Donna's BS from TS

Introduction:

Greetings SMFs!

Welcome to the first installment of Donna’s BS on TS. It’s me, Donna from CT! For those of you who don’t know me from the board or otherwise, a brief history. I saw my first Twisted Sister show at Detroit (no “S”) in Port Chester, NY in April of 1978 (you do the math). I was 18 at the time (DO NOT do that math!), and was forced by my dear friends Dina and June to go out that night. I had a broken leg and wasn’t all that thrilled at the prospect of being banged around at a rock nightclub. They talked me into it, and for that I will be forever grateful.

From the moment I walked in that door and saw the boyz up on the stage I knew that this was a life-altering event! And alter it did! Finding myself drawn like a magnet to every show my orange Volvo would get me to; I began to schedule work and school around TS shows. Needless to say, that wasn’t making my Mom and Dad very happy. I was issued an ultimatum: “Live under my roof and stop coming home at 6:00 in the morning, or continue on your merry way following this bunch of metal head long hairs around and move out.

I chose the latter. And the rest, as they say, is history. Lots of history.

On to the article:

At the suggestion of Jay Jay French, the object of this section of the site is to bring you the latest and greatest news on the Twisted Sister front from the band in real time. The band is committed to bringing you up to date information as it happens, so you’ll hear it here FIRST, as well it should be considering this is the official Twisted Sister web site!

We will be bring you FAQ’s and LKFs (little known facts) as a reference for newbies and to try to stem the ever growing tide of the repeated questions posed over and over again ad nauseum on the Slamboard. And to preserve Jay Jay’s sanity.

Please let us know what you think. As always, all suggestions are welcome.

CD/DVD Update:

Twisted Sister is three quarters of the way through with the re-record of the Stay Hungry album and the accompanying DVD of the Boyz’ phenomenal performances in Europe from the summer of 2003. Entitled “Still Hungry”, this package promises to be nothing short of epic in proportion! New DVD Plus technology allows for having the CD on one side and DVD on the other. Gotta love technology! Most of the song tracks are complete, with the exception of Eddie’s guitar leads and Dee’s vocals.

The DVD side is still in the editing process. It will also contain documentary type footage and interviews from 2000 to the present that tell of the band’s decision to reunite, the September 11th benefit concert, the band’s triumphant return to Europe and many more juicy tidbits we have been dying to know!

The DVD Plus will be released in the US on the Spitfire label and some parts of Europe on the Demolition Records label later this summer. This is going to be the recording/DVD of 2004, my friends. Imagine all of those awesome tunes now recorded, mixed and engineered with all the raw intensity that only Twisted Sister can deliver. And with Mark the Animal Mendoza at the helm (he’s the producer) and engineer extraordinaire Denny at his side, this compilation will be nothing short of earth shattering! I know for a fact that Mark has been working 24/7 to perfect this little gem. Many thanks to Mark for dedicating so much time and energy to this project! As the saying goes, “we’re not worthy”!

The Boyz in the Band:

Dee Snider:

The hardest working front man in the biz is extremely busy with a multitude of projects including but not limited to: writing a new screenplay for Strangeland II, the House of Hair Radio show, Dee Snider’s Bikers for Babies March of Dimes charity motorcycle runs, recording, and being a Dad. Dee’s also in negotiations to star in a reality based TV show called The Sniders – Meet the Family! How much would we love that?!?! Dee speaks (literally) much more about this and other subjects on his web site so please visit him at www.deesnider.com. The updated web site is awesome, so check it out!

Jay Jay French:

The ever-frenetic Mr. French has also been working in the studio as well as running his own entertainment company. He is working diligently toward the release of the debut album of Indian pop artist Tina Sugandh. The CD will be released on Hollywood Records. You can learn more about Tina on her web site, www.tinaworld.com. Fill you in with more details as the release date gets closer. And we’ll all be buying that CD when it’s released, right folks??? Good, I thought you’d agree! Please join me in wishing much success to Jay Jay and Tina!

