TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French spoke to Metal Asylum in New Jersey about the band’s latest DVD Live At The Astoria, as well as topics including the rerelease of Stay Hungry which will include bonus material, touring to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Stay Hungry, recording new music with Twisted Sister, and his most memorable moments with the band.
Metal Asylum: Were there any other Twisted Sister shows professionally recorded that you wanted to release instead of the one at the Astoria, or was the Astoria show planned for DVD?
French: "We knew that show was great, but we didn’t know how it was going to translate to tape, which you never know until you see the playback. So we knew the night was special because everybody in the band walked off the stage and said it was special. We knew the night was special because the crowd went completely insane (not that they always don’t go insane) but there is levels of insanity. They went absolutely insane and it was England and we have a history of somehow rising to the occasion in that country. The night before we headlined a big festival in the mid lands and Brian Johnson from AC/DC came up and played with us, and that was special because we revere AC/DC. So that was special."
So the stars we aligned per say and the show was great. The original thought was the show at the Astoria would be shot for Pay Per View and then we forgot about it. Ummm… then occasionally I’d have conversations with the record label and they said “we gotta take a look at this show”. We have a mutual friend Haley Warren who is a rock/metal Dj in England who also happens to be a video producer (who has done a few projects) and she said she would love to have a crack at this concert. So I said “what would it be like if a fan edited our concert”. We gave her three songs and said go for it. We mixed three songs in the studio, sent the raw tracks to Haley, she edited it, we watched them and said 'gheez that’s exactly what we thought it was. So we commissioned her to do it and then the label said lets make it a two for one package to make it worth while and that’s what we did.
Are there other shows in the can, yeah.., but you have to be judicious on how you spread out your product. We have many labels..Eagle Rock, Demolition, Rhino, and we you have that many partners you can’t screw anyone over. You have to spread these things out, last Christmas we had a DVD out, this year we have the “Live at the Astoria” DVD, next May it will be the 25th anniversary of the album “Stay Hungry” so Rhino is going to do a re release of the album with the remastered original record, plus a new song we just recorded called “30”, plus six or seven alternate versions of the songs from “Stay Hungry”, plus six or seven songs from the sessions that never were on the album.
So we have a lot of product to space out. Look..don't these Rap artists still release records ten years after they are dead?? Hahaha. Isn’t it amazing that BIGGIE SMALLS continues to release records even after he is dead and 2 PAC seems to have a new album out every year. Brilliant! I mean lets record four hundred songs and have our wives release them every few years. So like that, we are also trying to elongate the legacy of Twisted Sister.
Metal Asylum: I have read that Twisted Sister will be taking off the makeup after the anniversary celebration for Stay Hungry. Is this true?
French: "Yes that is what we will do after the 25th anniversary tour."
Metal Asylum: Do you feel the fans may be disappointed since it has only been about six years since the band started touring again with the makeup?
French: "Here..let me tell you a story. This past summer we played many festivals and one of the best we played since we came back was a one day festival in Holland. I think it was a Monsters of Rock or something like that. Imagine this as a fan….you get KANSAS, REO SPEEDWAGON, MOTÖRHEAD, WHITESNAKE, TWISTED SISTER, KISS, DEF LEPPARD, JOURNEY in one afternoon. You get two stages and just hit after hit after hit. These European festivals are the best. We never played with Kiss so we were thinking this is our chance to take them out, you know its like a bloodsport with us. So what happens, the band gets to the festival..Dee’s flight leaves really late from New York due to a rain storm, in fact it leaves so late Dee’s on the tarmac in New York city waiting for the plane to take off, goes to sleep, wakes up still in New York. He lands one hour before we are to go on stage, two hours away by car. So we had to helicopter him in and couldn’t go on stage with any stage clothes. So for the first time we have to go on stage with T shirts and jeans."
Now let’s put this in perspective..it's us MOTÖRHEAD, JOURNEY, KISS, DEF LEPPARD, us, and we want to be at our possible best, right?? And we walk on stage with t shirts and jeans. The next day in the paper there is a review of the festival.
Reviewer says great festival, great bands. But Twisted Sister was the only band who had a picture in the paper. What did they say about the other bands..'as great as Kiss and all these other bands are, Twisted Sister was the only band that resonated with everyone.' So what does that tell you about the makeup and if the fans will be disappointed? It's not gonna make much of a difference.
Metal Asylum: What are Twisted Sister’s plans for 2009?
French: "We will be touring Europe and the US playing Stay Hungry start to finish and since A Twisted Christmas was so successful we will be pursuing the Twisted Christmas musical project but I urge fans to check with the Twisted Sister website for updates on all these projects and events."
Metal Asylum: Now after Twisted Sister take off the makeup, will you still play shows under the Bent Brother moniker?
French: "O well that’s gonna be difficult because now maybe Bent Brother will turn into Twisted Sister, Hahaha. Actually that’s kinda funny..I didn’t think of that one. Since Bent Brother is the ultimate Twisted Sister band (and if you go to Bentbrother.net you will read their story) maybe Bent Brother will be so annoyed that Twisted Sister isn’t wearing makeup that they insist upon it for occasional shows."
You can read the rest of the interview here.