Twisted Sister was an American Heavy Metal band from New York City. Their work fused the shock tactics of Alice Cooper, the rebellious mood of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and the extravagant image of glam rock bands such as the New York Dolls and KISS, notably the makeup. Musically, the band implemented elements of traditional heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, along with a style that was similar to early glam metal bands. The band was generally categorized as glam metal for their earlier work, although the band did not consider themselves to be so.
Although the band was formed by guitarist Jay Jay French in December 1972, all of their songs were written by Dee Snider from 1976 onward. Twisted Sister's most well-known hits included "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock", both popularized by regular airplay on MTV in the 1980s. Many of the band's songs explored themes of parent vs. child conflicts and criticisms of the educational system.
A Twisted Christmas was a Christmas album from Twisted Sister, released on October 17, 2006. The genesis of this album was the group was looking for something new to do. One of them mentioned an idea for a Christmas album. Dee Snider said that he made "We're Not Gonna Take It" melody taken from "Come All Ye Faithful". Thus was born the idea of making metal versions of Christmas songs. Originally this album was going to be Twisted Sister's swan song but it was unexpectedly popular with fans and critics.
Drummer A.J. Pero passed away in his sleep on March 20, 2015 while on tour with Adrenaline Mob and the band stated they would not continue on without him. Mike Portnoy, previously of both bands, stood in for Pero during their farewell shows in 2015 and 2016. The band played their last ever concert on November 12, 2016.
After the band split up, the various surviving members went on to other projects. Dee Snider has continued as a solo artist and has released three albums since. French retired from music, giving away all his guitars to the band's road crew after the final concert and now works as a writer and motivational speaker. Ojeda has his own hot sauce brand. Mendoza now works in multimedia and broadcasting production.
Twisted Sister videos include:
- Under the Blade (1982)
- You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll (1983)
- Stay Hungry (1984)
- Come Out and Play (1985)
- Love Is for Suckers (1987)
- Still Hungry (2004)
- A Twisted Christmas (2006)
Twisted Sister provided examples of:
- The '80s: While they started the previous decade, they really blew up in the 1980s.
- '80s Hair: One of the most blatant examples, which they kept alive into the 21st century.
- Actor Allusion: The "I Wanna Rock" video also features a cameo by Stephen Furst as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman, who finally gets to spray Neidermeyer's expy with a water spritzer.
- Afraid of Doctors: "Under the Blade", which Snider wrote, was inspired by Eddie Ojeda's throat surgery.
- Anti-Love Song: "Love Is For Suckers", which is a rant about men who are total suckers that would do anything for love... even the singer during the breakdown, when he tries to resist Little Miss Perfect's attempt to get back together with him and ends up falling for it when he says, "You what? You will? With your heels on?"
- As Himself: Dee Snider had a guest appearance as himself in an episode of Cobra Kai, as well as a contestant on The Masked Singer.
- Berserk Button: Snider hated being associated with pop-metal, or at the very least, had very little respect for the subgenre at large, which he very notably nicknamed "happy metal". He was especially irritated by its growing tendency towards acoustic power ballads in the 1990s.
- In fact, he classified his band under the genre name "hid-metal", coined by Snider himself ("hid" standing for hideous, as opposed to glam).
- Careful with That Axe: "You can't escape from the bed you've made; when your time has come, you'll accept the..... BBBLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE!!!"
- "We never play anything nice and easy. We play things nice and TWISTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!"
- "Don't be afraid...of the NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!"''
- Christmas Songs: The album A Twisted Christmas.
- Cover Version: "Leader of the Pack" by The Shangri-Las.
- Creepy Crossdresser: Their costumes invoke this.
- Death by Adaptation: In the cover version of "Leader of the Pack" it is the girl Betty who dies in an automobile accident in the rain, not Jimmy.
- Dung Fu: During the 1982 Reading Festival, which is already a traditional location of patrons tossing fruit and bottles (Dee Snider downright interrupted saying those aiming for the stage were hitting people in the front rows, and the hecklers actually stopped for a while), one of the audience members actually crapped out a turd and flung it at the band.
- Everyone Has Standards: During the club days, the band and its fans were a big part of the anti-Disco backlash. One of the things they did, hanging a Barry White effigy during concerts, was stopped once a gig in upstate New York raised racist chants from the crowd, making the group realize they didn't need that kind of support.
- Hair Metal: Although the genre's alternate name, Glam Metal, was rejected by Snider given they're anything but glamourous!
- Heavy Metal: While their sound is usually on the Hard Rock side, songs like "Under the Blade" lean closer to metal.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: Compare Dee Snider in the above photo, and how he looked in 2009.◊
- I Am the Band: Jay-Jay French started the band, but Dee Snider was Twisted Sister.
