Dee Snider – Spoken
Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
January 31st, 2019
It’s been a long 34 plus years, since Australia has had the pleasure of Dee Snider, best known as the singer and songwriter for Twisted Sister, Desperado and Widowmaker. Dee is so much more than just a rock star though; he’s a radio host, voice over, actor, extra and a strong advocate for charities. Dee is a husband a father, and a great teller of stories. Everything Dee does, he does with passion and conviction.
As the line of SMF’s assembled down the steps of Sydney’s Manning Bar, we were hit with a gust of cool wind, which brought about some relief after the recent searing temperatures we’d been experiencing in Sydney. The typical chit chat of people sharing their expectations and enthusiasm could be heard. Shortly after 7pm, the queue was broken into two lines, and we were quickly ushered into the venue. A vast array of Dee Snider‘s merchandise was set up for sale, including autographed items, for the avid collectors. Seats were placed strategically around the room, with two red couches placed centre stage. The intimate setting was a big difference to the usual shoulder to shoulder crowd that the Manning Bar houses, though apt for the occasion. The room may not have been packed out, but it was evident that every single person in the room was a fan. They weren’t there out of obligation, they were there because that is exactly where they wanted to be.
People quickly found their chosen seat and shortly after 7:30pm, a screen at the rear of the stage began to play the video of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’. Applause ensued at the conclusion of the video as Paul Murphey from Sydney’s Utopia Records, who did an amazing job hosting the evening, walked out on stage and welcomed Dee Snider to join him. The minute Dee set foot on stage, the energy in the room was lifted. Fans applauded and sat with bated breath, hanging on Dee’s every word.
Dee began with his recount of recent adventures in Australia, explaining that he’d never had the opportunity to see anything here, as he’s a “Mental case and he never gets time“. Dee and wife Suzette, experienced Ayers Rock in 45-degree heat, which also meant enduring copious amounts of flies. They travelled to Melbourne and did the Great Ocean Road, taking in the 12 Apostles. Dee told of his trip to Taronga Zoo and a humorous encounter he had with some young looking rock kids he ran in to on the Manly Ferry. Dee explaining “I’m low key, I don’t like to announce myself, unlike Sebastian Bach“. Inspiring laughter from the crowd, Dee continued “these same rock kids ended up on our gondola at the zoo. I wondered if they’d recognise me. They started talking and I could hear the American accent. They told me they’re in a band, so I introduced myself to them… Hey, I’m Dee Snider“.
“We know who the fuck you are man” and they exchanged introductions. It turns out, Dee was talking to the drummer from Greta Van Fleet.
Paul interrupting Dee to let him know there was something they needed to talk about. Dee’s response was “3 inches from the floor… you’re talking about my penis“? Laughter followed, as did Paul’s pressing question about hearing any good covers of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ lately. Paul was obviously eluding to the recent debacle with Australian Politician Clive Palmer, blatantly ripping off the lyrics to use for his political campaign, without following through with the payment for usage. Prior to Dee’s show, Dee had been busy taking part in television interviews and talkback radio. It’s certainly been interesting to follow and witness Clive Palmer display his less than ethical business habits and turn many thousand people against him. It had to be good promotion for Dee’s Australian shows though, and if nothing else, at least Clive was useful for that. The topic spurred on further conversation about conflicts with various people of the public, Dee reassuring us “I’m not being disrespectful, I’m just not afraid to speak my mind. I like to talk so much, my wife didn’t come tonight; she’s heard it all”.
Dee shared some great stories with us and spoke with such vigour and enthusiasm, it was infectious. Dee touched on almost being fired from Twisted Sister, as he doesn’t do drugs, he doesn’t drink alcohol, but he does drink fuck loads of coffee and became far too caffeinated. Dee has no filter and voiced his opinion to his bandmates, that Twisted Sister were “fucking terrible”. When told to shut up, unless Dee could write songs, this challenged Dee to get in his room and never stop writing. We all know what followed.. Six fucking amazing studio albums, a bunch of compilation albums, as well as a bunch of live albums. Twisted Sister was truly alive! With Paul pointing out that there is no other band that sounds like Twisted Sister, Dee informed us his songwriting is all done vocally.
In fact, Dee has only ever written one song on guitar and that was Twisted Sister’s ‘Destroyer’. The discovery of AC/DC changed Dee’s life, when he learnt “it didn’t take more than three or four chords to write a fucking great song”. The man of the hour spoke fondly of a time Twisted Sister opened for Motorhead. It was their debut in England in ’82, TS had no record out and by default, went on stage right before Motorhead, in the daylight. In those days, there was pure hatred for bands with make-up and the rest of the band wanted to go on stage in street clothes. Dee refused to back down and remembers “Lemmy was walking past our dressing room and smelt human shit, he must have because we were shitting ourselves”. Lemmy mumbled something, which was quickly translated to Dee, he’s going to introduce the band. Lemmy walked on stage and said “These are my friends from America, give them a listen”. Lemmy gave Twisted Sister a window and the crowd gave them a go. After their set, they walked backstage and could hear the crowd chanting “Twisted Sister”. Lemmy instructed, “I introduced you, now I want you to introduce me”. During Motorheads performance, Lemmy dedicated ‘America’ to Dee. That’s the shit dreams are made of!
Dee walked us through his first meeting with (now wife) Suzette. Describing her as being completely repulsed by him in the beginning. At 15 years of age, with a fake I.D. Suzette thought she was going to see a girl band. I can only imagine her shock discovery. The less Suzette wanted Dee, the more he wanted her. Dee stated, “this wasn’t no Bobbie Brown (from Warrant) love, this was the real deal”! He revealed that Suzette’s family are in the mafia, “imagine Soprano’s on a first date. I shit you not, look up Hughey Apples”. So there was Dee in his hot pink heels and baby blue skin tight pants, where you could tell not only was he circumcised, but who performed the circumcision. After a conversation with Suzette’s father, Dee had a dark blue patch on his light blue pants. Dee and Suzette have been together for 43 years this April. Dee became the crash test dummy for Suzette’s make-up and costume designs. Suzette also designed the logo on the Stay Hungry album.
The room full of SMF’s were privileged enough to be let into Dee Snider’s life. We were taken on a journey of high’s and low’s and I’m sure I speak for many when I say we shared in feeling every emotion that Dee felt. From being a successful Rock Star to losing everything, with the exception of his family; though for a long while, that was also at risk. Dee decided to get the fuck back up and rebuild his life. He went from hiding out, denying his identity, as he earnt a measly $200 per week, to the success story he has rebuilt himself to be, today. Dee is an idol and an absolute inspiration to many. I could share many many more stories that we were privileged to, throughout the three-hour event, however, I’m limited with my words and unlike Dee, I don’t know that I could hold your attention and captivate you the way that Dee captivated his audience.
The evening ended with a Q&A between Dee and his audience. Dee remained motivated and forthcoming with his answers, no matter the questions that were thrown his way and how personal and provoking they may have been for him. I cannot praise this man enough, for staying true to his convictions, and now that he’s no longer angry, he uses his position to give a voice to others without one. Dee is heavily involved in many charities, for anyone interested, you can learn more about these charities here.
Thanks to Hardline Media for such a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the idol of many, and thanks to Dee for being so open and welcoming. Dee will be performing his Spoken word in Melbourne this Sunday, I highly recommend it to all and sundry.
Review by Trudy Johnson @BrutalTrudes
Dee Snider Down Under 2019
Feb 2nd @ Croxton Hotel (Performance)
Feb 3rd @ Croxton Hotel (Spoken Word)