I’ll never forget that night in 1984. Halloween. And there I was, the only non-Spanish speaking Mexican kid in the whole of the ultra-conservative land I grew up in dressed as Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. It wasn’t an easy sell, believe me. For starters, my hair color was all wrong. So was the length. And my “outfit” (a white t-shirt hand painted with watercolors) led many to speculate what I was supposed to be. Nevertheless, I threw all caution to the wind, figuring that my expert make-up job would wipe any doubt from one’s mind. But instead of people exclaiming “Ah, he’s supposed to be Dee Snider, the lead singer from Twisted Sister,” I was greeted with “What are you supposed to be, Adam — a girl?”
Twisted Sister definitely made an impact on society. Why, I doubt my cross-dressing tendencies would be there today if it weren’t for them. And when Stay Hungry, their fourth full-length album, hit the charts in May of 1984, everybody began to notice them. This was partially due to their freaky glam-rock/S&M image — which only helped them to gain notoriety amongst conservative parents who would boycott them, thus ensuring it would be popular with their kids.
But, in all probability, Twisted Sister became hugely popular in 1984 mostly thanks to MTV and their repeated airings of videos for “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (I think the contractions of “want to” and “going to” became commonplace in English dictionaries following the success of such songs). We saw the videos at least twice daily. Their rebellious nature inspired us to avoid chores and play ColecoVision instead (or the Atari 2600 or 5400, depending). We sang along with them. We quoted them every time our elders asked what we wanted to do with our lives. Yes, we all loved Stay Hungry and were certain that Twisted Sister was here to stay. And then that bitch Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center ruined all the fun. Subsequently, the band broke up. A pity.
Throughout the years, the New York City-bred group has reemerged a number of times. A few new albums came and went, but I, for one, did not notice any of them. I may have heard about the new releases, but never went out of my way to hear them. I wanted to remember Twisted Sister for their glory days and albums like Stay Hungry. Fortunately for people like me who prefer their T.S.O.L. punk and their Twisted Sister famished, Rhino Records has released the 25th Anniversary Edition of Stay Hungry in a 2-CD set. The original multiplatinum-selling album is on Disc 1, and features the aforementioned hits “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as well as “Burn In Hell” and my personal favorite, title song “Stay Hungry.” All of these songs have been remastered (there was an issue in the initial pressing, but it’s curable if you contact Rhino) and sound better than ever.