Twisted Sister's Dee Snider on solo tour: 'It could be the last time'

There's a good reason Dee Snider takes the stage on rare occasions these days.

"I'm working on so many different projects from a writer-producer standpoint," Snider says, proceeding to rattle off a laundry list of endeavors.

"I just closed a deal to do a children's animated cartoon aimed for 4- to 7-year-olds, and I have two other TV shows being shopped," he says. "I've got a horror movie that I've got backing for, another movie I'm shopping, a musical that I'm converting into a script and a Vegas show I'm working on. I can't remember the last time I was ever bored."

The former Twisted Sister frontman has made time in his packed schedule for a show at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair on Thursday. He's supporting his solo album, "We Are the Ones," which was released last year.

Snider says that, due to his many commitments, every concert is a special occasion. "I'm not that guy coming around every six months or every year," he says. "For all we know it could be the last time."

Snider says he was undecided about making a solo album following Twisted Sister's retirement in 2016, its 40th anniversary year.

"Then I met my producer Damon Ranger and he challenged me to create new music," Snider says. "Not just to rehash old sounds but to make a record that held up on a contemporary level. Well, I'm all about challenges."

"We Are the Ones" is melodic, anthemic rock. The album carries familiar Snider themes about outsiders fighting to be heard (the title track and "Rule the World") and having faith in your dreams ("Believe"). Snider is best-known for Twisted Sister's hit youthful rebellion anthems "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock.'"

Musically, "We Are the Ones" is more nuanced than Snider's past material. "There's vocal layering and keyboards and the song structures are different," he says. "The message may sound a little different but I'm singing about the same things I've been screaming about for decades.

"Even though I'm not personally struggling with these things anymore, that doesn't mean my work is done," Snider says. "This is my job. I've got a voice and it's a loud one, and I do have a way of getting attention. If I can be a voice for others, then I will be."

The one nod on the album to Snider's old band is a stripped-down version of "We're Not Gonna Take It," with Snider accompanied solely by piano. Without a wall of guitars, bass and drums, the song's lyrics take on new power and emotion, he says.

"At first I said, 'I don't do unplugged.’ But when I heard how haunting it was I said, 'I get it.' Now it's known as a party song but the words are important and that can get lost. Somebody told me this version is like being punched in the face with the words."

Snider joined Twisted Sister in 1976. The Long Island-based band toiled in the Tristate area club scene for nearly a decade before finding massive commercial success in 1984 when MTV began playing the videos for "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" in heavy rotation.

The band went through a bitter breakup in 1987 and reunited in 2001 to play a 9/11 benefit in Manhattan. The group toured and recorded several live albums over the next 15 years.

At the same time, Snider starred in a reality show about his family ("Growing Up Twisted"), appeared on "The Celebrity Apprentice," had a role in the musical "Rock of Ages" and released a show-tunes album, "Dee Does Broadway" (2012).

In his animated children's television show, Snider isn't telling tales of outsiders as he does in his music. Rather, he's seeking to impart the importance of inclusion to young people. He says he cannot be more specific about the show at this time.

"It's all about accepting people not in spite of their differences but for their differences," Snider says. "It's a fun, rocking children's show. I'm trying to reach out on all levels."

Written by J Cooch Lucchese. Posted in Latest

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