By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
25 years ago, one of the most controversial records in rock history was released. Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” was, at the time, regarded as not only a groundbreaking metal release, but as one of the records that the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) targeted as being too explicit.
“Stay Hungry” sold three million copies. In addition, two tracks from the record, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” became mega hit singles that dominated airplay on rock stations all of the country. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was recently certified Gold by the RIAA for sales exceeding 500,000 digital downloads.
To celebrate the Golden anniversary of this record, Rhino Records has released a two-CD Anniversary Edition that features not only a re-mastered version of the original, “Stay Hungry” but also an additional disc that consists of demo tracks and the band’s new single, “30.”
Twisted Sister is currently headlining major festivals this summer.
We caught up with Twisted Sister’s guitarist Eddie Ojeda to discuss the “Stay Hungry” 25th Anniversary release and also the future of the band. Here’s what he had to say.
GlamMetal: It’s been 25 years since the release of “Stay Hungry.” Does it really feel that it’s been 25 years for you?
Eddie Ojeda: No, not really ‘cause time just flies. It seems to wiz by. It does not seem like 25 years, I can’t believe it.
GM: “Stay Hungry” CD has really stood the test of time. It’s had a resurgence. You have two mega hits, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. You must really be satisfied with the mileage you’re getting off of two songs.
EO: Yeah, it’s great. Those are the kind of songs, anthem rock songs, that just really stand the test of time. Theyjust keep going on and on, they live forever. They take on a new life every decade. So, it’s awesome. It’s great to have that. I’m seeing that with a lot of rock 80’s songs, especially with Journey. Anthem rock lives forever.
GM: It seems like the trend this year for a lot of the bands from the 80’s is to replay their popular records in their entirety. Any plans to perform “Stay Hungry” in its entirety?
EO: That’s what we’re doing, actually. This whole tour we’re doing the 25th anniversary of “Stay Hungry”. We’re playing the whole album. Not exactly in sequence of course, and we have to do a lot of our title tracks from our other albums and incorporate them in the set.
GM: You don’t have that many tour dates but when you do play a gig, it’s a pretty big deal. You’re headlining some prestigious gigs this summer.
EO: Yeah, that’s what we do. We headline all these festivals every year, so it’s awesome. We go to these shows that expect 30-40 thousand people and we’re headlining. It seems right now we’re bigger than ever.
GM: That was my next point I was going to make. I was a fan, I was a teenager back in 1984. You guys were pretty big back then of course, but it seems like you guys are bigger now than you were back then.
EO: It’s kind of mind blowing. Back then we weren’t headlining, we were opening or second, third, fourth on the bill. Now we’re headlining all these shows and it’s just great.
GM: You have a new single that’s in the reissue called, “30”. Can you tell me a little bit about that song, who wrote it and when exactly it was written?
EO: “30” was originally written by Dee with Marc Beeman and Shannon Lawson for the reality series, “Gone Country.” It’s a real 1,4,5 rock ‘n’ roll song, not very country at all actually. I guess it might have a small country vibe to it.
The video kind of explains the whole song. Our equipment is full of dust, we come in and brush all of the dust off and start jamming out to it. It’s a pretty cool video. It also has some flashbacks from the 80’s throughout the song. It’s basically just saying we’re back, 30 came and went a long, long time ago and that we never planned much of a life past 30. It’s great to still be able to do all of this.
GM: There are rumours that after this tour is finished, that you will no longer be performing in make-up, is that true?
EO: That seems to be what we’re planning to do. I never say never ‘cause you never know, but that’s the plan.
GM: You were pretty successful with your Christmas release a few years back. Are there any plans to put out a sequel to that, or to tour with that for the holiday season?
EO: Yeah, we usually do some select dates during the end of November into December. We also have plans to do a musical, “Twisted Christmas, The Musical”. Dee and I have written about six songs so far and he’s written a whole script for it. The show that we did at the Nokia Theatre in December of 08, we hope to put a video out for – it was quite an elaborate stage set with a large cast of characters. We’re going to bring back that stage set for the Christmas shows we plan to do in 09 whatever cities we perform in.
GM: I want to talk a little about your solo release you put out a few years ago. I was aware of it, but just recently I’ve been listening to some of the tracks. There is some great stuff on there; I especially love the song “Tonight” with Ronnie James Dio. That’s a great release. Do you plan on doing another solo record soon?
EO: I have to start working on that. I have a lot of song ideas, but it’s about the timing and right now it’s a real busy time for us. I’m definitely planning on doing another one and getting guest artists on there as well, because it’s fun and adds a certain color to the songs and the record. Thanks a lot, I appreciate you noticing it.
GM: It’s an awesome CD !!! You have an all-star cast on it. It’s a release people need to listen to, a great solid rock release. Now that song you did with Ronnie James Dio, did you write it for him knowing that he was going to do it?
EO: After I wrote the song it reminded me of Ronnie’s voice – like “Holy Diver,” it just hit me. We were doing a show with him and I said, ‘Listen, I wrote a song. I really think it almost sounds like a Dio song. I would really love it if you sang it.’ And he said ‘Sure. I’m off for the next two weeks.’ (Laughs) So it worked out perfectly. He actually recorded it in his house and mailed the tracks back to me on a CD.
GM: Cool, I really love that track. Back to Twisted Sister. In retrospect, what do you think led to the demise of the band back in the late 80’s? Was it a gradual thing or was it sudden?
EO: I think every band in the world kind of implodes. Things just built up to a certain point and then we kind of lost momentum and everyone kind of got discouraged. We never officially broke up; we just disappeared. It was one of those things. We came home after the tour, it wasn’t what we expected and everyone was just kind of bummed out about it. We just went home and put everything away for a while. It’s funny with a band ‘cause you never know why that happens, it’s just like an unbelievable, ongoing rock‘n’roll story. It continues to happen to this day.
GM: Eddie, I want to thank you very much for doing this interview. I’ve been a big fan. If you wouldn’t mind, my nine-year-old daughter has one question that she wanted to ask you.
EO: Sure. Definitely.
GM Daughter: How did it feel when you heard your song, “I Wanna Rock” was going to be in the SpongeBob Squarepants movie?
EO: I thought it was great. I love SpongeBob. I think there’s a lot of funny stuff in there. It’s a great feeling when you turn on the T.V. and they’re playing your song. It’s one of those good feelings that never goes away.
GM: Ok, that’s all I have for you. Thanks again, and we’ll catch up with you on the road.
EO: Ok. Take care.