Club Daze Volume 1: The Studio Sessions

Twisted Sister

Spitfire Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Some people might wonder what relevancy Twisted Sister has in this day and age. They had their moment of glory in the mid-80s with hits like "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" before fading out into the sunset. With the exception of the Strangeland soundtrack, Dee Snider and crew haven't apparently done like many other bands and get back together to ride the coattails of the resurgence of metal's popularity. If anything, they've stayed in the news thanks to their request to not have "I Wanna Rock" played as the theme music for Atlanta Braves reliever/resident asshole John Rocker. (Yeah, I bet I get a few letters for that one.)

Are Twisted Sister still relevant in 2000? Actually, it's too early to tell that - but if the recent release Club Daze Volume I: The Studio Sessions is any indication, they're still kinda fun to listen to. And in the end, I think that Snider and crew would be pleased with that view.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This disc collects some of the earliest (and often never-before-released) moments of the band circa 1978 through 1981. Of these, the only song that's seen major release was "I'll Never Grow Up Now" (on the American release of Under The Blade). But if you pick this disc up thinking you're going to hear the early renditions of songs like "We're Not Gonna Take It," you're going to be sorely disappointed. Clear your mind, Grasshopper, and let's approach this one like a blank piece of paper.

For starters, Twisted Sister didn't begin their lives as a metal act; if anything, they combined their love for glam rock a la New York Dolls with a passion for blues-boogie like AC/DC. Once you know that piece of history, you can more easily understand where the genesis of tracks like "Rock N Roll Saviors," "Pay The Price" and "High Steppin'" come from. And, looking back some 22 years after these were recorded, they really were pretty good.

All apologies, though, to guitarist Jay Jay French, who I believe is handling the vocals on the tracks "T.V. Wife" and "Can't Stand Still". He holds his own as a singer, but it's very hard to picture Twisted Sister without Snider on the microphone. (Snider was not the original lead singer for Twisted Sister.) And I do have to admit, there were times that I missed hearing a fully-developed vocal sneer when Snider was singing. Tracks like "Big Gun" and "Pay The Price," while very enjoyable, almost feel like they're incomplete.

By the time Twisted Sister recorded songs like "Under The Blade" and "Shoot 'Em Down" (two songs that would be re-recorded for their debut LP Under The Blade), their musical focus was shifting from the glam/boogie mixture to a more metal-oriented theme. It's kind of nice to hear these songs again, even though I'll admit I was never the biggest fan of Under The Blade. Maybe it's that years of experience allow me to hear these tracks without expectations.

Club Daze Volume I: The Studio Sessions is an enjoyable look back at the earliest days of one of metal's most recognizable acts, even if they couldn't get arrested in those days. If you know more of the band than the songs that get played on the radio, then these tracks should seem like they were natural progressions for the band - which they are indeed. For everyone else, give this disc a fighting chance - odds are you're going to love it.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.