Dee Snider Moves Into Acting with Holliston on FEARnetDee Snider is on Celebrity Apprentice, hosts a syndicated radio show called House of Hair, does voice-overs, and has a memoir and a new album coming out. How does he do it? "There's an eight foot sign right over [my] desk that my wife had made out of wrought iron by a local artist," he told Snakkle in a recent interview. "It says, 'Drink Coffee, Do Stupid Things Faster, And With More Energy.' It's my credo." Then he laughs. "It'll be on my tombstone. 'He drank coffee. And he did things faster. And with more energy.'" The Twisted Sister frontman will appear on the new FEARnet series Holliston, a self-parodying sitcom about two guys who work at a Massachusetts cable station and want to make horror movies. Holliston stars successful horror filmmakers Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen) and Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom, Wrong Turn 2), and is somewhat based on their actual pre-success experiences, although the show takes serious liberties with reality. Snider plays their boss, Lance Rocket, who moonlights in a Van Halen cover band called (of course) Diver Down. We talked to Dee about the show, and how he wants people to know that he is not Lance Rocket. An edited version of that conversation follows. By Brett Singer
Snakkle: How did you get involved with Holliston?
Snider: [Holliston creator and director Adam Green] reached out to me many years ago and we became friends, to the point where I was the minister at his wedding. At key moments in his life when he was struggling, he would run into me…I was like the heavy metal Yoda for this kid. (Note: Adam has written a script about their relationship called “Me and Dee”.) [Adam] approached me and said we got no budget, no money, nothing to offer you but a plane ticket and some lunch. Any chance you want to play this character? I was like, hell yeah. (Laughs) Because he’s a friend, and it was something different, and I’m all about trying new things.
Snakkle: Tell us about Lance Rocket.
Snider: [Lance] is the typical wannabe 80′s hair rock guy. He does all the things I wouldn’t do. He wears the striped spandex pants, the cowboy boots, the red vinyl pleather jacket. And I said, this is so great. I’m parodying these guys. [Then] we’re on the lot, and I pass some grip from another shoot, and he says, “Yo! Dee! Still rocking the outfit!” I was mortified. To me, it’s so obvious I’m mocking these people, [but maybe] to the average guy, it’s Dee Snider circa 1984. I even read it on a metal website. “Dee Snider, in full Twisted Sister regalia.” And I’m like, noooo! I never wore the pleather! Never!
Snakkle: For what it’s worth, when I first saw the picture of you in costume as Lance, I was a bit taken aback. It almost didn’t look like you.
Snider: Thank you. (laughs) You just made me feel a little better.
Snakkle: You said in Rolling Stone that you’re always trying to “reinvent, reinvent.” Is this another reinvention?
Snider: Well, Holliston, I don’t know. Some of my advisors told me, “why are you doing this? You’re going backwards. You’re putting on the makeup again.” I don’t know that this is a reinvention, [except] that I’m in a series, which I’ve never done before. And I have to memorize lines. Just like when I did Rock of Ages on Broadway. So in that way it is reinventing. But it’s a little bit back to the future with Lance Rocket.
Snakkle: Did Rock of Ages give you the idea for your upcoming album Dee Does Broadway?
Snider: It refreshed the idea. Credit where credit’s due, Alice Cooper and I were exchanging phone messages. I don’t know who started it, it was probably Alice, singing [our] messages to a show tune. When we finally connected I said, dude, we should do a record. Take Broadway show tunes, rock ‘em out. We did a demo, [but we were both] really busy, so it was shelved. After I did Broadway, I said, I gotta revisit this. Alice still wasn’t into it. So I said all right, man. I’m doing it. Dee Does Broadway.
One of the most flattering things has been [other singers' reactions]. I have a lot of special guests on the record. Patti Lupone, Bebe Neuwirth, Cindy Lauper. And to a person, when we’re in the studio listening to this stuff, they’d do this slow turn, with the “what the F” face, going “oh man. Dee. I didn’t know.” There’s this idea that everybody’s a one note horn. If you do Twisted Sister, then that’s all you’re capable of doing. I’ve spent my life proving that there’s a lot more to me than that. My new book, Shut Up and Gimme the Mic, I wrote it myself. They said, nobody does that. [So] I wrote a few chapters, and Simon and Schuster said “love it, write it.” To me it’s [about] proving to people that there’s way more to Dee Snider than Lance Rocket. (laughs)
Snakkle: Do you think that people see you as Lance Rocket?
Snider: To an extent I think I do. And I think that the Lance Rocket character is parodying people’s perception of myself. There’s people out there [who think] that Dee Snider is walking around in platform shoes and a face full of make-up. “Oh, I’m going grocery shopping. Let’s go honey. Put on your pleather jacket.” It really is pointing a laughing finger at myself and people’s perception of me.
Snakkle: Why should people watch Holliston?
Snider: Because it’s unlike any of the other shows out there. Adam is a brilliant writer and a pretty good actor, too. Him and Joe do a great job. Its very unique writing. Very edgy. It takes a lot of chances. If you’re tired of the same old thing…
Holliston also stars Laura Ortiz, Corri English and Oderus Urungus, the alien lead singer of the band GWAR (playing himself). The show premieres April 3rd on FEARnet. Watch clips and promo videos here.