Thursday, July 23, 2009

Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry 25th Anniversary Edition

Twisted Sister and Stay Hungry were a big part of 1984 for me, but despite being MTV darlings, the band took it as hard as most metal bands did when grunge hit and the band broke up in 88. TS founder and guitarist Jay Jay French was the most successful in the wake of the bands untimely demise, starting a management company that handled Sevendust and a bunch of other acts, but things were pretty bleak for Dee. There were various attempts at new bands like Widowmaker that were ok, but nothing that set the world on fire. I believe at one point he was maybe doing accounting for a radio station he DJ'd at. After a long spell out in the cold, it all changed when Dee started doing voice-over work for Pizza Hut and CNBC and started raking in the cash. The other band members stayed active with various projects, including the first steps toward a reunion for a soundtrack song for Dee's Strangeland movie in 1998. The first live show was with Anthrax for a 9/11 benefit and they've done strong numbers ever since. Dee feels like he can't bring it on the level he wants to, so Team TS is going to tour behind the re-release of Stay Hungry (in full make-up and replica stage production) and then retire the make up for good. Word is that Dee wants to put the band on blocks soon afterward.

Listening to Stay Hungry 25 years on makes me feel pretty fucking old, but the music is far from dated. Far from it. In fact, the band and the record sound absolutely great. Ojeda and French are a team on par with Maiden's Smith and Murray or Def Leppard's Collen and Clark and continue to be. My inner metalhead is stoked to find that Ojeda and French both have replicas of their signature guitars available. Peep the links to bask in the nostalgia. Or perhaps recoil in horror. We're Not Gonna Take It is probably the best known track on the record and while it's great, it's maybe the fifth best track on the record. Stay Hungry is a bona-fide hard rock classic. The reissue throws a bunch of demos stuff that is fun to listen to, but your TS dork quotient has to be pretty high to enjoy them on the regular. That said, Stay Hungry is a record well worth revisiting. Buy it from the gents here and stay for all the other official TS history and merch. Trust me, you don't want French on your ass for buying the bootleg stuff. Also, check out this link with Dee and Jay Jay on the best metal program on TV, That Metal Show. It's on VH1 Classic and Eddie Trunk hosts it with Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine. I'm pretty obsessed with it. Trust me, it's well worth watching over and over again.

Stay Hungry!


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