Twisted Sister
The CD Collection

Under the Blade Twisted Sister - Under the Blade/Ruff Cutts (Armoury Records) 1982/2011

Under the Blade
1. What You Don't Know (4:46)
2. Bad Boys of Rock 'n' Roll (3:21)
3. Run For Your Life (3:29)
4. Sin After Sin (3:23)
5. Shoot 'Em Down (3:54)
6. Destroyer (4:09)
7. Under the Blade (4:38)
8. Tear it Loose (3:10)
9. Day of the Rocker (5:03)
Ruff Cutts
10. What You Don't Know (5:33)
11. Shoot 'Em Down (3:56)
12. Under The Blade (4:42)
13. Leader Of The Pack (4:01)
14. Shoot 'Em Down [live] (3:37)
Live at Reading Festival 1982
1. What You Don't Know
2. Sin After Sin
3. Bad Boys (of Rock 'n' Roll)
4. Destroyer
5. Shoot 'Em Down
6. Tear It loose
7. Under the Blade
8. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
9. Interviews

Growing up in New Jersey in the late 1970's and early 80's and being a heavy metal fanatic, I became a Twisted Sister fanatic fairly early on. Unfortunately for me, I was too young to ever get to see the band in their pre-"Under the Blade" years as they mostly played bars and I was a teenager. (My first time getting to actually see them was on the "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll" tour in Philadelphia, PA opening for Dio.) However, I was intimately familiar with their music even before "Under the Blade" as I had purchased the "Bad Boys (Of Rock N' Roll)" single, then "Ruff Cutts" as new releases. I wore the grooves off those two vinyls in high school, especially "Ruff Cutts". The EP included three original tracks, each as fierce and heavy as the next. There was nothing "glam" about the music, ever if Twisted Sister looked like drag queens on crack. But then, that was part of the fun of it all. After all, their motto was, "Look like women, talk like men, play like motherf**kers". "Under the Blade", "Shoot 'Em Down" and "What You Don't Know" were pedal to the metal rockers, while "Leader of the Pack" was a left-over from their club days. The track almost didn't fit with the others, but we all thought of it as a fun novelty song. It fit with the band's campy image at the time. The whole thing was a big rock and roll "F.U." to everyone and their mothers, and this was just a taster EP released on Secret Records, a European punk rock label that no one had ever even heard of.

Then came the full length album "Under the Blade". This was the record we had been waiting for from Twisted Sister. The music was angry but fun, aggressive but memorable, and chock full of razor sharp riffing. It was heavy, street-tough, and contained nine anthems to our youth. This was a band that was hungry and that certainly came across on this record. The album was recorded in Europe at several different locations, including an old barn on a country hillside and was somewhat produced by Pete Way of UFO fame. It is fairly well known that despite Way being listed as producer, bassist Marco Mendoza had a lot to do with the recording and production. Pete Way, however, was a respected name in the NWOBHM movement and would bring the band some street credibility in England. Apparently it worked as the British crowds embraced the band for the most part, making Twisted Sister a part of a scene that they actually weren't born into. These guy were from the streets of New York, but it was that street-tough attitude that people loved about them, even across the globe in Europe. If the fast songs like "What You Don't Know", "Under the Blade" and "Tear It Loose" didn't do it for you, there were the slow, heavy rockers like "Destroyer" and the party-anthems like "Bad Boys of Rock 'n' Roll". "Tear It Loose" is a standout cut due to the fact that it is a proto-speed metal song and has guest guitarist Fast Eddie Clark of Motorhead performing a dual guitar solo with Jay Jay French. "Run for Your Life" starts off slower paced song before exploding into heavy metal overdrive. The album ends with an AC/DC inspired, heavy metal and blues fusion titled "Day of the Rocker". My only disappointment with "Under the Blade" when it was first released was the fact that "Ladies Boy" wasn't recorded. This was definitely a fan favorite at the time, but in retrospect, the song didn't really fit the overall vibe of the record. "Ladies Boy" is much more camp than the rest of the music on "Under the Blade".

Over the years fans and band members alike have criticized the album for it's "poor" production. However, the raw production is part of it's charm. At the time, Twisted Sister were a bar band from New York City, on a small punk label, playing raw, energetic heavy metal during the early years of the NWOBHM movement. Therefore, it is what it is! A lot of the music coming from the NWOBHM in Europe didn't have perfect production, but it wasn't about pristine recordings at the time. It was about attitude, heavy guitars, raw energy and rockin' hard. Twisted Sister delivered on every front. However, when Secret Records went under and Twisted signed with Atlantic Records, the album was eventually remixed and re-released with new cover art and an additional track. In my opinion, the slicker sound didn't really do the band any favors and I much preferred the raw, original mix.

