How Dee Snider learned the difference between singing and acting

Dee Snider recounted the night he learned the difference between singing and acting in a Twitter exchange about playing live.

The chat, which ran for over five hours, involved a number of followers asking questions afterwards Twisted sister star responded to an opinion about Ronnie James Dio, saying: “You’re confusing singing with performing. There’s a big difference between a great frontman and a great singer. Ronnie was one of the greatest singers of all time, but as a frontman he pretty much just stood on stage and sang. ” He named Freddie Mercury as someone who was “a great singer AND frontman.”

Snider later added, “My frontmen are all over the stage interacting with the audience. Showmen. Thinking David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Mick JaggerAxel Rose… the list goes on. I am a GIANT [Robert] Plant damn vocal. 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 front man in my opinion. And to know that a lot of great frontmen aren’t great singers.” He noted, “I knew this would upset people,” before trying to explain, “I’m NOT saying Dio, Plant, etc. don’t have stage presence. They have it in SPADES! But they are not performers.”

He continued: “I’m proud of my abilities, but a lot of people don’t know me for it because I didn’t tour as much as others. If you ask me what I do best, I’ll tell you ‘front a band’.” He later recounted, “I learned the importance of performance over vocals one night in the ’70s at a club with Twisted Sister. We were doing 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 someone suggested that the audience was happy to enjoy a vocalist who “can’t control an audience”, he replied: “If only. The audience will turn on you like Rottweilers if you don’t hold your own.”

Snider said he had often played “too many” shows a year and had a “sore throat for 10 years straight.” He added: “Do you think my vocal performances suffered? You bet they did.” Asked if he considered himself a performer first, he replied: “First and foremost. Honestly, I would sacrifice everything for the show. … For the audience, it’s THAT show. I’ve always tried to remember that.”

He also argued that the lead vocals on almost all live albums had been tweaked in the studio, saying, “Not to leave anyone out, but we fix ALL things on live recordings. When you take the recordings and put them into the home, the energy of ‘being there’ covering a lot of mistakes is lost. You just have to ‘clean up’ a bit.” When asked to give examples, he refused to “name names” but said he had done so himself on occasion.

When someone said they wanted to Chris Cornell had delivered stellar vocal performances but “acted like a mannequin” on stage, Snider replied: “True. But in fairness, some are not willing to sacrifice vocal quality to perform on stage… it’s hard to pull off studio vocal perfection when you’re running around.” He added: “My feeling has always been if you want to hear the album played perfectly, stay home and listen. Live should be… live!”

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