Book Review: Dee Snider, “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic”

Today, I just finished reading Dee Snider’s rock memoir, “Shut Up and Give Me the Mic”. You see, the 80’s hair metal band, Twisted Sister, was a huge inspiration for me. When I was a kid, I would play their vinyl album, “Stay Hungry”, pretty religiously. Yep, I was pretty addicted to that album. Dee Snider’s look and image, the long curly hair, makeup, and weird looking costume. That look is very cool. That look on the album cover of “Stay Hungry”, is what made me want to get the album and what made me want to get into the band, Twisted Sister. Every time, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” or, “I Wanna Rock” played on MTV back in the day, I would crank it up, sing along with it and play air guitar. I truly believe that was the beginning of my love for rock music. It started from there. That’s how big Twisted Sister was back in the day.

If you think Dee Snider, was into drugs, alcohol, hard partying and fucking multiple women. Think again. He did none of those things. Most rock memoirs are about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Dee Snider’s book is not. If you’re expecting to read about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll in this book, then move along. This book strictly focus’s on Dee’s life and music career. The main focus of this book is to tell the true story of how he created the rock character we all loved and has been inspired by. His famous look in the photo below:

The book also focuses on how he created the two iconic hit songs everyone knows, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, and “I Wanna Rock”.

In the book, he explained how he got into music and how he joined, Twisted Sister. Dee didn’t form the band himself, he joined them. Twisted Sister, was Jay Jay French’s band. Dee just wrote all the songs and sang them. He explained that the Dee Snider image we all know, didn’t happen right away. It happened pretty slowly. Dee had different costumes before the one we all know. His wife, Suzette, is a costume designer and she was the one who created the image for him. Everything about Dee’s life and the career of Twisted Sister is in there. He also talked a lot about family life and how he met Suzette and married her. Things like that. Even Twisted Sister’s career slump after the “Stay Hungry” album was all in there too. I was actually pretty surprised on how intelligent Dee Snider is. He’s also pretty comical and told a lot of funny stories. There will be a few parts in there that will get you laughing out loud for no reason.

The part that grabbed me the most about the book was the part about Dee’s battle against the PMRC. As you can see in that link, Dee testified in that court battle, to defend Twisted Sister’s music ’cause Tipper Gore accused the band of promoting violence and obscene things. John Denver and Frank Zappa both tried to help defend the 1st Amendment in music too. While these three guys tried their best to destroy the PMRC, they lost the battle of course. Which is why we still see those, “Parental Advisory” warnings on albums even to this day. I agree that there is nothing violent about Twisted Sister’s music at all. Their music has always been positive, and family friendly, yet they’re always getting wrongfully accused of promoting violence, drugs, etc. The song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is about venting out your frustrations. I don’t see anything in the lyrics about beating people up.

Other than that, this was an entertaining read. Dee says he plans on writing a sequel to this book, so that should be good too. This book focused on the past of his career. I’m sure the sequel will focus on the present time of his career (like the Twisted Sister reunion, the Christmas album, Celebrity Apprentice, etc.). I’ve read a lot of rock memoirs, but I think this is one of the best ones I’ve ever read. Like Dee Snider or not, he is a heavy metal pioneer. He was the one who started the 80’s hair metal trend. This was a great read. Check it out.


EDIT TO ADD: While we’re on the subject of Twisted Sister, they deserve an induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame too.

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