Dee Snider Talks New Solo Album, Autobiography (INTERVIEW)
This week, Dee Snider, legendary frontman of Twisted Sister, will release a new solo album called Dee Does Broadway. The record features Dee’s powerful voice and theatrical persona as he exudes his rock ‘n’ roll take on several Broadway classics. The new album will also coincide with the release of his first ever autobiography, Shut Up and Give Me the Mic.
Dee Does Broadway features several special guest stars, including Broadway and television icon Bebe Neuwirth on the Damn Yankees song “Whatever Lola Wants,” Broadway legend Patti LuPone on a West Side Story Medley “Tonight/Somewhere,” pop icon Cyndi Lauper on Sweet Charity‘s “Big Spender,” Clay Aiken of American Idol on the Guys and Dolls classic “Luck Be a Lady Tonight,” and several other fun surprises.
Dee sat down with Noisecreep to talk about the project and why he thinks it might even bring fans of Broadway and Twisted Sister together.
This is a pretty bold move for you – or at least it seems that way.
I know this seems like a pretty weird move, right? But I have to tell you, I was raised on a lot of these songs, as my folks used to take me to a lot of Broadways as a kid and out to the Guy Lombardo Theater on Long Island. South Pacific, Brigadoon, West Side Story – I saw everything as a kid. I’ve long understood the power of these songs and my goal was simply to bring something new to each of the songs. But I must tell you, now that it is done, I’m a little nervous, thinking, ‘Have I really done this?’ But the response so far, especially from musicians, has thrilled me. I’ll also add that after appearing on Broadway in Rock of Ages I think really help set me up for this.
You had fun in that show.
It was an amazing, life-changing experience. My parents said they’d never been more proud of me. I mean, how parents can say, ‘My son, on Broadway’? [laughs]
How did you choose these specific songs?
I had two criteria. First, the songs could not have any sort of rock and roll flavor to them. That is to say, nothing from Hair, or Jesus Christ Superstar, or Grease. Nothing that originally had guitars and bass and drums. The second thing was, the songs has to speak to me on a personal level. For instance, “I Get a Kick Out of You” is a total reflection about how I feel about my wife.
The whole thing started playfully, with you and Alice Cooper trading a series of voice mails whereby you’d both sing Broadway style. Do those recording still exist?
I wish! We could have used them in a box set in like 20 years [laughs].
You have an impressive set of guest stars on the album.
I am blown away that these people would even be caught dead in the room with me, let along sing duets with me! I have to credit Bebe Neuwirth with getting the ball rolling, but what was interesting, when I played the singers samples of the other songs I was working on at the sessions, they’d look at me and say, ‘What the fuck! You’re SINGING!’ They were unaware that I was a classically trained counter tenor and I can sing super high. I was also a drama class kid, so I get how to interpret these things in my own way. But I pushed myself very hard, and took this all very seriously. This isn’t some novelty thing ; I really believe in these songs and this record.
Who do think will check this album out?
I think Broadway fans will like it certainly, but I think fans of Twisted can also have some fun with it because I’m singing in that very Twisted style and we’ve added some real heavy punch to a lot of these songs. And look, a great song is a great song – so I’m hoping that this record will help expose these songs to a few new audiences; younger audiences.
Watch Dee Snider’s “Mack the Knife” Video
And you’re going to do some live shows around the album?
Absolutely. The phone has been off the hook for bookings so we’ll do some Broadway and some Twisted tunes; like a two-part show. and we also just shot an amazing video for “Mack the Knife” with Mike Portnoy, Lee Rocker, Richie Scarlet – you will not believe this thing.
Dee, let’s talk briefly about your autobiography, which is being released the same day as the new album.
Well, the main thing is – I wrote it all by myself. Entirely. No ghost writer or co-writer. They wanted 75,000 and I wrote like 210,000! We had talked about a co-writer, but I begged the publisher to just let me take a shot at writing some samples, because I really wanted this to be in my voice. And they looked it. Freaked out over it. And so I went to work, telling my story, this cautionary tale about perseverance that begins in 1985 at the lowest point in my life. You’re not gonna believe this man – wait until you read this story.