Twisted Sister - 'We Are Twisted F*ckin Sister' (DVD)
STARRING: (in order)
Jay Jay French - Twisted Sister guitarist
Kenny Neil - former Twisted Sister bassist
Joe Gerber - co-manager
Mike Roviello - former booking agent
George Parente - club owner (L'Amore)
Dee Snider - Twisted Sister vocalist
Bobby Jordan - club owner (Final Exam)
Eddie Ojeda - Twisted Sister guitarist
Suzette Snider - Dee Snider's wife
Peter Hackett - fan
Mike Gacione - fan
Randy Jackson - guitarist Zebra
Dave Gillespie - fan
Michael Wiese - fan
Donna Boccuzzi - fan
Mark 'The Animal' Mendoza - Twisted Sister bassist
Mark Puma - manager
DJ Finger - WBAB
Lauri Naglier - fan
Sally Avellino - fan
Jim Steen - fan
Gary Bushell - journalist Sound Magazine
Martin Hooker - founder Secret Records
A.J. Pero - Twisted Sister drummer
Jason Flom - former C.E.O. Atlantic Records
Phil Lawson - former C.E.O. Atlantic Records of London
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Biography up to 1982-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Twisted Sister is an American heavy metal band originally from Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, and later based in Long Island, New York.
Twisted Sister's most well known hits include "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock". Many of the band's songs explore themes of parent vs. child conflicts and criticisms of the educational system.
Often-considered glam metal for its image, the band rejects the "glam metal" label and considers it inappropriate. Twisted Sister ranked No. 73 in VH1's 100 greatest artists of hard rock.
The band Silver Star, soon to be renamed to Twisted Sister, formed after John Segall (later renamed to "Jay Jay French") was added following auditions in the "band house" located in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey in late December 1972. Manhattan resident John Segall auditioned and was asked to join the "glitter band" Silver Star. Silver Star was the creation of drummer Mel Anderson (Mell Star) as the "New Jersey version of the NY Dolls", consisting of Billy Diamond (lead guitar), Wayne Brown (lead vocal and guitar), Tony Bunn (bass), Steve Guarino (keyboards). At the same time as Silver Star/Twisted Sister was created, Mell Star's brother, Al Anderson, was the guitar player for Bob Marley and the Wailers. Segall hated the name "Silver Star" and pushed to have it changed. At a rehearsal on Valentine's Day in February 1973, Silver Star changed its name to Twisted Sister. Wayne and Mel were so excited about the new name that, as soon as rehearsal ended, they went directly from Mel Andersen's house in Montclair, NJ to their manager's office in West Orange, NJ, and barged in to make the announcement. Along with the name change came some stylistic changes that eventually resulted in an amicable parting of ways for some members. Wayne Brown left the band a few months later; Tony Bunn and Steve Guarino followed soon thereafter. Micheal Valentine took over the lead singer role, guitarist Billy Diamond, drummer Mell Star, bass player Kenneth Harrison Neill, and Johnny Heartbreaker (soon to change his name to Jay Jay French).
The band found work immediately and started playing six nights a week (mostly in the same club for the entire week). The group secured a residency at the Mad Hatter in East Quogue, NY for the summer of 1973 and played 105 nights from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The band played 78 shows there and played at other places as well. By December 1974, when this first version of the band broke up, Jay Jay had already played nearly 600 nights and about 3,000 performances as the band played five 40-minute shows per night, each with costume changes, some ending as late as 8 a.m. the following morning. The second version of the band changed lead singers (Rick Prince) and guitar player (Keith Angel) and continued for a couple of months into 1975 before singer Rick Prince failed to show up for a rehearsal. In the third lineup change, Jay Jay took over the lead vocals and management duties. The band split up after Labor Day weekend 1975. In October 1975 the fourth version of the band started to play the club circuit. Jay Jay hired a former high school friend of Eddie Ojeda, who joined as co-lead singer and second guitarist, and got drummer Kevin John Grace after reading an ad that Kevin put in the Village Voice. Bass guitarist Kenny Neil (Kenneth Harrison Neil) remained and completed the lineup. The band followed a glam rock direction, influenced by David Bowie, Slade, Mott the Hoople, the Rolling Stones, and the New York Dolls. It played at local clubs but floundered in relative anonymity. Many former band members were fired or left the band and had some issues with the other members like Jay Jay French.
