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Dee Snider on Nirvana’s Nevermind: Hair Metal “Deserved to Be Knocked Off Its Pedestal”

"[Hair metal] had gotten so watered-down and so corporate and so predictable"

Nirvana Nevermind (DGC Records), Dee Snider (photo by Stephanie Cabral)
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    Nirvana’s legendary album Nevermind turns 30 years old on September 24th, 2021. In celebration of the groundbreaking LP, we asked a number of prominent musicians to reflect on the album. Here, Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider discusses the impact that Nirvana and grunge had on hair metal.

    Dee Snider knows all about hair metal, having helped spearhead the genre as the singer of Twisted Sister. Thanks to bands like Poison, Mötley Crüe, Warrant, Ratt, and more, hair metal dominated rock radio and MTV for a number of years in the ’80s and early ’90s — until Nirvana and grunge came along.

    Upon its release in 1991, Nirvana’s Nevermind LP seemingly wiped out hair metal overnight. Taking the aforementioned acts’ place on the top of the rock mountain were bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, all riding the grunge explosion that Nirvana’s sophomore album ignited.

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    As Snider told Heavy Consequence, hair metal “had it coming.”

    “[Hair metal] had gotten so watered-down and so corporate and so predictable,” Snider told us. “Bands were being assembled for their look. Whitesnake — the band in the video for ‘Still of the Night’ was physically assembled for being pretty.”

    Snider then pointed to the bevy of hit hair-metal ballads that ruled MTV in the late ’80s and early ’90s, noting, “And then all of a sudden, it’s unplugged, and we’re not even electric anymore — we’re singing folk songs. Well, now you deserve to be knocked off your pedestal.”

    As far as the grunge explosion, Snider remembers hosting his first radio show in the early ’90s, a local program named Metal Nation. He recalled, “When that Nirvana album arrived, and Soundgarden, and the first Pearl Jam album, Alice in Chains — I thought, ‘This is awesome. This is heavy!'”

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    He added, “And suddenly [grunge] became [this thing that] was killing other bands. But I thought it was great when it first came out.”

    Snider went on to talk about how most genre terms — punk, hair metal, etc. — start out with negative connotations, but eventually get embraced by the bands and the fans.

    See Dee Snider talk about the grunge movement’s effect on hair metal in the video above. And stay tuned for more artists’ thoughts on Nirvana’s Nevermind throughout the week.

    Trouble viewing the video above? Watch on YouTube.

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