Dee Snider’s Key Points In Beating Congress
via Weird History/YouTube
He Wasn’t Gonna Take It
In 1985, the Parents Music Resource Center aimed their focus on music with “sexually explicit or potentially offensive content” which they believed to be way too accessible to their kids. They even churned out a list of what they called “The Filthy 15”. The rock community didn’t take it too kindly. They considered it as a form of censorship
Of course, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider wasn’t just gonna stay on the sidelines and watch. He was invited to the United States Senate’s Committee on Commerce on September 19, 1985. Along with Frank Zappa and John Denver, the trio defended their right to have artistic freedom.
The moment Snider began to speak, people realized their costly mistake in underestimating him. They weren’t ready for this rough and rowdy rocker to be intelligent, meticulous and articulate. Zappa and Denver were both suited up but Snider thought he’d go a different route by wearing a typical rockstar ensemble.
He said, “The beauty of literature, poetry, and music is that they leave room for the audience to put its own imagination, experience, and dreams into the words… There is no authority who has the right or the necessary insight to make these judgments. Not myself, not the federal government, not some recording industry committee, not the PTA, not the RIAA, and certainly not the PMRC.”
He also took a jab at Al Gore’s wife, Tipper: “Ms. Gore claimed that one of my songs, ‘Under the Blade,’ had lyrics encouraging sadomasochism, bondage and rape. The lyrics she quoted have absolutely nothing to do with these topics. On the contrary, the words in question are about surgery and the fear that it instills in people. … I can say categorically that the only sadomasochism, bondage and rape in this song is in the mind of Ms. Gore.”
Looking back to that moment, Snider told Rolling Stone: “I’m glad that I did it. I pride myself on doing the right thing, and that was the right thing. And in retrospect, it was the first time, career-wise, it was positive for me because people started to view me as more than a one-note horn.”