Formed in 1972, Twisted Sister is a glamour rock band from Long Island, New York. The painted quintet became popular in the 1980s for their powerful outspoken lyrics and heavy guitar riffs. Similar acts include Poison, Kiss, the Scorpions and Warrant.
In the early 1970s, liberalism took center stage and Twisted Sister was there to exploit it. As a result, the band grew long hair, threw on make-up and wrote about the issues within public school systems. The group underwent member changes during the formative years; yet, by the end of 1972 they had a band name and lineup ready. In 1973, the band consisted of Michael Valentine, Billy Diamond, Mell Star, Kettenth Neill and Jay Jay French.
For the next two years, Twisted Sister played the local East Quogue bar circuit. Without gaining much notoriety, the group played almost 7 nights a week. During this time, they went through more member changes, which switched the music direction of the band. In 1976, they added smashing vocalist, Dee Snider. His musical range proved far greater than past singers, allowing them to cover Led Zeppelin and other popular acts.
In 1978, Twisted Sister jumped on the “Death to Disco” bandwagon that began in Cominskey Park. Fans of the anti-disco movement made their popularity grow to astronomical proportions. They sold out the New York Palladium without any label or radio representation. By the early 1980s, the group had a large cult following that called themselves the “Sick Motherfucking Friends of Twisted Sister.” In turn, they headed to the UK to find a record deal and capitalize on their success. At this point the band consisted of, what is considered the official band lineup. Upon their arrival, Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza and A.J, Pero landed a contract with Secret Records.
In 1982, Twisted Sister dropped their debut EP, Ruff Cutts. The song featured heavy guitar riffs and vocals that sounded more metal than glam. They followed their EP with the release of their first record, Under the Blade. The debut album failed to meet commercial standards; yet gained the group an underground following in Europe. After Secret Label went under, they signed with Atlantic Records to represent them.
They entered the studio and in 1984, released their most successful album, Stay Hungry. The record sold over 3 million copies, thanks mostly to “We’re not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” Both songs diverted from their heavy metal style to a more mainstream sound. Both critics and fans received the album well garnering Twisted Sister international success.
The next record, Come Out and Play, sold over 500,000 copies; yet, didn’t do much for the band. Their popularity began to demise, forcing some members to seek side projects. They regrouped in 1987 and dropped Love is for Suckers, but again the record floundered and Snider left the band. Twisted Sister spent the next 20 years on hiatus working on projects and releasing remixes of old albums. In 2012, they released a DVD with live footage and backstage access. The group is currently dismembered; yet, still participates in interviews and random music projects.
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