Eddie (Fingers) Ojeda:

Eddie is currently very busy in the studio (hurry Eddie, we need can’t wait another minute for that CD!!!), reworking his web site, and other music projects that should prove to be very exciting. Eddie has formed a side band with friends Rudy Sarzo on bass, Vinny Appice on drums, Terry Ilous on vocals and of course none other than Eddie himself on guitar. Plans are in discussion for some future dates in 2004. More to follow…stay tuned!

Mark (The Animal) Mendoza:

Ah, the indefatigable (use your online dictionary, it’s easy) Mr. Mendoza!!! He should have a new Superhero named after him. Something like “Dusk ‘til Dawn Man”, or “24/7 Man”. With the CD/DVD project in the works, he has been spending countless hours in the both the recording studio and the video-editing studio working diligently to release this masterpiece. Once again, thanks Mark for all of your hard work. We know it’s going to be like nothing we have seen or heard before.

AJ Pero:

AJ also continues diving into studio work as well as working on other music projects. With his recent signing to Tama Drums, drum clinics are in discussion for the near future. More updates to follow.

Daniel Stanton:

When did Danny join the band, you may ask? He didn’t. But as we all know, because of Danny’s effort, dedication, and tireless promotion we are able to once again be a part of and witness the phenomenon know as Twisted Sister. As of this writing, Danny is in Europe helping out at a show for the BBC and will return shortly.

When he returns he’ll be gearing up for more Twisted travel as well as booking more TS shows down the road (fingers crossed people!!). We eagerly anticipate more road trip posts and other priceless information he shares with we SMFs! Thanks, Danny! For more information on what Danny does for Twisted Sister and some other bands (and for some great photos, too) check out www.coallierentertainment.com.

So that’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed the article and check back soon! I promise that the section will be updated frequently with up to date news and happenings from the TS camp.

Until then, take good care and blast it fast and loud!

Still Hungry CD/DVD update – 5.20.2004

Fellow SMFs,

Some news regarding the CD/DVD:

When TS played the Wacken and Bang Your Head festivals last year they had an agreement with the promoters of the festivals whereas the band would allow them to use footage from their performances in future festival promotions, etc. In exchange, TS would have complete access and control over the footage of their shows.

Since the re-release of Stay Hungry was the band’s first priority, they have been concentrating on completing the rerecord and have recently begun the editing process for the DVD. In doing so it was discovered that the audio tracks for both shows are substandard. Being our boyz is our boyz, they would never produce and/or distribute anything of substandard quality!

Because of this, TS is currently making every effort to improve the audio sound on the DVD. However, the priority is still on the re-release of Stay Hungry and the bonus tracks included on the CD. Bonus tracks??? Did I say bonus tracks???!!! I did say bonus tracks, didn’t I… Let’s just put it this way, these are bonus tracks after the heart of every old school SMF!!

While the release of the DVD is important to everyone, the band doesn’t want to jeopardize the release of the CD. One option may be to release Still Hungry and the DVD separately. That remains to be seen. Being a person to whom instant gratification means everything, I say get on with the release of the CD!! We need stuff!!! Any stuff!!! I mean really, who knew 3 or 4 years ago that we’d be sitting here anticipating the release of the CD??? Don’t you just feeling like lining up in front of your local music store, like, now????

As promised, I will keep you up to date on the latest developments concerning the CD/DVD and other stuff as it happens!

The Making of “The Beast,” Part One – 6.25.04

Fellow SMFs,

Greetings from CT! Hope this column finds your and yours happy and healthy!

There sure has been a lot happening since we last visited, so pull up a chair, grab a beverage of your choice (Junior SMFs, that better be something NON alcoholic), and join me while I recount the happenings of the past month or so.

Seems that ever since I was nominated by Mr. French to write this column (and seconded by my fellow SMFs, thanks!!!!), I’ve found myself in situations that I never even dreamed of in my entire life.

