Led by mop-haired, gender-bending frontman Dee Snider, the Glam Metal band Twisted Sister had a brief ride as one of the most popular Metal bands of the 80s, driven in part by heavy MTV airplay of videos for their hit singles “We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock."
The band formed in the early 70s in suburban Long Island, New York. Initially their music reflected the Glam Rock influence of the New York Dolls, but when lead singer Dee Snider joined in early 1976 the band took on a heavier sound, with influence from the music and theatricality of Alice Cooper and KISS. Their popularity spiked with local Metal fans, but the band struggled to move beyond the club circuit.
That changed with the 1984 album Stay Hungry. Driven by massive MTV airplay of the band’s videos—mini movies that cartoonishly pitted the band against authority figures—the album went triple platinum, and the band toured extensively.
The band attracted less favorable notice from the Parents Music Resource Center, a Washington D.C. based group formed in 1985 who sought to add parental advisory stickers to albums referencing violence, drug use, or sexual behavior. The PMRC singled out Twisted Sister as a bad influence on young record buyers in government hearings, and Snider appeared before the Senate to defend the group and argue against censorship (as did Frank Zappa and John Denver).
Perhaps it was overexposure, bad press, or changing trends, but Twisted Sister’s next album came nowhere close to repeating the success of Stay Hungry. This time around MTV refused to play the video for "Be Chrool to Your Scuel" calling it offensive. The band attempted to recover from the backlash, but by 1987 they had disbanded.
Twisted Sister had sporadic reunions in the 1990s, then reunited more permanently after a positive response to a 2011 performance at a 9/11 benefit concert. Since then they’ve done sporadic short tours and played occasional festivals. Dee Snider has a syndicated radio show, and in 1998 wrote and starred in a horror movie, Strangeland.