Twisted Sister are (or to be more accurate, were) a Rock band (categorised under Wikipedia as Glam metal or hair metal, which sounds a tad harsh) who peaked in the 1980s. The entie band would dress in drag, and have really, really big hair.

The band came together in 1976, in New York, as a backlash to the prevalent disco music of the time. If you look at the lineups below, however, you'll see that I have lineup information from 1973 - I think that the although the band existed prior to 1976, that's when Dee Snider joined and when the band really took off. During the late 70s disco music had taken over the country, pushing the emerging metal genres into submission.

Dee Snider was the best known member of the band. Born on 15 March as Daniel Snider on Massapequa, Long Island, New York he privded the vocals in a typically outlandish fashion. His hair was twice as large as his head, and he wore things Dame Edna wouldn't touch. Eddie Ojeda was on guitar, Mark Mendoza did bass, Jay Jay French another guitarist and Tony Petri drums.

Their initial success came from their image, which had been marketed extremely well: MTV in some article said "they had a bizarre image that borrowed ideas from Kiss, Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls." The Kiss comparison is the most accurate, although they took themselves as slightly tongue-in-cheek (I think - why else would your music feature lyrics like "I wanna rock!" ?)

Their music was fairly interesting, consisting of clearly sexual lyrics and basic refrains in most of their songs - although that sounds cliched it must have been a refreshing thing to hear following the annoying perkiness of disco music. Their sound was rock and roll mixed with sharp guitar riffs which resulted in a heavy-metal-ish sound.

Their debut album was 'Under the Blade' and I can't claim to have heard it. Apparently it's quite good, as debut albums go. Twisted Sister were signed by Atlantic Records (I think) and around that time A.J. Pero started playing the drums for TS. Twisted Sister the went through a very successful period where they played at the UKs Reading festival and what MTV calls "a controversial performance on The Tube television show in 1982." I have no idea what that means, but they were doing the usual rock band stuff - swearing and doing other naughty things.

Although MTV says "The band never lived up to their initial promise, with successive albums simply regurgitating earlier ideas," they had at least one massive success - their 1984 album, Stay Hungry was released and quickly made the Top 20 in America and the UK. It then went triple platinum, and this was mainly because of the prescence of the song 'We're Not Going to Take It' - another piece of (ironic?) 1980s metal fodder. Stay Hungry also included the single 'I Am, I'm Me' and this got to a pretty poor No. 18 in the UK charts.

However, the best part of Stay Hungry for me was the song I Wanna Rock - a song that was ironically good and good at the same time. It had a great tune, but had monumentally stupid lyrics.

After some time they released the album Come Out And Play but by this time their domestic support was waning and the appeal of glam-rock had dimished. Audiences were getting bored of the usual stuff they came out with, and their corresponding tour failed miserably. The guutarist Pero left the band decided to reurn to his previous band, Cities. Joey Franco replaced him, and Snider became the leading force in the band. He decided to change the band's sound for a later album, Love Is For Suckers, but this failed miserably and their record deal with Atlantic was cancelled. Rollling Stone says "the band imploded in 1987."

If you look at the lineups below, however, you'll see that there is lineup information up till the present. I found the linups on fansite, and I can't explain why they still have information changing after 1987 - if anyone cn explain this please msg me.

I'll let Rolling Stone sum the band up - "With big hair, garish makeup, melodic distorted guitar and chorus-laden singles, Twisted Sister was the embodiment of '80s metal, but after two more albums the group disbanded in 1987. Dee Snider went on to a solo career and dabbled in acting, while Eddie Ojeda became a session musician and guitar instructor."

And finally, their lineups changed very often and the list below shows the astonishing speed with which band members were recycled...

February 1973 - December 1974:
Michael "Valentine" O'Neill: Vocals
Billy "Diamond" Stiger: Guitar
Mel "Starr" Anderson: Drums
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Jay Jay French: Guitar

January 1975 - March 1975:
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Frank "Rick Prince" Karuba: Vocals
Keith "Angel" Angelino: Guitar
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Mel "Starr" Anderson: Drums

April 1975 - August 1975:
Mel "Starr" Anderson: Drums
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Keith "Angel" Angelino: Guitar
Jay Jay French: Guitar & Vocals

October 1975 - February 1976:
Kevin John Grace: Drums
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar
Jay Jay French: Guitar & Vocals

February 1976 - March 1976:
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Kevin John Grace: Drums
Dee Snider: Vocals

April 1976 - December 1978:
Tony Petri: Drums
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Dee Snider: Vocals
Kenneth Harrison-Neill: Bass
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar

December 1978 - December 1980:
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar
Dee Snider: Vocals
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza: Bass
Tony Petri: Drums

December 1980 - April 1981:
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar
Dee Snider: Vocals
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza: Bass
Ritchie Teeter: Drums

April 1981 - March 1982:
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza: Bass
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Dee Snider: Vocals
Joey Brighton: Drums
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar

April 1982 - September 1986:
A.J. Pero: Drums
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Dee Snider: Vocals
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza: Bass
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar

March 1987 - October 1987:
Joey "Seven" Franco: Drums
Jay Jay French: Guitar
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza: Bass
Dee Snider: Vocals
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda: Guitar

January 1988 - 1990:
Dee Snider: Vocals
Marc Russell: Bass
Bernie Tormé: Guitar
Clive Burr: Drums

1991 - 1994:
Marc Russell: Bass
Dee Snider: Vocals
Joey Franco: Drums
Al Pitrelli: Guitar

1994 - 1995:
Dee Snider: Vocals
Joey Franco: Drums
Al Pitrelli: Guitar
Freddy Villano: Bass

1995 - 1996:
Dee Snider: Vocals
Keith Alexander: Rhythm Guitar
Derek Tailer: Bass
Charlie Mills: Drums
Spike: Lead Guitar

1996 - 1998:
Dee Snider: Vocals
Keith Alexander: Rhythm Guitar
Derek Tailer: Bass
Charlie Mills: Drums
Tony Palimucci: Lead Guitar

1999 - 2000:
Dee Snider: Vocals
A.J. Pero: Drums
Derek Tailer: Bass
Tony Palimucci: Lead Guitar
Dan MacCafferty: Rhythm Guitar

2001 - : Dee Snider: Vocals
A.J. Pero: Drums
Tony Palimucci: Lead Guitar
Dan MacCafferty: Rhythm Guitar
Freddy Villano: Bass


Sources:

  • http://netti.nic.fi/~rheikkil/lineups.htm
  • http://www.twistedsister.com/
  • http://www.cyber-goddess.com/smf/
  • http://www.deesnider.com/
  • http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/3290/

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