Monday, September 24, 2012

A book for all the SMF's - Dee Snider's "Shut Up And Give Me The Mic"


Library of Loud week continues and it doesn't get much louder than Twisted Sister! Dee Snider recently released his Twisted Memoir taking the readers back and all the way through his years with the legendary band.

If you are looking for the usual eighties debauchery of drugs and booze and women, then you are looking in the wrong place. Dee Snider has always been a pretty straight shooter, choosing to refrain from many of the trappings of the rock and roll lifestyle. A faithful husband and proud father he is quite the contradiction from his wild and crazy madman persona of the mid eighties.

"Shut Up And Give Me The Mic" digs deep into Dee's memories of the entire Twisted Sister history. He pulls no punches when telling stories about the band and his fellow band mates do not come out of the book unscathed. Dee has always said it like it is, isn't afraid to call people out if he feels it is deserved but he also will admit when he is wrong and accepts the blame when he is.

A tale of a band that struggled for years, honing their craft and paying their dues. A tale of a band that broke through to the big time making all their dreams come true. A tale of a band that had the brass ring only to slip and fall flat with it. Truly an interesting tale of the music industry and the personalities involved.

One of my favourite stories was when they were touring over in Europe for the first time. The band weren't exactly thrilled with the European tradition of throwing things at the stage while the band performed. Dee Snider called the audience out! Challenging the entire audience to lineup after the set and he would personally fight whoever was man enough instead of throwing shit at them. After the set, true to his word he went over to where he had motioned to meet for the challenge. Nobody took him up on the fight.

Stories of Twisted Sister's Godfather Lemmy, stories of touring with Iron Maiden, and a great story of how a certain band from Switzerland that he refers to as "Krapus" had wronged his wife Suzette and how her family wanted to deal with the situation. Stories of how their legendary music videos were made. Stories of the inner workings and friction between band members and how the whole house of cards came crumbling down.

The book is worth the cover price just for the chapter on the PMRC hearings alone. Hearing the entire story of how the "Washington Wives" were put in their place by a long haired SMF in tattered jeans and makeup was classic. I laughed out loud when Dee told the story of how his Dad looked after Frank Zappa's kids while the two of them went in to the courtroom. How the senior Snider would tell people that he got to look after "Moon Dweezel and Unit".

A good read, the only thing that surprised me was how brief the years after Twisted Sister were covered. It seems like all the years after Twisted Sister broke up were covered in 50 pages. I would have enjoyed more in depth stories on the reunion, his other non-musical endeavours. That said the vintage Twisted Sister years were a great time, in fact reading the book inspired me to go out and pick up the "Double Live" DVD to experience the Twisted Sister live show one more time. The DVD includes the infamous North Stage 1982 show and the Reunion New York Steel show 2001. Great concerts from the SMF's.

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