Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Best Metal and Rock Top 10 for 2013

Well the year is almost over and it is time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013. Anyone who has been a constant visitor to this blog will notice that I have spoken about these albums in previous posts in more detail.

1. Protest The Hero – Volition

Disclaimer; I was one of those fans that contributed to this album, so the competition for the best album of 2013 wasn’t even close. Protest The Hero wins hands down. They delivered an album for the fans. It has everything that a condensed progressive technical metal album should have. Plus it has Chris Adler on drums. In 2011, “Scurrilous” was number seven on my list.

If you want the detailed breakdown, here it is;

This album also shows how the mainstream media is out of touch. Despite all the hype around Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Korn and Black Sabbath, the biggest release of the year belongs to Protest The Hero.

And deservedly so.

They connected with their audience via Indiegogo. They have cut through all the internet noise without the need of major label. In the age of information overload, Protest The Hero relied on their audience and their music to get their message through.

2. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King

Call this album what you will, however no one can take away the fact that it is a damn good listen. Having those nods to the past and building on those influences is what music is all about. In twenty years time, this album will be revered and copied, because that is how music is made.

3. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1

Part 1 is a killer classic metal album with arena melodic rock chorus. Watch You Bleed, Lift Me Up, The Wrong Side Of Heaven, Anywhere But Here are all rock sing a longs.

4. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent

Jesse Leach is back and man can he write a catchy chorus. Each song goes through so many vocal emotions, it’s one heck of a roller coaster. The Times Of Grace project brought Jesse back into the metal world. “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” was one great album and it was in my top 10 list for that year.

In 2009, I also had the self titled Killswitch Engage album at number five in my top 10 list.

5. TesserAcT – Altered State

This band is really branching out from the Djent constraints by embracing atmospheric style song writing. The math metal is still there and the vocals bring it all home. I have always said, TesseracT will be seen as the new Pink Floyd by a whole new generation. In 2011, TesseracT came in ninth position with the album “One”. I was pleasently surprised to see this one pop in Robb Flynn’s top 10 list.

6. Trivium – Vengeance Falls

Trivium have always had the balls to make decisions. Working with Dave Draiman is one of them. Seriously i cant see an issue with how the vocal melodies are phrased or delivered by Heafy. I really like this album. The music is top-notch and the songs are of high quality. In 2011, Trivium came in tenth position with the album “In Waves”.

7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension

Another band that is employing data to connect with fans. They have been on the road since January and released two slabs of music within 3 months. This album doesn’t have Domino The Destitute, but it has Sentry The Defiant plus others.

8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2

A Day In My Life. Man that chorus just hooks me in. Put to the side the cliché rhyming from Moody and just focus on the musical melodies and you will be hooked as well. It’s been played on repeat on my iPhone on my way to work and on my way home.

“American Capitalist” was fifth in my 2011 list and “War Is The Answer” was 2nd in 2009, just behind “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” from Dream Theater.

9. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies

I was a fan of this band before they broke through in the U.S. It was the “Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil” album from 2007 that made me a fan. I was really looking forward to this release and the band didn’t disappoint. It has all of their trademarks with a dash of country and hillbilly thrown into the mix.

10. Alter Bridge – Fortress

Mark Tremonti is one hell of a guitar player and most importantly a hell of a songwriter. Teaming up with Myles Kennedy has been a godsend. Alter Bridge get better with each album and they rarely fail to disappoint.

Notable Mentions

Audrey Horne – Youngblood

If you don’t know this band, you should. I swear every genre of music and time period associated with music is heard on this album. Give this band the attention they deserve. Their whole catalogue is on Spotify so there is no excuse to not check them out. Any band that is from Norway and with a black metal post deserves to be heard in a hard rock context.

Mutiny Within – Synchronicity

The only thing holding this band back is what their definition of success is and Chris Clancy. He is so hung up on fighting for the old system and how it used to be, he is failing to see opportunities in front of him.

Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine

A great pop metal or pop rock album. Hearts and Hands started off as a side project for Chelsea Grin vocalist Alex Koehler. However since he departed after their 2012 self titled EP, the band has undergone a significant transformation and their sound has shifted away from breakdowns and screams to effected guitars, acoustics and great songs.

Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost

A hundred times better than the new Korn album. They even sound like Korn on some of the songs. Brian Head Welch is a star and this album proves it.

Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut

Progressive Rock and a voice that sounds very similar to Phil Collins. Plus any album that has a concept attached to it, always gets my attention. Its plot follows an alienated, unnamed human who is tired of humanity and embraces his fate as a traveler of dimensions, time and galaxies. Throughout the story, the dimensionaut constructs his escape from reality, realizing new experiences and encountering love in the process.

Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

If this band had the same attention as Avenged Sevenfold, critics would come out and comment how each song sounds like a rip off from every successful glam rock and blues rock album made in the Eighties. Music is derivative and Faith Circus deliver. It is a great listen from start to finish. Another band from Norway that deserves your attention.

Final Notable Mentions

Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Top 10

My 8 year old and my 7 year old love Twisted Sister. It’s the video clips that hooked them, so they started to dig deep into my LP and CD collection. Actually, the first LP they ever saw, was Twisted Sister’s “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll.” So here it is, the Top 10 list of Twisted Sister songs, by an 8 year old and a 7 year old.

1. We’re Not Gonna Take It

When Quiet Riot topped the charts with “Metal Health” and it became the first heavy metal album to do so, it was a game changer for metal in general. For better or for worse a lot of bands got picked up by major labels in the U.S.

Twisted Sister on the other hand were still struggling to get ahead without any real support from their Atlantic U.S.

Not to be deterred Twisted Sister took this new fan interest in metal to a new level. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is all pop and a little glam infused with a lot of rock. It’s tongue in cheek video ensured that MTV played it non stop.

Dee Snider finally fine tuned that Chorus melody he had written back in 1979.

2. I Wanna Rock

Who would have thought that in 1987 when “Love Is for Suckers,” came out that it would be a long time before Dee Snider rocked out again.

Desperado proved unsuccessful due to record label politics taking up Dee’s time between 1988 and 1989. Widowmaker came out in the midst of the Seattle Revolution and an excellent band was ignored.

3. Shoot Em Down

This can be the new anthem for the fight against censorship by the Copyright Monopolies and the Corporations that issue DMCA takedowns.

In 1985, Dee Snider along with Frank Zappa and Bob Denver appeared before a Senate committee to testify against the Parents Music Resource Center’s demands for music censorship legislation.

All of this is happening while Twisted Sister was burning to the ground with low ticket sales and crowd animosity.

In 2013, this fight is still going on. This time it is the RIAA, the MPAA and the Copyright monopolies that are trying to silence free speech with bogus takedowns.

Shoot em down I say.

4. You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll

“You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” laid the groundwork for the things to come. With the release of “Under The Blade” before it, the band was getting some serious respect with the metal crowd.

During the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” tour in Europe, especially England, Twisted Sister was the hottest “new” group.

They where selling out 3500 seaters all over the country, they had two hit singles, been on national TV in England and had been in all the papers.

Twisted Sister tour these days and they are more popular than they have ever been. It’s true, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”.

5. SMF

This is the ode to the original tri-state headbangers who would talk at length about the shows that Twisted Sister played in New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester before Twisted Sister became a huge act nationally via MTV. This is their song.

When the band broke through and toured extensively behind “Stay Hungry” the band and Dee Snider especially became overexposed. After being the underdog that gave a voice to every angry teenager in America, Twisted Sister would end up losing the respect of their loyal and possessive core metal fan base.

In other words the SMF’s abandoned them only to return in greater numbers years later.

6. The Kids Are Back

While the record industry proclaims that the industry is dead without any evidence, the kids are all plugging away and creating.

Maybe we will never see another superstar act like the Eighties however we are living in a golden time for creators.

7. Burn In Hell

From reading all the press, it always came across that ”Twisted Sister” was in control of their lives and future. I saw them as a new generation of rock bands due to their hard work ethic to make it.

8. Come Out And Play

When I hear this song, I immediately think of the bands history playing the bar scene, especially when Dee screams out “Join our cavalcade / Enter the world we made.” That cavalcade started when Dee Snider joined in early 1976. That cavalcade kept on growing along with a growing collection of record company rejection letters.

The critics called “Come Out and Play” an uneven album. The weakest tracks on the album like “Leader Of The Pack” and “Be Cruel To Your Skuel” got released as singles. The singles that should have been released are the title track, followed by “The Fire Still Burn” and then “I Believe In Rock N Roll.” Imagine the film clip of “Come Out And Play” if Twisted Sister paid homage to “The Warriors” movie.

