Snider twists Broadway tunes, writes autobiographyWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
People can see Dee Snider is a man of distinction, a metal singer who decided to spend a little time on Broadway, where he razzle dazzled ’em as Dennis Dupree in “Rock of Ages.”
Now the frontman of Twisted Sister will release a disc, “Dee Does Broadway” on Razor & Tie, and his autobiography, “Shut Up and Give Me the Mic,” on May 8.
Don’t expect the ol’ flim flam flummox. Snider doesn’t need lady luck; he’s a classically trained countertenor. And he gets a kick out of lining up stars for duets.
“It was originally conceived as an album of duets for me and Alice Cooper. Then Alice decided it wasn’t right for him to do, and I decided I’m just crazy enough to do it,” Snider said.
“I think [Cooper] was advised that it might not be the best career move to make. And I have to admit: I’m not doing it as a career move; I’m doing it because it struck my fancy and it seemed like it would be fun.”
It’s clear from the opening track, “Cabaret,” that Snider is having fun — and rocking.
“I often compare a song from my first album called ‘Tear It Loose’ to the lyrics of ‘Cabaret’ because it’s just about not waiting for the weekend, not waiting for someone to invite you to the party, just get the hell out and go and have a good time,” Snider said during a call from his studio in New York City.
“I like the song — lyrically, the idea of just getting out and enjoying life with acknowledging that it’s not as long as people think it is and time has a way of passing. And being a club performer, which I was — Twisted Sister played in bars before we got signed to a deal — so the nightclub, going out is a theme that I’ve sung about.”
Snider used his “Rock of Ages” connections to put out his first request for a singing partner: Bebe Neuwirth.
“I didn’t expect to get any kind of public response, but if you don’t ask, you never know. And she said yes. And my immediate response in my head was: Does she know who Dee Snider is?” he said and laughed.
The two sang “Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)” from “Damn Yankees,” a show Neuwirth starred in on the Great White Way. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance.
“I had no idea that she was Lola; I just thought she’d be cool as Lola,” Snider said.
“Once I got Bebe, I started to feel empowered: Wow, if I can get Bebe Neuwirth, who else can I get? And I decided to shoot for the moon and go for the queen of Broadway, Patti LuPone.”
The metal man and Broadway legend duet on a “West Side Story” medley featuring “Tonight/Somewhere.”
“I remember doing the session with her, I just kept going to myself: Holy crap! That’s Patti LuPone in there!”
Snider reached out to Cyndi Lauper to sing “Hey Big Spender.” On the track, she asks, “Wanna have some fun?” And he replies, “Well, you know, Cyndi, I hear that’s just what you girls want to have.”
During his gig on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Snider said he became friends with Clay Aiken. They sing “Luck Be a Lady Tonight.”
In addition to singing with old chums, Snider wrote his memoirs for Simon & Schuster.
“They were very reluctant to let me write,” he said. “I said, ‘Let me write a few chapters; if you don’t like it, I’ll work with a co-writer.’ So they said, ‘OK, go ahead.’ I wrote three chapters and they loved it.”
The 448-page book covers his roller-coaster career, including Twisted Sister’s 15 minutes of fame in 1984 with “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.”
“I start Chapter 1 at the lowest point in my life, which is ’95 in a parking lot putting fliers on cars in the rain for my wife to do makeup on weekends for weddings. This is 10 years after the heyday of Twisted Sister. And I’m running from security because they chased me off the property and I’m running because I’m afraid they’re going to recognize me and go, ‘Dee Snider, why are you putting fliers on cars?’ Because I’m broke. And I start with the question: How the hell did I get here?
“In the epilogue, I talk about taking a bow on my first night on Broadway, and then I go off and talk a little bit about how far I’ve come from that day,” he said.
Snider will sign “Shut Up and Give Me the Mic” at 4 p.m. May 12 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 3120 Fairlane Drive, Allen Park, Mich.