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Dee Snider interview: still doing it for the love of metal

Dee Snider
(Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

Dee Snider joined Twisted Sister in 1976. The introduction of the flamboyant singer’s songs would eventually generate double-platinum sales of their third album, 1984’s Stay Hungry. However, unable to repeat those figures, the band split following 1987’s Love Is For Suckers, originally intended as a Snider solo album.

Snider returned with Desperado and then Widowmaker before Twisted Sister reunited in 2001. Fifteen years later they played an anniversary farewell tour titled Forty And Fuck It.

In 2018 Snider released For The Love Of Metal, a solo album written and produced for him by Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta, which featured contributions from members of Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God and Arch Enemy, among others.

For The Love Of Metal Live, shot on the ensuing world tour, was released in July on DVD/Blu-ray.

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How did lockdown treat you? Images of a caged animal bursting through the bars of its confinement come to mind. 

Actually, that’s wrong. We live on the beach in Belize, Central America, one of only thirteen COID-free countries in the world. There was a five-thousand-dollar fine for not wearing a mask, a jail sentence for a second offence, and a military-enforced eight p.m. curfew. 

Did you use downtime productively? 

I had already told my management I was taking 2020 off to write. I’ve written my first fictional novel and a couple of screenplays, and I’m now writing another book. 

What about new music? 

There’s zero new music. But I can tell you that For The Love Of Metal is my new direction, that’s where I’m going. 

For The Love Of Metal was mostly put together for you by Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed, and features some of the genre’s younger heavyweights. As a writer, how rewarding was that? 

I needed it to happen. I knew that I loved contemporary metal, because my children had kept me very connected with that. My previous solo albums and projects had failed for a variety of reasons that were out of my control. I couldn’t seem to find my groove. And then Jasta challenged me [to make the record]. He carried me like a little baby in his arms and showed me where I needed to be. 

Two years on from its release, did that album fare as well as you had hoped? 

It surpassed it. The album was the first thing I’d done in decades to find its mark. On tour, people embraced the songs and sang along. In the past my new songs were the ones they would take a bathroom break for. 

Proof of that lies on For The Love Of Metal Live, the DVD/ Blu-ray and accompanying live album pieced together from various performances, including a spot at the UK’s Bloodstock Festival in 2019

Bloodstock [as a solo artist] was strange for me, because I was an opening act, but it was a magical moment. Two years earlier I had been saying goodbye as a headliner with Twisted Sister, and here I was faced by an hour-long, three p.m. daylight slot. But, as you’ll see [from the movie], it didn’t matter who else was on the other stages, people were there to see Dee.

On the new release the reboots of Twisted Sister’s You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll and The Kids Are Back pack a big extra wallop. 

Yeah. What started out as a side band two years ago is now a real band. I picked a lot of those Twisted songs, such as Under The Blade, for their heaviness. They present the more Metallica-style side of that band. Everything is de-tuned. 

Those standards sit well alongside your heftier solo material; it doesn’t sound like two differing elements bolted together. 

I hear that from a lot of people and it makes me very happy. But Twisted was always faster and heavier live. 

The new studio track, Prove Me Wrong, is also supercharged. It’s a shame that we’ll have to wait a while for a follow-up to For The Love Of Metal. 

It may not be as long as you think. I’m a fast learner. Now that I know what to do, we have some riffs stockpiled. All I need to do is go in there and add my thumbprints on it vocally, and now also lyrically as I want to become more of a part of the writing process. 

Did Twisted Sister’s UK farewell at Bloodstock stand out from the rest of the tour? 

Of course. Everything I’ve said about England saving the band is true; I’m not full of shit. We really were about to break up before you guys saved us. Wrexham [the band’s UK debut, supporting Motörhead], Reading, Donington… There were so many vital moments, and they all happened in the UK. 

Was the decision to disband Twisted Sister a unanimous one? 

It was a group situation. There were people in the band who would prefer to have kept going, but I wasn’t the only one to feel we’d taken it as far as we could, especially without AJ [Pero, drummer, who died in 2015]. We didn’t want to just keep on going till all the parts fall off. 

Those reunion shows were very lucrative. Are Twisted Sister definitely gone now?

Look, the odds of seeing Twisted again are very, very slim. I still talk to the guys and we’re all friends, but I really don’t see it happening, especially as I’ve found a sound for me. It took so long and so many misfires to get here, I want to spend the remainder of my time doing that. 

My goal is to be like Ozzy. Not on a personal level, but on a musical one, where he started out in Sabbath, and [as a solo artist] played new music and just did Paranoid at the end of the show. That’s my dream. 

For The Love Of Metal Live is available via Napalm Records.