In the end “Come Out And Play” didn’t fit the “Michael Jackson business model” of the labels. Twisted Sister went from being hot to being the whipping boys again.

9. The Price

People have a lot of trouble dealing with failure. Twisted Sister had been through so much rejection it made them even more determined to make it. Everything comes at a price.

10. Stay Hungry

It was difficult for Twisted Sister to land a record deal, and the band ended up struggling for nearly a decade before finally getting their big break in the early ’80s.

Unfortunately, when this break finally came, the band would end up being the poster child of record company overexposure.

Stay Hungry stands as a reminder. With each rejection, you need to stay hungry and find the fire again.

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It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Don’t Have The Grit To Rock N Roll)

I just finished reading a “Wall Street Journal” article that had a section about Angela Lee Duckworth, about how “GRIT TRUMPS TALENT” and the GRIT scale that she designed.

Grit means the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. In other words, the grittiest person will end up achieving much more than the talented person who doesn’t exhibit any grit. The career of an aritst is all about the taking risks, putting it all on the line and on occasion experiencing defeat. Add to that mix, “GRIT”.

So in every facet of our lives we will face a person that has super talent and grit. We will face a person who possess some talent, but a lot of grit. Finally, we will face a person who has no talent and no grit.

When I think of GRIT, I think of Mick Mars and Twisted Sister.

Starting off with Mick Mars.

Was he supremely talented? No.

Did he have the GRIT? Hell yeah.

Just think about it for a moment. Mick Mars started off doing the band circuit around 1971 and it was 11 years later when Motley Crue got picked up Elektra. Then came the shred era with the release of Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force” in 1983 and poor old Mick Mars was blasted by the new guitar fans of the movement.

He was too sloppy, he was too old, he was too slow, he wasn’t technical enough and it just went on and on. The last laugh is being had by Mick Mars. He is still around. Regardless of what you think about Motley Crue, or the band members within, one thing they do have is GRIT.

Let’s look at Twisted Sister, the best bar band doing the tri-state scene. For Jay Jay French, it was a long way to the top. He started off Twisted Sister in 1972. Dee Snider joined in 1976. The band came to world-wide attention in 1983, with the release of “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and the follow-up “Stay Hungry” in 1984.

Was Twisted Sister the most talented heavy metal band doing the rounds at this time? Of course not.

Did Twisted Sister have the grit to make it? Hell Yeah.

One could argue that the band ceased to be in 1987, so what happened to the GRIT? It lived on with Dee Snider. Regardless of the success of his post Twisted Sister bands, Dee Snider continued to battle it out. He never gave up.

Looking at some other artists, I immediately think of Vito Bratta from White Lion.

Vito Bratta is a favourite of mine and a massive influence. He is a supremely talented guitarist and songwriter, however with his exile from the music business since 1992, it looks like he just didn’t have the GRIT.

Mike Tramp on the other hand, has the GRIT (Freaks Of Nature, a new version of White Lion, plus a tonne of solo releases), but without Vito, he doesn’t have the talent in the compositions.

Jake E. Lee is another favourite of mine that has sort of disappeared from the public conversation. A very talented musician, who got the boot from Ozzy Osbourne because he couldn’t agree with Sharon Osbourne over the publishing rights of Ozzy’s music. So he goes on to form Badlands with Ray Gillen (RIP) and they release two excellent albums before calling it a day with ego tantrums and arguments.

Is Jake E. Lee talented? Of course

Does he have any GRIT? I am going to answer YES on this one. Since the end of Badlands, Jake E Lee has gone on to appear on a lot of tribute albums, along with a few solo releases and a couple of projects that he demoed songs with. The bottom line is, he never really stopped creating.

Currently, he is recording songs for a new project called Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.

To finish off, the immortal words of Bon Scott (RIP) from AC/DC;

Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks

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Revisionist History when it comes to Metallica

Kill Em All, Metallica’s first album is celebrating 30 years this month. It was released in July 25, 1983. At the time of its release it didn’t really set the world on fire, however if you look at the reviews and praises the album is getting now, it is like the album came out and created a movement called thrash metal right off the bat.

Let’s put into context the lifespan of Kill Em All. It came out on July 25, 1983. By February 1984, seven months since Kill Em All was released, Metallica was in the studio, writing and recording the Ride The Lightning album. The victory lap of Kill Em All was seven months. That’s it. If the band wanted to have a career, they needed to get back into the studio and record a new album.

