Dee Snider said that he wrote an early draft of Twisted Sister’s bestselling “Stay Hungry” studio album in around 45 minutes, likening the process to turning on a “faucet of creativity” in his mind.
Although they ended up being a household name in the ’80s rock scene, the rise of Twisted Sister wasn’t one of those overnight success stories that seemed to happen fairly frequently in that time and place. Instead, the band had been grinding for 12 years before striking gold with 1984’s “Stay Hungry”, but strike gold they did — the album skyrocketed them to the genre’s forefront, produced two timeless anthems in the form of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”, and eventually achieved mulit-platinum levels of sales.
Moreover, Dee tells Vintage Rock Pod in a recent interview that he wrote a fairly detailed first draft of the album in less than an hour (transcription via Killer Guitar Rigs):
“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’…
“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.”
Earlier in the interview, Dee argued that the music video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” provided a successful blueprint that many other bands would follow in the upcoming years.
“They were my ideas”, the vocalist said, noting how the Atlantic Records president Doug Morris would only greenlight the project if Dee’s current manager, then-head of Atlantic Europe Phil Carson was willing to take on the risk, which he was. He added:
“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.
“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.”
Dee goes on to add that Les Garland, the senior executive at MTV was “very upset” with the video and “clipped off the whole front.” Nevertheless, the video was a major success, and the “passion play” format would go on to be adopted by other heavy hitters, the singer notes:
“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.”