DEE SNIDER Believes His Comments About ROBERT PLANT And RONNIE JAMES DIO Were Misinterpreted

February 16, 2023

In a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, TWISTED SISTER's Dee Snider was asked to clarify his recent comment that Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio were great singers but not great performers. He said: "When I said they weren't great frontmen, everybody said, 'Here's Dee shooting his mouth off again.' But I'm not just shooting my mouth off; I've actually taken a lot of time to think about and consider it. I didn't just make an arbitrary statement. I've thought about it. I got on my computer, and I studied and researched it. I'm actually the journalist's worst nightmare because if people want to focus on the things I say, they need to know that I'll back them up. But anyway, I said this, and then, on social media, someone said, 'Okay, so what's the difference between you and them?' So, I'll tell you the difference now: Ronnie James Dio, for example, was a great singer, but he was not a performer, at least, not in the sense of not a frontman. But me? I'm a frontman who is almost like a vaudeville performer. Now, a frontman doesn't have to sing well but needs to be a guy who can engage the audience and entertain the people who stand there. A frontman that can wow the crowd with their incredible voice, yeah, that's entertaining on a different level, but it's not the same as a full-scale performance."

Asked if he would say that his original comment was misinterpreted, Dee replied: "Absolutely. I am not saying I'm Robert Plant, nor am I saying I'm even in his league. Having said that, I do something at a level that he doesn't do, and that is I engage the crowd. I am able to establish a level of audience participation that makes the entire arena feel like they are in the front row. Robert Plant doesn't do that, but I do. He's an incredible singer, but showmanship, that's what I do well. But I said this, and people were like, 'How dare you?' Well, guess what? I fucking dare. As for Ronnie James Dio, I knew him well. We toured together. He would look at me on stage, and after the show, he'd go, 'Dude, you're crazy. You're fucking insane. You're all over the stage.' And I said back to Ronnie, 'Well, you're the greatest fucking metal singer full time. I can't do what you do, but I can hold an audience in the palm of my hand.'"

Snider's debate about what makes great "frontmen" in rock began after a fan's reply to a tweet that praised Dio as the second-greatest frontman in rock following Freddie Mercury.

"How do you differentiate a Dee Snider or an Alice Cooper or a Robert Plant or a Bon Scott… Or a Chris Cornell, who just stood there, but he sang perfectly every night," Snider explained to "Sally Steele Rocks!" "So I was just trying, in a social media Twitter discussion, to explain the differences. And people were up in arms: 'How can you possibly say that Robert Plant isn't a great frontman?' And I love Robert. And I was just trying to… You can't put me and Robert Plant in the same category. So how would you explain what Dee Snider does on stage and what Robert Plant does on stage. And I was trying to do that. But people got upset."

In his Twitter discussion about what makes great "frontmen" in rock, Snider wrote in response to a fan: "You are confusing singing with performing. There is a huge difference between a great frontman & a great singer. Ronnie was one of the greatest singers of all time, but as a frontman, he pretty much just stood on stage & sang. Freddie was an amazing singer AND frontman."

Snider expressed similar sentiments about Plant, saying: "I'm a HUGE Plant fan vocally…but he showed me nothing as a performer. Looked amazing, great hair…stood on stage with one hand raised and sang his ass off. Not a frontman in my opinion. And FYI many great frontmen are not great singers."

Snider later doubled down on his opinion of Dio, referencing his first-hand experiences with the legendary heavy metal singer. He explained: "I toured with him. … He is one of my vocal heroes, but… My frontmen are all over the stage and interact with the crowd. Showmen. Think David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Mick Jagger, Freddy Mercury, Axl Rose…the list goes on."

Snider then supported his position by making the distinction between performance and "stage presence". He said: "I knew this would upset people. I am NOT saying that Dio, Plant etc, don't have stage presence. They have it in SPADES! But they are not performers."

Snider also mentioned other singers he calls great frontmen, including IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson, Bono, JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford and James Brown. He also included Kid Rock in his list, explaining: "Love him or hate him, @KidRock is one of the best I've ever seen. … Facts are facts. The guy is a killer in concert. Period. (and I am REALLY critical)."

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