REVIEW: Twisted Sister – Love Is For Suckers (1987)

Bought in 1997 at an unknown HMV store in Calgary Alberta, on import, for like $25.  For Aaron’s take on this CD, click here!

TS_0001TWISTED SISTER – Love Is For Suckers (1987 Atlantic, Spitfire reissue)

If the year was 1987, I would have given this CD 5/5 stars easily. When it came out in the summer of ’87 I was really into it. My best friend Bob and I used to play it all the time during that long hot summer, we had all the lyrics memorized. Unfortunately this album has not aged well, certainly not compared to their classic early albums.

One problem with the record is that it’s not actually by the band Twisted Sister! Even as a kid I wondered why people with names like “Reb Beach” or “Kip Winger” were listed in the credits. That’s because Love is For Suckers was written and recorded as the first Dee Snider solo album. Record company pressure forced Dee to release this as the next Twisted Sister album, even though no Twisted members appear on it (aside from new drummer Joey Franco). This only hastened the breakup of Twisted Sister in October of that year.

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The album is produced by Beau Hill, a guy also known for Warrant and Winger albums (that’s why Reb and Kip are on here). Beau Hill is one of my least favourite metal producers of all time. He over-produces, uses too many samples, and glosses everything up. As such I find most of his albums pretty hard to listen to today. On Love is For Suckers, all the drums are samples and you sure can tell by that awkward gated sound, and identical snare hits.

Like when we used to climb the rope in gym class

As an 80’s glam metal album, the songs are not that bad. “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” could have been a Twisted Sister song with its themes of rebellion and youth angst. “Hot Love”, the first single, was the song that got me to buy this album. A catchy pop-rocker with irrestible guitars courtesy of maestro Reb Beach, “Hot Love” was as commercial as it gets. Other standout songs included “Me And the Boys”, which was our theme song that summer. “I Want This Night (To Last Forever)” was a Van Hagar sounding pop-rocker with another great chorus. I think, if anything, Love is For Suckers sounds mostly like 5150-era Van Hagar, but with gang vocals and way more glossed up.

Love is For Suckers was reissued a while ago with 4 bonus tracks, demos from these sessions that fit right into the sound of the album. They’re just not as good. “Statuatory Date” for example suffers from extremely bad lyrics.  One of them, “If That’s What You Want” is an early version of an album song, in this case “Me And the Boys”.  Consider looking into these 4 bonus tracks when you’re choosing to purchase Love is For Suckers.

As an added little “insult to injury” following this album’s failure, producer Beau Hill took Dee Snider’s scream from one song, “I Want This Night (To Last Forever)”, and used it as the opening scream on Warrant’s smash hit album Cherry Pie.  Uncredited! I’m sure 99.9% of Warrant fans assume it’s Jani Lane.

If this album description sounds good to you, check it out. You may enjoy it as much as I did all those years ago.  For me, the years have not been kind.

2.5/5 stars

More TWISTED SISTER at mikeladano.com:

TWISTED SISTER – Live at the Marquee (2011 Rhino limited edition)
TWISTED SISTER – Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition)
TWISTED SISTER – Under The Blade (1985 remix)
TWISTED SISTER – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (1984 Atlantic single)

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59 comments

  1. Dee Snider in his autobiography talks about this album quite a bit.
    I for one totally passed on this release back in the day. After the Come On Out &Play debacle there was just many more bands around that surpassed them in my book at the time and I’m sure who also stole from Twisted Sister not in sound but in writing the catchy 3 minute ditty!
    Gotta respect Snider though.

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    1. Deke, I also want you to know, that I finished the first draft of Garbage Removal Machine. It’s a combo with a review of the Motley Crue Lewd Crued Tattooed DVD. Somewhere in T-Bay a girl’s ears are burning…

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      1. It’s a good one. He’s as hard on himself, more so sometimes, than on anything that happened. It’s a good read.

