They were the Grand Funk of Glam and the NY Dolls of Metal. Some considered Twisted Sister a joke, others called them the greatest bar band in the world. While microcosm of Punk/New Wave ...
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Jon Mikl Thor was a bodybuilding, steel bending, brick smashing rock star in the 70's and 80's whose theatrical band, Thor, never quite made it big. Years later he attempts a comeback that nearly kills him.
They were the Grand Funk of Glam and the NY Dolls of Metal. Some considered Twisted Sister a joke, others called them the greatest bar band in the world. While microcosm of Punk/New Wave was taking over NYC in the mid 70s - early 80s, Twisted Sister was battling their way to the top of a vast suburban, cover-band bar scene that surrounded NYC in a 100 mile radius, yet existed in a parallel universe.Written by
I was fifteen years old when I saw my first concert, Twisted Sister, March 25th 1986 Hammersmith Odeon London. The 'Come Out And Play' tour, it changed everything, a door was opened and some three decades later it's still ajar. For me, like so many, TS first came to my attention via the 'Were Not Gonna Take It' and 'I Wanna Rock', singles of the Stay Hungry album. It was (for me) new, angry, anthemic, exciting and bizarre. The now famous promotional video's made them the darlings (for a while) of a new MTV generation. Before the fame, MTV, Atlantic Records and sold out world tours there was the 'Club Daze', ten years of working the nightclubs and bars of the Tri-state area of New York, between 1972-1982. This crowd funded film by Andrew Horn has been made with the bands full approval and co-operation. WATFS concentrates on the bands pre mass fame years 1972-1982, the making of the Twisted Sister. WATFS is not your usual heavy metal/rock band clichéd sex, drugs, divorce, suicide rehab, Bimbo's and TV's out of windows tale.
This is the real world of a hard working band, focused, hungry (stay), on their own struggle to 'make it'. To get a record deal and break out of the confines of the New York area and one day rule the rock world. No stone is left unturned, no detail missed, the stories from past, present and sadly departed members (Drummer AJ Pero unexpectedly passed away earlier this year from a heart condition while on tour with rock band Adrenaline Mob.) are told with a refreshing pride and honesty. The two main interviewees are singer Dee Snider and founding member, guitarist and CEO Jay Jay French. TS is Jay Jay's baby but Snider's child, the two talk openly on their internal battle to seize control of the band. Snider won the song writing, lead vocals, and costume choice, JJ remains the bands pragmatic business brains, historian, and media spokesman. We hear from Journalists, record executives, club owners, promoters, managers, road crew, rival bands and the original hardcore (SMF'S) fans. As an unsigned band they played five nights a week, performing between two and four sets per night. The band performed (at their height) to between three hundred and three thousand fans per night, earning up to ten thousand dollars an evening. T-shirts, posters, stickers and self made seven inch singles were all sold in vast numbers making TS a full time wage paying band. They sold out the New York Palladium in 1979 without a record deal or any real promotion, Three thousand two hundred fans. Even with this manic following they needed to cross the pond to finally get a record deal, of sorts. The UK saved TS then drowned them and saved them again, Sounds music paper, Secret Records, Lemmy and The Tube TV show all gave the band credibility and exposure on a nationwide scale. The band never looked back, high profile live dates mixed with their sheer determination finally paid off. Within two years of getting signed by Atlantic they were to become the multi platinum selling artist they always believed they should and would be. As a music documentary it works a number of levels, you are transported back to the late 70's, the club flyer's, live footage, early band photographs, all draw you back to a much tougher but simpler social media free, time and place. For Twisted Sister fans this is a 'must see', for everyone else a 'you really should see'.
The next chapter also needs to be told, the commercial success, Tipper Gore's PMRC, Senate hearings, Beau Hill, break ups, Dee's other musical projects, 9-11, reunions, The Xmas album!! (my pet hate), their 2016 final ever tour and the tragic loss of AJ Pero.
Play It Loud Mutha!
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