DEE SNIDER Interview Page 4
by Bob Nalbandian
SW: Was Twisted Sister making money during the ten years playing the club scene in NY? You were playing big venues and you had opened for artists like Blue Oyster Cult and Mott The Hoople...Were you struggling at that time?
Dee: We like to say that we suffered, but playing the clubs was very lucrative. I remember we had this band house for one year. And people think, 'the whole band living together in a small shack and struggling'...But actually we lived in an upper class area in a nice house with central air and a pool. We were making so much money playing clubs that we got kind of addicted to the cash. To be walking around with $750 - $1,000 cash in your pocket when you're 20 years-old in '76-'77...that was serious bread! We were like huge stars locally and thinking 'I'm King of the World'. But, we noticed some of the other local phenomenons...bands like The Good Rats and Rat Race Choir, bands like that who never recorded but were caught up in this lifestyle, but they never went anywhere. So we were like, 'We got to start committing ourselves to our art and get the f**k out of here'. So, we cut our salaries down to $250 a week and bankrolled the $750, per person, to invest back into the band so we could write and demo new material, improve our stage show, make new costumes...everything we made was re-invested. So from around '76 till the demise, I've made a living playing rock n roll.
SW: You recently wrote and produced the movie Strangeland, was it that movie and its soundtrack that reunited Twisted Sister?
Dee: It was a step in the reunion, more as friends than as a band. Actually, the first step was when we were looking at our catalog of material to re-license, we we're looking for extra tracks and we found two incomplete songs from the Stay Hungry sessions-bass, drums, and scratch guitar. One song called "Blasting Fast & Loud" and the other song, "Never Say Never Again." We haven't reissued Stay Hungry yet, but Jay Jay said to me, 'What do you think about taking these tracks and finishing them?'. These were songs that were written in '83, basic tracks done in '84, and completed in '97. So, I went in and sang the lyrics I wrote back than. This was the first time Mendoza and I have been in the same room together since our breakup. The next thing was doing the song for the Strangeland soundtrack, and that was the first time everyone was in the studio rehearsing and recording together.
SW: So, was the initial breakup pretty heavy?
Dee: You know, it was one of those things...we had the common enemy-the record industry. We were unified, and when we broke through and everything started going well, we looked at each other and said, 'You know, I really haven't liked you for a while'. And this kind of thing happens a lot. Management had a bad habit of putting Band-Aids on things instead of curing them. It was such a convoluted mess with personality issues, and it was starting to become unenjoyable. And when our popularity started to wane, it was like 'why are we hanging out here?' We're not selling records, we're not selling out shows, and we don't even like each other. And we didn't really feel like trying to tough it out, like, say, what Cheap Trick did, to that resurgence again. So, I left the band. And one thing that really bothered me was the way it ended...we were so ferocious and were so strong for so long and then we just sort of went out with a whimper. I think spontaneous combustion would have been a hell of a lot more glamorous. We've talked about the idea of reuniting and doing a farewell tour, and ending the way we would have liked Twisted Sister to end...full blown, onstage, make-up, hair, costumes... 'Good night, it's been fun,' and walk away on that note. Alice Cooper did the same thing....The Alice Cooper band went on hiatus, they never officially broke-up but never really did anything again. And then Alice did a few successful solo albums, had his failures, had his drunk period...and then it sort of fell apart.
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