In a brand new interview with "The Jim Chinnici Radio Show" on iRadioUSA.com, TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French was asked if he thinks any of the newer hard rock artists have a shot at becoming arena-sized acts once the current crop of dinosaur bands are no longer around. He responded (hear audio below): "Rock is a mature medium, and it's kind of aging itself out, and it doesn't seem to be replenishing its stock. And that's the saddest part of the rock business."
He continued: "When people get into this controversy about 'is rock dead?' and they go, 'How could you say rock is dead? Look at you guys. Look at these festivals. They're selling millions of tickets. I go, 'Yes, that is true.' But here is the difference. The diference is, when I was 17 years old… So, listen carefully, 'cause this really is the difference… When I was 17, none of my heroes — THE BEATLES, THE [ROLLING] STONES, THE WHO, LED ZEPPELIN, THE GRATEFUL DEAD, [PINK] FLOYD… None of those guys were older than 27; most of them were 25 years old. Think about this for a second. Most of these guys were 25 or 26 when I was 17. You tell me how many unbelievably great rock musicians there are that are 25 years old right now. You're gonna have to think long and hard. You're gonna find tons of female pop artists, tons of hip-hop [artists] or rappers, tons of country artists. Name me any [rock] bands that are 25 and younger who are blowing up the charts. That's the scary part — the replenishment of the genre."
French added: "It's an aging genre. Do I believe it can reinvent itself? I believe it is reinventing themselves. I think IMAGINE DRAGONS is part of the world that's reinventing it. People say, oh, they don't like 'em, but, you know, they're just… they are another way of playing rock. I get it. But rock itself is an aging medium and it hasn't replenished its ranks, and the kids aren't dreaming about being rock stars and playing air guitar and thinking they're Jimi Hendrix and all that stuff like they were in my generation. So think about how lucky I was to be 17 years old and all the artists that I went to see were no older than 25 or 26 — 27 at the oldest. Now we're playing around the world with WHITESNAKE and KISS and MOTÖRHEAD or AC/DC or JUDAS PRIEST and DEF LEPPARD. And how old are we all? 55 to 60. I mean, when I was 17, I never saw anybody… The only people 55 to 60 were, like, classical musicians. There was no rockers… I would never go see a rocker who was 55 or 60 years old — 'cause there weren't any, and it didn't seem to me a possibility. Now, all the biggest arena rock acts that are still around, whether it's [Bruce] Springsteen or U2 or THE STONES are, like, 70 or 75. I don't even know how old THE STONES are. But the point is we're all aging out, and what's gonna happen when we all go? What will happen when the TWISTED SISTERs and the WHITESNAKEs and the DEF LEPPARDs and the MOTÖRHEADs and the [BLACK] SABBATHs finally call it a day. Who's coming up and replacing us? I don't even know the answer to that. So you've gotta go see it while you can. And with TWISTED, it's especially apropos, because we're playing out the shows this year, and 2016 is gonna be… It's gonna be, like, the end."
French also clarified TWISTED SISTER's recent announcement that it was embarking on its "final" tour in 2016. He explained: "Our final leg is the way it always is, which is however… We didn't say… We never… What we said was that 2016 will mark the end of our touring career. But we play shows — we play handfuls of shows every year. Do I imagine we'll play more than a handful in 2016? Absolutely. Do I know where they are? I have no idea. Do I know where the last one's gonna be. Do I know when the last one's gonna be? No. We're getting through this year, because we have dates to get through and honor [late TWISTED SISTER drummer] A.J. [Pero]. And then next year… After this year is over… The movie ['We Are Twisted F*cking Sister!', the long-awaited movie about TWISTED SISTER's club days by German filmmaker Andrew Horn], is coming out in the fall. Three CDs are being released of stuff, going back to 1978, 1979, 1983, on Cleopatra Records. It's music from the bars on Long Island, or in Westchester, in the case of 1978 and 1980, and then the entire Donington show from 1983 is being released. And the movie's coming out. And then we have to sit down and we have to look and see where and what our options are. We're getting offers from all over the world. They're coming in from everywhere. And we're gonna have to sit there and go, how much can we stuff in a one-year period? How are we gonna do it? What's gonna make the most sense?"
Asked if former DREAM THEATER and current THE WINERY DOGS drummer Mike Portnoy will sit behind the kit for all of TWISTED SISTER's upcoming shows in 2015, French said: "Well, as far as I know, he's able to fill in all shows. We just added a show September 12 that I… I'm not sure if Mike will be able to do that show, and probably [former TWISTED SISTER drummer] Joe Franco will be playing it if Mike does not. And Mike didn't commit for next year, so it was just to get through these dates. He had an opening in his schedule, and he said, 'Look, A.J. replaced me [in ADRENALINE MOB]…'"
Pero died at the age of 55 while on tour with the band ADRENALINE MOB. After members of that group failed to rouse him on their tour bus on March 20, he was taken to a Poughkeepsie, New York hospital and pronounced dead.
TWISTED SISTER rose to prominence from the New York club scene in the early 1980s. Their biggest album, 1984's "Stay Hungry", contained the hits "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".