- Iconic Item: Eddie Ojeda's bulls-eye guitar (traditionally pink\black, red\black in the band's later years).
- Instant Convertible: Happens to the girl's car in the music video for "Leader of the Pack".
- Large Ham:
- All the band, but especially Dee Snider, are remembered for their garish clothing and wigs and in-your-face attitude.
- The teacher in the music video for "I Wanna Rock" and father in "We're Not Gonna Take It" (played by the same guy) are both very shouty.
- Long-Runner Line-up: The guys in the page image played together only for four years originally (when the drummer joined in 1982, and when he left for his former band in 1986) but remained together ever since the reformation in 2003 (not counting brief reunions in-between) until the drummer died in 2015.
- The Neidermeyer: Played by Mark Metcalf himself in the videos for "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".
- Non-Actor Vehicle: Snider wrote and produced Strangeland about a psychopath obsessed with body modification. It was truly the first horror film in the "Torture" genre. (he also managed to get the band back together for the first time to record "Heroes Are Hard To Find")
- Perspective Flip: This cover of "Leader of the Pack" puts the singer in the leader Jimmy's viewpoint. Combined with The Cover Changes the Gender.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: The two above songs/videos were iconic, as was the band's trashy get-up. Other than those, most of the band's other work was hardly known by the mainstream public.
- Precision F-Strike: The band's official fan club was called Sick Motherfucking Friends Of Twisted Sister (S.M.F.O.T.S., later shortened to just S.M.F.). Likewise, a documentary on the group is called We Are Twisted F***ing Sister!
- Remix Album: "Still Hungry", while featuring some unreleased material, is primarily a harsher re-recording of "Stay Hungry" meant to be true to the band's original vision.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "We're Not Gonna Take It" remains popular at sporting events, political rallies, and protests and has even been used in television commercials. Which makes sense, since Dee Snider dedicated the song to all the assholes he had to deal with.
- Revolving Door Band: From 1972 to 1987, they had four guitarists (Jay Jay French was a constant, but they also had three others), three lead singers, two bassists, and eight drummers.
- Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Everyone looks hideous but the music is standard rock fare. Dee Snider is even known for his prowess in public speaking, such as the 1986 PMRC hearing in the Senate.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: From "We're Not Gonna Take It":"Oh you're so condescending
Your gall is neverending
We don't want nothing, not a thing from you
Your life is trite and jaded
Boring and confiscated
If that's your best, your best won't do!"
- Shout-Out: The spoken line "You're all worthless and weak!", heard in the background of "We're Not Gonna Take It", is a quote from Animal House, said by Doug Neidermeyer to his subordinates in ROTC. The band's music videos take it a step farther: Neidermeyer's actor, Mark Metcalf, actually appears in the videos for both "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock", with Stephen Furst (Kent Dorfman) playing the high school principal in the latter. Around half of Metcalf's dialogue in the skit portion of "We're Not Gonna Take It" is taken from Animal House, and his wife even calls him "Douglas C." when trying to calm him down. Yeah, it's safe to say that Dee and the boys were fans.
I'm a sucker, you're a sucker, he's a sucker, she's a sucker,Wouldn't you like to be a sucker, too?Be a sucker...love is for suckers.
- The ending of "Love Is For Suckers" shouts out to an old commercial jingle for Dr. Pepper.
- Slapstick: A prominent part of the videos for "I Wanna Rock" and "We're Not Gonna Take It".
- Spared by the Cover Version: In this version of "Leader of the Pack" the gender roles are swapped: Jimmy watches (and lives) as his girlfriend Betty gets killed in an automobile accident.
- Stage Names: Daniel "Dee" Snider, John "Jay Jay" French Segall, Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda, Mark "The Animal" Mendoza (born Mark Glickman) and Anthony Jude "A. J." Pero
- Dunking the Bomb: In the music video for "I Wanna Rock", The Neidermeyer teacher tries to stop the band by throwing a grenade at them, but he ends up throwing the pin, and the grenade gets stuck on his hand, so he jumps into the school swimming pool to try defusing it, but ends up getting blasted upward, hitting his head on the diving board.
- Title Track: Under The Blade, You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll, Stay Hungry, Come Out And Play, and Love Is For Suckers.
- Trash the Set: In 1980, the band was the last attraction in a club about to be closed down, and once the audience heard it from the musicians, they started to tear the place down. Twisted Sister subsequently were hired for three more of those "demolition concerts", including in the 2001 Odyssey club where Saturday Night Fever was filmed.