Archive for Dee Snider

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Twisted Sister- Love is for Suckers

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2022 by 80smetalman

As a big Twisted Sister fan, it saddens me to write that “Love is for Suckers” was an album which was doomed from the start. Following the disappointing (I didn’t think it was that bad) “Come Out and Play” album, Twisted Sister was seen as a band in decline. In the summer of 1986, all of their albums were selling at half price or less. Therefore, not many people cared when they released this album a year later.

Cracks were already beginning to emerge in the band even before the album was made. Drummer A.J. Pero left and was replaced by Joey Franco. Furthermore, Dee Snider originally intended it to be a solo album, however, the record label insisted that all the band be brought in and record it as a Twisted Sister album. With all this seeming to go against it, it is little wonder why the album is virtually unheard of outside Twisted Sister circles and even the band doesn’t like to talk about it. But, is the album that bad?

Let me get right to the point, “Love is for Suckers” is a notably better album than their previous album. While many critics slammed the album for giving us nothing new, I think that they were just trying to recapture the magic which brought them to superstardom just a few years earlier. The album starts off with a great TS anthem in “Wake Up the Sleeping Giant.” Dee wrote this song as a big ‘FU’ to the likes of Tipper Gore and the PMRC. While it’s a true metal song, it is the only song to appear on the Twisted Sister tribute album, “Twisted Forever,” covered by the rap artist Chuck D and his version is also really good.

“Hot Love,” while lyrically, it is a song about lusting after and wanting someone, it’s backed up be some really heavy power chords and a cool guitar solo. It was the only single from the album and didn’t do too bad, reaching 31 in the Billboard charts. Then we get to the title track, which is speedier track where Joey Franco earns his stripes with the band. True, it’s an anti-love song, but its done with a sense of humour. Franco’s drumming leads in “I’m So Hot for You,” I’m getting a vibe where this album is going lyrically where Dee seems to be focusing on the love theme. But there is the catchy guitar vibe to it which has you banging away to it nevertheless. Closing out the first side is “Tonight,” which is a departure from the love song lyrics of the previous three songs and more of a motivational song, intended to get you up and raise your fist. I sometimes think this song should have come right after the opener but the energy behind it is such that when the song ends, you need that breather to change the record or tape over. It has a great guitar solo and ends with “Did you come to see the bad boys?”

Side two opens with some great riffs on “Me and the Boys.” This track definitely reminds me of the Twisted Sister I came to know and love. It’s a definite wake up call taking you back to the good old days. This brings me to my big question about this album. Why wasn’t “One Bad Habit” released as a single? I remember having this on in my car and my friend who was in the car with me and unknown to things Twisted Sister began singing along to it. The lyrics, “I have one bad habit, I love to rock and roll” may have sounded cliche but would have worked. The guitars would have let metalheads know that it wasn’t a sell out song but the use of the horn section was vey nicely done.

“I Want This Night (To Last Forever)” comes in as if it’s going to be a power ballad but as it progresses, you get more power and less ballad. It’s just gets down and dirty and highlights the fact that Eddie Ojeda and Jay-Jay French haven’t lost their touch with the six strings. The penultimate track, “You’re All That I Need” is the true power ballad and brings back fond memories of their other great power ballad, “The Price” off the “Stay Hungry” album. This one comes pretty close to equalling that classic one. Keeping with the “Stay Hungry” theme, “Yeah, Right” is a short, to the point power track which closes this album the way “SMF” closes their most iconic album.

Track Listing:

  1. Wake Up the Sleeping Giant
  2. Hot Love
  3. Love is for Suckers
  4. I’m So Hot for You
  5. Tonight
  6. Me and the Boys
  7. One Bad Habit
  8. I Want This Night (To Last Forever)
  9. You’re All That I Need
  10. Yeah, Right
Twisted Sister

Dee Snider- lead vocals

Eddie Ojeda- guitars, backing vocals

Jay-Jay French- guitars, backing vocals

Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza- bass, backing vocals

Joey ‘Seven’ Franco- drums, percussion

Twisted Sister come out and play, taken at Bloodstock 2016

Due to the lack of recognition “Love is for Suckers” received, Twisted Sister would break up shortly after. Dee rarely speaks of the album and I now know why they didn’t play any songs off it when I saw them at Bloodstock 2010 and 16. He stated that it brings back too many bad memories for the band. It’s a big shame how one seemingly bad album, “Come Out and Play,” can wreck a band because I like the album a lot more than I did their previous one.

Next post: Gay Bikers on Acid- Drill Your Own Hole

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for Bruce Dickinson to receive a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2022 by 80smetalman

Before I launch into the album, I thought I’d share another photo of my metalhead granddaughter Juliana.

Ain’t she cute?

Once again, I have to thank my sister for sending me a track on a cassette from a band which would have totally passed me by in 1987. In fact, this post reminds me of two things which was wrong with music back in the 1980s and the first one is probably true today. My last post was about the phenomenal “Hysteria” album from Def Leppard, which received accolades worldwide. Like the album or not, it was a huge success. However, for every Def Leppard there must be at least 100 bands like Envy, who in 1987, had an album just as good but didn’t get the commercial break. This is why I feel it’s even more important to post about their only album, “Ain’t It a Sin.”

