It’s no secret that Twisted Sister are a big deal to Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life and Dee Snider in particular is one of our favourite rock vocalists. Seeing them live at Bloodstock 2016 on their final tour was an important moment for us as the first time seeing them live was also the last (maybe).
We then gained a whole load of new respect and knowledge after reading Dee Snider’s autobiography, Shut Up and Give Me the Mic. However, the release of We Are Twisted Fucking Sister passed us by when it was released in 2014.
Those hoping for a really comprehensive look at Twisted Sister’s entire career to date may come away disappointed with this documentary. You see, We Are Twisted Fucking Sister screams sequel, it even ends with some text that suggest as much (although we’re still waiting).
Instead, this documentary chronicles the formation of the band, Dee joining, the club circuit that made them such a huge draw and their eventual signing with Atlantic Records. It ends pretty abruptly but what it does show us is very detailed and very interesting.
One such interesting element that comes from this documentary is how it goes in depth into the club circuit that is now long gone. A time when going down to your local club for the night was the done thing so venues were packed out with bands playing several sets a night. That’s what Twisted Sister did and their reputation grew and grew but no matter what they did, they couldn’t get signed.
Band founder, Jay Jay French is the driving force behind the documentary and does the majority of musings and story telling but Dee Snider has plenty to say too. It’s fascinating to see their conflicting points of view but also how driven they both where. Without Jay Jay French there was no Twisted Sister but without Dee Snider there was no Twisted Fucking Sister.
Both offer in-depth views on the band and the scene at the time but it’s Jay Jay French that really seems to be affected by some of the things that happened to them. You can see the emotion on his face when he talks about another failed record deal or a band member leaving. He worked hard to make Twisted Sister the biggest band in the world.
It’s very hard to not root for Dee though when he tells the story of his early isolation and lack of involvement in the writing process. A gauntlet gets laid down to him and he makes sure to leave his mark, something he certainly achieved.
Another thing that is really interesting because many may not know this but it is passing of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act which requires States to raise their ages for purchase and public possession to 21 that effectively destroys the club scene. 3 years of kids lost and alienated, unable to go to the clubs and see any band that was playing. It devastated the scene and Twisted Sister knew they had to get out or they would die as a band.
So, who embraced them? The good old UK. A write-up in Sounds magazine started the snowball and endorsement by Lemmy of Motorhead certainly didn’t do them any harm.
It’s here the documentary reaches its climax as we rush through Twisted Sister playing Reading 1982, their British label going bust and them appearing on ‘The Tube’. We get a little bit about Atlantic Records and then we’re disappointingly done as text comes up on the screen to tell us about their continuing success and eventual split.
It’s unfortunate that all of this is glossed over but considering it’s over two hours long without the ‘what happens next’ it makes sense that it would come in two parts.
We Are Twisted Fucking Sister is a fantastic watch for everyone who loves the band and want validation that it wasn’t all a fever dream. It’s a fantastic watch for those who only have cursory knowledge of the band and want to find out more and it’s fantastic for those who never liked the band as it is so in-depth it’s impossible to not root for them.
They are Twisted Fucking Sister!
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We Are Twisted F**king Sister!
The Final Score - 8/10