For whatever reason, the original mix of "Under the Blade" was never officially released on CD in the United States. When Spitfire Records released their Twisted Sister remastered series in 1999, "Under the Blade" was released as the remixed, 10-song version. For us old-school, die-hards that wanted to hear the original nine-song recording, we had to either pay for an expensive Euopean import or stick with our old vinyl. "Ruff Cutts" on the other hand had never been officially released on CD at all. In 2011, the original mix of "Under the Blade" as well as "Ruff Cutts" was finally released officially in the US. The mix is identical to the original vinyl, though the mastering has improved some of the sonics, without destroying the overall feel of either record. As an added bonus, a live version of "Shoot 'Em Down", recorded at the Reading Festival in 1982, was included. This song had been released on vinyl before, as part of a Reading Festival compilation. Unfortunately Dee's stage banter, in which he calls out the audience for throwing stuff, was cut off on the version included here, though it was included on the record. Sometimes Dee's stage rants are as entertaining as the music itself, and that was certainly the case with this song. It's unfortunate it was left off.

The 2011 remaster also includes a DVD of the entire Twisted Sister Reading Festival performance. This was a monumental show for Twisted Sister. Not only did they win over a huge audience that may not have been familiar with the band at this point, but their cover of "It's Only Rock and Roll" included guest appearances by Lemmy (Motorhead), Fast Eddie Clark (Fastway/Motorhead) and Pete Way (UFO). Twisted Sister were always a huge band on stage, whether it was a small club in New Jersey or a huge stage in Europe, and this show certainly proved that. This was a band on a mission. They had something to prove, and they won over a hostile audience for their efforts. It's amusing watching the band dodge the many things being thrown at them on stage. The point when Dee calls out the audience is a classic moment in Twisted Sister history. The band discusses this show in length in the interview included on the DVD. It's very cool that the band/label saw fit to release this video, which had previously only existed in bootleg format.

Though I realize the re-issue/remaster boom has gotten ridiculous over the years, this is one that is quite welcome. "Ruff Cutts" and especially "Under the Blade" are monumental records that deserve a proper re-issue.

American Dog rips out a rockin' cover of "Under the Blade" on their "Last of a Dying Breed" CD. Ultimatum recorded a cover of "Sin After Sin" on their "Lex Metalis" CD. Six Feet Under recorded "Destroyer". Several other tracks have been recorded over the years by several bands, including many on the "Twisted Forever-Twisted Sister Tribute".

Under the Blade Twisted Sister - Under the Blade (East West/Japan) 1982

1. "What You Don't Know" (4:45)
2. "Bad Boys of Rock 'n' Roll" (3:19)
3. "Run For Your Life" (3:27)
4. "Sin After Sin" (3:22)
5. "Shoot 'em Down" (3:52)
6. "Destroyer" (4:15)
7. "Under the Blade" (4:39)
8. "Tear it Loose" (3:07)
9. "I'll Never Grow Up, Now!" (4:08)
10. "Day of the Rocker" (5:00)

This album was originally recorded in a barn in Europe with Pete Way (UFO) producing. The original release and mix was put out in 1982 on Secret Records. Once the band scored big with "Stay Hungry" in 1984, Atlantic Records had "Under the Blade" remixed and re-released in 1985 with an added track and a new cover, which featured a different photo from the same photo shoot in 1981. I prefer the original cover to the remix cover. "I'll Never Grow Up, Now!" was not on the original vinyl release and was taken from a self released single originally produced in 1979 by Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Kiss). Tony Petri was the drummer on this song. This Japanese copy is the remix. The album was remixed by bassist Mark Mendoza & Daniel McNerney and produced by Mark Mendoza. The Japanese copy also came with an extra insert that contains lyrics and a bio written in Japanese. Of course, I can't read it but from what I can make out of the bio, it seems to be talking about Twisted Sister's contribution to the NWOBHM. Of course the band was not British, but they were popular in Europe long before they became popular in the rest of the US (besides the East Coast, where they already had a large following).

U Can't Stop R n R Twisted Sister - You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll (Spitfire) 1983

1. "The Kids Are Back" (3:16)
2. "Like a Knife in the Back" (3:03)
3. "Ride to Live, Live to Ride" (4:04)
4. "I Am [I'm Me]" (3:34)
5. "The Power and the Glory" (4:20)
6. "We're Gonna Make It" (3:44)
7. "I've Had Enough" (4:02)
8. "I'll Take You Alive" (3:08)
9. "You're Not Alone (Suzette's Song)" (4:02)
10. "You Can't Stop Rock & Roll" (4:40)
11. "One Man Woman" (3:09)
12. "Four Barrel Heart of Love" (3:04)
13. "Feel the Power" (3:12)

JJ French
Jay Jay French

"You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll" is Twisted Sister's first major label release after several self released demos, singles, an EP and one album "Under the Blade." This album is quite good and was one of the soundtracks to my youth. It's 100% pure, raw, fists-in-the-air, sing-along, defiant, heavy metal. Some of the band's best anthems are on this disc including "The Kids Are Back," "We're Gonna Make It," "I Am (I'm Me)" and, of course, the title track. The album was a huge success in Europe and despite very little label support in the U.S., hit Gold Record status.

I saw the band for the first time on this tour opening for Dio. The show was on a cold December evening in 1984 in Upper Darby, PA at the infamous Tower Theater. I was a rabid fan and was finally old enough to see the band for myself. (Past shows had been a clubs that I wasn't old enough to get into at the time) They put on one heck of a show, dressed in their infamous costumes with the outrageous makeup and pink fencing covering their Marshall stacks. They blew away this fan that day and I will never forget it.

The 2001 Sptifire Records reissue contains three excellent bonus tracks.

