Evolving Your Own Twisted Brand


During the summer of 1984, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. To me, a 14 year-old kid, that song was a young rebel’s anthem. It embodied everything I wanted to say to the establishment!

Just as fall arrived and I was heading back to school to be under the control of teachers, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” peaked at #21.

Despite a very respectable catalog of heavy metal music, Twisted Sister never had another Top 40 single.

It would have been easy for Dee Snider to simply disappear into rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia as yet-another one hit wonder.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, Dee Snider became the host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball and later very publicly testified in front of the Senate in order to protect musical integrity and save albums from having parental advisory warnings. Very quickly, Dee Snider became known as an intelligent voice of reason in hard rock.

Dee went on to write horror movie scripts, compose music for TV shows, and become the host of a nationally syndicated radio show called House of Hair. He has hosted various TV shows, appeared on several reality TV shows, created voice overs for cartoon and video games, and stars in Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale, a theatrical production at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto.

Dee Snider is a fantastic example of an artist who has expanded his brand far beyond the 1984 chart success of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Nearly 32 years later, he remains a relevant artist and entrepreneur.

And his iconic hard rock song continues to capture the rebellious imagination of every 14 year-old boy.

How did Dee Snider evolve his brand so well, when so many others failed?

He created a powerful audio and visual image, and embraced it.

The Dee Snider of the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video has a little more hair and make up than the Dee Snider of today, but he’s still a long-haired heavy metal singer. While other people tried to change when “hair bands” apparently went out of style, Dee celebrated it with his House of Hair radio show.

He took on new projects that contributed to his image.

Hosting a TV show called Dead Art about the beauty of old cemeteries was a perfect extension of his heavy metal image. His Halloween project, Van Helsing’s Curse, went from a concept album to touring production narrated by Snider. Snider has even brought his heavy metal approach to the holiday season with his Christmas production.

He has let his fans behind the curtain.

From the 1980s when he read his lyrics and their meaning to the Senate, to his family’s reality TV show Growing Up Twisted, Dee has famously let his fans see the real him. His radio shows have allowed him to reveal himself regularly, and his fans feel a true connection to who Dee Snider really is.

Dee Snider, at 60 years old, is well-removed from his band’s one big Top 40 hit. But if you look at the Top 40 chart from the summer of 1984, there are few artists who have persevered, adapted, and built their brand better than Dee Snider.

Dee Snider, Twisted Sister 355 Comments

How To Give Your Customers Everything

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One of rock’s most iconic images is that of Pete Townshend of The Who, his guitar raised above his head like an axe, seconds away from smashing into the stage into pieces.

Why does Pete Townshend smash his guitar at the end of a concert?

Pete’s first victim was a 1964 Rickenbacker Rose Morris. At a concert at The Railway Tavern in the band’s early days, Pete accidentally cracked the headstock of his guitar on the bar’s low ceiling. He was angry, and smashed the rest of the guitar in disgust.

The next night, the fans were waiting for another guitar to be smashed.

Pete Townshend wasn’t wealthy enough in those days to smash a guitar every night, but within a year or two he would be. And his fans would be waiting for the ritual.

There have been many, many guitars smashed over the years. You can read all about each destroyed guitar here.

At first it was an accident.

Then it became a spectacle.

Now it is a symbol.

Over the course of the band’s 50+ years together, it has become symbolic with an incredible concert. Pete Townshend smashing his guitar is a way of telling the audience that he has played the life – literally – out of that guitar. Pete leaves behind those shards of metal and wood as a message that he’s given you all that he, and the poor guitar, can possibly give.

If you’ve seen Pete Townshend smash his guitar, chances are good you’ve seen someone give everything that they have to their fans.

That’s customer service.

In business, you will likely only ever get one chance to perform for your fans/customers. Will you give them all that you have to give? Will you smash your guitar, over and over, and walk off the stage knowing that you could not possibly have given your customer any more?

Customers expect great service today. The bar has never been higher.

If you aren’t smashing your guitar before you leave work at the end of the day, maybe you need to think about how passionately you serve your fans.

And now, enjoy a collection of smashed guitars courtesy of Pete Townshend (

Oh and by the way, the guitar in the image above was destroyed on November 7, 1973 at a show at the Odeon Cinema in Newcastle, England.

Learn how to rock your customer’s world with Brand Like A Rock Star: Lesson From Rock n Roll to Make Your Business Rich and Famous. You can order it with just click here. It’s available in digital download or paperback.

Pete Townshend, The Who, Uncategorized 561 Comments