Photo by Mark Weiss
By Jim Bessman
Twisted Sister's Frontman Conquers Media World
It didn’t take long for Dee Snider’s participation in the new season of Celebrity Apprentice to become the worst kept secret.
“They tried to keep it quiet but it leaked everywhere,” says Snider, the famed frontman of 1980s pop-metal hair band Twisted Sister, who’s been visible in recent years as a reality show TV star. Besides Celebrity Apprentice, Snider, with wife Suzette, is starring in Celebrity Wife Swap; this follows his past reality show exploits in Gone Country, Rock The Cradle and Growing Up Twisted.
“Those were mostly on cable—kind of like being on Saturday Night Live’s ‘Not Ready For Prime Time Players!’” says the still energetic, somewhat self-effacing rock ‘n’ roll veteran. “But you get to an age and level of recognition where you’ve proven your value and viability in the medium. So where I was like a ‘C’-lister before, a powerhouse like Celebrity Apprentice makes everybody an instant ‘A’-lister.”
But it’s not like Snider’s once prodigious music career—Twisted Sister’s landmark “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” brought everlasting MTV fame--has devolved into reality show caricature. Hardly.
The Long Islander’s nationally syndicated radio show House Of Hair, now 15-years-old, is heard on over 200 stations. He also hosted satellite radio’s horror-themed entertainment show Fangoria Radio, and his voice can be heard in numerous radio and TV commercials, documentaries and other programming outlets as well.
Additionally, Snider wrote, produced and starred in the 1998 horror cult film classic StrangeLand. In 2002, he starred as himself in the VH1 movie Warning: Parental Advisory, but most significantly—musically, at least—was his recent starring role on Broadway in the hit musical Rock Of Ages: He’s now recorded a new album, Dee Does Broadway, for April release via Razor & Tie.
“I did drama club in high school and sang in the glee club and was a big choir geek, but I never thought I’d do Broadway!” says Snider. “I resurrected an idea that Alice Cooper and I came up with in a series of phone messages, where we sang show tunes to each other: He loves musicals, and I always thought some really rocked inherently--and I’m not talking about rock musicals like Hair or Grease or Jesus Christ Superstar.”
“Wait till you hear my version of [the Threepenny standard] ‘Mack The Knife!’” Snider exalts, expecting that many of those in his audience who still want to rock, like show tunes, too. But “if nothing else,” he adds, “I had a ball making the record--and it legitimately rocks.”
Undoubtedly, his forthcoming memoir, Shut Up And Give Me The Mic also rocks.
“I just finished the final draft--which I wrote myself!” he says. “So I’m doing many, many things, and music has become more like a hobby to me--which is kind of nice in a way because Twisted Sister does 25 shows a year now, and when we get together it’s fun, without the worries and pressure of a grueling tour schedule.”