Stay Hungry Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry (Atlantic) 1984

1. "Stay Hungry" (3:03)
2. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (3:38)
3. "Burn in Hell" (4:53)
4. "Horror-Teria (The Beginning)" (7:45)
...A) Captain Howdy
...B) Street Justice
5. "I Wanna Rock" (3:06)
6. "The Price" (3:48)
7. "Don't Let Me Down" (4:26)
8. "The Beast" (3:30)
9. "S.M.F." (3:00)

OK, I gotta admit, this album helped to alienate me from the band for a short time. I was a hardcore Sister fan before this album came out, wearing my pink muscle shirt with the TS logo to school proudly, but the bubblegum overtones and especially the overexposure on radio and MTV, well, it just became a joke that was no longer funny. It's almost like the whole macho bad boy image backfired on the band and instead of being feared, they became a shortlived joke. Instead of instilling "fear" into the hearts of middle-aged America with their music, the name of Twisted Sister became a running, household joke. The guys in make-up became clowns people would laugh at instead of tough guys that would make you shudder. Dee Snider himself has said many times that it was the band's success that caused it's demise. Too bad because looking back this was actually an excellent album.

OK, there are the "heard it a million times" cuts like "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock". These two songs were wildly popular, thanks in part to MTV and the crazy music videos. However, these two songs weren't all that different from songs like "I Am (I'm Me)" or ""We're Gonna Make It". They were up-breat teen anthems and they were fun. I'd even say "We're Not Gonna Take It" has a bit of a punk vibe/influence. Unfortunately the songs were played to death, from MTV, radio, and even in sporting arenas. Decades laer and both these songs are still played on rock radio and at sporting events around there would. However, besides these two songs there are incredible tracks like "The Beast," "S.M.F.," and the massive metal track "Burn in Hell" that make me wonder why everyone compleley abandoned Dee and his band of cohorts. Well actually, I have to admit, despite my initialy disappointment, I really do like this album. Uh oh, do I hear shouts of "poser" coming from somewhere? Ah, who cares! I like what I like. Twisted Sister rocks!

By the way, I saw the band on this tour as well. They put on a spectacular show at the Spectrum in Philadelphia opening for everyone's favorite elf, DIO, on his "Last in Line" tour. It is also noteworthy to mention that this album was produced by Tom Werman who has also produced for Ted Nugent, Stryper, Blue Oyster Cult, Molly Hatchet, Krokus, Cheap Trick, Kix and many other very well known heavy bands.

Come Out and Play Twisted Sister - Come Out and Play (Spitfire) 1985

1. "Come Out and Play" (4:55)
2. "Leader of the Pack" (3:44)
3. "You Want What We Got" (3:44)
4. "I Believe in Rock 'n' Roll" (4:03)
5. "The Fire Still Burns" (3:33)
6. "Be Chrool To Your Scuel" (3:54)
7. "I Believe In You" (5:23)
8. "Out On the Streets" (4:27)
9. "Lookin' Out For #1" (3:07)
10. "Kill or Be Killed" (2:46)
11. "King of the Fools" (6:26)

So what do you do after releasing a multi-platinum selling album? That must have been a tough question to answer for the Sisters at the time. Unfortunately their bad boy image quickly became a joke because of their success and their fan base was dwindling. Instead of appealing to teens and young adults, they were now appealing to grade school kids. "Come Out and Play" contains even more of a pop-edge than it predecessor. Songs like "Be Cruel To Your School" ultimately hurt the band's image, although it contained such musical guests as Alice Cooper, Billy Joel, Clarence Clemons, and Brian Setzer. Another cartoonish video was filmed for this song which was ultimately banned by MTV and helped to hurt the band's image even further. The album shipped gold but soon slid off the charts although the band successfully toured on this album for a year. I have read a bunch of Twisted Sister fan pages, all of them claiming that this disc is equal to or at least almost as good as the band's past albums. I consider myself a huge fan too, but there is no way I would say that. This album is no where near the excellence of "Under the Blade" or "You Can't Stop RnR." Sorry but no butt kissing here. Fact is that many bands that I respect have had their commercial failures, look at Savatage, "Fight for the Rock," Judas Priest's "Turbo," Raven's "The Pack is Back," Megadeth's "Risk," Ted Nugent's "Penetrator" or Kiss' "Unmasked." Funny thing is that many of these came out around the same time when heavy metal was no longer the bastard child of rock and roll, but a huge profit machine for big record companies. I think a lot of the fault on many of these albums, however, is not the bands, but the clueless, greedy record companies pushing for the next "big hit." (or at least that is my opinion.) Also have to add that the mix on this disc is a bit muddy, either that or the mastering on this 1999 reissue is lame.

AJ Pero with his "Come Out and Play Tour" drum kit.

