Dee Snider on “Gone Country,” Election, Benefit Concert, Rocklahoma and More - Rolling Stone
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Dee Snider on “Gone Country,” Election, Benefit Concert, Rocklahoma and More

Last week marked the debut of CMT’s Gone Country, a reality show featuring Bobby Brown, Dee Snider, Sisqo, Carnie Wilson and many other C-listers living together and learning to become country singers. Snider –who now divides his time between a reformed Twisted Sister and radio show on Sirius Radio — got on the phone to talk about Gone Country and a tribute concert he’s planning for the victims of the 2003 Great White fire that killed 100 fans and left many others injured for life. The concert is booked for February 25th at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and will feature Twisted Sister sharing the stage with Jewel, Boston’s Tom Scholz, Tesla, Staind’s Aaron Lewis, Kellie Pickler and many others. For more info click here.

Dee’s a bit of a talker and after an hour on the phone we figured it was best to present his words intact with as little editing as possible. Follow the jump to read Dee’s thoughts on the presidential election, Britney, American Idol, the future of Twisted Sister and his failed attempts to book Aerosmith for the tribute concert.

On the presidential election: “This is a wide open field right now, but its gonna shake itself out. I’ve been a McCain supporter since the last election, and when he pulled out I was screaming for him to not support George Bush — but he’s a political animal, and you need a political animal. I’m not a Republican, I’m a neutral. I voted for Clinton. I voted for Perot. I vote for the person who I think is right for the job. Everyone thought McCain was a lost cause. I think as the field thins out he will be the man who’s left standing. On the other side of the fence you’ve got Barack, and you’ve got Hilary. Quite honestly I don’t think that on the day of the election — whether its Barack or Hilary — that Americans in general, in my opinion, will not be able to push the button for an African-American, or a woman. They are creatures of habit, they will talk about it, they’ll say change and they will say they like it, and they’ll say it will be a great thing — but they will choke in the eleventh hour. We haven’t had a Jewish person as President. It was a huge deal when a Catholic was voted, with John Kennedy. So, at the end of the day they’re just gonna go safe, and its gonna be one of the Republicans that’s gonna win.”

On Britney Spears: “That squad of individuals, with the Paris Hiltons and the Britneys and the Lindsays and the Olsens and all that shit — they make me sick. You know, I do morning radio and it makes me angry to give the sensationalizing of these girls so much attention — it sends a very bad message out to young women and you see it reflected in the way that girls dress and the way they’re behaving. They sensationalize what they do and they make them look heroic! Britney’s now gotten to a point where it’s just not funny anymore. It’s not something to mock or laugh or call stupid or idiotic or for me to say she’s a slut or a whore — or whatever anybody else would say. It’s a sad thing to see a young person crashing or burning like that and media people need to feel partially responsible because Britney is a creation — not just by management and not just by her parents, but also by the world around her. You know, the way she was embraced and celebrated — she was allowed to become this woman/child. She’s barely a woman — who has just turned into this enfant terrible. It’s just sad.”

On American Idol: “I really loathed American Idol when it started. I loathed the fact that these people were given this easy path to stardom while the rest of us had to slug it out in the streets and in the bars and work for years. My guitar player J.J. French is famous for saying on stage that it really makes him mad when they say ‘I wanna thank my fans’ and they’re talking to the fans that they’ve had for the last six weeks! Fans are people that are with you for six years. But after doing Gone Country with Diana DeGarmo it was pointed out to me that these people go through trials under the microscope — it’s a sort of bootcamp. I spent a couple of weeks with Diana and got to know her, and they walk their own brutal path. It may not be in the bars and it may not be night after night driving around the country but its tough in its own way. So I’ve got more of a respect for what they do, but I still don’t watch it.”

On the future of Twisted Sister: “It’s not the focus of my life anymore. Last year we did seven shows. We’ll do festivals or something like that, and we’ll put on the makeup and costumes and we’ll go the whole nine yards and give the people what they want. One thing they don’t want is new music. If we go, ‘This one’s from our new album!’ you see hundreds of people standing up and walking out of the room. Kiss put out their Psycho Circus record in 1998, and it didn’t sell! The fans don’t want Kiss 2000. They want ‘Rock and Roll All Night.’ So we have no illusions about that. We will continue until the spandex explodes. There’s bad news and good news — bad news is on stage we look like a bunch of aging drag queens — the good news is we’ve always looked like aging drag queens!”

On Rocklahoma: “We headlined one of the dates last year. We haven’t been asked back. I think they’re going in a different angle this year. Last year was the hair, this year I think they’re going with like ’80s metal — Maiden and that kind of stuff , where the bands were more metallic side with less hair. Last year was the greatest. People were stunned that there was this kind of turn out for a bunch of hair bands! People said, ‘Why Oklahoma?’ Because that was where the mullet was invented!”

On his failed attempts to book Aerosmith for a February 25th concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Rhode Island to benefit the victims of the 2003 Station fire: “I ran into so many walls with Aerosmith, it was unbelievable. Mainly from their management, who just ‘yessed’ me to death and I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere near the band. But when I tried to go around management through friends of the band, I got nowhere. So the thing fell apart. I gotta make this concert as big as I can. I’m gonna shame people into playing. I’m gonna embarrass Aerosmith into showing up. I’m gonna find out their tour schedules. I’m gonna find out where they are that day and I’m gonna say ‘You’re not doing nothing! I hacked into your freakin’ computer and you’re off that day and you’re hanging out at the house! Get your ass over there!’ They’re from the area and they mean more than any other band to these people. They’re the kings of that kind of rock and their appeal to the people who suffered is huge. I’ll be reaching out to Bon Jovi, and I’ll be reaching out to Justin Timberlake, but I’m gonna put the screws to Aerosmith. I love you Steven and Joe, but there’s a greater good here.”


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