Dee Snider Has Finished Writing His First Fiction Novel
Dee Snider was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The Twisted Sister legend was on the air to discuss his latest solo release, For the Love of Metal Live, which showcases more recent solo tracks alongside time-honored hits in both an album and concert film.
The bleach-blonde metal singer is one of the most iconic figures in music history and was able to transform his name into a household brand, which he talks about early on in the interview. His charisma and tireless work ethic has kept him firmly in the spotlight and his creative endeavors extend far outside of music. He's actually planning to release his first fiction novel, though that in itself has been another one of those "prove it" battles.
Having to prove himself is nothing new as Snider feels like this is what he's had to do at every juncture in life — and he has no intentions on backing down anytime soon. Not with a new solo record to make, at least.
Read the full interview below.
Dee Snider, how are you?!
I am doing better than I deserve, considering my sins of the past. It's a very interesting time for rock 'n' roll for sure.
We're here to talk about the live version of your solo album and concert film, For the Love of Metal Live, which is out now. Dee, defiance and determination seemed to be the primary motivation at the start of your career. How did those factors motivate you now at this point in your life?
The same way they always have, much to my frustration. I'm a happy guy. I'm a blessed guy. I'm a lucky guy. I have a great life, no complaints here, but I do complain and I'm complaining that it always seems to be a fight to do anything for me. I seem to constantly be having to prove myself. Hence the new track, "Prove Me Wrong."
I'm tired of proving myself to you and you prove that I can't, as opposed to, I prove that I can. I'm always trying to do new things, new challenges. I'm not happy with just accepting my lot and saying, "This is what I've done and I've been accepted for." 'm always pushing.
I recently had a run-in with the literary world as I decided to write my first fiction novel — I've been writing screenplays, I wrote my memoirs... I can write. I sent a few chapters to a literary agent and said, "Hey guys, give me some feedback," and he wrote, "Stick to rocking."
I know that I'm a solid writer and again, here I am — I've got prove myself. So I just dug in and I've written a hell of a book. Now I know it will be published and the first copy will go to that agent with a big "F you, thanks for the inspiration."
Dee Snider, "For the Love of Metal" (Live)
It's funny. Some of the best inspiration comes from like negative feedback.
One hundred percent. The saying is, "We learn more from failures than we do from success." As much as we hate and we loathe criticism, that's honestly where you're going to get you go to see the flaws in your work and your efforts. You're praying for a great reception like I'm getting on the new live album, but when you get those criticisms, you've got to look at them and see if they're honest and how you can improve what you're doing.
The success of Twisted Sister and then your own ventures aside from the band have made Dee Snider a marketable brand. How does that commercial recognition enable you creatively?
once found an article in a business magazine talking about self branding and they used me as an example of an artist who made his name a brand. I was reading their clinical business analysis of my career and laughing because I didn't plan any of this. I just desperately started doing anything and everything. After the demise of '80s rock, it was like, "Oh shit, what am I going to do now?" I just kept saying yes to everything.
In the last 30 years I have changed the name that's applied to me from Twisted Sister to Dee Snider. I remember when I used to walk down the streets, it'd be [shouts of] "Twisted Sister!" Now it's, "Dee Snider, Dee Snider!"
So I have made my brand. People welcome me into a meeting and go, "Oh, Dee Snider, I love you." I go, "Yeah, I've got this new idea," and they're like, "Wait, what?" "I did this, this, this, this I've succeeded in all these things. But you haven't done this before..."
I've got to prove myself again.
Musically, this new live release is a side by side comparison of how past and present fit together. What affords metal that timelessness, unlike other music genres?
At festivals, it's always on a separate stage the classic stage, the death stage, the Ronnie James Dio stage... at one festival you'll see a wide range of bands.
But For the Love of Metal Live, I'm literally putting the '80s and the 2000s onstage together. I've got an amazing band playing with me now and we actually updated things a little bit with the Twisted stuff. It really helps it to stand side by side.
