During a recent appearance on Full in Bloom, producer Tom Werman talked about working with TWISTED SISTER on 1984’s Stay Hungry, while also touching the ongoing feud with frontman Dee Snider.
Snider previously accused Werman of handling the project lazily, saying that the producer didn’t want to include “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” on the record, both of which ended up as major hits.
Tom now says: “With all of these guys, all the bands that I’ve worked with — Ted Nugent, CHEAP TRICK, MOLLY HATCHET, MÖTLEY CRÜE, TWISTED SISTER, KISS, L.A. GUNS, POISON, I did the same thing with all of them, really. I didn’t make the same record with all of them, I didn’t see the songs the same way, but I produced the stuff so that it caught your ear, you’d sing it in the shower.
“I produced it so it would be a commercial hit. If I hadn’t, gee, just think what Dee would have said about me then. ‘Not only did this guy destroy our album — it didn’t sell.’ So that’s it. The rest of the guys were great, Jay Jay [French, guitar] was good, sorry to see A. J. [Pero, drums] die so young — but these were good guys, they were really nice guys and funny.
“Dee was a two-faced backstabbing conman. Dee Snider was there for the mixes,” Tom continued. “Dee Snider approved every single mix, so really, if he doesn’t like the album, it’s just as much his fault as it might be mine. He blames somebody else. Who else blames somebody else for everything that’s happening?
“There’s no question that my approach to music was more pop, but that’s what worked, that’s what got people on the radio, that’s why ‘Surrender’ was a hit, that’s why ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ was a hit — that’s why I made hit singles. That was the only way to sell millions of albums, which would’ve been confined or restricted to FM play only. He’s got one of the most licensed songs in the history of recorded music probably, and he’s bitching and bitching — ‘He’s this and he’s that.’ I don’t know, I mean, it is mysterious to me.
“I will say that during the album, he was really nice, he was very agreeable, friendly and he had a good attitude. He wasn’t not-happy in the studio, he didn’t complain in the studio, he didn’t pace back and forth in frustration. He worked just as they all did, all the other guys in the band worked, everybody was going forward, and the minute that album was delivered he started with the, you know, the acid.
“I took my baby, my little girl at the time, and my wife, we went up to New Hampshire to see their first show after the recording. It was boiling hot, it was 90 degrees, full sun, outdoor gig, and we went out to see them, to support them because they were playing live. I wanted to see them live again. I’d only seen them live once so after the show we’re waiting by their bus to go in and say hi.
“He knows we’re out there, and he won’t even open the door to the bus — makes us sit there for about 30-40 minutes in the blazing sun, assuming we could go in and just say hi. No, not Dee, he’s got to make you suffer — just don’t understand him, but I have to assume that the guy has major issues.
“Somebody sent me his book and in his book he says — I’m not gonna quote it, but he says something close to, ‘Tom Werman personally destroyed our album,’ to which I can only reply, ‘And so what happened to it? If I destroyed it, I guess it didn’t work? I guess it was unpopular, it didn’t sell?’ That song and that album made him a multi-millionaire for life, and he’s pissed — what can that be about? It’s just a strange thing, and what happened to their next album [1985’s Come Out and Play]?
“Dieter Dierks, good producer — very successful producer — they wanted to go with a different producer. They go with him, and what happens? A stiff record. I don’t see exactly why I’m being flailed and punished and beaten verbally by Dee for working, just even working on a huge album worldwide.
“I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine, really. So Dee says, ‘Jeez, I really wish the sound on that album would’ve been harder, tougher, more aggressive, more bottom…’ Fine, I can take it, I’m a grown-up, I’m not perfect, I did pretty good work, but yeah, sure, I can see you disagreeing with the sonic avenue I chose.
“But to say the things that he says, he’s got an issue with me. It’s like I insulted his wife or something — I just don’t get it,” Werman added. “So let him go — please, Dee, give it a rest and enjoy your privileged life, I can’t make heads or tails out of it. I can only respond to it, and believe me, I don’t stay up at night worrying about it.”
You can listen to full interview below.