Dee Snider promo

Love is for Suckers Twisted Sister - Love is For Suckers (Spitfire) 1987

1. "Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)" (4:20)
2. "Hot Love" (3:33)
3. "Love is for Suckers" (3:25)
4. "I'm So Hot for You" (4:05)
5. "Tonight" (3:52)
6. "Me and the Boys" (3:52)
7. "One Bad Habit" (3:17)
8. "I Want This Night To Last Forever" (4:19)
9. "You Are All That I Need" (3:13)
10. "Yeah Right!" (4:17)
11. "Feel Appeal" (3:19)
12. "Statutory Date" (3:11)
13. "If That's What You Want" (4:25)
14. "I Will Win" (3:29)
Twisted Sister 1987

Leaps and bounds better than "Come Out and Play" in my opinion. Still this disc doesn't sound like "The Bad Boys of Rock n Roll." Rather what we have here is an attempt at more straight-ahead, hard rock/pop metal songwriting. The raw edge and heavy approach of old was now mostly lost. Definitely adding to this was producer Beau Hill who had also worked with Ratt and Winger. Despite this fact, I still like this album quite a bit. I might even be so bold as to say that "Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)" is one of Dee's best songs ever, both lyrically and musically. "Hot Love" should have been a big radio hit and the title track rocks hard. I bought the record as a new release to the ridicule of many of my metalhead friends at the time. Due mostly to the cartoon-ish MTV videos, Twisted Sister had become a joke among metal fans. I didn't care then and I don't care now. Good music is good music, even if it's not what we all hoped for. Apparently many did not agree with me and the album did not sell well. Twisted Sister came to a bitter end at this point, with some of the band members feuled by hatred for each other; each pointing a finger at the other for the band's failure. This was a sad end to a band who had such a long history and such a rough climb to success. The 1999 CD re-issue contains four excellent bonus tracks.

Big Hits & Nasty Cuts Twisted Sister - Big Hits and Nasty Cuts (Atlantic) 1992

1. "We're Not Gonna take It" (3:39)
2. "I Wanna Rock" (3:04)
3. "I Am (I'm Me)" (3:36)
4. "The Price" (3:49)
5. "You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll" (4:42)
6. "The Kids Are Back" (3:17)
7. "Shoot Em' Down" (3:55)
8. "Under The Blade" (4:40)
9. "I'll Never Grow Up Now" (4:09)
10. "Bad Boys (Of Rock 'N' Roll)" (3:20)
11. "What You Don't Know Sure Can Hurt You" [live] (5:09)
12. "Destroyer" [live] (4:38)
13. "Tear It Loose" [live] (3:05)
14. "Run For Your Life" [live] (3:39)
15. "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll" [live] (10:13)
16. "Let The Good Times Roll/Feel So Fine" [live] (4:15)

Dee Snider

Picked up this one for the six live tracks, all of which were taken from 12" singles that were released in Europe for the "You Can't Stop Rock n Roll" album, except for "Let The Good Times Roll/Feel So Fine" which was released on the 45 RPM single of "You Can't Stop Rock n Roll." I have read several Twisted Sister pages that complained about the production quality of these live tracks, and while they are not crystal clear, I like the raw, club sound. These songs are all taken from when Twisted Sister were at their very best, hungry and still climbing the ladder of success. The cover art features photos of Twisted Sister going all the way back to 1973 up and through 1987. Also includes a bio titled "A Twisted Saga." Not a bad bio, but it conveniently leaves out even the mention of the band's last two albums.

Live at Hammersmith
Twisted Sister - Live at Hammersmith
(CMC International) 1994

1. "What You Don't Know (Sure Can't Hurt You)" (4:27)
2. "The Kids Are Back" (2:41)
3. "Stay Hungry" (2:45)
4. "Destroyer" (4:01)
5. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (3:15)
6. "You Can't Stop Rock & Roll" (4:00)
7. "Knife in the Back" (2:41)
8. "Shoot 'Em Down" (3:15)
9. "Under the Blade" (4:18)
10. "Burn in Hell" (5:30)
11. "I Am (I'm Me)" (3:08)
12. "I Wanna Rock" (7:57)
13. "S.M.F." (4:00)
14. "We're Gonna Make It" (3:44)
15. "Jailhouse Rock" (3:15)
16. "Train Kept A Rollin'" (10:04)

Jay Jay French

A live recording mostly taken from England's Hammersmith Odeon show from the "Stay Hungry" tour. Tracks 1-14 were recorded during this show when Twisted Sister were at the top of their game. Dee was certainly a smack talker, talking loud and proud about the band's quick rise to superstardom. The last two tracks were recorded in Detroit in 1979, well before the band even had a professional release out. The production on this album is far superior to the live tracks on the "Big Hits and Nasty Cuts" CD Personally I love live albums and this Twisted album is at the top of the stack. Twisted Sister were a band with a lot of charisma on stage, and this album preserves that charisma. "Jailhouse Rock" is an Elvis cover, "Train Kept A Rollin'" is a Yardbirds cover that has also been covered by Motorhead and Aerosmith, among others.

Twisted Sister united in 1998 to record a song ("Heroes Are Hard to Find") for Dee Snider's 'Strangeland' soundtrack.

