Holy Vision: Dee Snider Fights The PMRC

Mark Weiss is behind some of the most iconic music photography in history, and he was on the frontlines for the PMRC’s war on heavy music. As that controversial period reaches its 30th anniversary, Mark recalls getting a phone call from one Dee Snider that’d see him document one of our world’s most challenging eras.

“It was September 19, 1985, one year after I shot the infamous Twisted Sister album cover, Stay Hungry. I got a call from Dee Snider asking me to go with him to Washington D.C. to document the PMRC Senate hearings where he was testifying by defending his fellow musicians’ rights to freedom of speech and artistic expression through their music. Dee entered the room full of suits like he owned it; he walked in wearing one of my photos on his cut-off t-shirt. He was articulate and passionate as he defended his position and that of his fellow musicians.”

“I can remember feeling like he was speaking for me and for my freedom to choose the music I wanted to hear. I can recall them talking about some of my photographs, in particular, one of Ozzy Osbourne with this ‘Ziggy’ doll with a knife through its head, fake blood everywhere, and saying, ‘Have a nice day.’ They asked, ‘Who would ever think of doing that, but some sick individual?’ I thought they were talking about Ozzy, but it was about me! I was part of the moral decay of America. The PMRC had their infamous list of The Filthy Fifteen, and I shot most of the bands on it.”