‘We Are Twisted F***ing Sister’: Jay Jay French Talks New Documentary and Final Tour
The New York club scene in the Seventies was unlike any that had ever existed before.
First of all, the drinking age was only 18, which meant that kids as young as 15 were getting served with fake ID’s.
More to the point, it also was a time when thousands of loyal fans routinely went out to see one of the greatest live rock bands of all time, Twisted Sister.
Directed by Andrew Horn, We Are Twisted F***ing Sister is a new documentary that captures Twisted Sister’s rise from bar band to international super-stardom. Recounted directly with rare concert footage and photographs, as well as interviews with the band, management and some of their biggest fans, the film is the never-before-told story of the 10 grueling years leading up to Twisted Sister’s breakout success.
The film, the first-ever documentary of the band, opened in Los Angeles February 15. It will open in New York this Friday, February 19, and there’s a one-night-only event scheduled for Chicago’s Music Box Theatre February 22.
On February 23, the film will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and digital formats with two hours of bonus material and director commentary.
Twisted Sister consists of Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda and Mark “The Animal” Mendoza. Drummer A.J. Pero died in 2015.
I recently spoke with French about the new documentary as well as Twisted Sister’s plans for 2016.
I’d like to start off by asking you about the recent passing of David Bowie, who played a big role in your early years. How influential was he to you and your music?
He was a huge influence. Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust changed my life. They altered my world and changed me from a Grateful Dead hippie into a glitter guy. Where the Beatles gave me my dream, Bowie gave me direction and took me to the stars. I cut my hair off and dyed it blonde because I wanted to be Mick Ronson.
Everything just sort of hit at the same time after that. I used to see the New York Dolls every Sunday at the Mercer Arts Center. One night, Bowie was there. Then Bowie played Carnegie Hall on September 28, 1972, and I said, “That’s it, I’m sold!” That’s when word went out and I soon got a call from someone who told me some guy he knew had told him I wanted to be in a glitter band. That band was Silver Star, which changed its name in February 1973 and started performing under the name Twisted Sister.
How did the idea for the Twisted Sister documentary originate?
It came about through a consonance of coincidences. I was being interviewed by the director, Andy Horn, for another documentary on the life of a German-born performance artist named Klaus Nomi. It just so happened that Klaus and Twisted Sister had crossed paths one night in the early Eighties when Klaus opened up for us at a nightclub in New Jersey. The reaction of the crowd to his performance was very negative and a complete disaster. So they wanted to discuss that night with me.
When Andy came over, I asked him how much he knew about Twisted Sister. He admitted he didn’t know much, so over the next few hours of talking I overwhelmed him with the story about Klaus and other historical facts. That’s when he said, “Whoa! This is another story that needs to be told!” That’s how it evolved.
You can read the rest of myInterview with Jay Jay French by Clicking Here!