        Can’t seem to find it – Mike do you remember if I reviewed that book? I’m totally blanking.

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  2. Total props to Dee! I didn’t pay much attention to TS any more than “I wanna rock”, but I respect him for standing up against censorship. He was also pretty good on Celebrity Apprentice!

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  3. Never heard this one. And some of those song titles are truly awful! I read him in a fairly recent interview saying that he was just burned out at that point and struggling with writing. Maybe that’s just an excuse or a little bit of revisionist history?

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        1. I think Torme was involved early on. I have a Dee Snider compilation CD with unreleased tracks from this era, I should dig it up. I know there were bands called Widowmaker and Desperado, but I don’t know which is which really and where Bernie fit in. I also have the SMF album, which is just before TS reunited.

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        2. OK done a bit of research — I have a Dee album called Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down. I had some songs co-written with Torme. They are all re-recordings (with AJ Pero on drums) but he says he wrote 100 songs for the Desperado project in the liner notes. From this I’m assuming Torme was involved in Desperado, not Widowmaker.

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        3. Ok! I’ve not heard any of that stuff. I knew he had worked with Torme at some point but I didn’t know any details. The Dee album sounds like it would make for an interesting review. I’ve never heard or seen that one!

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        4. I like both the ones I have. I regret not getting Widowmaker when it was in my store. I rationalized it with, “Ahh, but it’ll take up space and I’ll never listen to it.” Well shit, those were not good reasons to leave it behind!

          SMF is real good. It’s a live album and Dee’s in a real good mood. He even says, “I’m trying hard not to smile, it makes it hard for me to look all mean on stage.”

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        5. I don’t have that, but I do have Wacken. I have an old review of the set that I’ve been meaning to polish and post. Just get the CD/DVD version of Wacken, NOT the dual disc. That was a disaster. Looks nice, won’t play.

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        6. The first album, Blood And Bullets, is awesome. The drum sound is out of this world. And all the songs are killers, I promise. The second one, Stand By For Pain, leaves a lot to be desired though.

          Here’s the deal. Dee Snider started Desperado after Twisted Sister split, with Bernie Tormé, Clive Burr and a bassist named Marc Russell. They recorded an album, Ace, for Elektra but when the album was done, they rearranged at the Elektra office and Desperado got the boot. So they split and Dee brought Russell with him, recruited Al Pitrelli and ex Twisted drummer Joe Franco and recorded their debut with producer Ric Wake. Half of the first Widowmaker album is made up by Desperado songs, co-written with Tormé.

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  4. At the time, I thought “Love is For Suckers” was an improvement on their previous “Come Out and Play” album. But like you Mike, the years have sort of got me to change my outlook on things. It still the better album but also a long way down from their first three big ones.

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    1. Come Out and Play is a bit of a mess, and I too thought it was an improvement. I had no problem with the glossier production at the time. But time changes everything, as Cindy Lauper once said…

      I have a hard time picking a favourite today, but probably You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll.

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      1. I thought that was money changes everything, lol. I would have to go with “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” as my favourite as well. Funny thing was when I saw them at Bloodstock 2010, they didn’t play any songs off “Love Is For Suckers” but two songs from “Come Out and Play.”

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  5. I was the first person in my school who knew about Twisted Sister and I spread the word and taped You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll to everyone who wanted a copy. That’s why my whole school knew about Twisted Sister before they hit pay dirt with Stay Hungry. That’s pretty cool, come to think of it…

    I agree with a lot in your review, but I would have given the album a higher rating. I do 10’s so I guess 7/10 in my book. Yes, Beau Hill, is somewhat overrated and I think this album had been better with another producer, as long as it wasn’t Ron “useless waste of bum wipe” Nevison. I didn’t know about the “stolen scream”, but now when you mention it, it’s the same scream. Yes, I though that was Jani Lane (RIP). But Hill did a good job with Ratt, I guess. And Winger too. But he completely f**ked Europe’s Prisoners In Paradise up.