Club Daze Vol 1 Twisted Sister - Club Daze Vol. 1: The Studio Sessions (Spitfire) 1999

1. "Come Back" (6:30)
2. "Pay the Price" (4:28)
3. "Rock 'n' Roll Saviors" (4:37)
4. "High Steppin'" (2:45)
5. "Big Gun" (4:02)
6. "T.V. Wife" (4:01)
7. "Can't Stand Still" (3:56)
8. "Follow Me" (3:52)
9. "I'll Never Grow Up, Now" (4:20)
10. "Lady's Boy" (4:11)
11. "Leader of the Pack" (3:54)
12. "Under the Blade" (4:29)
13. "Shoot 'em Down" (3:43)

This compilation of demo material from Twisted Sister's early years came out in 1999. The last three cuts on this compilation are from the "Ruff Cuts" EP that was released in 1981 by the band. One slight annoyance is that "What You Don't Know" from "Ruff Cuts" EP is left off this compilation. What makes it even more annoying is that they included a commentary on the song as if it were to be included. Argh! All four of the tracks from that album, however, were eventually re-recorded. All but "Leader of the Pack" made it onto the band's debut. "Leader of the Pack" was eventually re-recorded for "Come Out and Play" in 1985, and actually helped cause the demise of this band. The recording quality as a whole is pretty raw, as most of this material was recorded for demos and never intended for mass release. Still, it's cool to finally have some of these old glitter rock songs that most hardcore Twisted fans already had in the form of bootleg tapes. It is also cool to hear the progression in the band from a New York Dolls glam band to the heavy metal machine that they became. I love the lyrics to "Rock 'n' Roll Saviors"--"DISCO IS DEAD!" (Ha! I'll bet that was a slap in the face in 1978.) Also included is a very concise history of the band by guitarist Jay Jay French and a song by song commentary by Dee Snider. Should also mention that tracks 9-12 were recorded by Eddie Kramer who has also worked with Kiss and Jimi Hendrix, among others. Tracks 1-8 (1978), Tracks 10-12 (1979), Track 13 (1981).

Club Daze II Twisted Sister - Never Say Never: Club Daze II (Spitfire) 2001

1. "Never Say Never" (2:20)
2. "Blastin' Fast & Loud" (3:01)
3. "Follow Me" [live] 3:30)
4. "Under The Blade" [live] (5:02)
5. "Lady's Boy" [live] (5:09)
6. "Come Back" [live] (6:55)
7. "Can't Stand Still" [live] (4:49)
8. "Honey, Look Three Times" [live] (4:12)
9. "You Know I Cry" [live] (5:52)
10. "Without You" [live] (2:28)
11. "Plastic Money" [live] (4:10)
12. "Long Tall Sally" [live] (2:25)
13. "Johnny B. Goode" [live] (4:20)

Dee Snider

Disc number two in the Club Daze series. This disc features two newly recorded songs that apparently started back during the "Stay Hungry" sessions. According to the liner notes, these songs were discovered and only the drum tracks had been recorded, so the band got back together in 2001 and recorded the rest of the tracks. The production on these two tracks are outstanding and would have smoked anything on 'Stay Hungry'. If Twisted ever does decide to get back together and record something new, I hope this is the direction they take because great anthemic metal is hard to find these days. These two tracks alone are worth the price of admission, but fortunately the rest of the material is a good listen as well. Dee is quite the personality on stage. Tracks 3-9 were recorded on Halloween 1979 for a radio broadcast that apparently was never broadcast. The tracks were all newly mixed by Mark Mendoza in 2001, so the production is far superior to the live tracks from "Big Hits & Nasty Cuts." Favorite tracks from this selection of songs are "Lady's Boy" and, of course "Under the Blade." Track 10-13 were also recorded for a radio broadcast. Unfortunately these songs are taken from a first generation cassette so they could not be properly remixed. Still the production on these tracks isn't terrible, although not of the quality of tracks 3 through 9. Overall, another essential disc for Twisted Sister fans. Also should mention that the name of this disc could be either 'Club Daze Vol. II: Live in the Bars', as is printed on the cover and disc or 'Never Say Never...Club Daze Vol. II' as the spine of the disc says.

Twisted Sister - Still Hungry (Spitfire) 2004

1. "Stay Hungry" (3:14)
2. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (4:36)
3. "Burn in Hell" (5:37)
4. "Horror Teria" (8:42)
A. Captain Howdy
B. Street Justice
5. "I Wanna Rock" (4:15)
6. "The Price" (4:08)
7. "Don't Let Me Down" (4:45)
8. "The Beast" (3:25)
9. "S.M.F." (3:28)
10. "Never Say Never" (2:19)
11. "Blastin' Fast & Loud" (3:00)
12. "Come Back" (6:25)
13. "Plastic Money" (4:05)
14. "You Know I Cry" (4:21)
15. "Rock 'N' Roll Saviors" (5:04)
16. "Heroes Are Hard to Find" (5:00)

