The Twisted Sister frontman discusses 'Rock of Ages,' his new Broadway covers album and 'Celebrity Apprentice' (and doesn't pull any punches).
No Billboard employees were harmed in the making of this interview.
"In the '80s, if you had said I would've done a Christmas album with Twisted Sister (which he did in 2006), I would've punched you in the face. If you said I'd be doing a Broadway record, I'd have punched you in the face," Dee Snider confessed recently in an interview at the P.C. Richard & Son Theater in New York. Snider was performing songs from his new album, "Dee Does Broadway," as part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment's iHeartRadio platform.
"I would've punched you in the face pretty much for anything."
(Good thing we waited a few decades.)
A polite and well-behaved Snider explained how, despite his heavy metal persona, growing up in a home where showtunes were family favorites and his 2010 turn on Broadway in "Rock of Ages" - now a Tom Cruise box office blockbuster - led to his recording of "Broadway." The set features such guests as Clay Aiken, Cyndi Lauper and son Jesse Blaze Snider. It launched at No. 33 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart last month.
"The only rules were songs had to speak to me on some level," Snider said of the album's song selection process. "They had to be traditional Broadway showtunes that you make rock. You find the rock. And, I think we did."
Snider also pulled no punches when discussing his appearance on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" this past season. Snider feels that the series' supreme ruler Donald Trump should have "hired" runner-up Aiken as champion over ultimate victor Arsenio Hall. "It's Mr. Trump's decision to make, but it was unjust (and) wrong. Clay was robbed. Flat-out robbed.
"Arsenio's a good guy, he's a nice guy, but it just didn't make any sense. Clay raised twice as much money (for his charity, the National Inclusion Project)."
Despite leaving halfway through the competition, Snider is proud of whom his appearance on the show benefited the most. "I took $326,000 for the March of Dimes with me, which (were) the second-most (dollars) raised this season."
Snider is also grateful that viewers got to know the more serene, less twisted current version of himself (who's now a grandfather). "People got to know me as an adult, as opposed to that snapshot they have of me from the '80s - which is awesome - but I was in my 20s then. I was nuts. I'm proud of it, but I've achieved some things, I've got it together, I'm pretty well-adjusted.
"Who wants to be dysfunctional their whole life?," Snider said with a chuckle. "I just want to be normal."