Twisted Sister guitarist
Eddie Ojeda

FIB MUSIC:  In the early days of Twisted Sister, along with your UK record deal, did the band ever think of relocating?

Eddie:  No we didn't ever move there, but we were there a good six months out of the year. We spent a hell of a lot of time in England, which, you know, at one point a lot of people thought we were an English band. I remember talking to people and they would say, you have an American accent....I said well, I'm American.

FIB MUSIC:   Any copies of Under the Blade were sold?

Eddie:  I don't know....200,000 to 300,000 copies, but it eventually went gold after the release of Stay Hungry, same thing with You Can't Stop Rock n Roll. But it was Stay Hungry that was double then triple and probably on its way to being quadruple platinum.

FIB MUSIC:  It's almost shocking that Stay Hungry didn't sell even more records, you guys were constantly on MTV and radio. If something like that would have happened nowadays, you guys would have sold probably 10 million records.

Eddie:  Yeah, easily. But one thing is, Stay Hungry was out when Michael Jacksons' Thriller and Prince Purple Rain was out. Those were two HUGE, HUGE records. In this day in age, we would have had the number one record.

FIB MUSIC:  It also came out around the time of Ratt's Out of the Cellar, right?

Eddie:   Yeah, there was some heavy competition with big selling records. But we got into the top ten and that's with Thriller being number one and Prince being number two or three. Those albums sold like thirty million each. So, you know, we did pretty good to get into the top ten by that time.

Courtesy of Heavy Metal Dave

FIB MUSIC:   Did you guys tour to support Under the Blade?

Eddie:  Yeah we always played. We toured with Blackfoot and Krokus on that one. In Europe we did a lot of festivals, later we toured with Lita Ford a lot. We toured with Dokken and Ratt and we did a huge tour with Iron Maiden, we did the entire United States and Canada. I think we did Y&T and Dokken after Maiden. We were doing smaller venues, like 3 to 4 thousand people. But when we toured with Maiden those were all arenas.

FIB MUSIC:  How was it opening for Iron Maiden? They had some pretty hardcore fans, did they accept Twisted Sister?

Eddie:  The place was packed at eight o'clock. It wasn't like people were just floating in, they were there to see both of us. The crowd loved us and along with Maiden's crowd it was unbelievable. They loved touring with us, because we would fire up the crowd and then Maiden would come out and just kick total ass. So people really got their money's worth. When we would do "The Price" you could the whole place full of lighters. It felt like we were headlining....that kind of a vibe. I didn't feel like an opening band, because the place was packed while we were playing. They were happy as hell to get two bands for the price of one.
FIB MUSIC:   Let's go back a bit....Did any cool, sucked, brilliant moments stand out from the "You Can't Stop Rock n Roll" recording sessions, or tour?

Eddie:  Well....Blackfoot....(laughs) they had a collection of pictures. They were kind of notorious for being with a lot of girls. They used to take a lot of Polaroid's. So some of the stuff....I didn't want to see that part of the anatomy in the way they photographed it. They had some interesting pictures. They were very funny guys, instead of a backstage pass with a photo of the band, they would have a lamenated picture of Richard Pryor on it.

FIB MUSIC:  Care to share what some of the photos were?

Eddie:  UMMMMM. Well, they were rather graphic (laughs), or I guess you could say pornographic. Some of them were pretty explicit. They had there own little photo was like there own family photo album. (laughs) I said to them, why are you keeping this stuff for. What happens if you die?....they were like, why should I give a shit, I'll be dead (laughs). But, yeah, Blackfoot was pretty funny when it came to stuff like that. We were just kind of boring, for the most part the band was kind of straight.

FIB MUSIC:  That's what I thought, you guys were never into drugs or booze, right?

Eddie:  Yeah. Well, me and the drummer drank a little bit...maybe once a week on a night off or something, we would go out and get a little legless, you know? But for the most part.....whenever we played we never did anything.

FIB MUSIC:   And Dee Snider was completely sober.