Twisted Sister 2004
Twisted Sister 2004

Everyone's favorite cross dressing heavy metal band has re-recorded the entire 1984 classic "Stay Hungry" album that included their two biggest radio and MTV hits, "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock." Of course most of the real fans aren't as interested in the 'hits' as they are with the solid metallic material like "Burn in Hell", "Horror Teria", "S.M.F" or even the melodic ballad "The Price". Not content to just re-record the album, however, the twisted madmen behind the make-up also redid four classic nuggets from the late '70s and early '80s when they were the drag-queens (kings?) of NYC. The demo versions of these songs were released on the "Club Daze" CDs, but the improved production and beefier guitar and drum sound really helps pump these songs up. "You Know I Cry" has a smokin' twin guitar attack, and "Rock 'N' Roll Saviors" is just such a cool song to begin with. While the song was written about disco, back in the disco 70's, it still applies to much of the popular CRAP stuff of today! Also included are two 1984 outtakes that weren't finished until 2001, "Blastin' Fast And Loud" and "Never Say Never" which were also released on "Club Daze II", and the band's 1998 reunion single, "Heroes Are Hard To Find." This track was originally written for Dee's failed Desperado project and later recorded by Twisted Sister for Dee's "Stangeland" horror film. While some 'fans' are complaining that the band should have just recorded new songs, the band felt that this CD deserved a reworking. Apparently they were never happy with the overly poppy, glossy production that it was given in the 80's and wanted the fans to hear it as they wanted to record it. According to the liner notes the band claims that it was Atlantic Records who forced the band into more radio friendly production values. Whether this be true or not, the sound quality is better on this remake, with cannons for drums, a meaty bass sound and razor sharp guitars. Whether anyone likes this more than the glossy original is a matter of opinion. Having heard the original some 1,000x over the years, it's hard to say I like one better than the other, but I can say that I dig the heavier sound presented here. I know many core fans lost respect for the band after "Stay Hungry" was released as it just didn't have that raw, brash, heavy sound that the first two albums had. I can imagine if this is how this CD had sounded in '84 that the band may not have become known as the cartoon band they unfortunately became known as. For the most part the songs are played pretty close to the originals, although there are some noticeable differences. Without listening to the original and comparing it, I noticed that the guitar solo in "We're Not Gonna Take It" is different and perhaps even a bit longer. "Burn in Hell", "Captain Howdy" and "Stay Hungry" now sound like they easily could have fit on either of the band's first two albums. "Burn in Hell" in particular reminds me of "Destroyer", which was one of those songs that made me a devoted fan so many years ago. Overall, I enjoyed hearing these songs again with a fresh, heavy production. Add to it all the bonus material, and this CD is a must buy for anyone into Twisted Sister or quality 80's heavy metal.

Twisted Sister - Live at Wacken-The Reunion (Eagle Vision) 2005

See DVD section for review and track listing.

Twisted Christmas Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas (Razor & Tie) 2006

1. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (4:48)
2. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" (4:39)
3. "White Christmas" (3:56)
4. "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (4:08)
5. "Silver Bells" (5:05)
6. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (3:39)
7. "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (3:09)
8. "Deck The Halls" (2:52)
9. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" (3:40)
10. "Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days Of Christmas)" (5:14)
11. "We Wish You A Twisted Christmas" (:36)

Dee Snider

Twisted Christmas to all, and to all a twisted night! "A Twisted Christmas" is the second, and supposedly final, recording by Twisted Sister after their reunion a few years ago. When I first read on that the band would record an album of traditional Christmas songs, I thought to myself, "oh no, say it isn't so." Despite being such a huge fan of the band, I thought this CD would be a travesty. It just sounds like such a bad idea. However, upon listening to the CD for the first time, it was fun and I enjoyed it. Who would have thought? Taking traditional Christmas songs and adding a metal twist isn't something new, but when Twisted Sister manages to make "O Come All Ye Faithful" work with the music to "We're Not Gonna Take It", it's a whole new beast. All ten tracks get a Twisted treatment, but none more so than "Heavy Metal Christmas" which is the TS version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". This song is just funny, and enjoyable at the same time. There are not turtle doves and partridge in a pear tree. No, instead we are given five skull earrings and a tattoo of Ozzy. Classic!

On my heavy metal Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 Silver crosses, 11 Black mascaras, 10 Pairs of platforms, 9 Tattered t-shirts, 8 Pentagrams, 7 Leather jackets, 6 Cans of hairspray, 5 Skull earrings, 4 Quarts of Jack, 3 Studded belts, 2 Pairs of spandex pants, and a tattoo of Ozzy!

Also, "Let It Snow" takes it's music from the little known Twisted Sister song "Rock 'N' Roll Saviors". Aside from this song and "O Come All Ye Faithful", the band stick pretty close to the original arrangements and lyrics. Of course they rock the songs a bit harder than what most people might be use to hearing and add in some guitar solos, crunchy riffs and some killer bass work from "Animal" Mendoza. Check out the bass solo in "Silver Bells". There is even a duet with Lita Ford on "I'll Be Home For Christmas" that is priceless. Hearing a snarling Dee Snider sing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire" is about as twisted as you can get. It sort of reminds me of hearing these guys sing some of those oldies songs like "Leader of the Pack", back in the day. It's also worth mentioning the humorous opening which features Dee singing over an acoustic guitar and some cheesy trumpet. This will be one of those Christmas discs that will see play every year for the Holidays. However, despite the fact that I think this is a fun CD, I do still wish this wasn't how Twisted Sister were going out. This is a novelty CD and I know that these guys are capable of giving us another studio album that could equal the power of their 80's outputs. Oh well, what else is there to say? What do I want for Christmas? I wanna rock!

