Dee Snider Didn’t Want to Play Live Again Until Pandemic Shut Shows Down
Dee Snider was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program to discuss his latest solo album, Leave a Scar, which is out now.
It's the second album from the Twisted Sister legend that was done in collaboration with Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta, who helped Snider find his way musically as a modern metal artist. Snider also noted that having the support from some of metal's biggest 21st century stars has encouraged him and helped keep his creative flame burning bright.
Elsewhere, Snider remarked that in 2019 he fully intended on giving up live performance for good, but when the reality settled in that no band could perform onstage due to the pandemic, his rebellious spirit was renewed and filled him with a desire to get back to the stage.
Read the full interview below.
For the Love of Metal covered new ground for you. What has the overall experience of making that album enabled you to do now with the new one, Leave a Scar?
In the 1990s, after Widowmaker, I walked away from music in a sense of making new music. I didn't feel there was a place for me. I feel that I overstayed my welcome — this may not have been true, but this is how I felt.
I went and got into movies, TV, voiceover and radio and I started doing all kinds of things.
When I got back to music, it was playing old Twisted Sister stuff and that was great and fun, but I didn't still didn't think there was a place for me.
Jamey Jasta — there's an undying debt that I owe him — challenged me and said, "No, there is a place for you and I can help you find it," and it was For the Love of Metal.
The community — Mark Morton, Howard Jones, Alissa White-Gluz, Oli [Herbert] from All That Remains, may he rest in peace, Joel Grind from Toxic Holocaust — helping Dee Snider finally come out of the woods and find his place again.
They helped me, but now I knew what I had to do — I knew the team I needed to work with, I had my band and we went in there and we got down to business. For the Love of Metal opened that door and now that I'm in, I'm not leaving.
Dee Snider, "Down But Never Out" Music Video
Many people remember you as an '80s icon with Twisted Sister. What aspects of that legacy are important when it comes to making new music as a contemporary artist?
It's great to have a legacy and I'll always be proud of that, but it also presents a burden. It's very tough to break away and to get people to accept you doing something different and this is something I'm trying to do.
I'm blessed to finally be able to do that. The only thing I wish I could bring with me is the Spandex because it's the only thing I miss from the '80s. It's fantastic — you can really move in that stuff and everybody knows where you're at.There's no secrets with Spandex.
I really didn't look to bring anything with me as much as my passion and love that I always had for heavy metal. We got pigeonholed/typecast and people said, "Oh, you're hair metal," or whatever and it's better than not ever having any place, but at the same time, it was a bit of a frustration. I've always championed metal in all its forms and I continue to.
Metal speaks to the exuberance, frustration, and alienation of youth. What does metal convey differently to wisdom of age and life experience?
People always have issues, problems, frustrations, depression, sadness, heartbreak... it's ongoing. My dad, the 90-year-old wise man, said the only thing constant is change. And with those changes comes a lot of dark emotions. People have a need for an outlet and, sadly, many of the older fans don't grow with the times and they stay stuck in their glory days era listening to the soundtrack of their lives.
I think they're missing out because there's so many powerful, great, exciting new things happening right now. It could bring so much to their lives.
I'm blessed. I've worked my way through a lot of things, but I have a job. I need to be that voice for those who are voiceless. Just because I made it through to the other side and I'm happy and well adjusted doesn't mean that there are people out there who don't need Dee Snider to scream loudly for them.
Dee Snider, Leave a Scar
Despite thinking that your final show had been performed, you have since realized that you're not done at all. What made you reconsider performing live particularly after a year when nobody was able to be onstage?
In 2019, I told my family, all my band, all my friends and my business associates that I was done. I really thought I was and I didn't announce it publicly because I think that's kind of BS anyway, just making the big announcement.
I actually signed and mailed the shoes I've been wearing onstage for 20 years to my number one fan, Keith Whalen in Canada. I said, "Keith, put these in your man cave. I'm done." Now I just sent an email — could I get my shoes back?
Something about COVID dictating to me that I couldn't play. The idea that I decided I was not done playing was one thing, but when COVID says, "Oh, well, you can't play anyway," I found this rebellious thing welling up in me. What do you mean I can't play? I'll decide when I can't play — you don't tell me I can't play.
That started this sort of domino effect that led to "I Gotta Rock (Again)," which is that statement that I've got something to say. I just can't be told when I'm done and I felt like COVID was telling me.
Dee Snider, "I Gotta Rock (Again)" Music Video
You're a singer, songwriter, screenwriter, author, radio host, TV personality... you're always creatively engaged. What inner need is that deep seated creative compulsion a manifestation of?
I like to say it was divine inspiration, but as I've tried to tell people post-demise of Twisted Sister, everything has been 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent desperation.
I got knocked on my ass the end of Twisted Sister. I never expected it to end. I didn't expect the money to run out. I didn't expect the music scene to change and I didn't expect to be shown the door, which I was.
But, just like COVID, if you tell me I've got to leave, I'm not going to leave. So I just started finding whatever creative outlet I could to continue to be able to express myself. I just needed to do something and I just get started trying anything and everything I could.
Thanks to Dee Snider for the interview. Get your copy of 'Leave a Scar' here and follow Dee Snider on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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