For instance one day not too long ago, I was at work when I got a message on my cell phone. Much to my surprise, it was none other the Grand High Exalted Master of all bass players himself, Mark the Animal Mendoza. Mark wanted me to come to the studio, so that I could report back to you first hand what I heard and saw from a fan’s perspective. I’m like “Huh?”, I mean completely dumbfounded. He’s like “Yup.” Man of few words. Needless to say I gratefully obeyed and showed up at the studio that night. Should have known I was about to be completely blown away when it started hailing the size of golf balls. Good omen, I guess.

For those of you that are interested at all in decorating, the place is beautiful. My guess is it has to be that way since most folks who are recording spend a heck of a lot of time in there! Clean as a whistle, beautiful woodwork, which I imagine, is chosen for its acoustic properties. OK, enough with the decorating drivel.

There were only a few people there, M.A.M, myself, Dylan – the nice young man who runs the place, knows the ins and outs of every piece of equipment in the place, and is also an engineer. Denny, the sound engineer who endures relentless, ruthless attacks from Mark (all in fun, but relentless none the less!), let me tell you this man should be nominated for sainthood! There were also a few interns who were about to learn lessons of a lifetime from the Master himself.

I was escorted into the control room area of the studio. I thought I died and went to heaven! This is where it all comes together! It was amazing to see the enormous mixing board, and the computers they use to create and compile the songs. What an opportunity! Who would have ever thought 25 years ago I would be in the studio with my favorite bass player of all time hearing the raw takes of what is soon to be a CD that will absolutely blow away the original recording? I have to admit to being nervous as hell. It was overwhelming. You may ask why TS decided to rerecord an old album instead of putting out new material. Let me tell you, when you hear this, your question will be answered. For example, that night Mark was laying down background vocals for “Captain Howdy”. When you hear this song, tell me if you are not as creeped out as I was. The original recording didn’t do that for me. What I heard made me want to turn on all the lights in the house and hide in the friggin’ closet. Frightening. And I’d venture to guess this was the original intent of the song.

Part of the goal for this session was to put together or “comp” the vocals for “The Beast”. The process is as such: Dee will sing a line four or five times. Each take is then run through the mixing board and sent to a computer that has a program that allows you to listen to each take one a time. The things you can do with the recording software are amazing! You can slow down or speed up the vocals, change the pitch of the vocals, shorten or lengthen anything…all with the click of a mouse.

Next, you pick the line that fits best in the song. You literally copy and paste it into the song, almost like creating a word document, but you are creating music!! You can take the whole line, or just a word, or even just a syllable of a word and build the line syllable by syllable. How cool is that?!?!

Mark gave us all the opportunity to “vote” if you will, on which line we thought was the best of them. What truly impressed me was how patient MAM is through this, and what a great teacher he is to the interns. As the interns picked which take they liked the best, he would ask each of them why, and make them explain why they thought that one would fit in best with the rest of the song. If Mark agreed, he would impart his reasoning to them. If he disagreed, he would tell them why and how important it would be for them in the future to train their ear to pick up on little things that none of us with an untrained ear would ever catch. Things like timing, cadence, clarity, or just whether the line works with the feel of the song. There is so much that goes into putting a song together. I have an entirely new appreciation for producers and engineers, and the countless hours they spend making a final music product for us to take home and crank up the volume!

I have to tell you that there’s no glamour to this part of the process. It is clearly painstaking and tedious. It took close to two hours to put together about three lines of the song. Imagine then that this process is repeated with every song, with every LINE of every SONG! And the same for the guitar parts, drums, background vocals. I fully understand now why it can take so long for a recording to be released. Not to mention that in this case, Mark is working a full time job, touring, playing bass for the recording, singing background for the recording, editing the DVD and spending the rest of the 30 hours he manages to have in his day in the studio. He truly is amazing. But I digress.

When vocal compiling was completed, I thought that was it. The next thing I knew, Mark invited me sit at the controls and use the mixing table! I was thrilled. He showed me the channels, which is equivalent to a giant equalizer where each instrument and vocals have their own volume control. I got to pick which song I wanted to mix, and was told what instrument was on which channel. He had me pick from the songs where most of the tracks were complete. I don’t think I can accurately convey how exciting this was for me. Being somewhat of a control freak in real life, I was beside myself.

