Jay Jay French Explains How Twisted Sister Survived After Nirvana And Alice In Chains Wiped Out Hair Metal
Twisted Sister’s guitarist Jay Jay French recently talked about the band’s disbandment in 1988 and how they prepared for a comeback in 2001. He mentioned that they needed to resolve some issues before they stepped onto a scene where Nirvana and Alice In Chains wiped out the hair metal genre.
With its iconic glam makeup and songs that become very well known throughout the world, Twisted Sister is one of the most recognizable bands in the metal scene. The band created hit two songs, ‘I Wanna Rock’ and ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It,’ which they have been associated with since their release in 1984. Aside from that, its vocalist Dee Snider is an advocate for rock and metal music’s protection who saved the genre from being banned in 1985.
They were peaking ever since they started their band career, but they faced a downfall after releasing their 1985 album, ‘Love Is For Suckers.’ Unfortunately for their fans, they shifted into a more pop sound than metal and had removed their iconic makeup besides being more settled onstage. The album was a commercial failure, and the fans didn’t appreciate it very much. Soon after, Dee Snider quit the band, and they all officially disbanded in 1988.
After 13 years of staying apart and getting involved with other projects, the band members wanted to reunite. However, there were two influential bands at the scene at the time, Nirvana and Alice In Chains, who had shifted the interest away from hair metal. Therefore it required a considerable effort to come back with the disappeared genre. Jay Jay French stated in his recent conversation what they had to do to prove that Twisted Sister and hair metal is not dead.
He said that the first thing they did was make peace, repair personal problems, and grab big festival headlines. In 2001, they reunited with a benefit concert featuring Anthrax, Overkill, Sebastian Bach, and Ace Frehley. The crowd had missed Twisted Sister, and their interest resulted in quick ticket sales, which helped the band reclaim their place on the music scene again. According to Jay Jay, Twisted Sister was ‘damn great,’ and he is proud of their accomplishment.
Here is what he said in the interview:
“There was too much animosity within the band at that time. So the band couldn’t sustain itself and walked away. The band’s timing was impeccable. Because we walked away before the hair metal thing fell apart because of the arrival of Nirvana, and Alice In Chains which basically wiped everything out in about one day. In about one day, the whole genre was wiped out. We were already gone. So, when we came back in 2001 as fully formed, we were like mummified – perfectly mummified. We decided to return under very certain special circumstances. One; we repaired our personal problems because we were smart.
There was no way to predict where this was going except that we did make it a smart business move which is we’re not coming back to play corner bars, and we’re not coming back to be lumped in with three hair metal bands in some 2000-seat room. Either we’re coming back as superstars, or we’re not coming back. And we came back as top-line festival headliners. We returned and spent four years headlining 150 of the world’s biggest rock festivals playing to an average of 40 to 100 thousand people a night.
Now, here is the thing: how many bands can play to a hundred thousand people? How many bands are trusted to play to a hundred thousand people? How many bands are trusted by the promoters to headline festivals with hundred thousand people? The answer is a little tiny group. Because if you suck, you take the festival down with you. So you better be damn great, and Twisted Sister is damn great. Because we worked really hard to be great so that never let us down. I’m really proud of that. I’m proud of the fact that our business model upon the return was so clear and lived up to itself 100%.”
You can watch the full interview below.