"It was the only place that Satan wouldn’t be hanging out": Twisted Sister were a long way from home, but Jimmy Page's bathroom was a songwriting refuge

Dee Snider studio portrait
(Image credit: Paul Natkin via Getty Images)

Twisted Sister had their work cut out following the success of their first major-label album, 1983’s You Can’t Stop Rock ’N’ Roll. After a decade’s worth of gigs on the East Coast’s Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the band’s critically acclaimed visits to the UK snagged them a deal with Atlantic, despite American label boss Doug Morris calling the band “the worst fucking piece of shit in the world”. 

Accordingly, going into the making of Stay Hungry – which would go on to shift six million copies worldwide, fuelled by the group’s charismatic videos (with single We’re Not Gonna Take It and its video, in particular, making them megastars in their native United States) – wasn’t without its obstacles.

At the time, frontman Dee Snider admitted that producer Tom Werman wasn’t top of the band’s wish list, despite Werman’s reputation from working on Mötley Crüe’s Shout At The Devil. “I think our first choice for Stay Hungry had been Bob Ezrin [Alice Cooper/Kiss/Pink Floyd],” guitarist Jay Jay French said, but he was unavailable. “Failing that, we wanted Mack or Roy Thomas Baker [Queen]. 

"The idea of using Tom came from [then Atlantic records president] Doug Morris. We were finally starting to get some respect from Atlantic after we sold 100,000 copies of You Can’t Stop Rock ’N’ Roll, and in the Christmas week of 1983 Doug told me he had been mistaken about us."

The entire Stay Hungry album was actually written during the sessions for You Can’t Stop Rock ’N’ Roll at Sol Studios in Reading, Berkshire, owned by Jimmy Page. Being away from loved ones placed everyone under an extra degree of pressure, although it enabled Twisted Sister to pursue their goal. 

“It was a great time for the band, but sometimes a very lonely one,” Snider told us. “I didn’t have the money to fly my wife and child in to be with me, so I wrote The Price about the way I was feeling. It came to me in the bathroom at Jimmy Page’s studio. It was the only place that Satan wouldn’t be hanging out.” 

In 2004 Twisted Sister re-recorded Stay Hungry, renaming it Still Hungry. “When we got back together, we had twenty years of perspective,” French reflected at the time. “We thought: ‘God, this record sounds terrible. It would be so great to re-record it.’”

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.