Twisted Sister icon Dee Snider and former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach engaged in a tiff on Twitter after Snider argued that genre labels such as metal, hair metal, punk and grunge are all derogatory terms, created with the intent of being a diss.
It began with one of Snider’s followers commenting that “hair metal” was not a term that existed and applied to bands during the famed era’s rise to prominence. The Twisted Sister singer used this notion as the launchpad to assert that “virtually all music labels were stupid” and that “bands like [Led] Zeppelin and [Black] Sabbath HATED being called metal.” He also contended that the term was deemed an insult to those bands during their early career.
Another follower then pinned the blame on “media types,” arguing that there’s an inherent need for them to label various types of music “while also taking a thinly veiled cheapshot.”
This was met with enthusiasm from Snider, who lumped punk, grunge, metal and hair metal into the category of, at least originally, being derogatory terms for music. First generation bands for each of these eras rejected the terms (if they were being used at the time — hair metal was applied post hoc), though the bands that were inspired by those originals came to embrace the genre tag.
Enter Sebastian Bach.
The powerhouse singer fired back, stating that “metal is not a derogatory term” while agreeing that the hair metal tag never existed in the ’80s and into the early ’90s. “Would you please stop so we can maybe play festival in the USA instead of state fairs,” pleaded Bach.
Here is where nuance begins to enter the picture and is the source of a slight misunderstanding, as is typical of exchanges on Twitter where brevity has worked against everyone’s favor.
It appears that Snider’s rebuff of the genre tags is rooted in when the terms were first applied, rather them still holding the power of negative intent today, especially as they have become commonplace and are no longer devious descriptions thrust into the mainstream vernacular by nefarious “media types.”
Bach’s replies seem to indicate that Snider is against the use of these tags in absolute terms — then, now and forevermore.
One Twitter user, whose name now appears as “hairmetal (derogatory),” rattled by the revelation, echoed the notion presented by Snider, posing it back to him as a question. The Twisted Sister frontman confirmed, “Fact,” which was then met with another reply from Bach.
“If the word metal is a derogatory term there would not be a band called Metallica and you would not have an album called For the Love of Metal please stop with the non-stop hair tweets we are begging of you,” he said.
The two disagreed some more, each issuing another reply before a ceasefire became apparent and the singers then expressed love and respect for one another.
Here, Snider expressed his gratitude for Bach, who “stood tall as a Dee Snider fan when few would,” during what he called “the darkest period of my career.”
Once “hair metal” (or whatever we want to call the bands that came to be associated with the phrase) faded from popularity and a new generation of music exploded once Nirvana’s Nevermind album was released, Snider was largely out of work. He had not been wise with his money, making the fall from superstardom all the much more difficult.
Taking the high road, Bach, who consistently gets lumped into the hair metal tag despite many arguing that Skid Row never really fit the criteria, put the disagreement aside.
He took the time to note that he loves Snider and the music he has made. “No matter how much Dee sees himself as ‘hair metal,’ I will always see him on a much higher level than that implies. He is 1 of the greatest frontmen & vocalists of all time. Any corny label less than that is an insult,” he wrote.
Snider then acknowledged he doesn’t view himself as being a part of hair metal — Twisted Sister and their imagery pre-date hair metal’s general point of origin by several years, after all — but said he has come to embrace the term, even if he still doesn’t “like it.”
Elsewhere, as the debate over whether these genre tags are indeed derogatory, one follower credited Judas Priest as being a band that was always proud to bear the heavy metal tag. “They were that second wave of hard rock bands that embraced the term,” clarified Snider, again pinning this idea of “derogatory” on their origins. “We thought the term heavy metal was cool,” he said on behalf of Twisted Sister.
With that settled, we can all keep our eyes on the prize — a Dee Snider Funko Pop! figure is officially on the way!
Keep an eye out for new music from Snider as he’s aiming to release a follow-up to the aforementioned solo album, For the Love of Metal, and we may also see the release of his first fiction novel that he wrapped up earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Bach will presumably hope to get back on the road in 2021 after having to push his tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Skid Row’s multi-platinum self-titled debut.