Dee Snider Explains How Twisted Sister Changed the Game With Music Videos, Claims He Wrote Band’s Biggest Album in 45 Minutes

Singer Dee Snider looked back on his work with Twisted Sister in the early 1980s and explained how the band’s famous music videos for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” changed the game in the industry. Appearing in “Vintage Rock Pod” for an interview recently, Snider recalled the band’s difficulties in getting their idea through.

In fact, according to Snider, they were having a hard time getting signed to Atlantic Records back in the day. Asked whether he had any involvement in coming up with ideas for these videos, Snider replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“They were my ideas. Atlantic Records, who had rejected us so many times… And it was Phil Carson, who’s my manager today — he was the head of Atlantic Records Europe, he had signed ABBA, AC/DC, Genesis… He signed a few bands.”

You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll

“And it took his weight to challenge the president of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris, who said ‘It’s on your head, Phil.’

Snider said that Phil was the man who signed some of the biggest bands of all time, including ABBA, AC/DC, Genesis, and Yes. “He was proven correct,” added Snider, explaining that Phil’s decision to sign Twisted Sister was the right move.

1983’s “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” was a decent success. However, it wasn’t until 1984 that Twisted Sister made their huge break with the “Stay Hungry” album. What was also instrumental in the band’s success were music videos for We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” Snider continued:

“It was the early days of MTV, and they brought in a video director — his first-time video director, but he had done concert video — Marty Callner, who went on to become one of the biggest rock video guys in the ’80s, and who I’m still friends with today. By the way, one of the few business friends I have.”

Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take it (Extended Version) (Official Music Video)

Although Callner was already an experienced director, he saw potential in young Snider’s ideas:

“Marty came in, and he was cool enough and smart enough to see a young gun who was passionate, and he said, ‘What do you see for this video?’ I told him, ‘Dad’s yelling at the son. The son turns into me and drags the father down the stairs.’ He said, ‘Hold it, pull it. Let’s all write this down.'”

“He and I constructed the ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ video and the ‘I Wanna Rock’ video, which went on to be historic videos.”

Twisted Sister - I Wanna Rock (Official Music Video)

However, as Snider adds, the final result didn’t sit all too well with some of the higher-ups at MTV. For instance, Les Garland, the senior executive at the company, wasn’t into it. Dee continued:

“But yeah, it came from my crazy mind because I saw the possibility in video in the earliest stages, and people weren’t really doing this sort of passion play thing where you had the whole acting thing upfront first.”

“Matter of fact, the first thing Les Garland on MTV… He was very upset with our video. He said, ‘This isn’t a rock video. This is method acting.’ And he clipped off the whole front, started with the father walking in the bedroom, and never let that video out of medium rotation.”

Twisted Sister - Leader of the Pack (Official Music Video)

However, according to Snider, these two videos were a crucial influence on other bands of the era:

“Yet it went on to become this huge phenomenon that other bands — like Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, everybody — started imitating the Twisted Sister style of storytelling, a little mini passion play video.”

Discussing his work further, Snider also talked how he always had this “faucet of creativity” that he could turn on and off as needed. And this so-called “faucet” helped him in any form of creative work, be it writing new music, books, or coming up with video ideas. In fact, as he adds, it was so effective that he managed to write almost the entirety of “Stay Hungry” album in 45 minutes:

“I would have my song titles and I would get my tape recorder, handheld usually. And I would just look at a song title and get inspiration from the title. Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’…”

Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas: A December To Remember (Live in NJ) [FULL CONCERT]

“I mean, ‘Stay Hungry’ album, our biggest selling album, I wrote in 45 minutes, essentially wrote the entire record. My son was asleep in the crib, my wife went out to go to the grocery store, and I said, ‘Okay, I got a few minutes, let me turn on  the faucet.’ I look at it now like that.”

“And I worked on some song ideas. I put a bunch of ideas on tape. And these are little bits and pieces. Usually, the whole song but not every word. And when she came back after 45 minutes, she said, ‘How’s it going?’ I said ‘I think I got some good ideas for the new record.'”

“And every song from ‘Stay Hungry’ was on there except ‘The Price,’ which I had written in Jimmy Page’s bathroom while we were recording ‘You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll.’ But that’s another story.”

Twisted Sister - The Price (Official Music Video)

Photo: Alfred Nitsch (20140802-331-See-Rock Festival 2014-Twisted Sister-Daniel „Dee“ Snider)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.