DEE SNIDER Blasts Retroactive Censorship: 'You Can't Change The Past'
July 27, 2022
In a May 2022 interview with Spain's Hellpress, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, who was famously called to testify before the U.S. Senate against the proposition to have warning labels be placed on albums deemed "offensive" to listeners, once again spoke about the rise of political correctness in the social media era. Asked for his opinion of the current state of "censorship", Dee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "In the '80s, it was the Reagan era — Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher — and a very conservative world, and conservative people, puritan and religious people, were trying to stop rock and roll and [introduce] censorship of things. But now, over the years, it's gone to the other side; it's gone to the more liberal side. And the reasons [are], they'll say, 'We're not being controlling. These words are hurtful and these words make people uncomfortable and these are not the nice things to say.' And I understand that. We should always try to improve as a world. But when you start to look at history and challenge people for things that they did 10 years ago. I'm not talking about super-bad things — pedophilia; there's no time limit on that. And they wanna change the past.
"You saw the movie 'The Dirt' [from] MÖTLEY CRÜE?! And there are a lot of people very upset that the movie showed women objectified. And they said, 'It was the '80s. That was what was happening. That happened.'
"You can't change the past," Dee added. "You can say, 'Okay, we're not gonna do that anymore.' That's what bothers me — when people try to wanna go back in time and somehow censor the past and change the past. We've gotta recognize that things happened — good things and bad things happened — and if we wanna make changes, make 'em moving forward, not going back and changing what happened."
Snider went on to say that censorship crossed his mind while writing his latest solo album, "Leave A Scar", but he pushed any fears of offending someone out of his head to get the record done.
"On [the] album, there's a song called 'In For The Kill'. The chorus is 'In for the kill, fire at will.' It's using a gun metaphor and killing as a metaphor for achieving your goals and dreams. But my brain inside said, 'Wait a minute. Can I write that?' And my other brain, the bigger one, said, 'Fuck yeah! Yes, you can. What the fuck? You're Dee fucking Snider.'
"Just the idea that as a creative person, I was thinking about censoring. 'Cause I'm a writer, I write screenplays and I just did my first novel, and when you write, never edit as you write. You write — just freely write — and then, after you [are done writing], then you go back and say, 'Maybe I'll edit some [of these things].' But you should never be self-editing as you create. Creation should just come naturally and flow."
In 1985, the Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC),led by Tipper Gore, was trying to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing "offensive material." The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.),which resulted in the "Parental Advisory" sticker now found on new album releases with "questionable content." The incongruous trio of Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver were called before Congress to testify in defense of music.
In 2015, Snider wrote an Op-Ed story for HuffingtonPost.com about his experience, saying: "Thirty years later, everything and nothing has changed. The ultra-conservatives still want to dictate to the masses what they deem acceptable for the general public to see and hear. The record industry is a mere shadow of its former self (apt punishment for its cowardice),and CDs and vinyl albums have almost become 'novelties’ in a world driven by downloads. Yet, the warning labels still adorn individual track listings and albums online.
"While initially my appearance at those Senate hearings was damaging to my career and reputation, long term it was beneficial, showing people for the first time that I was much more than a screaming 'Raggedy Ann on acid' and a fairly intelligent, sentient human being. Fortunately, I have gone on to better things."
TWISTED SISTER called it quits in 2016 after completing a farewell 40th-anniversary tour.