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Hair And Farewell: Twisted Sister’s Top 10 Hard-And-Heavy Pop Culture Moments

Alas, it seems that Dee Snider and his merry band of louder-than-life hair-metal marauders Twisted Sister are finally destined, for real, to not take it anymore. On the heels of the tragic heart attack death of drummer A.J. Pero, the Long Island legends have announced that they’ll soon part ways. Naturally, Twisted Sister will not go quietly, so the band will be honoring A.J. with a couple of tribute gigs and then saying farewell to fans throughout 2016 on their amazingly named “Forty and F—k It" Tour. If this is truly where Twisted Sister history ends, so be it. The group is monumental in the annals of hard rock, heavy metal, glam, and pop culture. So instead of mourning TS’s imminent demise, let’s celebrate the band’s most luminous high-profile moments, when, in all manner of ways, Dee Snider and the boys imbued all of humanity to stand up, pump a fist, and let it be known: “I wanna ROCK!

10. A Twisted Christmas (2006)

“O Come All Ye Faithful” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmEfFlbqbbY&feature=youtu.be After nearly a decade off the pop charts, Twisted Sister stormed back up just in time for the holidays with their 2006 collection of carols done their way, A Twisted Christmas. Dee Snider once described the formula for TS’s signature hit, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as being “one part Slade, one part Sex Pistols, and one part ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’,” so it only makes perfect sense that the first single from the album would be just that aforementioned Yuletide classic. So, too, does the late-song musical appearance of “Hava Nagila,” given Dee’s half-Jewish family background.

9. New York Steel concert for 9/11 Convinces Twisted Sister to Reunite (2001)

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” at New York Steel concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjWlfHn3Hv0&feature=youtu.be In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, hometown heavy metal heroes Twisted Sister reunited to headline the charity concert New York Steel. Other artists on the bill included native New York-area noisemakers Anthrax, Ace Frehley, and Overkill, with foreign aid coming in from Canada’s Sebastian Bach and Germany’s Doro Pesch. The show was emceed by New York Mets legend Mike Piazza and That Metal Show’s Eddie Trunk. Taking the stage for the first time in fourteen years, Twisted Sister wowed both the crowd and themselves, instantly lighting up the Hammerstein Ballroom as though they’d just gotten off the Stay Hungry tour and decided to plug in for one more run. Sure enough, Twisted Sister took the cue, got back together full time, and subsequently delivered another decade-and-a-half of new heavy metal glory.

8. MTV Bans the “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” Music Video (1986)

“Be Chrool to Your Scuel” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWAJG71Urbw&feature=youtu.be After essentially commandeering MTV with their instant-classic clips for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock,” Twisted Sister missed a step by releasing a cover of the girl-group nugget “Leader of the Pack” as the first single from their late-1985 release, Come Out and Play. No way would the group just let that slide, so for their next single, the original “Be Chrool to Your Scuel,” Twisted Sister busted out all kinds of amazements for the music videos. Bobcat Goldthwait plays a berserk teacher and closet TS fan and the group’s all-time idol Alice Cooper sings along with Dee amidst a high school whose student body is transformed into flesh-eating zombies. If you missed the clip, there’s a reason: MTV banned the video on the grounds that it was excessively violent and offensive, regardless that gore and gruesomeness on-screen was presented in so clearly comedic a fashion. Shortly thereafter, Twisted Sister fell off the radar of the very fans who’d made them superstars. Concert sales spiraled downward and the record company forced the band named to be on 1987’s Love Is for Suckers, which had been intended as a Dee Snider solo effort. That’s when Twisted Sister broke up—the first time.

 7. Dee Snider Teaches Howard Stern How to Look Cool (1986)

Mr. Mister & The Bangles meet Dee Snider of Twisted Sister on Howard Stern – August 4, 1986 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr4n79Vmkik&feature=youtu.be Prior to his arrival on New York’s FM airwaves in late 1985, King of All Media Howard Stern looked like, as he describes it, “just some Long Island schnook.” Liberated from the milquetoast pop of AM radio’s “Doubleya-ENNN-bee-see,” Howard threw open his studio doors for bona fide hard-and-heavy musicians at his new home base, WXRK aka “K-Rock.” Chief among Stern’s newfound rock-and-roll friends were larger-than-life (and a lot of other stuff) guitar wizard Leslie West of the proto-metal giants Mountain and Twisted Sister front-beast Dee Snider. Stern and Snider hit it off profoundly, with the pair of freakishly tall, naturally hilarious Long Island natives becoming personal friends and collaborating both on-air and off for the next decade. The most noticeable impact Snider made on Stern came in the way the radio host physically presented himself. Explicitly asking Dee to help him “look cool,” Snider routinely took Stern wardrobe shopping and effectively remade him into a heavy metal rock star who just happened to talk instead of sing or play an instrument. A schism between the pals occurred in the ’90s when Dee took a gig in morning radio, sparking hard feelings from the notoriously sensitive Stern. The pair have spoken on the air since but a distance seems to be maintained—although not in the memories of old-school Stern show listeners, who look back on the Dee Snider days with the most heartfelt of fondness.

6. Dee Snider’s Strangeland (1998)

5. Under the Blade (1982)

“Under the Blade” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPklZuIcqBQ&feature=youtu.be After years of knocking rock club audiences dead in and around the New York area, Twisted Sister delivered a fantastically ferocious, filthy-sounding debut album in the form of Under the Blade. Scoring some local radio airplay with the title track and the single “Shoot Em’ Down,” Under the Blade truly took off over seas, particularly in metal-mad England, where the group became immediate hard rock heroes. Much ado was made over Blade’s rough-and-tumble production, and on the heels of 1984’s big-time breakthrough Stay Hungry, Atlantic Records issued a remixed version. Hardcore TS fans, of course, by and large preferred the original, so versions of both have always sold well, pushing the LP to double-platinum status.

4. “I Wanna Rock”

3. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

2. Dee Snider takes on the PMRC in Congress (1985)

1. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (1984)