Of course when the 1991 Black album exploded, new fans started to dig deep and purchase the bands older material. It is for this reason that the bands older catalogue from Kill Em All to Justice started to get RIAA certifications.

Kill Em All finally reached U.S sales of 3 million units in 1999. That pales in comparison to the Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets albums which have moved over 6 million units in the U.S alone by 2012. The ..And Justice for All album has moved over 8 million copies in the U.S and the Metallica black album is pushing close to 17 million units sold in the U.S alone by the close of 2012.

As a Metallica fan, the Kill Em All album is not a bad album. It is a product of its time and its era. However in 1983, heavy metal and hard rock music was becoming a force to be reckoned with. So by 1983 standards, Kill Em All was up against some hard competition.

Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard had break through albums with Shout At The Devil, You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll and Pyromania.

Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss and Dio had new bands and you can call their 1983 releases as comeback albums. Bark At The Moon showcases Jake E.Lee, Lick It Up showcased Vinnie Vincent and Holy Diver showcases Vivian Campbell. In relation to Dio he was continuing his upward trajectory that started with Rainbow, then continued with Black Sabbath and now with his solo band.

ZZ Top hit the mainstream with Eliminator.

Iron Maiden followed up the breakthrough success of their 1982 album, The Number of The Beast with Piece of Mind.

Quiet Riot had a number one album on the back of the Randy Rhoads back story and connection with the band, a cover of Slade’s – Cum on Feel The Noize and a catchy original called Bang Your Head, which was perfect for the time.

Judas Priest was also riding high on the charts and selling well from a 1982 release called Screaming For Vengeance.

Going back to Metallica, the RNR history is written by the winners. Since Metallica is now inducted into the Hall of Fame, everyone that can put fingers to letters on a keyboard is rewriting their back story. Bands like Quiet Riot will be written out. Artists like Vinnie Vincent and Jake E.Lee will be forgotten by the clueless revisionists. The impact of other bands will be diminished because Metallica won.

Is anyone talking about Judas Priest and their impact to the American metal scene? Quiet Riot’s Metal Health was the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach No. 1 in the United States on the Billboard album charts.

History is written by the winners.

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Final Dee Snider – You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Did you know that Dee wrote the Stay Hungry album during the You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll recording sessions?

Did you also know that Dee had the chorus of We’re Not Gonna Take it written as far back as 1980? The song was finally finished, when the band went in to record the You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll album.

Let’s put into context this period of time.

The band had lost their record deal, they had lost their touring spot with Diamond Head and they were broke.

Dee was at a desperate point in his life as well, married, with kids and living in a studio apartment. He was broke, he was desperate and in these times of self-doubt, he had the life experiences to create great material. He had the fire and the angst.

The Kids Are Back kicks off the You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll album, released in 1983. My cousin Mega is a hard core Twisted Sister fan. He is the one that got me into the band. He even has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder. This was my first exposure to the band. The sound of the marching feet. It was perfect for the time.

We walk the streets
In tattered armies
We got the lion in our heart
We’re not lookin’ for trouble
Just for some fun
But we’re all ready if you wanna’ start

How can I put in words the trueness of this verse? We just wanted to have fun, but man, if someone wanted to roll with us, we didn’t take a backward step. You can hear the anger build in Dee’s vocal delivery. It’s raw and it is honest. It is not auto tuned like all the other crap released today. It has a certain life to it.

I Am (I’m Me) is a song that needed to be written, so that Dee could go on and write, S.M.F, I Wanna Rock and We’re Not Gonna Take It. To me, it is like a back story to the main movies. It’s message is one of standing up for yourself.

Who are you to look down
At what I believe?

I was always asked the question; what am I going to do with my life. My answer was always the same. “I don’t know”. The eighties was a time when the youth didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of what their fathers did. I didn’t want to work in the steel mills. I wanted something different, but I didn’t know what. For too long I had been conditioned to want something else so when I was asked what I wanted, I didn’t have an answer.

We’re Gonna Make It is another song that needed to be written so that Dee could go on to write the classics.

