Twisted Sister older than you think
Hidden history: Twisted Sister
Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French says an upcoming documentary will reveal the band’s hidden first decade.
And he’s keen to point out that 2013 marks the band’s 40th year of existence – even though he thinks many fans believe they were formed in the early 80s. He’s revealed an early set of gig dates that prove they played their first-ever gig on March 20, 1973.
French says on the band’s website: “While most of the world thinks Twisted Sister started in 1984, there are those who know a different story. Diehard fans in the UK through it began a couple of years earlier when Secret Records signed us. There exists a fanbase who knew us with me, Dee Snider, Eddie Ojeda and, for a short time, bassist Ken Neill with an assortment of changing drummers.
“Before that, Twisted Sister played hundreds of shows in. This version contained me and four people most of you don’t know: vocalist Michael Valentine, guitarist Billy Diamond, bassist Kenny Neill and drummer Mell Starr.”
French recalls that all except Neill were “either fired or left under very bad circumstances,” and his band split up in 1974 after a year of gigging. “The first breakup led to a personal crisis at the age of 22,” he says. “That forever changed my life and taught me how to cope in the face of total failure, both professionally and emotionally. The lessons learned form the basis of the future Twisted Sister.”
Looking back, the guitarist comments: “the first version of the band was never going to make it. None of the members, except Kenny, had what it takes. The lack of focus, professionalism and raw talent became obvious – and the proof is that of all the original five members, I alone remain standing.
But he won’t take credit for his current bandmates’ success, commenting: “They are all immensely talented. I can also state that I can’t see where I would have succeeded without these guys.”
Film maker Andy Horn is currently working on the documentary about Twisted Sister’s early years. French reports it’s due out within the coming year.