In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider looked back on the toughest time of his career, which was when the ’90s rolled in and grunge effectively killed hair metal.
“That was 1989, ’90, ’91. The end of hair metal, the start of grunge. I got the call: ‘We’re not doing that anymore.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean, ‘that’?’ ‘We don’t do that. We don’t sing like you, we don’t perform like you, we don’t write like you, we don’t look like you,'” Snider recalled. But that was it — over. I was married, I had three kids, and I was broke. Yeah, I’d made millions and I spent it like a rock star. And that was without drugs and alcohol.”
“I saw an article in a business magazine on personal branding, and they cited me as a person who branded himself,” he continued. “I was laughing reading the article, ’cause I did nothing of the sort. It was pure desperation. I said ‘yes’ to any and every opportunity I could. And that even meant everything from answering phones at a desk job for somebody to managing a recording studio for a little while.
“Then I started working for a toy company, working on toy concepts. And then I got into voiceover, and then I started my radio career, then TV, movies, everything started kicking in. But it was no plan, it was just saying ‘yes’ to anything that would give me a buck to put food on the table for my kids. It was desperate.”
“Oh god, it was awful,” Snider added. “This was 1991, ’92. People would walk in and go, ‘Aren’t you…’ And I would lie. I would say, ‘No I’m not.’ And they’d go, ‘Wow, it’s amazing, you look just like him.’ The fact is that never in a million years would people think that Dee Snider would be sitting answering a phone. So they’d believe me that I wasn’t me.”
After interviewer noted “that must have been pretty humiliating,” Snider said: “Yeah. Another job I did was flyering cars. I remember flyering cars in a parking lot at a catering hall in the rain, and the security coming after me and running, trying to get away. I didn’t want them to recognize me, putting flyers on cars in the rain: ‘Aren’t you Dee Snider? What are you doing out here putting flyers on cars in the rain?’ I was desperate, but I had three kids. You do what you gotta do.”
“It really started to turn in 1996,” he continued. “There was a few years of desperation, and then I started doing voiceovers. And voiceovers pay tremendously, so all of a sudden I start getting money coming in.
“And then I got a radio show, ‘The House of Hair,’ which has actually been on now for 22-plus years. And my radio started kicking in. So by the late ’90s, I’m making big money doing radio and voiceover work. And now I’m back. But it was tough.”