Eddie:   Yeah, Dee didn't do anything. He just recently started to have a glass of wine with dinner everynight. I almost fainted when I heard him first ordered a glass of wine, because he never drank. Just recently he started doing it....because he heard it was healthy. But it's just one glass and that's it. We have been a parties before and there will be a bunch of wine flowing around the table and when the waiter goes up to refill Dee's glass, he will hold his hand over the glass. Just one glass, he's got a lot of discipline when it comes to stuff like that. Same with Mark and......they'll drink one glass of wine with dinner.

FIB MUSIC:  And they were even like that before you guys made it, right?

Eddie:  Yeah...yeah. We never really drank. Sometimes when we went out, maybe Mark (Mendoza) would have one beer, but you know, me and A.J. (Pero) would like to knock back a few, but it was just on nights off. That was about it, which was a good thing....I guess it was a blessing in disguise. Because, you know, being around drugs and stuff can really take its toll on you and if you around people who are doing them, you know, everybody tends to do them. When you are in an environment where no one is into doing them....first of all no one comes around...the people with drugs don't come around. So now I look at it as a blessing in disguise, compared to what I know some guys went through. But we never got fucked up before shows. It's like if you were a professional football player, or a race car driver, you wouldn't think about getting loaded before you go out. Same thing with playing, you kind of have to have your wits about you. I couldn't play all loaded though. I have seen some guys that can get drunk and then play perfect. I don't know how they do it, but I know I can't. To me, I would rather do my thing, work it out, get a great sweat's like having a great ball game, you know? Then afterwards it's Miller Time. (laughs) But to go up and get loaded before you go on, you're going to forget something....I know I would.

FIB MUSIC:  When you guys went in the studio, to record Stay Hungry, did you have any idea it was going to be such a huge album for Twisted Sister?

Eddie:  I thought it was a really good album. But like anything else, you never know if it's going to be the one that takes you over the top. You make the album and do the best you can....and you feel good about it, but you never really know. It's hard to tell. I did have a great feeling about the album....I thought, wow, the songs are so good on this record. But I felt that way about a lot of the records, you know, but they didn't get the recognition that some of them did.

FIB MUSIC:  Any memories stand out from those recording sessions?

Eddie:  We did it here at the Record Plant in New York and we did some at Westlake in Los Angeles, which I think Michael Jackson did a lot of the Thriller album there. We worked with Geoff Workman, who engineered all the Queen stuff and who had worked with Roy Thomas Baker. But Geoff Workman worked for Tom Werman a lot and he would.....I guess he had a lot of time on his hands, but he would take tapes and cut them up of stuff that Dee would say during the know when someone is talking, you know like turn this up, do this, and Geoff would edit some of the most hysterical stuff together....he would edit the stuff and put it on cassette and bring it in the next day and play it in the studio. I can't remember some of the stuff, but it was just hysterical. Some of that stuff we should put on a record and release it, because it really was so insanely funny.

But most of the time we went in the studio and worked really hard. We would go in at noon and get down about 11 or 12 o'clock at night. We would just concentrate and do our job, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  How long did it take to record Stay Hungry?

Eddie:   I think we did a month here in New York and then we did a month in Los Angeles. We were always under the gun. We always had the feeling that "this had to be done last week". It was kind of nice splitting it up. Sometimes, I think it is better when you are away from home when you are doing the record. Because when you are home, you have a lot of distractions. When you're in California your family can't call you and say you need to do this and do that. So it kind of allows to concentrate more, because when you go home at night there are always distractions, or responsibilties that you can't take care of if you were away. That's why I think a lot of bands go some place else to record their album.

FIB MUSIC:  What did you think of the final mix of Stay Hungry?

Eddie:  I was really happy with it.....I was very happy with it.
FIB MUSIC:   Was everyone else happy with the results?

Eddie:  Ummm. I think Mark wasn't that pleased with it, because he thought that there wasn't enough bass on it, but he's the bass player. (laughs) I know what he meant though, I do think the bass was mixed a little low on the original recording. But everybody pretty much like it and we must have done something right, because in the end, we sure sold a hell of a lot of those records. Plus, with the MTV stuff too, that really helped us launch everything, you know? The "We're Not Gonna Take It" video was hysterical. The first one like that and you know, the "I Wanna Rock" video.....I mean people knew those word for word.

FIB MUSIC:  I'm sure; they played those videos non-stop. You guys had to have more airplay than just about any band during that time.

