Watch TWISTED SISTER perform live for the first time in more than six years
Mike Portnoy steps in for drums
TWISTED SISTER reunited for a three-song performance Thursday night (January 26) at the Metal Hall Of Fame charity gala at The Canyon club in Agoura Hills, California. Most of the surviving members of the band’s classic lineup — Dee Snider (vocals), Jay Jay French (guitar) and Mark Mendoza (bass) — was joined by drummer Mike Portnoy for renditions of “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Under The Blade” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Guitarist Eddie Ojeda reportedly couldn’t make the event because he came down with COVID-19; filling in for him was Keith Robert War. Portnoy and guitar virtuoso Steve Vai also inducted French, Snider, Ojeda, Mendoza and Pero into the Metal Hall Of Fame at the sixth annual ceremony, which benefited the non-profit organization D.A.D. (Drums And Disabilities).
Fan-filmed video of TWISTED SISTER‘s performance can be seen below (courtesy of the YouTube channel Fortheloveofrock).
In a recent interview with Canada’s The Metal Voice, French spoke about TWISTED SISTER‘s decision to perform at Metal Hall Of Fame. According to Jay Jay, he and his TWISTED SISTER bandmates were initially thinking, “‘Okay, we’ll just show up, get the award and go home.’ I mean, that was really it,” French said. “I don’t live in L.A. Dee does. I said, ‘Dee, why don’t you just go and get the award and say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the band?’ That’s it. ‘But if you’re not in L.A., maybe I’ll fly out on behalf of the band.’ And that started the conversation about what does it mean.
“We haven’t been together since we broke up, and so I think we all thought maybe it’d be a cool thing, a fun thing to do — play three songs,” he continued. “So we’re going there. We’re gonna rehearse three songs.”
French went on to say that the Metal Hall Of Fame performance shouldn’t give fans the impression that there will be more TWISTED SISTER performances to follow.
“There’s no reunion to speak of,” he said. “I’m not gonna be so cynical and say that it couldn’t lead to conversations, but we never had a single conversation about a reunion prior to this. Not one.
“People always go, ‘When are you guys getting back together?’ I say, ‘Well, we talk all the time, but we never talk about playing. But we talk about business,'” Jay Jay added. “Why do we talk about business? Because ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘I Wanna Rock’ are the most licensed songs in the history of the music business; they’re in more TV commercials, movie soundtracks… So we do licensing deals all day long. It’s really what we do. I’m in the business of music licensing, which is a business I didn’t know existed.”
Earlier in the month, Portnoy confirmed that he would play drums for TWISTED SISTER at Metal Hall Of Fame. During an appearance on “The Chuck Shute Podcast”, Portnoy said that he would be “the drummer” for the reunion performance and added that “we’ve known that we’re playing for months now. I think it was only kind of made public a few days ago.”
He continued: “Steve Vai and myself are inducting them into this Metal Hall Of Fame, and then we’ll be performing a few songs there at the ceremony.”
Mike‘s comments came five days after Ojeda took to his Twitter to write, “Looking forward to our induction into the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame on Jan.26th 2023 in LA”. A short time later, Snider shared Ojeda‘s tweet and added: “Looking forward to playing together for the first time since 2016…especially the rehearsal!”
In 2016, TWISTED SISTER embarked on one final trek, titled “Forty And Fuck It”, in celebration of its 40th anniversary. These shows featured the band’s “core lineup” of Snider, French, Ojeda and Mendoza, along with Portnoy. The band’s last-ever concert took place in November of that year — 20 months after the passing of Pero.
TWISTED SISTER‘s original run ended in the late ’80s. After more than a decade, the band publicly reunited in November 2001 to top the bill of New York Steel, a hard-rock benefit concert to raise money for the New York Police And Fire Widows’ And Children’s Benefit Fund.
The surviving members of the classic lineup of TWISTED SISTER previously reunited virtually in March 2021 for a special episode of Mendoza‘s Internet TV show “22 Now”. The hour-and-a-half-long program was a tribute to Pero, who died exactly six years earlier at the age of 55 while on tour with the band ADRENALINE MOB.
Prior to the March 2021 virtual reunion, the four surviving members of TWISTED SISTER reunited for two days and nights in November 2019 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the band’s classic album “Stay Hungry”.
In a 2021 interview with the “Metal From The Inside” podcast, Snider was asked if he is still steadfast about not wanting TWISTED SISTER to reunite. He responded: “I am one hundred percent committed to not reuniting. Now, let me just be clear: we’re friends. I did a solo show a couple of weeks ago (on June 11 at Stereo Garden in Patchogue, New York) and TWISTED SISTER bassist Mark Mendoza showed up, and we did TWISTED SISTER‘s ‘Under The Blade’, and it was awesome. I talk to the guys all the time. I can show you my text messages. We have a little text group, and we were sending messages back and forth.
“To me, that was the reason to reunite, was to fix the relationships between the members of the band, and we did fix’ em, and we’re friends,” he explained. “I feel we did what we could do without just doing the same thing over. And I wanted to do some new, challenging things that I couldn’t do within TWISTED. And the solo records I’ve done I could not have done with TWISTED SISTER. I could not have done ‘Dee Does Broadway’ with TWISTED SISTER — ‘Twisted Does Broadway’. And I could not have done ‘For The Love Of Metal’ with TWISTED SISTER; people would never have accepted it. But as a solo artist, I’m allowed to change and evolve. And some things fans have liked; some things they’ve not liked. But at the same time, I’m allowed; no one’s ever questioned it. And, again, if TWISTED SISTER did it, it would be, like, ‘Hey, it doesn’t sound like TWISTED SISTER anymore’; it would have been that kind of thing.”
Circling back to the prospect of TWISTED SISTER reuniting, Dee said: “I could see us doing a charity — a couple of songs for charity, for the right reasons. We got back together originally for charity, which was a good reason to get together. I could see (talk show host Jimmy) Fallon — he’s a big fan — if he said, ‘Hey, guys, can you guys come on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ and do ‘White Christmas’ for us?’ Fuck yeah. But to do a tour, to do 90 minutes, two hours on a stage, I don’t see that happening. And credit to everybody in the band, and I know some people — without naming names — some guys, they would have kept going; others did not wanna keep going. But I’m sure we get offers. Jay Jay French is the manager of TWISTED, ’cause it’s still an entity — there’s still royalties and licenses and things like that, and merchandise — he’s not presented one offer, and I’m sure we’ve gotten ’em. ‘Cause we’re not even considering it. It doesn’t matter what they’re offering; we’re not doing it.”
Looking forward to playing together for the first time since 2016...especially the rehearsal! https://t.co/FgTJJd5teA— Dee Snider🇺🇸🎤 (@deesnider) January 7, 2023