Being that my two equally favorite TS songs are included as part of the bonus tracks, I picked “Come Back “as the song to mix to my ear’s delight. Still nervous as hell, Mark explained that I wasn’t going to hurt anything and to go for it! And I did! Channel 21 had Jay Jay’s guitar solo and parts on it. You guys can probably guess what channel was up the loudest throughout the song! It sounded awesome. Some of the best work ever by the Boyz. And I’m not just saying that. TS have matured as a band and as musicians throughout the years, and it shows. It was almost as if it weren’t even recorded in the studio. The whole CD has a great live feel to it. And we all know there is nothing, no other band ever that compares to Twisted Sister live.

Mark has managed to capture that live feel on a studio recording. I am so grateful that we will be able to enjoy this CD as it was meant to be…raw, pure, unadulterated TS at their very best. I cannot wait for the release, which according to Demolition Records is August 23rd. Can’t be soon enough!

So ends Part 1 of the studio segment of the column…next the Twistettes and Twistenaires sing our hearts out…or else!

“Come Back” for more to be published very soon! In the meantime…

Blast it Fast and Loud!!

A Thank You Letter to Twisted Sister – 8.18.2004

Brian wrote on the Slamboard:

“It makes all the bullshit in life worth it when you can go to a show and be a part of something so great.”

It’s so true. I’m tired, I’m traveling for work, I haven’t had more than 4 hours of sleep since Friday, been to 5 states in 4 days, but I have to write, so I’ll probably ramble and be disjointed. You don’t have to read it, but I have to write it.

What a weekend, and all thanks once again to the greatest live rock band of all time. I’m not sure that the guys know what they do for people goes way beyond the music. They change our lives forever.

Went to both shows. Friday night started out with seeing two former front row girls and dear friends that I haven’t seen in 20 years. We talked, exchanged info, hugged and kissed and truly were happy to reconnect. We now have plans to continue our friendships where we left off. I met GJG. What a great and intelligent guy. And still an SMF. Nice meeting you, Glenn. Thank you, TS.

Then there was the show.

Highlights for me – AJ’s drum solo. Holy shit, if I may say so myself. I can hear Dee saying from the Club Daze II CD “And the man in the back who gets so little recognition”…I know he’s introducing Tony Petrie there, but it so holds true for AJ as well. AJ did this thing with the toms and the cymbals that I have never seen or heard before, and I’ve seen a hell of a lot of Neil Peart drum solos! It was like he was going so fast he was hitting them at the same time creating this barrage of clashing and pounding for like 30 seconds. C’mon!!!! How the hell did he do that?? It was astounding and breath-taking. I bow down in awe and humility to that man.

And MAM…the riffs were just rolling off his fingers between incessant, merciless pounding of an innocent instrument. I would love to see the face of the person who assembled that bass after they see Mark kicking its sorry ass. They would be in tears. Did you ever watch him right after the lead break in “Shoot ‘em down”? He just slams the body, then the neck, then the body, then the neck, all while keeping time and playing chords. It is a sight to behold. Watch next time, you’ll see what I mean. The poor people around me don’t have a choice but to watch him ‘cause now I know it’s coming and I make them watch. I hit them on the shoulder and go “watch this”. They are shocked at first, but grateful after! The man is the 9th Wonder of the World. (Or whatever number we’re on now).

Dee talking about how this thing is all going to die down soon, less shows or no shows or whatever…not what I like to hear, selfish as that may be. Yet even though I’m hearing something I don’t want to hear, he still says it in a way that is funny as hell. Talking about how those outfits wouldn’t look so hot with Depends underneath them. Then telling his daughter to be prepared, she might have to change them. Then assuring her that before it would ever come to that he’d shoot himself, so not to worry. I’m sorry, but that was one of the funniest raps I ever heard.

Eddie – cool as a cucumber in the August heat. Playing that guitar like he was born with it. Never says a word, just lets his fingers do the talking. And what stories they tell.