The power of the people
Ain’t been showin’
It’s never what you know
It’s who you’re knowin’

It was the A to Z in making it in the Eighties gatekeeper world. You had to rely on gatekeepers in order to get your music recorded and released.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

it’s an angry steed,
on a never ending course
with grace and speed
it’s an unrelenting force
his head thrown back, defiantly proud
under constant attack,
it’s blasting, fast and loud

I love how Rock N Roll is referred to a person. I lift up my hands in praise. Amen.

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Dee Snider – Stay Hungry – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll preceded Stay Hungry, and it was this album that started to give the Twisted Sister machine some momentum. It was the You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll video clip that set the wheels in motion. It was the prequel of what was to come. The calm before the storm.

So Stay Hungry comes out and it’s huge. This is the period were the image of bands started to become bigger than the music. MTV was rising as a force to be reckoned with and Twisted Sister had the songs and the video clips/mini movies for this new market. Tom Werman was on deck to produce. He is also credited as a writer and arranger, however this has been disputed by Dee Snider. Tom Werman has even said in interviews that Dee could never deal with any credit given to anyone but him.

The band has also mentioned in interviews that they never liked the sound on Stay Hungry, however a stipulation from Tom Werman is that he always wants a member of the band in the control room during the mix, and an approval of the final mix by the band before the album was turned in to the label.

We’re Not Gonna Take It became the anthem for the teenagers of 1984. The clip featured actor Mark Metcalf, from the movie Animal House. If anyone has watched Animal House Metcalf plays the sadistic and military orientated Doug Neidermeyer. Both of the video clips (I Wanna Rock and We’re Not Gonna take It) have dialogue that references dialogue from the Animal House movie. The “Twisted Sister pin, on your uniform” and “you are all worthless and weak” appear in the movie and the Twisted Sister video clips. In Animal House, the Twisted Sister reference is for something else. A connection is made immediately with me.

We’ll fight the powers that be just
Don’t pick our destiny cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong

Rising up against authority. Rising up against the unwritten creed of Live, Work, Die. Rising up against the life that our parents, our teachers, our employers want from us. While other bands sang songs about reaching for the sky and all your dreams would come true, Twisted Sister brought it all back to reality. This is the street reality. The line is drawn, and we are saying, we are not going to take it anymore. Screw, reaching for the sky. All of that is fantasy rubbish. This is real. Making a stand right now.

I Wanna Rock is anthem number two for the disenchanted youth of the Eighties.

Turn the power up
I’ve waited for so long so I could hear my favourite song so, lets go!
GO! GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!

That is all we wanted to do. Turn it up, kick back, have a drink or two or three, have a smoke and enjoy.

I Wanna Rock, We’re Not Gonna Take It and Smokin In the Boys Room from Motley Crue, were in constant rotation on the music TV channels in Australia circa 1985. All three clips had the same theme and story to tell. All three clips are brilliant. All are produced by Tom Werman.

The Price

How long I have wanted
For this dream to come true

The Price is seen as the first Dee Snider solo piece. There are many songs about life on the road, and this is just another to add to that list. This is Dee’s take on touring Europe. It was written four months into that tour and by then Dee was getting homesick. He even wanted to re-record The Price with Widowmaker as he never believed that the song reached its full potential.

OH, it’s the price we gotta pay
And all the games we gotta play
Makes me wonder if it’s worth it to carry on

This is the part that no one tells you about. Life on the road, away from loved ones. This is the part where loneliness leads to addictions for many. This is the part where we question if it’s worth it to carry on. The people around you (like your band mates) are starting to get on your nerves. Are you prepared to pay the price?

S.M.F.

The best song on Stay Hungry by far. This song spoke to me. It connected on so many levels. Even in the metal and rock community, divisions existed. If someone liked Metallica, they hated people that liked Motley Crue, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Ozzy, Twisted Sister and so on. If someone like Slayer, they hated Metallica lovers. I liked all things metal and rock, however depending with which crowd I was hanging with, I could have been seen as a black sheep.

Black Sheep Of The Family
Nothing Like The Rest
Separate From The Others
Failing All Their Tests
Can’t They See You’re Different
So Hungry And So Lean
You’re A Walking Wonder
You’re A Metal Machine
Look And You’ll See
You’re A Lot Like Me

You’re An S.M.F.

In the end I am a music lover. I don’t believe in elitism. I don’t believe that to like Black Metal you need to worship Satan. I don’t believe that to like blues music, you need to have done it tough. I don’t believe that to like metalcore, you need to have a thousand tattoos and weird piercings. I don’t believe that to like glam rock, I need to wear lipstick and tease my hair. To me music is greater than the image.

