Why ‘Performing Wasn’t Enjoyable’ for Dee Snider

Dee Snider looked back at the early period when he didn’t enjoy fronting Twisted Sister, saying his attitude was responsible for the feeling.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, he discussed what he had learned during the difficult periods of his career and why music was no longer the main part of it.

“I viewed performing like I was a hitman,” Snider said. “I’d come into town under cover of darkness, I’d hang out alone in my room and get prepared, and then I’d go out and kill the audience and disappear. I’d be utterly drained each night, exhausted, mentally and physically, and then I’d go out and do it all again.” He added that “performing wasn’t enjoyable for me, because I took it too seriously. Touring was not a fun existence; it was often a miserable and painful existence. People say, ‘So why did you do it?’ and I can’t explain it; I was driven to do it. For me, it wasn’t about whether I was having fun; it was all about them, not me.”

Snider went on to reflect on the low point he reached in the early ‘90s. “I made a shitload of money and I lost every single penny,” he said. “Not because I was high – because I didn’t drink or do drugs – and not because I was ripped off by managers or lawyers: I had no one to blame but me. The ego that drives you to believe that you can be a star, against all the odds, is the same ego that, when you make it, refuses to acknowledge the warning signs when things are turning to shit.”

Recalling that he had to take a $200-a-week job answering phones in an office, he admitted that “people would walk in and say, ‘Aren’t you … ?’ And I’d lie, and say, ‘No, I just look like him.’” He said he “learned the hard way that music isn’t forever. … Maybe 1% of successful musicians have a lifelong career – Elton John, Ozzy [Osbourne], Eric Clapton – but most of us just have a moment, and then you have to take that energy and invest it in other things. Music is now the least of my artistic endeavors: I do radio and television, I just sold a children’s animated series to Netflix, I’m acting, I’m producing films.”

Snider added, “I have an obsessive personality, and I recognized that I couldn’t be trusted with alcohol or drugs. Thank God I didn’t go down that path. I didn’t have some of the great experiences that other out-of-control rockers have, but I’m still here to tell my own stories.”

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