And then there’s Jay Jay. ‘Nuff said.

And that was only Poughkeepsie.

I Map Quested my way from Poughkeepsie to Jim Thorpe, Pa. Mistake in itself, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The directions took me the scenic route through the mountains of upstate NY and PA. It was so beautiful that at one point I just pulled over and sat on my hood taking in some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. Who knew? God Bless America. The ride kind of set up how awesome the rest of the day would turn out to be.

I got to the first hotel I booked. Hated it!!! Plus the front desk guy was an asshole and it turned out to be too far from Penn’s Peak anyway, so I split and got a room right in Jim (F’n!) Thorpe. That is the sweetest little town this side of Maine. Very historic, great shopping, awesome old architecture and ghost stories being told in the taverns! Stayed at a place that was 174 years old and was absolutely fabulous. Thanks to Paul the owner and bartender for sharing the history and stories, and for the best Margaritas this side of Mexico! And if he reads this (I told him to visit the board)…I’ll be back. I think I had a visitation from the resident poltergeist that night. Or maybe it was just the Tequila and Jagermeister playing tricks with my head. Or exhaustion. Enough of that.

Head to the show. Once again, God’s country. Gorgeous setting overlooking lush mountains and rich valleys. The atmosphere there was awesome.

Go in to the bar to continue my pursuit of the ultimate Margarita. On the way out, I run into MP1975, BMAC, SMF CYNDI, METAL NY, and JOE ROCK. I knew this night was going to be something special at that point. Here we are, brothers and sisters in arms, waiting to pay homage to a band that has done so much for so many. I take such pride in being associated with and a part of this thing, this family. Our own little SMF Cosa Nostra. Thanks to those folks, I was able to stand in the second row at the show and not get pounded on. MP was my protector and I really appreciated that! You guys are the best!

Highlights of that show – the audience. People were so in tune with everything. Singing, jumping, fists raised, loving every minute of it. The people in the balcony were out of their seats the whole time. We all just let it go; nobody cared what anyone thought of them. If you weren’t doing it, then you weren’t cool. The vibe was such that you almost thought, well the planets must be in alignment or something for everyone and everything to come together like this. I was getting goose bumps.

At one point Jay Jay was talking about something and Dee was crouched over by MAM’s stack. I wish I had a picture of him, because I’m not sure I can accurately describe it. It was right after a song. His hair was in his face, he was peering out between it, and he had a sort of sneer thing going on. Crouching like he was, ready to pounce on anybody in his way, he looked like this evil lion-like apparition. It blew my mind, and he wasn’t even moving! I was saying to myself, how much this man must be into what he’s doing that he actually is almost transforming right before my eyes?? It is amazing what he gives on stage and I am so grateful to him for that.

MAM once again just turning the bass into pulp. Bending the E string, riffing, breaking his G string at one point. I mean let’s face it, that’s sort of like breaking the metal cable tie rod you see in guardrails on the roadway with your bare hands. He played this riff during “The Price” that sent shivers down my spine.

AJ incredible as always, Eddie was white hot.

And then there’s Jay Jay. ‘Nuff said.

I was spent after that show. I don’t mean to get all Sci-Fi on you, but I wish there was a way to actually capture moments like these in some kind of orb like thing so that when you pull it out of its container you could actually FEEL the same way you did when you saw it the first time. Listening to a CD, watching a DVD is one thing, but it will never compare to the feeling you get when you’re there experiencing the show. I was filled with gratitude and appreciation for what TS had done for me and all of the other people who were there that night.

Afterwards, TS held an impromptu meet and greet. Once again, the boyz giving their all, exhausted after a powerhouse show, but not too tired to take the time to show the fans how much they appreciate their support. They could have just left, they could have said “enough’s enough”, we gave what we had to give, go home. Not TS, no way. They are real people who appreciate the people who appreciate them and make sure we know it, not only on stage but off as well.

