Dee Snider Felt ‘Abandoned’ by Rock World in PMRC Battle
Former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider said he felt “abandoned” by the rock world after his 1985 appearance before the U.S. Senate to argue against the introduction of the PMRC’s “Parental Advisory” sticker program.
He was one of several musicians, including Frank Zappa and John Denver, who testified in a successful bid to prevent a larger-scale ratings system being created.
“That was a frustration,” Snider told Loudwire in a new interview. “Here I thought I was gonna lead the rock 'n' roll army into battle, and I was abandoned. I was abandoned by my peers who decided to lay low. Some of them actually went after me. I remember Ronnie Dio going after me and saying, ‘Who decided you were gonna speak for us?’”
Snider said he reminded Dio that he had opened his statement to the Senate at the time by saying, “I can’t speak for my peers. I can only speak for myself.” “Ronnie later apologized for that," Snider recalled. "And then the fans, they were apathetic. They didn’t realize that this was censorship, and it was significant and the importance of it.”
He added that it's an "urban legend" that sales of stickered albums increased. “Me and Frank arrived to testify, and we found out that the RIAA, the Recording Institute, had already agreed to the more general sticker, a ‘voluntary’ sticker, which became mandatory," Snider said. "My concern was that it would be used to segregate albums and keep albums from the public.” As a result, “Certain stores wouldn’t rack stickered albums, and other stores wouldn’t even carry some of those albums.
“It went one step further when Walmart and Best Buy started demanding record companies make edited versions of their records for chains, again, unbeknownst to the buying public. I would be cool with going, ‘Hey, they have a Tenacious D record without "Fuck Her Gently." Awesome, I’ll get that for my daughter.’ But it wasn’t promoted that way. You went to buy Kid Rock’s record, and you thought you were getting his actual album. You were getting their edited version, censored version.”
Snider accepted that there were situations in which parents wouldn’t want their kids hearing certain songs, but countered. “If you’re this worried, police your own children," he argued. "When Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP came out, the one with ‘Stan’ on it, that was huge in my house. And with that record, I used it as an opportunity to talk to my young kids, who were 12, 13 years old, about some of the subjects on the album. It was great way to talk about it.”
He also pointed out that he had bought the Tenacious D album for his seven-year-old daughter, but gave her a copy he had edited himself instead. “She wasn’t ready for ‘Fuck Her Gently,'" he said. "That’s my job, not the government’s.”