In a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, who was famously called to testify before the U.S. Senate against the proposition to have warning labels be placed on albums deemed "offensive" to listeners, spoke about the rise of cancel culture and political correctness in the social media era.
He said (hear audio below): "I'm into filmmaking now, and me and my filmmaking friends often talk about the fact that a movie like 'Blazing Saddles' [the 1974 American satirical Western black comedy film directed by Mel Brooks] could not be made today — it literally could not be made, because it would offend too many people.
"I remember seeing that movie the first time in a theater full of African-Americans in a black neighborhood in a black theater; me and my brother were the only two white people," he continued. "And I was laughing my ass off. And my friend said, 'Stop laughing. We're gonna get our asses kicked.' And I looked around the theater, and everybody was laughing. I said, 'Everybody's laughing.' It's funny. Funny is funny.
"It's odd, because conservatism was ultra-right back in the '80s. Now it's shifted toward the left, where you've got the liberals saying, 'Oh, you can't say that, and you can't say that, and you can't say that.'
"So, yeah, [censorship] still around, it's still an issue. But we've just gotta continue to push back and fight."
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 Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.
In 2015, Snider wrote an Op-Ed story for HuffingtonPost.com about his experience, saying: "Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed. The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice), and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become 'novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.
"While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming 'Raggedy Ann on acid' and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone on to better things."
Snider will release "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.