TWISTED SISTER will play a special warmup show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the band’s “Stay Hungry” album on May 17 at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. Also scheduled to appear is Stephen Pearcy of RATT and New York rockers KILLCODE.
The 25th-anniversary edition of “Stay Hungry” came out in June 2009 via Rhino. The set featured loads of bonus material, including one brand new track, “30”, that the band recorded specifically for the anniversary reissue.
In a 2009 interview with Examiner.com, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider stated about the 25th-anniversary edition of the “Stay Hungry” album: “Twenty-fifth anniversary, and yeah, it’s pretty amazing to think that 25 years have passed. It’s amazing to see the significance of the record, you know, the original, and how many times I hear people saying, ‘This was my primer to heavy metal,’ or ‘I was a disco boy or pop princess before I got my ‘Stay Hungry’ record and it changed my life.’ And then you’ve got ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘I Wanna Rock’, which sort of started — especially ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ — to transcend even the genre and become almost folk songs. I may be a little over-exaggerating at this point, but everybody knows that song and it pops up everywhere — anybody that’s got a complaint about anything: ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It!’ So it’s really strange to see it take on a life of its own.”
He continued: “I remember, and plus it was weird, late one night on one tour when we were in Connecticut in a real urban area, and the bus had stopped, I had to make a phone call because there were no cell phones in those days. So it’s like the middle of the night and I’m on a payphone and a carload of African-Americans drive by, and they look out the window and go, ‘Hey, that’s that guy from TWISTED SISTER!’ And I was like, holy crap, talk about crossing genres.
“But I think for TWISTED, the video did the crossing over and took the song with it. Not that the song wasn’t certainly embraced, and a lot of people think the video made the song, but the fact was ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ was added at 145 radio stations the first week it came out and that was two weeks before the video even hit. And just so you know, that’s a lot of radio stations to play a heavy metal band in 1984. So the song itself spoke for itself, but the video reinforced it; when it came to crossing the pop world and into the urban world and all these other communities, I think the video — you know, movies are a common bond — and people watched the movie and got hooked on the song. Plus it was groundbreaking — no one was doing videos like that.
“Whenever they have the ‘Top 100 Videos of All Time’, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ always shows up. And as a matter of fact — and this is a little-known fact about the video — when ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ was delivered to MTV, I believe the guy’s name was Les Garland, but I’m not sure, he hated it, he was hostile. The reaction was, ‘This is not rock video, this is method acting.’ And they never allowed ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ to go out of medium rotation, and as much as, you know, that song that was medium rotation, but it had such a connection that people waited for that thing to come on. And the funny thing is when we delivered ‘I Wanna Rock’, which was basically the sequel to ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, the reaction was, ‘Ah, now this is a rock video!’ So either the perception had changed within the company or they were just sort of covering their tracks from their denial of it being a real video into the first place. But then, of course, there were so many videos that started following our formula after that it was ridiculous.”
Asked whether the TWISTED SISTER guys had any inkling at all when they were writing and arranging “Stay Hungry” that it was something special, Dee said: “You know, no. It’s just like we were on a path. It was ‘Under The Blade’, and that independent record led to our major record deal with Atlantic, ‘You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and that broke in Europe, namely, and then it spilled over the United States. And we knew they were going to pull out all the stops on the record. As far as writing goes, I was just writing more music. And one thing a lot of people have said was, ‘‘Stay Hungry’ was TWISTED SISTER‘s go-commercial, selling out.’ And I always laugh, because it was anything but. That album was written in 1982.
“What I would do is when we were working on ‘Under The Blade’, I was writing songs for the next album, and in all the down time between sessions, I was working the songs. So I was writing ‘You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll’ when ‘Under The Blade’ was being recorded. When we were recording ‘You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll’, I was writing ‘Stay Hungry’. And we couldn’t have been more broke, we couldn’t have been hungrier. So there really was no commercialization or selling out or anything like that. I mean, the biggest hat-tilt towards commercialization was assigning Tom Werman, who was this pop producer, who was cleaning up people like Ted Nugent and MÖTLEY CRÜE, and they figured, ‘Hey, we can clean these guys up too.’ So I’ll tell you what, I’m looking at something right here — I have this laminated and actually taped to my triple-platinum ‘Stay Hungry’ album on my wall in my studio where I am right now. And during the recording I was really having a lot of problems with our producer, Tom Werman, and we just didn’t agree and I really felt like he was compromising the record, and it was a real struggle for me to try to keep the band’s integrity. He wanted to clean us up even more, you know, and I was really frustrated and the engineer, Geoff Workman, who really is responsible for all of the positive things on that record as far as sound and everything. And he said, ‘What’s the matter, man?’ And I said, ‘Fricking Tom is killing my record, he’s pissing me off!’ He goes, ‘Relax dude, this record is guaranteed to go platinum.’ And I said, ‘You want to put that in writing?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I’ll put that in writing.’ So what it says here on this laminated page — it’s written on an old note sheet, it says: ‘The record that I am currently working on with TWISTED SISTER [because we didn’t have a name yet] is guaranteed to go at least platinum or I resign. Signed: Geoff Workman. Witnessed: Gary McGachan [who was the assistant engineer].’ So, he knew.”