Dee Snider Says Hair Metal ‘Had It Coming,’ Calls Whitesnake ‘Assembled’
If anyone remembers the watershed moment when grunge toppled hair metal in the early 1990s, it's former Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider.
After all, the rocker was just then starting to dip his toe into the world of radio, learning the ins and outs of programming rock tunes for the airwaves after Twisted Sister's first breakup in 1988. That meant the musician was in a prime position to survey the changing musical landscape. Looking back now, the 66-year-old entertainer suggested an authenticity shift in rock was unavoidable, singling out one particular hair metal act, Whitesnake, that he identified as being "assembled."
Indeed, hair metal "had it coming," Snider opined to Consequence on Tuesday (Sept. 21).
"It had gotten so watered down and so corporate and so predictable," he continued, that "bands were being assembled for their look. Whitesnake, you know, the band in that first video, 'Still of the Night,' was assembled — physically assembled — for being pretty. They were talented, as well. … But certainly, it was a looks driven-thing."
Snider added, "It got to the point where you get the right producer and the right songwriter … you get the right costume designer, and … do the video. And you've got a multiplatinum act, yay! … Then, all of a sudden, it's 'unplugged,' and we're not even electric anymore, we're singing folk songs — well, now you deserve to be knocked off your pedestal."
And knocked off they were — as far as the numbers were concerned — by the likes of those now considered grunge greats: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and more.
"When that Nirvana album arrived, that first Soundgarden, the first Pearl Jam album, Alice in Chains — I was like, this is awesome, this is heavy," Snider recalled. "People forget that first Pearl Jam album was pretty heavy. To me, it was metal; I didn't see what was not metal about it. But then it started to become this thing where they [said] it wasn't metal — it was this new thing. And suddenly, it became what was killing other bands. But I thought it was great when it first came out."
As for the term "hair metal," the genre tag that still sticks to Twisted Sister, the musician said he now embraces it rather than hides from it.
"Most people aren't aware," Snider explained, "that that name along with virtually every other nickname given to any form of music was a derogatory term stuck on the music by some journalist. 'Grunge'? Those bands in Seattle hated being called grunge."
Snider's latest solo album, Leave a Scar, came out in July, the same month the singer experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 infection despite being fully vaccinated. Snider recently gave an exclusive interview to Loudwire and appeared with his family on Celebrity Family Feud. Purchase Leave a Scar here.