Astoria Twisted Sister - Live At The Astoria (Demus) 2008

1. "What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)" (5:00)
2. "The Kids Are Back" (2:48)
3. "Under The Blade" (4:44)
4. "Destroyer" (4:19)
5. "Like A Knife In The Back" (2:43)
6. "Burn In Hell" (5:27)
7. "Ride To Live" (3:43)
8. "Shoot 'Em Down" (3:11)
9. "You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll" (4:21)
10. "The Fire Still Burns" (3:09)
11. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (3:56)
12. "The Price" (4:38)
13. "I Am, I'm Me" (4:21)
14. "I Wanna Rock" (8:56)
15. "Come Out & Play" (5:31)
16. "S.M.F." (6:42)

Dee Snider
Dee Snider

A couple years ago I was able to see the reunited Twisted Sister live in Arizona. It was one of the most fun shows I have been to since the last time I saw Twisted Sister in 1984. My friends Chris, Randy and I were in the front row being smashed against the security barricades, covered in soda and beer from the crap being thrown from the fans behind us, but we didn't care. We were screaming, jumping, fist throwing..., you get the picture. I was reliving the glory days of one of my favorite bands and they just owned us for 90 minutes. Despite having grown 20 years older, Twisted Sister still put on a stellar show.

"Live At the Astoria" captures the reunited Twisted Sister in London, England on August 1, 2004 at the Astoria. The set list sticks pretty closely to the classic stuff from the first three albums with a few surprises like "Come Out And Play" and "The First Still Burns". I don't know if there were any overdubs done here, but the sound is fantastic. The band sounds as tight as they ever have. The recording is stellar to boot. The raw energy of Twisted Sister live is captured nicely here. Twisted Sister are all about the live performance. While I love "Under the Blade" and "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll", what really captured this band's energy from the early 80's were those classic Marquee recordings that were released on the scattered 12" singles. "Live at the Astoria" captures that same energy. The only place where I really could hear the band's age was in a few of Dee's shrieks such as the scream at the end of "Under the Blade". Otherwise, I dare say that this recording should satisfy new and old fans alike.

Thankfully, "Live at the Astoria" contains both a CD and DVD version of the concert. I've said it in many reviews in the past, I tend to spend much more time listening to music than I do watching it. The packaging here is quite nice. The two discs are wrapped in a nice digi and comes with a 8-page full color booklet with liner notes by Malcome Dome and an interview with Jay Jay French.

OK, now let's stop milking the old material and give us a brand spankin' new Twisted Sister platter!

Stay Hungry Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition) 2009

DISC ONE ("Stay Hungry")
1. "Stay Hungry " (3:04)
2. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (3:40)
3. "Burn In Hell" (4:43)
4. "Horror-Teria (The Beginning)" (7:43)
......."Captain Howdy"
......."Street Justice"
5. "I Wanna Rock" (3:03)
6. "The Price" (3:50)
7. "Don't Let Me Down" (4:28)
8. "The Beast" (3:31)
9. "S.M.F." (3:02)
DISC TWO ("Bonus Tracks")
1. "Death From Above" (2:43)
2. "Prime Motivator" (2:25)
3. "We're Not Gonna Take It" [demo] (2:48)
4. "Death Run " (1:46)
5. "This One's For You" (2:01)
6. "S.M.F." [demo] (2:15)
7. "We're Coming On" (1:43)
8. "Call My Name" (2:10)
9. "Burn In Hell" [demo] (5:09)
10. "Pay The Price" (1:42)
11. "What's Love Without You" (1:45)
12. "Our Voice Will Be Heard" (1:30)
13. "You Got To Fight" (1:40)
14. "The Price" [demo] (2:37)
15. "Stay Hungry" [demo] (1:58)
16. "KMET Radio Spot " (:25)
17. "30" (4:24)
18. "Lollipop Guild [Hidden Track]" (:30)

I anxiously awaited this re-release. "Stay Hungry" is a considered a classic by many fans, and is certainly the album that made Twisted Sister superstars in the 80's. However, even the band admits that the production on this one was just too clean. Twisted Sister are a crushing band live, and this album doesn't have that same power. The re-recorded "Still Hungry" release a few years ago was very cool, but frankly, any Twisted Sister fan worth his pink spandex wanted to hear all the original songs with beefed up production values.

When I picked up the disc at Best Buy and popped it into my car deck, I was stunned to hear how poor the mastering was. I'm not a fan of the current trend to compress sound and make it loud to the point of clipping, but this is to the extreme in the opposite direction. Even cranked at full volume this "remaster" just has no balls whatsoever. Truly disappointing. On first listen, I wondered if I had a bad CD or something. A quick check on-line revealed that I was not the only fan disappointed in the mastering. Within days of the release Rhino Records made a statement and claimed the low volume discs were "a mistake".

Some consumers may have purchased a copy of the Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry 25th Anniversary Edition with lower than normal audio levels on Disc 1. The error was corrected as soon as it was discovered, however some defective copies shipped to retail stores. Rhino Records was quick to fix the mistake, sending out new copies, along with a letter of apology signed by Jay Jay French and a white Twisted Sister button. Very nice. Best of all, the mastering is better. The old classic is a bit louder overall, with more bottom end.