And If They Think That We’re Sick
Then Sick Is What We’ll Be
Scream It Loud
Know What You Are Be Proud

A fitting end to it all. Be proud.

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Dee Snider – Come Out And Play – What Fo You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I really like Come Out And Play. I remember lying in bed, staring at the album back art, reading the lyrics and singing the songs as they played on the turntable. I remember the day I purchased the album, going into my parents room, finding my mums purse and taking $20 out to buy the album. The actual album was $10, so I knew that I was going to come back with two albums. Going through the hard rock/metal section, I decided on Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play and Motley Crue, Theatre Of Pain. When I came home, mum was far from impressed to find $20 missing. My dad, who I feared more, understood me. He was a musician as well.

Coming into the Come Out And Play period, Twisted Sister was coming off the Stay Hungry juggernaut.

The first big change was the producer. Gone was Tom Werman and in came Dieter Dierks. Tom Werman was the go to producer back then. He was achieving multi-platinum sales with the majority of his releases between 1983 and 1989. In addition, Werman also contributed unofficially to the songs arrangements and melodies. So in comes Dieter Dierks from Scorpions fame.

Come Out And Play was released in 1985. By now Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle, with Ruff Cutts and the first independent release of Under The Blade coming out in 1981, then the major label release of Under The Blade in 1982, then You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll in 1983 and Stay Hungry in 1984. You can tell the band was starting to burn out. To lead off with Leader Of The Pack as the first single, was an act of desperation. It was seen as the band recycling the past. It failed.

Come Out And Play kicks off with bottles clashing together. It is an ode to one of my favourite movies, The Warriors. Instead of the chant, “Warriors, Come Out And Play”, we get “Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play”. Brilliant. The connection is made for me.

Join our cavalcade
Enter the world you made

The cavalcade is the SMF army of Twisted Sister. This is the Twisted Sister world, that we the fans made.

A place where fallacy
Becomes reality
We’ll spin you head around
We’re programmed to astound, stand by
Prepare to fly

Oh, welcome to our show
Oh, welcome to our life

Much in the same vein as other Twisted Sister anthems, this is all about the rock n roll show. The concert experience. The place where fallacy becomes reality. The place where the band does what we want them to do and that is to play, to put on a show. You can say that Dee already wrote this song, in What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You), however he did it better this time around and in my view even better with Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant). AJ Pero is the unsung hero in this song. The pedestrian riffs are balanced by the frenetic drumming and it works.

I Believe In Rock ‘N’ Roll

What a great tongue and cheek song. Dee merges the marriage oath (Do you take this music, to be your lawfully wedded rock, to have and hold in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, together until death comes to yourself?) with allegiance (I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the united states of rock, and to the point of view for which it stands, one music under one god, yes, even god loves rock ‘n’ roll, with liberty and justice for all lands) to come up with a new creed, “Belief In Rock N Roll.”

Every day
I work so hard
Every day
I’m dealt the cards
Every day
I’m told exactly what to do
Every day
I lose control
Every day
I rock ‘n’ roll
Every day
It’s gonna help to see me through

I believe in rock ‘n’ roll

Has life changed for the working class man since 1985? We still work hard every day, we still deal with the hand we are given, we still do what we are told to do and we still look forward to the weekend where we can rock n roll and relax. Praise the lord, I believe.

The Fire Still Burns

By far the best song on Come Out and Play and in my view, one of the best songs Dee Snider has written. Extreme Metal bands have even covered this song.

Get out of my way
I’m the hangman today
And the judge and jury

The victim and the punisher. The Yin and the yang. The constant battle we have in life. We are happy, and we are sad. We laugh and we cry. In the end, the ones that make it through have that fire that burns forever.

King Of The Fools is a bonus track on the CD version and on the Tape version. It is a classic.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

It’s almost like Dee is regretful at his fame. The song is a continuation from The Price, where Dee tries to capture life on the road and how it is a price he needs to pay for success. Of course, the prices is time away from family and loved ones. Doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. You want to be on the road, you want to play shows, yet you don’t want to be away from your family. You are travelling from town to town, with people that you realise you don’t really like anymore, however you can’t stop. The call of the road and music is too great to resist.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (The Mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the mainstream. If the mainstream sees us as fools, then Dee is our King.

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