TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider was interviewed by Antihero Magazine earlier this month during the Days Of The Dead horror convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his forthcoming solo album, “For The Love Of Metal”:
Dee: “I had no intentions of doing another record. Mentally, I was done until [HATEBREED front man] Jamey Jasta got a hold of me on his podcast and literally challenged me to do a true metal record — a new, contemporary metal record. I said, ‘Look, I’m down, but who’s going to produce this thing?’ He said, ‘I will.’ I said, ‘Who’s going to write the songs?,’ because I’m trained in a different style of metal writing. He goes, ‘Everybody will want to write for Dee Snider.’ We went without a record deal, just purely inspired and for the love of it all — hence the title, ‘For The Love Of Metal’ — and people came out of the woodwork. We got people from DISTURBED and LAMB OF GOD and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE writing for this record. You’ve got Howard Jones [ex-KILLSWITCH ENGAGE] on there duetting with me; you’ve got Alissa White-Gluz from ARCH ENEMY duetting with me. It just turned into a passion project, and then all of a sudden, every metal label was bidding on the record.”
On working with a “newer generation” of artists:
Dee: “It is incredibly flattering. I’m an egomaniac like any artist, but you’re in the forest — you don’t really see the trees. For Jamey Jasta to say, ‘Dude, we need a metal record from Dee Snider. Your voice is iconic, and it’s as strong as ever,’ is very flattering. To have these great contemporary artists come forward and be excited to participate — no budget, no money, no nothing, just for the love of it all — is just incredibly flattering.”
On whether it was challenging to make the album:
Dee: “I’m a fan of contemporary metal. My kids are metalheads — particularly my daughter, who’s dragged me around from festival to festival and venue to venue from the time she was about 12 or 13. I know a lot of the bands; I met and became friends with a lot of the bands; and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the bands, particularly the passion of the young bands — and by young, I mean pretty much everybody from the 2000s on, because the money’s not really there anymore. You don’t do it for money; you do it because you’ve got to. Seeing these bands, I get inspiration from them. Going into the studio, when Jamey started playing me the songs, I heard it. He channeled me in the creation of the songs and got me in the lyrics. It was like they were coming out of my own pen. From the very first moment I opened my mouth, the first growl I did, it just came [from] my soul. I was like, ‘Oh yeah — I’m down with this.’ They were inspiring me with the music, and I was inspiring them with my singing, and it just went back and forth.”
On whether Jasta “pushed” him vocally:
Dee: “I can’t say that he ‘pushed’ me. It was things I’ve done before — maybe more focused, eliminating some of the more ultra-melodic side of my singing, and keeping it channeled into the roar. Sometimes, I would start going too far Jamey Jasta, and he’d go, ‘No, no, man — you’ve always been about melody. You shouldn’t lose melody. That’s Dee Snider.’ He says, ‘I don’t do melody. Dee Snider is melody. Don’t be Jamey — be Dee.'”
On what fans can expect from the album:
Dee: “You can expect inspiration. It started with Jamey being inspired by me, and Jamey inspiring me. In the studio, the songs inspiring me, me inspiring the musicians and the songwriting, and it just fed off each other. Lyrically, the songs are inspirational — a lot of the messages I’ve always had, about standing up, believing in yourself, fighting back, a lot of anti-bullying themes, which I think has always been in my music anyway. The song with me and Alissa is called ‘Dead Hearts’, [and] is a specifically anti-bullying song. During the time I was recording, my mom got hit by a car and became brain-damaged and eventually died a few months later. That was all during the process, and that was part of it too. The beauty of metal, the beauty of rock is that it’s great for expressing pain and anger, sorrow, happiness, depression, whatever. It’s such a healthy place to go when you need to just let out these dark emotions, and I was letting them out. I dedicated the album to my mom’s memory — [who was] not a fan of my metal career, by the way, but still brought me into this earth, inspired me. She was an artist and inspired me just with the way she was in her 80s, and still teaching art and still painting. Here I am in my early 60s, and I’m still making music. My mom’s a bit of that inspiration.”
On channeling his emotions into his music:
Dee: “Rock, especially metal, has always been that outlet for me. I was not a popular kid. I was not the cool kid. I just came home every day and would go in my room, lock the door, put on the heaviest stuff I had because I’m an O.G. headbanger, and just start thrashing and jumping around. I’d be sweating, and I’d feel better. That’s what I love about it, that it allows you that release. I always say it’s better to be in the pit moshing and throwing your fists in the air than beating people up. You’ve got to let these emotions go somehow, and this is healthiest way. When this was all going down with my mom, I didn’t cancel a show. People thought I was going to, and I said from the stage, ‘No — I need this. I need to come out here with you people today and just rage, and just scream and sweat and jump. What the music has always done for me as a fan and as an artist, I need it now more than ever.”
On what he’d still like to accomplish:
Dee: “I always think that there’s nothing more for me to accomplish, and then something else rears its ugly head, whether it’s doing this album, which came out of left field, or I just signed a deal with Netflix for a new children’s animated series that I co-created and I’m writing the music for, which is going into production with Titmouse [Editor’s note: an animation studio that produces animation television programming]. I didn’t see that coming. I can’t announce [it] formally, but I started a horror production company. We’ve got multiple films slated, and we’re rebooting a major franchise I just got the rights to. None of these things were on my bucket list. The call came in, and I was like, ‘All right, cool. It’s something new, something challenging.’ That’s what it’s all about to me, is to feel challenged. I left TWISTED SISTER on the best of terms. [I’m] proud of my legacy, love the guys, but I didn’t want to keep doing, I call it ‘Back To The Future’. We’re playing the same songs for 40 years, and it’s great — I love those songs, and I’m proud of them, but I want to be challenged, and things I’m doing today are challenging me.”
“For The Love Of Metal” will be released on July 27 via Napalm Records.
Snider‘s last solo album, “We Are The Ones”, was released in October 2016 via Red River Records. Produced by Damon Ranger, the disc was described by Dee as “an album that is think part FOO FIGHTERS, part IMAGINE DRAGONS, part THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS.”
TWISTED SISTER called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour.