Twisted Sister are known for a few things; those over the top videos in the golden age of MTV about wanting to rock and going on about how they weren’t gonna take it, and that memorable appearance in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, but not many people are aware of their beginnings in the suburbs of New York City when they basically ruled the hard rock club scene in the mid-70s through the early 80s. All of it has now been documented in the film We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!, which gets its area premiere tonight at the Brattle Theatre, co-presented by Vanyaland and The Voltage Factory on VanyaRadio.
Set in the mid-1970s, We Are Twisted Fucking Sister! follows five rockers decked in platform boots and dramatic make-up who embarked on a heavy metal journey. The documentary, directed by Andrew Horn, captures the expedition from bar band to international stardom.
Charging out of the gate with a combination of grit and glitter, Twisted Sister – made up of Jay Jay French, Dee Snider, Eddie Ojeda, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, and the late A.J. Pero – established themselves as one of the staple acts of glam rock and heavy metal with the anthems “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” However, “the band that killed disco” was no overnight success.
Horn, who is known for his films East Side Story, The Nomi Song, Doomed Love and The Big Blue, said, “I realized as I was working on the film, that it was really very much a story of how a band becomes a band.”
“They are truly unique in that their overnight success actually took 10 years, so you really get to experience everything Twisted Sister went through to do it. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any group of musicians as ferocious…or as funny.”
We Are Twisted Fucking Sister! puts the fan in the trenches with the band from their early, hungry days onward through the cusp of their peak career. Recounted directly from the band themselves, their managers, and biggest fans, the documentary is the mesmerizing, never-before-told story of the ten grueling years leading up to the band’s break out success. It’s a great tale, full of battles with record labels execs who had less than zero interest in signing the group, English festival goers who pelted the band with – among other things – shit, and and unrelenting crusade to stay true to themselves in the face of ever-changing trends.