Twisted Sister

  • Heavy metal band from Long Island NY, formed in 1972.
  • The original name of the band was Silver Star. It went through many personnel changes from 1972 to 1976. Guitarist Jay Jay French joined in late 1972. Guitarist Eddie Ojeda joined in 1975. They played thousands of shows at local clubs in Long Island, playing glam rock songs influenced by David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Mott the Hoople and others. By early 1976, vocalist Dee Snider joined the band, and the band turned to a heavy metal sound. By 1978, they were gaining immense popularity in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut club circuit. Bass guitarist Mark Mendoza joined that year. In 1982, AJ Pero joined as the drummer.
  • These 5 musicians are considered the official Twisted Sister line-up, since this was the lineup for nearly all of the bands albums, singles, and videos.
  • The first albums by the band – Under the Blade and You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll – were popular in the UK.
  • The third album – Stay Hungry – was the breakthrough album for Twisted Sister, selling over 3 million copies. The album included the hits We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. These songs actually were modest sellers as singles, but the videos were played constantly on MTV, making them classic rock songs.
  • Many found the heavy metal band offensive, and in 1985, Dee Snider (along with Frank Zappa and John Denver) testified before a U.S. Senate committee that was investigating music of the day and its impact on children. Not surprisingly, all 3 testified that music and its content should not be censored. One of the outcomes of the investigation was the decision by record companies to voluntarily add the “Explicit Lyrics” label to certain albums.
  • Later albums and tours were less successful. By late 1987, Snyder left the band, and the group disbanded.
  • In 1998, the band reunited for some studio songs over the next several years. In 2001, the band performed a benefit concert with other heavy metal bands for NYPD and FDNY widows after the 9/11 tragedy. This created more momentum for the band to perform. They continued to perform through 2016 – their final concert was in November 2016.
  • Drummer AJ Pero died in 2015 – this was a significant reason for the band to stop performing.
  • Twisted Sister videos were popular because of the slap stick humor that was included in them. Typically, they included a parent or teacher who just didn’t understand rock music. Of course, bad things would happen to these poor, wretched, uninformed people. Watch the band, in their full costume and make-up regalia, tear into a father-figure in We’re Not Gonna Take It. 

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