The Price

#565: The Price We Gotta Pay

GETTING MORE TALE #565: The Price We Gotta Pay
(And All the Games We Gotta Play)

I was reminded of this story recently, when J from Resurrection Songs asked about pricing schemes for new release albums.

We had a pricing schedule, created by the manager that I have called “The Bully” in these pages.  I’m sure she did a fantastic job of purchasing, pricing and stocking goods.  She was horrible at managing people, and never should have been in any position of power over others.

The pricing schedule was pretty simple.  Any time we’d get a shipment of brand new stock, there would be an invoice packed with it showing our cost on each title.  The Bully made up a pricing schedule based on cost, so we could price incoming items easily.  For example, if the cost of the item fell between $10.40 and $11.60 (plus shipping), our sell price might have been $13.99.  (That’s not an actual pricing scheme, that’s just an example of how it worked.)  This way, all of our stores would have consistent pricing across the board.  That was important.  It also made it easy for us to price things on our own without having to ask for too much direction.

The pricing scheme was created and implemented during one of the periods when The Bully was no longer speaking to me.  Who knows why anymore.  A manager who stops speaking to her direct reports is the very definition of unprofessional.

I came in one Tuesday afternoon, which is when the brand new stock arrived.  Remember New Release Tuesdays?  I began pricing the new releases using the pricing scheme she made.  Suddenly she broke her silence and started going at me.

“You’re pricing these all wrong!” she yelled.  Unfortunately nobody was in the store to witness the exchange, so you’ll just have to believe me.  I looked down at the paper in front of me.  “But this is the price right here on the new pricing schedule.” I looked at it again to make sure I wasn’t wrong.  I wasn’t.

She paused and yelled again.  “Forget about that!!”  Then she stormed into the back office, slammed the door and stopped speaking to me again.  No witnesses, no apology either.  An updated pricing schedule was issued shortly after.  I never reported this behavior.  As discussed in a prior chapter, I had brought up her abuse before and didn’t see any changes.  I just sucked it up until I couldn’t anymore.

Some may doubt these stories, which is understandable, but I’m the guy with the journals.  I’ll never forget the way I was treated by one very unprofessional jerk.

 

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REVIEW: Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition)

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My Twisted reviews: “We’re Not Gonna Take It” single, Under the Blade, Live at the Marquee

TWISTED SISTER – Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition, Atlantic, 2009 originally 1984)

Fact:  When I was a kid, I used to think that Jay Jay French might in fact be blind; I never saw him without his dark shades!

25 years of Stay Hungry?  Actually 29 years at press time!  I don’t want to believe it.  Anyway, this reissue was a pretty big deal because Stay Hungry was out of print on CD.  For whatever reason (legal, contractual?) when Twisted issued their series of remasters with bonus tracks back in 1997, Stay Hungry was not one of them. Then in 2004, the reunited band recorded an album called Still Hungry, which was all of Stay Hungry re-recorded “the way they originally wanted it to sound” (cough). As a fan, I only enjoyed it for the new and unreleased bonus tracks. I was underwhelmed by the re-recording. It’s impossible to duplicate a specific recording, especially when the singer can no longer hit the high notes in “The Price”.  And it just didn’t sound good.

That was then, this is now, and Stay Hungry has finally been remastered and beefed up with a bonus disc of unreleased material and one brand new song! (None of these unreleased songs were even heard on Still Hungry, but a couple were remade by Dee on a solo album.) The album itself remains one of Sister’s best, although my preference is to You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll.  The bonus disc sheds light on what else the band was writing at the time.

IMG_00000189_editThe remastering and liner notes are excellent. The album sounds like it should, the way a pristine vinyl copy would sound back then. Still Hungry was mastered way too loud; this is much better.  The liner notes reveal friction between the band and producer Tom Werman. Werman rejected a lot of what the band had written, which makes up disc two. However, he was also a big supporter of their heavier songs such as “Burn In Hell” and “Horror-Teria: The Beginning”, while disliking “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.  Dee Snider, in fact, wanted to save “Horror-Teria” for a rock opera he was composing, but Tom Werman wisely insisted it go on this album.

The special thing about the original Stay Hungry album was that there was not one bad song on it. From all three smash hit singles (“I Wanna Rock” and “The Price”), to album cuts like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “S.M.F.”, every song here is a classic. And only one ballad!

Twisted Sister appeared in the 1985 comedy, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Highlights include the opener “Stay Hungry”, which smokes the speakers immediately.  “Burn In Hell” (seen performed by Twisted Sister in the 1985 film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) turns up the scare factor with some unholy Snider vocals.  Snider’s epic “Horror Terria” is split into two parts.  “Captain Howdy” (later to become Snider’s character the film Strangeland) is a warning to stay away from the title character.  It’s ominous, Snider obviously hamming it up as Captain Howdy.  As a kid I never fully appreciated exactly what the song is depicting, unfortunately this kind of thing is now in the news on a weekly basis.  Part two is “Street Justice”, an angry song that inspired scenes in the film.

The man was caught, and brought before a judge,
who had just returned from a three-drink lunch.
His lawyer screamed, “You must set him free!”
And off he went, on a technicality.

Side two commenced with two of the big singles, “I Wanna Rock” and “The Price”, but equally good was “Don’t Let Me Down”.  This would have been another single as far as I’m concerned.  “The Beast” is evil and Sabbathy, but the album ends with the TNT blast of “S.M.F.”  At this point you are blown back into your seats.

TS SH R_0006The sound quality on the bonus disc varies from track to track, as is bound to happen with demos this old. Don’t let that spoil your enjoyment. These are some of the heavier songs that Twisted were writing, that Werman simply did not feel were strong enough. Perhaps with some fleshing out and proper studio time, tracks like “Death From Above” or “We’re Coming On” could have stood proud on the album as well. Clearly these demos are unfinished, most are very brief and unadorned. Some are a bit too similar to stronger songs that did make the album. Listening to the whole disc makes you wish that they had been fleshed out and released on B-sides or albums, as some are pretty good.

The highlight of this disc is the brand new Twisted Sister song, “30”. Finally, somebody has written an anthem for older rockers! It’s about time! And it’s a great tune, as well! “30 came and went a long long time ago,” sings Dee, with absolutely no shame, and rightfully so!

If you’re a new fan, or an old fan who has heard Stay Hungry a million times, this is a compulsory purchase. It renders the original release obselete. Still Hungry pales to this reissue. Well done, if only all reissues were put together with this much care and effort.

5/5 stars