    We all know that this is Dee’s solo album in reality, but who plays on it, except for Reb Beach? Additional guitars, my ass. He did the whole album, at least that’s what I heard. Yes, Joe Franco on the drums, but who played bass? And was there any other guitar players than Reb Beach. Ronni Le Tekro (TNT) is on the thank you list…

    Twisted Sister played Wake Up (the Sleeping Giant) at Sweden Rock back in 2012. That was kinda cool.

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    1. I think Reb played on the whole thing. Definitely all the solos, you can hear how his tone is similar to the first Winger record. I have no idea who played bass.

      Yeah Beau Hill did OK with Ratt I guess…although their best album sonically might have been Detonator with Sir Arthur Payson.

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      1. Yes. Also Eddie Ojeda and Jay Jay French could never in a million years play that well. Ojeda’s in the CC DeVille league. Even worse than Kirk Hammett…

        Yes, Detonator has the best sound, too bad the album is too uneven. Could have been a great one.

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        1. Still I think that the poppier songs such as One Step Away and Givin’ Yourself Away are that album’s prime cuts. And Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job, even though much of that song was brought in from Alice Cooper’s This Maniac’s In Love With You. Desmond Child has a tendency to borrow his own stuff when it comes to writing new songs.

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        2. I never noticed that about This Maniac’s In Love With You. I haven’t ripped Trash to my computer yet. I better check that out. Desmond’s a talented guy but yeah, he has definitely ripped himself off in the past.

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  6. Man, that sucks. How many stories have we heard of record companies f@*king things up, making it a Twisted record when it wasn’t? It’s endless. Practically every rock bio you read, the artist’s getting screwed over on their contracts, and people behind desks are making really assinine decisions about entire careers and albums. I know it’s the nature of the beast, but doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

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  7. i never really kept up with Twisted Sister, so don’t know what incarnation was touring in 2012, but Dee was with a group calling itself “Twisted Sister” that summer, and performed in my hometown in Iowa. They didn’t get to come out until really late at night, as there was a HUGE storm a couple of hours before they were to play, and it rained and blew up until they decided to come out. I had planned to go, but left the outdoor venue right before the storm hit, then decided to not go back down there. Wish I had now. I heard it was very good.

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      1. Twisted Sister’s albums were all so poor sounding. But man, those songs. Under The Blade, You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll, Stay Hungry… those albums are so awesome. Come Out And Play wasn’t all bad, there are some really great stuff on there, but it’s a bit pretentious, I guess.

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        1. Um, I dunno, I think Be Chrool To Your Scuel was a classic Alice Cooper sounding song. I really like that one. And the title track, Looking Out For # 1, The Fire Still Burns. Good stuff. I’m not that sure about Leader Of The Pack, though.
          But I think it was Dieter Dierks who took the edge away. He didn’t realize it was a Twisted Sister album, thought he was still with the Scorpions…

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        2. I forgot about Be Chrool. As a kid I had no idea that was Alice Cooper. I didn’t know because the cassette had no liner notes. In about 1992 I got it on vinyl and finally realized.

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  8. Mike, because I am a sucker for interviews with rock wives and girfriends as a rock journalist, could you please tell me if wikipedia is right when they say Suzzette Snider is the gorgeous model in the Hot Love video? Many say that isn´t her and it aint Bobbie Brown either. Dee Snider told a fan he couldn´t remember the name of the model himself recently. So can you help me out, please? Thank you.

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      1. It’s not Suzette. It’s a hired model.

        Also, I just heard that Joe Franco didn’t play on the album at all, it’s a drum machine. I listened to the record when I got the news and now when I know, it’s pretty obvious. Can’t figure out why I never even suspected it.
        But it was Franco who programmed them, apparently.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Doesn’t surprise me! Kind of like when I listen to a Cars album, I have a hard time being excited that the drummer PROGRAMMED the drum parts! Woo hoo?

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