Eddie:  Yeah, well, you know, I didn't even have MTV back then. It wasn't available where I lived yet....I lived in Queens at the time. But I kept hearing about it, people would say, "Man, you guys are on tv all the time".... and you know MTV was kind of starting out in those days.

Twisted Sister Platinum Certification

FIB MUSIC:  I didn't even realize that you guys had done a Behind the Music for VH1. I just read that the other day and I never saw it for some reason. I thought I had watched all of them.

Eddie:  They played the hell out of it when it first came out. They'll probably go back to it and play it again. I think how they do it......when it first comes out, I think for the first month they play it seven days a week. They'll do it like twelve in the afternoon, then they'll do it at eight and then they do it again at eleven o'clock at night. I surprised you missed it. They probably start repeating them again. I think a lot of people loved watching them.

FIB MUSIC:  Definitely. It was a brilliant idea to do those.

Eddie:   They are good and I think they did a really good job on them....on the editing. Some of the editing stuff they did, with the music, I thought was pretty amazing.

FIB MUSIC:  Did you notice an increase in album sales after your Behind the Music?

Eddie:  Umm. I think it is what kind of got the band back together. In Europe we are bigger than ever.

FIB MUSIC:  When you perform with Twisted Sister nowadays, do you guys go on in full make-up?

Eddie:   Yeah, just like the old days. The only one who doesn't wear make-up is Mendoza. He is kind of going for the biker look. I mean, he gets kind of dressed up, with the animal fur stuff. But it's ok, because the rest of us are wearing it, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  How much did your life change after Stay Hungry? Was it completely different?

Eddie:   Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, it was a very successful record. But yeah, people were a lot nicer to me, I had a lot more friends. And when the band broke up, I realized all the friends I thought I had....I really didn't, which is another hard fact that people realize about the music business.

Eddie Ojeda & Ron Keel
FIB MUSIC:  So you are referring to people in the industry?

Eddie:  People in the industry and in life. You know, when you have a hit album, everyone is your best friend.

FIB MUSIC:   What did you think of Come Out and Play? Did you like the direction of that record?

Eddie:   Yeah. I really loved it. It shipped gold. Right out of the gate, it did really well and then all of a sudden it dipped down real quick. I don't know why, because I think it was just as good as Stay Hungry.

FIB MUSIC:  I think it was because of your first single, "Leader of the Pack".

Eddie:  Yeah. Leader of the Pack.

FIB MUSIC:  You know, I loved Stay Hungry and I remember being a bit frustrated when I heard Leader of the Pack and thinking, what the fuck.

Eddie:  Yeah, I think it was the wrong single to pick out. We should have done something else, but for some reason we chose Leader of the Pack and it didn't really do that well. I thought it was a cool video, with the motorcycles and stuff. But I guess it just wasn't the right choice.

FIB MUSIC:  I don't think it was the video, it was the song itself.

Eddie:  I guess you're right. I mean Motley Crue did well with "Smokin in the Boys Room", you know? And we did "Leader of the Pack", not because Motley did one, it was just a song we all liked. But it just didn't go over like we thought it would.

FIB MUSIC:  Did Come Out and Play eventually go platinum?

Eddie:   Ummm. I don't believe it ever went platinum. It just went gold.

FIB MUSIC:  I assume you guys were headlining shows at that time, right?

Eddie:  Yeah, we were doing some headlining tours. But I think at that time, Dee was having some problems with his voice and Come Out and Play wasn't doing as well as we thought it would, so we cut the tour kind of short.

FIB MUSIC:   How short? Like a couple of months?

Eddie:  Uhhhhhh. Probably about half way into it.

FIB MUSIC:  Really? So you guys actually cancelled dates.

Eddie:  Yeah.

FIB MUSIC:  Did you tour Europe?

Eddie:  For Come Out and Play....yeah. Europe has always been great.
FIB MUSIC:  Europe was always the starting point?

Eddie:   Not the starting point, but Europe has always been great. I mean, even now we headlined for over forty thousand people over there.....even in the eighties we couldn't do that. We had played festivals, but we weren't headlining for forty thousand people. Now we're headling for thirty, forty thousand people....they are doing a festival and calling it Twisted Forever. It's be Europe bound (laughs).....I mean, Europe has always been great, but now it's just insane. You know, in America the hard rock thing is just not happening like it is in Europe still.

