Dee Snider defends his comments about Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio not being real performers: "You can't put me and Robert Plant in the same category"

Robert Plant and Dee Snider
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images, Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Dee Snider got the hard rock/heavy metal corner of the internet all riled up with some controversial comments describing Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio as talented vocalists but not great "performers". He has since doubled down in defence of his opinions, adding that "You can't put me and Robert Plant in the same category."

During the previous discussion, which took place on Twitter, the former Twisted Sister leader proposed a difference in meaning between the terms "frontman" and "vocalists", and argued that one shouldn't be mistaken for the other, especially when it comes to describing certain musicians. 

The debate started with Snider posting a commemorative message on December 29 for the late Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, to mark what would have been his 75th birthday, while saluting him as a "rock god". In his tribute, the singer suggested to his followers that they check out the introduction to Rainbow's 1976 song Stargazer, stating: "with the incomparable Ronnie Dio on vocals & you will know why many consider it to be the greatest metal song ever!".

After one fan argued in response that Queen's Freddie Mercury should be dubbed the greatest frontman instead, this led Snider to describe Dio's stage presence (or apparently, lack of) as though he "pretty much just stood on stage & sang", so therefore should not be considered a great "frontman".  

Of Led Zeppelin's Plant, he said: "I'm a HUGE Plant fan vocally...but he showed me nothing as a performer. Looked amazing, great hair...stood on stage with one hand raised and sang his ass off. Not a frontman in my opinion. And FYI many great frontmen are not great singers."

Now in a new interview with the Sally Steele Rocks podcast, Snider has come forward to defend his statements, which unsurprisingly, upset a lot of music fans. 

When asked if he ever feels regret over his tendency to make "spur-of-the-moment" comments, he says (as transcribed by Blabbermouth): "No, because [those comments are] usually pretty thought out in my head. I don't really sort of just blurt things out; I process 'em and I'm kind of deliberate. I say it and it comes out like it's blurted. But I've got strong opinions.

"People get very upset sometimes when me or a lot of celebrities express our feelings, like we're not allowed to have an opinion," he continued. "I always say 'in my humble opinion', but trust me, that's the first thing they cut off when they repost it. 'In my humble opinion' — that's gone."

Elaborating on the frontman/performer debate, he continues: "How do you differentiate a Dee Snider or an Alice Cooper or a Robert Plant or a Bon Scott… Or a Chris Cornell, who just stood there, but he sang perfectly every night.

"So I was just trying, in a social media Twitter discussion, to explain the differences. And people were up in arms: 'How can you possibly say that Robert Plant isn't a great frontman?' And I love Robert. And I was just trying to… You can't put me and Robert Plant in the same category. So how would you explain what Dee Snider does on stage and what Robert Plant does on stage. And I was trying to do that. But people got upset."

You can watch the full interview below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.