DEE SNIDER On Why DIO And PLANT Are Not Great Frontmen: They Are Amazing Singers 'But They Are Not Performers'

January 4, 2023

Dee Snider says that Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio are great singers but are "not performers".

The TWISTED SISTER vocalist broached the subject while commemorating what would have been late drummer Cozy Powell's (RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH) 75th birthday late last month. After calling Powell a "rock god", Snider urged his Twitter followers to listen to the first 11 seconds of RAINBOW's classic song "Stargazer" and "then listen to the rest of" the track "with the incomparable Ronnie Dio on vocals & you will know why many consider it to be the greatest metal song ever!" This prompted a fan to opine that the late singer was the second-best frontman in rock history, with QUEEN's Freddie Mercury taking the top spot. In response, Dee argued that "singer" and "frontman" are terms that mean different things.

"You are confusing singing with performing," Dee tweeted. "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."

After another fan chimed in that Robert Plant should "definitely" be on that list since he was the "quintessential frontman" at his prime in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dee said that while he was a "huge" fan of the LED ZEPPELIN legend's singing, he didn't think much of Plant as a "frontman". "I'm a HUGE Plant fan vocally...but he showed me nothing as a performer," Snider wrote. "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 added: "My frontmen are all over the stage and interact with the crowd. Showmen. Think David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Mick JaggerAxl Rose… the list goes on." After getting more pushback from other Twitter users, Dee noted, "I knew this would upset people," before trying to explain: "I am NOT saying that Dio, Plant etc, don't have stage presence. They have it in SPADES! But they are not performers."

Dee added: "I pride myself in my abilities, but many don't know me for it because I didn't tour as extensively as others. If you ask me what I do best I will tell you 'front a band.'"

He later recounted: "I learned the importance of the performance over vocals one night in the '70s in a club with TWISTED SISTER. We did our opening song and my voice was completely gone. So I just started going crazy on stage. It was the BEST reaction the band had gotten to date. Changed my game."

When another Twitter user said he thought a singer like SOUNDGARDEN's Chris Cornell had delivered amazing vocal performances but "behaved like a mannequin" on stage, Snider replied: "True. But in fairness, some aren't willing to sacrifice vocal quality for performing on stage… it's tough to execute studio vocal perfection when you are running around." He added: "My feeling always was if you want to hear the album played perfectly, stay home and listen. Live should be… live!"

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