FIB MUSIC:  What was the state of the band when you guys went in to record Love is for Suckers? Was everyone still getting along?

Eddie:  Yeah. We were all pretty much getting along. It was just.....Beau Hill produced that album. There were a few conflicts with the way he wanted to do things and the way we wanted to do things. But you know, we worked it out and I think that was a good record too.

FIB MUSIC:  What were the differences between you guys and Beau Hill?

Eddie:  Well, basically, he had his idea of doing drums. We wanted to use acoustic drums and Joe (Franco) had Joe had done electronic drums on the demos and we ended up using the electronic drums. Which were played by Joe, but he used a kit with sampler for the drum sounds and they sounded great, you can't really tell that they aren't acoustic drums. But rather than re-record everything in the studio, to save time, we used the electronic drums. But you know, Joe was great at that stuff and even though he had an electronic set, they were from sampled drum sounds.

FIB MUSIC:  Why did A.J. Pero leave the band?

Eddie:  Well...for different reasons, you know, to this day I still kind of surprised. I think one day he just kind of got pissed off about something.....maybe too many know, jokes and fucking around and sometimes shit just goes too far and you finally say the wrong thing and somebody just get offended to the point where they say, you know, "I've had it". Most of the time it's silly shit that happens with bands. Sometimes, it's like the silliest things. But you know that was just A.J.'s decision, it's hard to tell made him do it. I was very surprised....I didn't think he meant it. But he's back in.

FIB MUSIC:  Why did Twisted Sister break up?

Eddie:  Well, we never officially broke up. We came back from the Love is for Suckers tour and things weren't too well. So rather than stick it out and try to build things back up, people kind of jumped ship. Dee was the first one to quit the band and when he quit the band we just decided to not go with another singer. I mean, Van Halen went with another singer and they were real successful, but most of the time when you get another singer it doesn't work. But we never officially split up, we just kind of stopped playing. Dee called about two months after the tour and said, "I'm doing my own thing". Which happens with singers, you know?

FIB MUSIC:  Did you guys still have a record deal?

Eddie:  We did, for awhile. Everything just kind of went away, there was never anything official. We just stopped.

FIB MUSIC:  It's a shame, because when Twisted Sister breaks up, there were still 3 to 4 years left, before Grunge hit.

Eddie:  But you know something, it was kind of cool to do it when we did. It was hard on everybody. But we didn't drag the name through the mud, which some bands do. We did it with dignity and left it at a certain level, where people were shocked. Like, why would you guys break up, you're still well known. But I think it was better to do it that the time, I didn't.

FIB MUSIC:  What did you do after the band broke up?

Eddie:  Well, I formed another band called Scarecrow. We almost got a record deal and I ended up...the band ended up breaking up. Then about a year later, the singer reformed Scarecrow, with three different other guys, which wasn't the same band. He used the same recording we did and got a small record deal, but nothing ever came of it. Then after that, I got into business with my brother....the computer business. Setting up networks, it's something I have always enjoyed....working with computers. And I worked So, I did that and worked with a local band for awhile, just on weekends......then eventually, the band got back together after 9/11 and things just kind of took off, so I've been doing that ever since. And that's why I decided to do a solo record, because with the band back together, it was a perfect time to put out my solo record. Before, I had no time to do one, you know, I was working with my brother and bands on weekends. So when Twisted started to do these one-off shows, I had time to do the solo record.

FIB MUSIC:  Why did Dee Snider write almost all of the material? Was it just understood that he would write the songs?

Eddie: know, I co-wrote some of the stuff. I have a co-writing credit on "The Price". But basically Dee and I were the only ones that wrote. But the thing is, he would write like ten songs to my two. Then we would put like twenty songs on a tape and pick the best. And mine never really got chosen. The ones I did with Dee and the ones I did on my own,.....they were good songs, but we would pick like twelve songs out of the twenty and then we'd finish those songs.

FIB MUSIC:  Was there ever any resentment amongst the band?

Eddie:  No, not really
We are going to do what we did last week. There is still more to this interview, so keep checking back throughout the week and we will post more additions Monday through Friday. If you found this interview first, make sure to read Eddie Ojeda Part I.