The only track from the album that made my sister’s tape was the opening title cut and it’s good. After all, it has stuck in my memory for more than thirty years. However and this is no criticism of my sister, there are better tracks on the album. If there was any track which screams, commercial single, it’s the second one, “I Believe in You.” It has that catchy melody after opening with a keyboard intro that lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad but the guitars kick in right after obliterating any such thoughts. If I had seen Envy live, I would have been at the front banging my head and flashing the horns along to it. Oops, it was the 80s, so at the song’s conclusion, I would have held my cigarette lighter aloft. This is the track of the album.

Right after, things get serious with the much harder song, “Heartache.” That sets the tone for practically the remainder of the album as the next few tracks really rock, which brings me to the other thing wrong with music and particularly metal back in the day. Envy is led by the sister combo of Rhonni and Gina Stile. Rhonni handles the vocal duties and does a brilliant job. However, it is Gina on guitar that really steals the show on the album and that was the black eye for heavy metal back then. With the exception of Lita Ford, female shredders were overlooked. Even Kelly Johnson of Girlschool fame didn’t get the recognition she deserved. This was a damn shame because Gina Stile can totally shred and does so on each and every song. Some of her best efforts are on “Lie Here Waiting.” Even her rhythm guitar riffs are exceptional as highlighted on the track, “Wait On You.” She shreds on that track as well.

Gina Stile

I keep asking myself, why didn’t “Ain’t It a Sin” make a bigger impact and Envy become a household name in the metal world? This is the big question, especially since the album was produced by none other than Dee Snider, yes, that Dee Snider. One clue could lie in the record label. The name ATCO rings a bell but I never heard of ATCO/Wounded Bird Records. So maybe the band wasn’t marketed properly or simply it could be down to the fact of an over saturated metal market. In either case, it’s a shame because this is one hell of a fine album.

Another great thing about this album is that it doesn’t tail off at the end. The finish is just as strong as the start. One track which could have been a second single is “I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll).” This has a catchy vibe that would have been good for commercial radio but not losing it’s hard rock edge. Once again, Gina shreds magnificently.

Yet another plus is that unlike on many albums, the penultimate track isn’t the least strongest track. In fact, it’s hard to discern which track should get that dishonour because the tracks are that good! “I’m Not Your Lover” is a brilliant track and though they shine on every track, the rhythm section is brilliant here. And the closer, “Hurt Me,” might start out like it’s going to be a ballad but it changes into a rocker, though I do like the acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Track Listing:

  1. Ain’t It a Sin
  2. I Believe in You
  3. Heartache
  4. Lie in Waiting
  5. Wait On You
  6. You’re So Hot
  7. All the Reasons
  8. I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll)
  9. I’m Not Your Lover
  10. Hurt Me
Envy

Rhonni Stile- lead vocals

Gina Stile- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Spencer- bass

Danny Kapps- drums

Additional Musicians

Alan St. John- keyboards

Arthur Stead- keyboards

Taylor Dane- backing vocals

I put the title track in for Dawn. May I ask a favour of all of you out there? Could you all go on Youtube and have a listen to the great, forgotten album which is “Ain’t It a Sin” by Envy? I am sure you’ll like it and even if you don’t feel free to comment either way. However, I am confident you will because the big sin is the fact that the album didn’t make the headway it should have.

Next post: Testament- The Legacy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Book Review: Bruce Dickinson An Autobiography

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

Welcome to my second ever book review. The first one was three years ago so I figured it was time I do another. Okay, it’s because I write more than I read but this particular book definitely needs a comment or three on. My total reaction to “Bruce Dickinson, An Autobiography” was, “I wish I could write like that.” Bruce has a distinct writing style that definitely entertains as well as it informs. When recounting his life, he doesn’t do the normal David Copperfield crap with dates and list of his life’s events. Instead he gives those accounts through his own eyes in a very amusing way which at times while reading it made me wonder if I should pack up writing.

Iron Maiden

Naturally, I read the book to hear about his life with the great Iron Maiden and yes, there are some wild accounts there. However, his life before and outside of Maiden was just as intense. Reading about his childhood, his father was a bit of a Delboy Trotter, (a character from the famous British sit-com “Only Fools and Horses), in the sense that he was always acquiring and running different businesses, often at the same time. At one point, he owned a hotel but sold used cars from the front of it. I point this out because I think Bruce’s childhood experiences contributed to his eccentricity.

Bruce Dickinson

How he became a pilot was also a very good and interesting read. He started on a twin engine plane and by the end, he was piloting huge passenger jets. Then there is how he started his brand of beer, “The Trooper.” However, the part that I found most interesting was during his solo career. His account of his concert in war torn Sarajevo and all what he and his band had to go through, the check points, the fear of getting fired on, to be able to perform was absolutely mind blowing. Talk about guts but then it was those guts that helped him beat cancer very recently. How he describes what he went through while battling this disease is harrowing and it’s only right that he gets full marks for overcoming it.

Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography is a cracking read from start to finish. He keeps the reader entertained while at the same time giving them insight into his wild and wonderful life. Plus there are a few surprises along the way as long as events that I didn’t know about but not surprised about. I bow to the superior writer here.

Reading the autobiography has further convinced me that Bruce Dickinson deserves a knighthood. Therefore, I call on all British readers to clink the link and sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

On a different note, though I have retired from festivals, I will still go for single days. This year, it looks as if I must go to Bloodstock on the Sunday because Queensryche are headlining and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is also on the bill for that day.

Next post: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

I don’t feel worth to post a link to Rock and Roll Children for this post.