While artists like Neil Young, R.E.M. and Aerosmith have lashed out at Donald Trump for using their music at political rallies without permission, Twisted Sister have allowed the Republican presidential candidate to use their 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on the campaign trail. As singer Dee Snider revealed in a new interview, while his own beliefs strongly differ from Trump’s, he says the song “is about rebellion, speaking your mind and fighting the system. If anybody’s doing that, [Trump] sure is.”
Snider and Trump do have a history, as the singer was fired on the 2012 season of Celebrity Apprentice. “He called and he asked, which I appreciated,” Snider told Canadian Business of Trump’s use of “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” “I said, ‘Look, we don’t see eye to eye on everything – there are definitely issues that we’re far apart on.’ … Trump and Bernie Sanders are the two extremes. They’re raising holy hell and shaking everything up. That’s what ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ is about.”
While they have different ideologies, Snider said he remained friends with Trump after taping Celebrity Apprentice. “I have spent time with Donald and his family,” Snider said. “I don’t think either of us expected that we would like each other, but you know, Donald Trump is a pretty chill guy. He’s a frontman.”
When Snider spoke to Rolling Stone in 2012, he was similarly complementary of Trump while disagreeing with the mogul’s politics, including Trump’s demands to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate at that time. “In [Trump’s] own way, he is the P.T. Barnum of his day,” Snider said in 2012. “It is no coincidence that he is talking about possibly running for president at the time that we’re announcing the launch of the Celebrity Apprentice. It’s not a coincidence. Saying sensational things like ‘President Obama sucks,’ knowing at the same time that he wants people to lock up their TiVos.”
However, Snider doesn’t just allow every politician to use “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at rallies: In 2012, Snider denounced Paul Ryan’s use of the Twisted Sister single at a rally.