In February 1976, at the suggestion of the band's agent, Kevin Brenner, Jay Jay told that the band could only go so far without being able to play Led Zeppelin cover songs and urged Jay Jay to hire Danny Snider (Dee Snider) who previously was in the bands Peacock and Heathen. Danny changed his name to Dee at the suggestion of Jay Jay and thus began line up number six. This version lasted 6 weeks before version seven began on April 1, 1976 with new drummer Tony Petri, the group took a heavier musical direction, influenced by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Slade, and Alice Cooper.
At this point, the band's popularity began to soar as the band, especially Dee and Jay Jay started to talk to the audience about current topics of the day between songs. These started to take on a life of their own and pretty soon the band could get away with playing one song per set and talk the rest of the time.
The band decided to play a heavy metal sound in 1978 where the group began to record its demos.
Having audience participation in the "Sweet Jane Gong Show" and the "Death to Disco" stage routines became legendary. The band broke attendance records at large halls in the Tri-State Area and its growing fan base began to take the name "S.M.F.F.O.T.S.", for Sick Motherfucking Friends Of Twisted Sister, later shortened to "S.M.F." for "Sick Mother Fuckers." NME reported that Twisted Sister had sold out the 3,000 capacity New York Palladium for a March 16 show without a recording contract or radio airplay. Fan hysteria and the seemingly "lost art of entertainment" soon became the hallmark of a Twisted Sister show.
After selling out the Palladium Theater, the group began aggressively pursuing a recording contract, with an aim to get out of the club circuit before its impending collapse due to the upcoming change of the drinking age from 18 to 21. The band then had a record deal with Secret Records.
The band went through 3 more lineup changes between 1979 and 1982. Drummer Joey Brighton replaced Tony Petri, former Dictator drummer Richie Teeter replaced Brighton and finally AJ Pero replaced Teeter. On April 1, 1982, AJ Pero joined the band. Future Shark Island and The Scream drummer Walt Woodward III was also in the band for three days in 1982.
The band started its own T-shirt company and record label. The group released two singles that eventually made it over to the UK and caught the attention of Martin Hooker, the president of indie label Secret Records. Jay Jay remained as manager through 1981 at which time he hired Mark Puma, a local promoter, to manage the band. This lineup (Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza and A.J. Pero) is considered the "official Twisted Sister line up" because this version is responsible for almost all the studio albums, singles, videos and DVDs. Twisted Sister upon the suggestion of two reporters from Sounds and Kerrang! Magazines left New York to find a label in the UK. There, in April 1982, Secret Records, a small British label that was mainly a punk outlet, finally signed it. The band also took $22,000 to UK to appear on the show The Tube.
'We Are Twisted F*cking Sister!' is a film by Andrew Horn documenting the early days of Twisted Sister. This 137-minute film recounts the untold story of the beginning of Twisted Sister. Guitarist Jay Jay French says: "The history of Twisted is really our 10 years clawing our way through the bar scene. It's who we are, and it's why we are, and why we do what we do." The film follows the band from their beginnings as a cross-dressing glam band playing four shows a night, six nights a week in New Jersey bowling alleys and Long Island beach bars, to the suburban mega-clubs of the late '70s to the band's signing with Atlantic Records.
There does exist, however, a subset of fans who know the real story. Those fans are from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Those fans spent years supporting us. Some of those very early die-hard fans is featured on this DVD. In between the interviews is video footage that shows the band transform from a gritty bar band to an arena filling juggernaut!
This DVD is not only a must have for Twisted Sister fans. However, it is also a great piece of hard rock history that all fans of hard rock/heavy metal fans must have for their collection!!