One of the things I will say is outside the U.S. where most of these shows were filmed, people are much more accepting of the classic rock with contemporary rock side by side. In the States they're more segregated — it's very much, 'this is a classic rock event,' 'this is a contemporary rock event' and never the twain shall meet.
You're going to make another album keeping the same team in place, including Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed as producer. How do you think familiarity will further enhance the end result?
I'm working with the same amazing team. I've got the Belmore brothers (Charlie on guitar and Nikki plays drums, but also is the engineer and mixer and an amazingly talented guy) and Jamey Jasta is, as he says, producer and curator. He is the gatekeeper — all ideas are brought in and filtered through Jamey.
I trusted them in the sense that they were friends, but when Jamey challenged me to do the metal record, I was had my doubts — how was this going to work? So there was an initial thing where we were all feeling each other out.
Now, after two years of working together and touring with the Belmore brothers, locking in a band with also with Nick Petrino on guitar and Russ Zutto on bass, we come in and we don't have to waste any time. There is trust and we know our direction. We know what works for Dee Snider and for this project. I will just go full steam ahead.
Dee, you recorded "God Bless Us, Everyone" with Tarja of Nightwish fame. What's the most surreal thing about recording a song you wrote that was actually popularized by someone else (Celine Dion)?
This is the most bizarre story in my career. It's officially called, "The Magic of Christmas (God Bless Us, Everyone)." When I wrote it, it was called "God Bless Us, Everyone," but Celine wanted to go with "The Magic of Christmas." Fine, call it whatever you want, just put it on your freakin' album.
It is the only song I ever wrote for commercial release. It was a gift for my wife who asked me to write a Christmas song. I wrote it but couldn't even sing it and I had hired some studio musicians — Merry Christmas, honey. That was it — a family song.
Celine Dion, "The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us, Everyone)"
Five years later, I get a phone call that Celine Dion wants to record it. We call it 'the house that St. Celine built.' No one speaks bad about Celine in my house.
Now, I'm recording it in a more, Trans-Siberian Orchestra/Queen-like direction and duetting and Tarja (of Nightwish fame) has been working with me on this track. There might be another very big surprise for American audiences because it's looking like we're going to do two versions. One will be with a very new contemporary, amazing American female vocalist. I shortened that list [of potential singers] down.
Tarja is a goddess in Europe. There's an awareness of her. There's also been the thought of, "Hey, maybe we should have an American singer do the version with you for America."
It's just surreal to be singing a song that never was meant to see the light of day to have look at a plaque on my wall for 14 million sales with Celine Dion, — the biggest hit on the biggest selling holiday record of all time — and now actually recording for commercial release, the song I wrote as a Christmas gift for my wife. It's just weird.
Thank you so much for being on the show and be safe out there.
Can I just say something to the community out there? This COVID thing, wherever you feel it, the reality is the world has been affected greatly whether it's health-wise or socially. Creatively, artistically, the ramifications of this thing moving forward are going to be tremendous. Independent art on all levels is being crushed right now.
Not the spirit of it — the spirit can ever be killed. It will thrive and survive in bedrooms, basements, and garages forever. But its ability to be brought to the public through the small venue, the small art studio, the small independent film company... these companies are closing wholesale and this is where inspiration comes from. The corporate world grabs these new young, fresh ideas and blows them up, but they have to start as new young, fresh ideas and there's no outlet for them.
We've got to realize that when the dust settles here, we're going to have to help these young artists and these young musicians to get their music back out there to the people, because God help us if the corporate world starts controlling total creativity — we're dead in the water. Just think about the work we've got to do for the art community and music community when the dust settles on COVID.
Thanks to Dee Snider for the interview. Get your copy of 'For the Love of Metal Live' here (as Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases). Follow Dee Snider on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
See Twisted Sister in 57 Rock + Metal Bands Who Changed Their Name Before Getting Famous