You may say, “Jesus Donna, you’re talking about a rock band here. Calm the frig down”. That’s fine, but just go read the posts for yourself. It’s not just me talking here, a biased opinion, as it were. People are saying stuff like, “the best show I have seen” in how many ever years it is for them. Or they’re saying that they are so glad to have witnessed this phenomenon, that it somehow changed their perspective on life, even if just for a day. There’s an afterglow associated with a TS show, something that kind of stays with you and makes the next week of bullshit a little easier to take. People are taking their sons and their daughters, nephews, nieces. I stood and talked to an 18 year old kid from CA. whose brother in law took him while he was visiting Pougkeepsie. You should have seen the look on his face during WYDK. Priceless. I mean, people are taking the most important people in their lives to these shows. That’s got to count for something. Hell, if my Dad was still alive I’d take him!

Bottom line; get to a show as soon as you can. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You will not remain unchanged and you will never forget what you’ve seen. You can’t put a price on the experience that is Twisted Sister. If any promoters are reading this, don’t be foolish, this isn’t some sleazy ass 80’s, no talent, take the money and run band. You and the public will get your moneys worth and more. Book these guys as soon as you get the chance, before it’s too late.

Lastly, thanks to TS from all of us for going out there and making memories that we will cherish forever. I know I will never feel about anything else as I feel about this band. I called my Mom on the way home from PA. (I still have to check in everyday!!!). I told her that after that show, if I died tomorrow I’d die happy. I mean it.

When The house Starts Rockin’… – 9.29.2004

It’s getting down to the wire now for the re-record of Stay Hungry. This is when things start reaching fever pitch in the studio. And when creating any masterpiece, it’s about this time when one starts putting on the finishing touches. For da Vinci, it’s the last stroke of the brush. Michaelangelo, the last scrape of the chisel. Mark the Animal Mendoza….it’s time to bring on the gang vocalists!!!

The band requested friends, family, and colleagues (and one roving reporter!), to join them in singing background vocals on “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “I Wanna Rock”, and “SMF”. We were happy to oblige and completely grateful to be a part of the making of what I will continue to tell you, ad nauseum, is truly a work of art! Plus, FREE PIZZA!!!!! Bonus!!! Seriously, this was an honor of such great magnitude that it has taken me over two months to get this on paper.

This was really thrilling for us on so many levels, and we arrived at the studio ready to rock! Mark greeted us and told us we needed to wait until the film crew arrived. FILM CREW????? You mean this is going to be recorded on film??? We found out that this will be included as part of the DVD coming out later this year. What a great idea to film the making of the CD for posterity’s sake.

Once the crew arrived, about 20 of us filed into the recording room and all gathered around three microphones located in the center of the room. We then discovered we were going to be led in the choir by chorus masters MAM, Jay Jay French and AJ Pero. Anyone who has ever attended a TS show would know at this point we were in for a heavy duty, no holds barred, barrage of humor in the first degree.

First up were the vocals for “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Never having experience anything like this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Mark handed out headphones to everyone, and arranged it so that the taller people would be in the back and the ratio of male to females would be evenly distributed. Much to my dismay, I was pulled out of the back and made to stand front and center. I was horrified, to say the least…especially because MAM had a clear view of me and would growl at me when he felt I wasn’t singing loud enough. That’s enough to scare anyone into doing just about anything. Luckily, there was a young man a tad shorter than me that I put in front of me. I tried to hide behind him as much as I could!

What happened next is that Denny (sound engineer savant) in the control room would play the guitar leads before everyone would have to sing the “Whoa-oo-oo’s. Think it’s easy, right? Wrong. You know how there’s harmony that you’ve been used to singing for 20 years? Well, we weren’t allowed to sing that. Once we got that through our heads, it went fine from there. The “Yeah’s” went fairly well, we got those down pretty quickly. Singing the chorus went well, too. Funny how the hardest part was the “Whoa’s”! At one point during the song, we were going to be doing another take of the chorus. Mark said “Ok, now we’ll do the second chorus the same as the first. ” Well, that opened up the door for Jay Jay to say “Second verse, same as the first!” And all of us went into a rollicking rendition of Herman’s Hermits “Henry the VIII”. That was hysterical. Also proved the median age of everyone in the room since we all new every word. That was really funny, and helped me to relax a bit!

