m right behind this!’”
What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
“African or European? I can’t answer that question, you need to be more specific. Monty Python and English humour is like my Bible!”
Will the Widowmaker records ever be reissued or any of the songs played live again? I always thought that the first record was massively underrated.
“We’re trying to redo a box set on that but there’s some issues with the first album. Nobody knows who owns it anymore so it’s out of print and we’re trying to figure out who has the rights. I’ve been playing a Widowmaker song in my set honouring that era for people like yourself, but I don’t see a Widowmaker reunion happening. I’d just rather move forward and address new things than try to go back and recreate the past.”
Have you always been such a nice person?
“Ask my wife and my bandmates if I was always such a nice person! I was a real asshole in the 80s but I feel much better now! There’s nothing like a good humbling to have it all taken away from you and nearly losing everything, which I did in the late 80s and early 90s. All the money was gone, the band was gone, my wife nearly left me. It woke me the fuck up.”
Would you make a Manowar cover or co-operate with them?
“Very funny, Pedro! There was a time when I wanted to punch Manowar. We told them to meet us in Covent Garden and we were gonna have fisticuffs. They didn’t show up because they knew I wasn’t kidding. I was in my 20s, I was crazy. Would I do a Manowar cover? Probably not, even though we’ve patched things up and we’re not enemies, but let’s not get crazy, Pedro.”
Is Dee going to be back on the convention circuit? His #1 fan would like to see him again.
“Yes Keith, I will be going back to the convention circuit! It’s a very unique opportunity to not just meet fans up close and personal and for them to meet you – it’s very different to the distance you have when you’re performing onstage – but also to meet other performers from all different worlds and talk to them. You find you have a lot more in common than you differ; your product may be very different but the path you’re walking is very similar. I became very good friends with Billy Zabka from Cobra Kai, hence my guest appearance – I never would have met him if it wasn’t for conventions. Reality TV’s a lot like that as well and I’ve made a lot of friends there, whether it’s Bobby Brown or Maureen McCormick from The Brady Bunch.”
Leave A Scar is out now via Napalm Records