In advance of our trip to Download Festival 2011, we catch up with Eddie Ojeda, lead guitarist from glam icons Twisted Sister to talk about the importance of image, music and touring.
“As long as people want to see us we will come back”
How does the twisted sister of 2011 compare to the band that we saw in the 70s and 80s period?
E] “Well, we are definitely a little older! It is pretty much the same as far as the energy goes. We are not wearing make-up anymore, last year were the final shows with the whole make-up look. We are now going with denim and leather – the classic metal look! So, outside of that it’s pretty much the same as far as the energy and the way that we play. When we get together it’s still like a powerhouse of sound.”
S] Why was it the band decided to stop wearing the make-up?
E] “It is a mix of a few things. It is more about the music. Sometimes you get older and the make-up just doesn’t look in place anymore because people look different and aren’t the same. It wasn’t even that so much, we just felt that it was more appropriate to take it off now. It does create a certain atmosphere, but it just got to a point, and it’s not about being lazy or anything. Some of the guys were wearing make-up and some were not. It was kind of a toss between either with or without. We should all do it one way instead of having some guys with make-up, some guys without. It is about unity.”
S] Can you identify where the success of Twisted Sister has come from?
E] “The whole thing is sort of unexplainable. Certain bands have a chemistry together, and you can’t really explain why – sometimes it’s not about the musicianship and having the greatest players in the world; But for some reason when these four or five people play together the give off a certain vibe or sound. It really is all about the chemistry. it is a magical thing that you see with certain bands. KISS is a great example: Peter, Paul, Ace and Gene, when they are together, they have a certain sound or chemistry that works. I think it’s the same for us.”
S] Recently ‘Under The Blade’ was re-issued as a double-disc, including a DVD with the set from 1982’s Reading Festival. What did this album and live performance symbolise?
E] “I guess the album had a certain rawness to it. The anger and attitude which came of the record gave it that intense vibe which was more associated with punk music. I think it had an effect on people because it was different and it wasn’t a technical metal record, or hard rock album. It was sort of shock-rock. The way we looked and the sound and songs. It shocked people. It’s definitely fun to play from that album! That was one of our first shows in the UK at a big festival and it was funny because there were thirty to forty thousand people there and at any one time there could be ten thousand people that didn’t care to see you. Or, maybe half the crowd wants to hear you and half the crowd doesn’t so the people that didn’t would throw fruit at the band. They used to throw fruit at anybody except maybe the headliners and that’s probably because they were out of vegetables. It was the end of the night and they had eaten everything or thrown it. I’m not quite sure what all of that was about, but it was defiantly a special time in our career!”
S] How has work been going on the dvd of ‘Twisted Christmas, live in vegas 2009″, Is this something we can expect to see in time for the holidays season?
E] “Well, it should be interesting. We are just sorting out some of the technical details at the moment. I’m looking forward to it. It was a whole week in Vegas, and we were playing the Hilton which is the same theatre that Elvis played for years. It is cool because there are stories of him being on the top floor and having his own elevator to get there. It’s a real good vibe to play there. I certainly hope it’s out in time for Christmas this year!”
S] Some of the songs Twisted Sister have released have become iconic rock anthems. How does it feel to play these songs to a live audience?
E] “It’s great. As far as becoming rock anthems, I have to consider myself lucky. That’s what everybody strives for. So many people know it. You can talk to the President of a country and then play ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and he’ll know it. It’s really great to have songs like that and ‘I Wanna Rock’. That one is played all the time in sports arenas. I can’t tell you how many games I have been to and I hear it played!”
S] How does it feel for you when you hear your music played in this type of situation?
E] “I can tell you it doesn’t suck! It’s a good feeling, a sense of accomplishment. Everybody acknowledges it. The fact that people even know the song, is what every band wants. It almost takes you out of the picture and makes you feel like a fan and so, it’s kinda nice to be pulled out of it all and to look at it that way.”
S] What can the people going to Download Festival expect from your show?
E] “It should be a fun show! We are going to play a few songs that we haven’t done for a while and offer a few surprises. I have a surprise guitar which I think is going to be pretty popular in England because of the finish on it. It’s exciting for me because I haven’t played that in public before so I’ll bring that to the UK, which may be scary actually, but I will pull that out. It’s always been great touring with Alice cooper I mean, it’s a great double bill for the festival. We all like hanging with Alice. We are all big admirers of him and he has some great songs. He always has an awesome band and has the best musicians with him!”
S] Can we expect to see twisted sister back in the UK soon after the download performance?
E] “I hope so. I personally would love to. I love playing there and have spent a lot of time in the UK. I’m definitely looking forward to it and, I hope that we do comeback more. Back in the day, we used to play there a lot, but it sort of dwindled off a bit because we had to play so many other places. It’s a big world! As long as people want to see us we will come back.”
S] Is it possible we could see a new album from Twisted Sister in the foreseeable future?
E] “You never know, however it doesn’t look likely. So much has to be worked out, and at this point in our lives and careers, it’s complicated. For it to work out right everybody has to be ok and alright about doing it. Right now I don’t see that happening and another thing is it has taken so long for people to learn the music as it is. if you put out a new album it’s a new learning process. There’s a learning curve. Bands will play a song from the new album, and suddenly there is no reaction. I see that with a lot of bands when they have a new album out and they play a new song and it all goes quiet. People either haven’t bought it, or don’t care about it. If it is going to take thirty years for people to know the song, then let’s just play what they want to hear!? We have nine albums’ worth of stuff. It’s not like were lacking material. There has always been plenty stuff to play. I’m personally working on my new solo album.”
S] How is the solo project going?
E] “It’s going pretty well. I haven’t been out there on my own much. The last album was pretty cool because Ronnie James Dio sang on it. Of course, back then nobody knew he was going to get sick, so now it means a lot more when I hear it or talk about it because that can’t happen anymore. I began to appreciate how lucky I was to have him work on a song with me. On this next album I’m going to have different people sing. I’m not sure exactly who that’s going to be yet. I’m going for some of my favourite singers, but with everyone’s schedules being what they are it is difficult. So, I can’t say who’s on it just yet. Hopefully I’m going to get that done this year.
S] If you were in a zombie outbreak, what would be your weapon of choice?
E] “Definitely a guitar. One of my heaviest ones. I’d probably get something pointy. A flying V would be a good choice or actually a double-neck. You’d get a lot more impact with a double-neck, you could use it both ways. Two in one. When you’re bored of killing zombies you could strum a few chords!”
For more information visit the official Twisted Sister website.