Next up was “I Wanna Rock” Again, you would think it would be easy, right? All you have to do is shout “ROCK!” or “NO!”, or “GO!”. Wrong. After 20 years of singing along with these songs, it’s really hard not to sing along as you always have. You need to contain yourself because tape is rolling and you have to make sure you don’t sing with any of Dee’s lines right before your part comes in. Denny would play the line right before we came in. We would hear that through the headphones. Dee would sing “I Wanna Rock” and we’d go “ROCK”. That was fine. That hardest part for me was not to sing with Dee the third time he sings the line “I WANT TO ROCK” in the chorus. Just had to mouth it to myself so I didn’t get caught! Fortunately for me, MAM was looking somewhere else at the time…I hope!! When it came time to sing “rock” in rapid succession back and forth with Dee, a few of us were singing Dee’s “rock” instead of our ”rock”, so we had to do that over a couple of times as well. It was truly hilarious. Also, we were all required to harass Denny as much as possible. The poor man takes a merciless beating at the hands of the Bad Boyz of Rock and Roll. We were told at one point, when he was ready to record us saying, “Rock”, to yell “Denny Blows”. We did as we were told and although I couldn’t see Denny’s face, I’m sure he wasn’t all that happy about that. Nonetheless, it was pretty funny! He’s a good sport, and I’m sure pretty used to the abuse after all these years.

The last song of the night after a break was “SMF”. Took a little while for some folks to get down the timing of the last “SMF “in the chorus where it kind of slows down and you punch out “S-M-F”. I’ll tell you, as I was singing that, I really felt it. I’m here in a room with three of my idols in my favorite rock band of all time, and declaring loud and proud what it all comes down to. I’m an SMF!!! A truly defining moment.

It took about 20 minutes to a half an hour to record each of the songs. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for an hour and a half I was in Heaven. All of us had a blast and we were so happy that Mark asked us to be part of, if you will, the history of Twisted Sister. It’s hard to put into words what that experience means. I was filled with pride and gratitude and will never forget that night. It’s locked away deep in my heart, something that no one can ever touch, something that will be with me forever.

Thanks to Twisted Sister for another fabulous memory.

Another DVD Update – 3.30.2005

Dear Fellow SMFs,

It’s been a while since the last entry, and I hope that this short column finds you and yours all well and happy! Been a long, cold winter up here in CT, but it’s finally starting to warm up! Spring is always a great time of year. Renewal and all that stuff. Gives you something to look forward to anyway. Just like Danny’s latest posts. We have a lot to look forward to, all of us in every part of the world. Twisted is definitely back with a vengeance, continuing to kick our collective asses in a major way, and I can’t wait to see where the Boyz will be heading for the rest of the spring and summer. I am so very grateful to TS for allowing me the opportunity to see the greatest live band in rock history continue to perform through 2005. I swear this is the longest dream I’ve ever had!

Anyway, many of you have been asking for an update on the DVD. Here it is, folks! Straight from “The Animal’s” mouth, as it were.

It looks like the video editing is 95 % complete and the audio editing and mixing should be done by the end of next week. Jay Jay and Mark should review the final cut some time the week after next.

As you may already be aware, the biggest delay and interference with the progress of the DVD was with the audio. The original hard drive housing the audio from the Wacken show was ruined. As a result, the camera audio feed was used to make up for the lack of audio recorded on the hard drive. This process has proven to be laborious and painstaking and has taken up an inordinate amount of time and effort on everyone’s part. Twisted has never released an inferior product, and they aren’t about to start now! They take this very seriously and are not about just throwing something together to get it out the door. That’s most of the reason for the hold up. Extra editing needed to be done to match the audio and visual tracks and that takes time. The end result will be a something well worth the wait!

