Dee Snider: Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio Not “Great Frontmen” Despite Being “Great Singers”

"I'm a HUGE Plant fan vocally... but he showed me nothing as a performer"

Dee Snider frontmen vs. singers
Robert Plant (photo by Debi Del Grande), Dee Snider (photo by Stephanie Cabral), Ronnie James Dio (via promotional poster)

    Dee Snider stirred up an ongoing Twitter debate just before the new year when he claimed that he doesn’t consider Robert Plant and the late Ronnie James Dio to be great frontmen. The Twisted Sister vocalist explained that he admires both rock legends as singers but insisted that they lacked excitement onstage as performers.

    It all started when Snider praised late drummer Cozy Powell, who was bandmates with Dio in Rainbow and played on select tracks on Plant’s debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven.

    When a fan tweeted at Snider that Dio was the second best frontman after Freddie Mercury, Snider responded, “You are confusing singing with performing. There is a huge difference between a great frontman & a great singer. Ronnie was one of the greatest singers of all time, but as a frontman, he pretty much just stood on stage & sang. Freddie was an amazing singer AND frontman.”


    Another fan brought up Plant, with Snider writing of the Led Zeppelin singer, “I’m a HUGE Plant fan vocally…but he showed me nothing as a performer. Looked amazing, great hair…stood on stage with one hand raised and sang his ass off. Not a frontman in my opinion. And FYI many great frontmen are not great singers.”

    Of course, those opinions stirred up a major debate, with one person calling Snider’s thoughts on Dio an “absurd take.” Snider replied, “I toured with him. … He is one of my vocal heroes, but… My frontmen are all over the stage and interact with the crowd. Showmen. Think David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Mick Jagger, Freddy Mercury, Axl Rose…the list goes on.”

    Snider went on to make a distinction between performing and “stage presence,” commenting, “I knew this would upset people. I am NOT saying that Dio, Plant etc, don’t have stage presence. They have it in SPADES! But they are not performers.”


    In addition to the names he listed above, Snider also went on to praise Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Bono, James Brown, and others as great frontmen. He even included Kid Rock, writing, “Love him or hate him, @KidRock is one of the best I’ve ever seen. … Facts are facts. The guy is a killer in concert. Period. (and I am REALLY critical).”

    See select tweets regarding the “frontman vs. singer” debate from Dee Snider below, and follow the full conversation at his Twitter account.