Twisted Sister Guitarist Will Speak at 2013 American Atheists Conference

American Atheists has announced that Jay Jay French, founding member of and guitarist for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, will be speaking at the group’s 2013 National Convention in Austin, Texas:

Jay Jay French (left) with Dee Snider

David Silverman, President of American Atheists stated, “We are thrilled to have Jay Jay French join us for our convention. Not only is Jay Jay a renowned guitarist but he is providing leadership as an atheist in the music industry and as a role model.

Here’s everything I know about Twisted Sister: Dee Snider. “We’re Not Gonna Take it.” Hair.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Dylan

    I don’t know much about Jay Jay, but Dee Snider is pretty cool. You should check out his address to the Senate hearings on music labelling in 1985. He deliberately came in with a folded piece of paper like a dirtbat who hadn’t done his homework, and then proceeded to speak articulately and intelligently and to take the committee apart.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FbBpvoYKpc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVfuJPPosjM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQgV4lgow9Y

    • treedweller

       Indeed, I watched the hearings expecting Zappa to be the one to blow them away and figured Snider was a waste of time. Turned out just the opposite. Zappa was great as leader of The Mothers, but just kind of random at the hearings. Snider, as you say, told them how it was and did it well.

      I also know nothing of the guitarist (never really liked the band) but if he’s half as articulate as Snider was then, AA is in for a treat.

      • Willy Occam

        The problem with Zappa’s testimony at the PMRC hearing is that he got off on some tangents early on, particularly regarding a proposal to provide lyrics on the outside of albums, and how that would be paid for.  He still gave a compelling statement, however.  But I agree that Dee Snider was the big surprise of the hearings, and his articulate and pointed testimony really caught a lot of the senators off guard.  Even John Denver’s statements were powerful.  (The best thing about John Denver is you see the senators act like a bunch of giddy school girls — particularly that cracker Fritz Hollings, the one who sounds like Foghorn Leghorn — when he begins his testimony, sucking up to him and expecting him to be sympathetic to the senators; but it turns out Denver is just as critical of the PMRC as Zappa and Snider before him.)

  • Blacksheep

    I thought Dee was great too – but I was never clear on why some artists were against labeling music that contained excess violence / sex / etc. in the same way that films are.  I would be 100% against banning anyones freedom of speech, but these hearings were only about content labels. (Al Gore is too annoying to watch for long).

    • David Starner

       John Denver mentioned “Rocky Mountain High”, which people objected to because it was a drug song, which it’s not. Film labeling is not mandatory, and it can be pretty coercive. Scenes get chopped to fit an R or PG-13 rating, and what you end up with will not make everyone happy. Nudity isn’t rated as harshly as male nudity (and, yes, those are official MPAA terms.) More complex, the balance between the ratings for violence and those for sex leave many unhappy, some who don’t appreciate that a little sex can get a film as harshly rated as a lot of violence, and some who want to make sure that their children are preserved from all sexual images, but don’t care about zombies graphically disembowling people. And how does and should a little smoking or alcohol or marijuana use affect the rating?

    • walkamungus

      As David Starner points out, the rating system for films is a mess, and though it is indeed voluntary, if you don’t get a rating, *no one*, except possibly a few independent theaters, will show your film. Not only will you not make a profit, you will not earn back the money you spent on production.

      Content labeling is an economic weapon. Remember that back in those dark days before the intertubes (even before CDs — that’s how long ago this was!), music distribution was controlled by large chain retailers. Mall stores like Hastings Records and discount stores like Kmart or Wal-Mart might make it a policy to not carry stickered albums. If enough large retailers wouldn’t carry the new Twisted Sister, Motley Crue or Slayer album because it had a sticker, regional distributors might not find it profitable to carry much inventory of those albums either. As someone who did a lot of “special orders” in my teen years, lemme tell ya, trying to get obscure bands or obscure labels was a highly frustrating activity. [Remember Coroner, anyone? Fifth Angel?] But my frustration was nothing; the Commerce Committee was going directly after bands’ earning potential.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’ve always loved Twisted Sister, but I feel like I heard something about Dee I wish I didn’t know. Can’t remember what it was though, so I’ll just assume they’re all awesome for now…

    • Willy Occam

      He does mention that he’s a Christian in his testimony, if that’s what you’re referring to.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Eh, he hasn’t let that drag him down, though. Shit, the Coop is an Evangelical Christian, and he still fucking ROCKS. Some of ‘em are doing it RIGHT, yanno?

  • james Hampton

    What ever happened to Green Day?  Billie Joe is an Atheist

    • m6wg4bxw

      Does it matter?

  • OregoniAn

     Jay Jay’s an interesting guy, well spoken and doesn’t seem to be encumbered with “bloated rock star ego syndrome”. If his contribution to the convention is anything like his interviews it will be a fun night in Austin.

  • http://twitter.com/porlob Patrick Orlob

    “Here’s everything I know about Twisted Sister: Dee Snider. “We’re Not Gonna Take it.” Hair.”

    That sums it up for me, too. With the exception of THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUsafOL0kew

    • http://twitter.com/AEKron Andrew

       What the hell did I just watch?


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