However, even if the mastering wasn't fixed, this was not a total waste of money. Disc two offers a ton of unreleased and demo material. It's cool to see how some of the songs that made it onto "Stay Hungry" developed. In particular it was interesting to hear the slight lyric changes in "Burn in Hell" and a notably heavier and shorter version of "Stay Hungry". Two of the unreleased tracks, "Call My Name" and "Our Voice Will Be Heard" were both released on Dee Snider's excellent post-reunion solo CD, "Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down" with AJ Pero on drums. Some of the other unreleased tracks would probably have made excellent Twisted Sister song once they had been fully developed. "We're Coming On" could easily have been written for the "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll" LP. "Death From Above" has an AC/DC vibe to it. "Prime Motivator" is has a bit of a funk groove to it, and stands in stark contrast to much of the rest of the material. This song actually sounds like something Twisted Sister might have written pre-"Under the Blade". With some more development, this might have been a great song. "Death Run" is a speed metal number that should have been properly recorded. This song has that same edgy sound that much of "Under the Blade" had. Overall, this collection of demos is a great listen for fans of the band. The album finishes off with a new song title "30", that Dee Snider had written as part of the Gone Country reality show. This blues based hard rock number is actually quite good. There is also an odd little hidden track, which is nothing more than band humor and has someone singing "Lillipop Guild" from The Wizard of Oz.

As with most celebratory reissues, "Stay Hungry" features expanded liner notes and tons of photos of the band. Unfortunately someone thought it would be a good idea to include promo photos from the "Come Out And Play" years. With the plethora of live photos and such from the "Stay Hungry" years, you would have thought they could have included some of those rather than including photos from another era of the band. The liner notes were an interesting read and gives good insight into the band and producer's thinking processes when this album was being recorded.

Marquee ClubTwisted Sister - Live At the Marquee Club (Rhino Handmade) 2011

1.      What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You) (5:01)
2.      Sin After Sin (3:08)
3.      Bad Boys (Of Rock ’n’ Roll) (5:08)
4.      Destroyer (4:17)
5.      Leader Of The Pack (3:10)
6.      Tear It Loose (3:03)
7.      Band Rap (3:22)
8.      You Can’t Stop Rock ’n’ Roll (4:15)
9.      Run For Your Life (3:36)
10.     Shoot ’Em Down (3:32)
11.     Dee’s Rap (4:36)
12.     It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (But I Like It) (9:31)
13.     Band Introductions (5:48)
14.     I Am (I’m Me) (3:13)
15.     Under The Blade (6:48)
16.     Let The Good Times Roll (4:18)

I've already reviewed the Marquee show several times as it's been released in various formats over the years. In the 80's a handful of songs were released on various 7" and 12" singles. Some of the Marquee songs were released on the "Big Hits & Nasty Cuts" collection, but the sound quality on those songs were terrible. As well, the show has been available as a bootleg for years. Regardless, several of these songs have never been officially released before.

The Marquee show is, without a doubt, one of my favorite live recordings ever. Having seen Twisted Sister live at a small venue before they became the kings of MTV, I was privy to how awesome they were on stage. They were animated, theatrical, camp and heavy! Twisted Sister were an insane touring machine in 1983 and it shows in their performance. At this point in their career they had just signed with Atlantic Records and had yet to conquer the world. They were hungry and hell-bent on being the biggest band in the world. Twisted Sister were a loud, obnoxious, in-your-face, hardcore, heavy metal band and were determined to kick your ass each and every time they stepped on stage. I have no doubt that the band walked off stage at the end of each night and passed out after giving everything they had. They just tear it up and leave that crowd exhausted. While I loved their studio albums, there is no denying the power these guys had on the stage and this recording captures that raw, live energy.

Almost as entertaining as the music itself is Dee's stage banter. His rant during the band's cover of "It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (But I Like It)" is legendary and makes the version that was originally released as the b-side to the "I Am (I'm Me)" single the ultimate recorded version. The version included here is not the same as the version on the single and is obviously the recording from the other night. It's fairly similar to the previously released version, though Dee's banter isn't quite as hyper and over-the-top as the other version. Still, it's cool to have both versions.

This recording is 100% live, so there are no studio tricks to fix the rubs, mistakes, vocal cracks, etc. It's all there! It's Twisted Sister captured live in their prime.

The 2011 Rhino Handmade release compiles one full set from both nights of the band's historic Marquee visit in 1983. The music comes in a pink gatefold made from heavy-duty cardstock and die-cut into the shape of the iconic Twisted Sister logo. One the backside of the gatefold cover journalist Malcolm Dome writes some detailed liner e about how the Marquee dates represented a turning point in the band's career.

“There was a growing belief that the still young and untried Long Island group had something a little special about them, but the world at large had yet to be convinced. But what you have here is, perhaps, the moment when all that was overturned – when this quintet of focused and fired-up talents became one of the all-time greats.”

Rhino made a big deal of pre-ordering in order to be one of the lucky few that would get an autographed copy. I pre-ordered but wasn't one of the lucky ones. Still, a cool package and a great recording.

Also check out:
Twisted Forever
Twisted Forever-Twisted Sister Tribute
(Koch) 2001

Twisted Sister performs a cover of AC/DC's "Sin City" and performs "You Can't Stop Rock n Roll" with ex-Skid Row vocalist Sebatian Bach on vocals. Full review and track listing in the tribute section.

Hideous Dee!

Autographed 8x10 promo photo
Twisted Sister
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1985 promo photo

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