35 Years Later, TWISTED SISTER’s DEE SNIDER Looks Back On Historic PMRC Hearings

In 1985, the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC), led by Tipper Gore, was trying to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing “offensive material.” The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.), which resulted in the “Parental Advisory” sticker now found on new album releases with “questionable content.” The incongruous trio of Dee Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.

Dee spoke about the experience in a new interview with “Hardcore Humanism With Dr. Mike”. He said (hear audio below): “For every reaction, there’s a reaction, and during the decade of decadence, which is how they refer to the ’80s as, and that’s all the hair bands. And you look at the all the ’80s music — it was very sensational and outrageous at times, but it also reflects the time… It was the Reagan era, and it was very conservative at the time. And for every action, there’s a reaction, and kids were pushing back, young people were pushing back on conservatism by acting out in a very outrageous [way], with the party lifestyle and all that stuff. Parents, a couple of senators’ wives, Al Gore‘s in particular, started looking at song lyrics and decided that they need to protect their children by reading song lyrics, so parents are making parents’ job easier as parents to protect their children from our words.

“It gets very complicated, because it’s a First Amendment issue, it’s freedom of speech,” he continued. “Who’s gonna judge what words actually mean? You’re talking about art. You’re looking at a painting and saying, ‘What did the artist mean?” Sometimes it’s just a bick dick on the page, and you’re pretty sure he meant to draw a dick, but other times it’s interpreted — a lot of times it’s interpreted. But the bigger problem, it wasn’t for me. And I was a parent, which really shocked them. I was married, and I already had a kid, and I was one of the rockers that they were worried about. I said what I do mind is how this could be used in the wrong way, and that is to prevent people from accessing art, to prevent people from getting the music. And that is what happened ultimately — the sticker that was put on there, ‘Warning: Parental Advisory’, was used to segregate records; stores would not carry albums. That’s not informing parents; that is keeping art from the general public, and certain parties deciding what people will listen to and not listen to. That’s unacceptable.”

Snider released “For The Love Of Metal Live!” on July 31 via Napalm Records. The DVD/Blu-ray and accompanying live album (available in various formats) features audio captured from several Snider festival performances worldwide — from the United States to Europe, Australia and beyond. In addition to tracks from Snider‘s solo catalog, like “I Am The Hurricane” and “For The Love Of Metal”, TWISTED SISTER favorites such as “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, and even a cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway To Hell”, the audio portion of “For The Love Of Metal Live!” also features a brand new original studio track, “Prove Me Wrong”.

TWISTED SISTER called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour.

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