Other than the footage from the Wacken Open Air Festival (Germany, 2003) the DVD will include interviews with the band, footage from various shows including the USO shows in Korea, and the video of the making of “Still Hungry” starring Mendoza’s Choir and choir masters Jay Jay French, Mark “the Animal” Mendoza and AJ Pero.

Expect the finished product late June or early July.

That’s about it for now. Check back often for more updates. As soon as I know, you’ll know!

Take care, rock on ( and get out and see a show or two!!),

Yet Another DVD Update – 4.26.2005

Greetings fellow SMFs –

Hope all is well in your twisted little worlds.

Just a quick DVD progress update…

First and most importantly, it’s DONE!!! According to MAM on The Animal Tactics show, (98.5 – THE BONE, Fridays from 10-midnight) it should be out very soon.

Here’s the scoop. I’m sitting home one day and the phone rings. Pick it up and it’s none other than the illustrious Jay Jay French. After I composed myself enough to breathe (it was like right before my lips started to turn blue!), we had a little chat and he asked me if I would be available to come take a peek at the DVD. It was almost done, and he wanted me to take a look and write a little something. “Oh wait a second Jay Jay, hold the line…let me check my calendar!!!” Are you kidding!?!?!?! I would have cancelled a meeting with God himself for that opportunity!!

Get to the studio where the video was being edited and met the director (I guess that’s what you call him) Dave Striecher. Very nice person and very talented. I was only able to see a few short clips and some live cuts, but it was absolutely AMAZING!! More about that later…

There had been so much talk about the sound track being ruined that I was sort of prepared for the worst, but quite frankly it sounded completely awesome!!! And I was just hearing it through computer speakers. Chalk one up to the extraordinary talent of Denny (sound engineer extraordinaire, who I introduced you to in the CD column) and Mark, who worked tirelessly to put together something from single camera shoots and other recordings to produce, once again, a masterful sound track to this awesome DVD. I still don’t know how Mark manages all this. Now he’s added a radio show to the mix. It’s exhausting just to think about it, never mind actually do it!

Anyway, I was thinking that this was going to be mostly the Wacken show with a few little clips of backstage “wackiness” thrown in here and there, yet it’s turned out to be so much more. It is laid out such that it weaves a very delicate and intricate tale that follows the TS story starting at the beginning of the end, to the reunion, and back to where they are now, still giving us everything they have four years after the NY Steel show. In between shots of the all the band answering questions, we are treated to several songs from the Wacken show, as well as footage from some of the other live performances of the band from the past three years with some other cool bonus footage. Wait until you see this, it is beyond our wildest imaginations. They Boyz really let us in on some very personal and intimate details of what their experience has been in the band. In my book, that in itself is priceless.

It is so cool that the Boyz brought the Wacken show home to those of us that could not be there. You won’t believe how spectacular the stage is…the lights, the energy, the enormity of it! I was awed. TS deserve to play on a stage that’s over the top and bigger than life, and that’s just what it was at Wacken. The interview questions are poignant and pointed, and all the band members get to say their piece on each question. Yes ladies and gentlemen, A.J. speaks!!! While watching the clip of the answers to one particular question, I got kind of emotionally overwhelmed and a little choked up and I actually started to cry. Got caught, too. Thought I was being slick but I couldn’t cover it up. Seriously, it does touch you that way, emotionally. Twisted is so much more than just a rock band. They have heart and they give back to us 10 fold, and that is so apparent in the DVD. You can tell it’s a labor of love mixed in with blood, sweat, and tears along the way. Jay Jay has done a phenomenal job as the producer, making sure that it’s not just good enough , but perfect from start to finish. It truly is a reflection of how he feels about us, and how much we mean to him and the band.

Oh, and don’t forget that this is a DVD PLUS, meaning DVD on one side and CD on the other. Wait until you see the track list for the CD side. It’s sure to make the old school SMFs very, very happy. I just about keeled over.

That’s it for now, folks. You aren’t going to believe your eyes and ears. It can’t get here soon enough. There’s only one way to end this column and that’s:

PLAY IT LOUD, MUTHA!!!

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