During a recent interview with Consequence, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider discussed hair metal and grunge as genre names. He stated that no band likes to be labeled as such but, they have tried to embrace it to overcome it. The singer also talked about whether or not grunge destroyed hair metal.
Twisted Sister is best known for their songs ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘I Wanna Rock.’ They entered the music industry with their anarchist point of view, and their music videos represented the band’s exaggerated humor. Because of Twisted Sister’s style, featuring heavy makeup and glamorous costumes, the band was labeled a glam/hair metal band. However, Dee Snider never liked the term and thought it was inappropriate.
In his recent talk, Snider looked back at the names the media gave the bands and discussed their effect. The singer said that hair metal had its downfall coming because they got caught in the commercialized side of metal music, and the songs, the music videos were all about appearance.
Here is what he said about hair metal during his recent interview:
“It had it coming, it had gotten so watered down and so corporate and so predictable. Bands were being assembled for their look. Whitesnake — the band in the video for ‘Still of the Night’ was physically assembled for being pretty. They were talented as well, Rudy Sarzo and Adrian Vandenberg, but it was certainly looks throughout the thing.
It got to the point where you get the right producer, right songwriter, and you know, Bruce Fairbairn, and you get that person who did all the Bon Jovi songs, Joan Jett and Alice Cooper, I forgot the guy’s name, who co-wrote all of these pop hit metal songs. You get the right costume designer, and you get Marty Callner to do the video, and you got a multihit song. And then all of a sudden, it’s unplugged, and we’re not even electric anymore — we’re singing folk songs. Well, now you deserve to be knocked off your pedestal.“
After the musical downfall of hair metal, Snider said that he considered Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains’ sound as metal and thought they were brilliant. However, the new heavier metal genre had started being called grunge, and most bands didn’t like that.
Here is what he stated about grunge:
“I was doing my first radio show, I was looking at the radio, and I had a show called ‘Metal Nation.’ Local, Sunday night, ten to midnight show. I was getting like three bucks an hour, a couple of hours a week, doing everything myself, learning the craft. When that Nirvana album arrived, and Soundgarden, and the first Pearl Jam album, Alice in Chains — I thought, ‘This is awesome. This is heavy!’ People forget that the first Pearl Jam album was heavy. It was to me, metal. I didn’t see what was not metal about it. Then it started to become this thing where they were saying, it wasn’t metal, it was this new thing. And suddenly became what was killing other bands. But I thought it was great when it first came out.
You thought about the term hair metal. I embrace it rather than hide from it. Most people aren’t aware, too many people, that that name along with virtually every other nickname given to any form of music was a derogatory term stuck on the music by some journalists. Grunge, those bands in Seattle hated being called grunge. Hair metal, heavy metal. Zeppelin, AC/DC, Sabbath, they don’t like being called heavy metal. That was a negative term. Jazz was a negative term.
Historically, people have tried to define a band with a shitty catchphrase. Like boybands, do you think boybands like to be called boybands? They thought they were just making pop music, and now I’m a boyband. I’m 50 years old, and ‘I am in a fucking boy band.’ But the fans pick up on them, and they don’t see them as derogatory. So, they don’t see it as hair metal as being a negative, or heavy metal, or grunge, or punk. They hated the term punk.”
It seems pretty clear that the musician doesn’t like putting labels on bands, and therefore he thinks it is disrespectful for the media to do so. However, he also argued those labels lose their negative connotations once the musicians learn to embrace them instead of fighting them.