In a new interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider was asked why it's dangerous when the band's classic song "We're Not Gonna Take It" is co-opted by various politicians and used at their campaign rallies. He responded: "That is the key word there — 'co-opted.' It's not that the song is played by any particular party or side or group — that's fine; that's freedom of speech — but when it gets to the point where one side or one group have made the song their own and others feel they can't sing that song anymore because it makes them look like they're part of that group, that's when I have to step up and that's when I speak out.
"People tell me, 'Why don't you stop them from using the song?' First of all, I technically can't," Dee explained. "But more importantly, that would be censorship. But there's times where I do to speak out and say, 'We do not stand with this group. They do not speak for TWISTED SISTER or Dee Snider. And I wanna be clear this song is not for them — I didn't write it for them; I wrote it for everybody.' So, when a song starts getting just connected strongly to one group or organization, that's when it's dangerous."
Asked how frustrating it is when people assume that he approved the song's use by various political campaigns, Snider said: "When people make the assumption that because somebody is singing your song, you and your band support their cause, it's a ridiculous assumption. Just because someone wrote a song, they think, 'Oh, they must stand with these people.' So it's very frustrating, and often we will often speak out and we will speak up. And, of course, the song we're talking about here is 'We're Not Gonna Take It', which in and of itself is a very broad song that I deliberately wrote so that anybody could sing it for any situation they were in. But that goes for both sides of the aisle; that goes for every… If you're mad at your boss [or] you're mad at your girlfriend [or] you're mad at your teachers, people who are cancer victims, anybody can sing 'We're Not Gonna Take It', but no one group can claim they own it. Well, except TWISTED SISTER; we can claim we own it. [Laughs]"
Last July, Dee said that he could not "legally or morally" stop then-Arizona GOP gubernatorial hopeful and election denier Kari Lake from using "We're Not Gonna Take It" at her campaign events.
The classic TWISTED SISTER song was played as Lake, a former local TV anchor, walked on stage at a "Save America" rally in Prescott Valley, Arizona where she was joined by former U.S. president Donald Trump.
After one of Snider's Twitter followers shared a video of Lake's entrance to "We're Not Gonna Take It" and he included the following message: "@deesnider i think a cease & desist is in order", Dee responded: "While I abhor what this ignoramus @KariLake stands for and the she deplorables (yup, Hillary Clinton had it right) she represents, I can NOT legally or morally stop her from using or singing my song. I wrote it for everyone...cherry picking who uses it is censorship."
When another person wrote "Please tell me @deesnider is not ok with Kari Lake using his music", Dee replied: "Not at all. I do NOT stand with @KariLake . I'm not with anyone who is with Trump or not Pro-choice. This said, i wrote a song designed for everyone. I can't cherry pick who can & can not sing it... THIS SAID...the 1st line is 'WE'VE GOT THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE'. Glad Kari agrees."
What Snider was apparently referring to is the fact that political campaigns are often able to procure blanket licenses from performing rights organizations such as American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) when the rallies are held in major public venues such as convention centers and arenas.
Back in November 2017, Snider, who got to know Trump personally after appearing more than once on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice", said that he could no longer be friends with Trump because he did not share the then-president's views on important issues, including the Trump administration's harsh immigration policy.
Snider found himself in the middle of controversy in 2016 when he asked Trump to stop using "We're Not Gonna Take It" in his campaign. The singer said at the time that Trump was very gracious about the request.
Dee was fired by Trump on "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2013.
Snider is not the only member of TWISTED SISTER who has been critical of Trump. In January 2021, TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French called Trump a "white supremacist president" whose tenure at the White House was a "long national nightmare."
Four years ago, TWISTED SISTER slammed Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer for using a re-written version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" in connection with his political party.
"We're Not Gonna Take It" has been used in commercials for hotel chain Extended Stay America, Claritin, Walmart, Stanley Steamer and Yaz birth control. The song was written solely by Snider.
Back in November 2018, Axl Rose said that the Trump administration was using "loopholes" in the various venues' blanket performance licenses to play GUNS N' ROSES music at Trump's rallies.