REVIEW: Twisted Sister – Club Daze, Volume I: The Studio Sessions (1999)

TSCD_0001 TWISTED SISTERClub Daze, Volume I: The Studio Sessions (1999)

Everybody knows that Twisted Sister has been around a long time; since 1973 in fact, just as long as Kiss. However not too many people have heard Twisted’s early material outside of their first single “I’ll Never Grow Up, Now!” which was on their “best of” CD. Club Daze, Volume I fills in the gaps.

This CD is for fans only. It will have absolutely no appeal at all to casual listeners who only want songs they recognize. In fact, some of these songs are painfully bad. “High Steppin'”, “Big Gun”, and “T.V. Wife” for example are all examples of some very poor early songwriting. These tunes are in a more traditional rock and roll vibe, and are lyrically quite awful. Take “T.V. Wife” for example, written and sung by JJ French, a song about a woman who sits around all day watching soaps. Really bad song.

On the flipside there are rough and ready versions of some really decent songs, such as “Come Back” which had Dee Snider writing in a heavy metal mode. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Saviours” is a personal favourite, a 1978 attack upon disco music. “We’re gonna fight until disco is dead!” sings Snider.  And they did!

To make collectors salivate just a little more, the best tracks on the CD are the three songs originally from the (then) impossible-to-find EP Ruff Cutts (now since made available on the Under the Blade reissue). This includes an early version of “Leader of the Pack” and more familiar songs: “Shoot ‘Em Down” and “Under The Blade”. It is only these last two songs that really show what Twisted Sister was capable of and where they would go in the future.

There’s one Ruff Cutt missing (“What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)”), and a few other miscellaneous early tracks as well, but Club Daze is a compilation of these years.  Club Daze is also loaded with ample pictures and liner notes (from Jay Jay and Dee).

As an album purchase, this CD is not the greatest release. Twisted Sister were never virtuoso musicians, and it shows. Most of these songs don’t have Mark “The Animal” Mendoza on bass, who really helped make their songs heavier. Most tracks feature Kenny Neill on bass and Tony Petri on drums. This is for collectors only, and anybody who wants to know what this band sounded like in the 70’s before they did their first serious recordings, and found the sound that would make them famous.

3/5 stars

19 comments

    1. The booklet is amazing.

      We had a whole bunch of these at the store. Some warehouse went out of business and the market was flooded with copies of these. Which I couldn’t sell very easily, because nobody knew these songs.

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  1. I have to correct you on something here, Mike. I didn’t know Twisted Sister had been around since 1973. I thought they only had a brief career in the 80s and a few reunions.

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    1. TS officially formed on Valentines Day 1973. There are loads of recordings available from the 70s, but nothing pre-1976. That’s when Dee Snider replaced their former singer Frank Karuba. Their first single was released in 1979 — “I’ll Never Grow Up, Now!”

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  2. I spread the gospel of Twisted Sister at my school back in the day. I read about them, saw their picture, decided that they were awesome and bought You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll and fell in love instantly. Sure, the album had poor sound, the musicians were crap, but man, those songs – and Dee Snider’s attitude. I still love Twisted Sister.
    But nobody – and I mean nobody – had even heard about them when I brought a tape to school. See, we had a tape recorder that played hard rock on every damn break in school and it took only a week for all the metalheads at school to become TS fans. That was all me. Should I get royalties for that…? ;)

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