That Time I Met Dee Snider of Twisted Sister
So I was a freshman at the aforementioned Emerson College aka The School That Changed Everything when some of my new found friends announced that they were heading down to the Orpheum Theatre to buy Suzanne Vega tickets. At that point I had never heard of Suzanne Vega, an artist I have since grown to know and love. But hey, it was a random week day afternoon and I wasn’t stuck in my boring suburban town anymore where I felt like nothing more than a fish out of water, so why not I’ll go too! I wasn’t even buying tickets but my new groovy friends were and that was enough for me. The Orpheum is situated at the end of an alleyway in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood of Boston. So there we stood, at the box office window waiting for the onsale to start. The marquee announced that the 80’s heavy metal band Twisted Sister was performing that night. We laughed at the irony. As I had just discovered my love of black clothing and combat boots and that ever so freeing feeling of no longer being in Catholic School, I was feeling pretty clever those days, in a self satisfied type of way. (I know…) So in any event, there we were standing around when all of a sudden a huge tour bus starts backing down the alley. Later in my career, when I lived on tour buses and reveled in the undertow of being on the road ebbing away from the mundane realities of every day life I would have totally understood what happened next.
The door opened. And out popped Twisted Sister’s lead singer Dee Snider. Suffice to say, I may have logged more hours watching MTV than any teenager on planet earth at that point in time so I was more than familiar with the larger than life video persona of Twisted Sister’s lead singer. In hindsight I’m sure it was the tour manager who popped out right behind him. Dee headed for the door which was right in front of him, looking hazy from the road. Another feeling I would grow to understand. Only that door wasn’t the theatre, it was some random business that happened to be in the alleyway. His tour manger grabbed him and said “No, this way.” So he turned toward “this way” and there we were. A small group of Emerson freshman waiting to buy Suzanne Vega tickets. My intrepid friend Bruce, who had experience with celebrities, uttered the word that I have used to this very day to navigate the odd, exhilarating, “stay cool man” strategy of meeting someone famous. “Hello,” said Bruce. Single handedly creating one of my best stories that I have told with joy in the many years since, Dee Snider looked right at us and said, “Dudes…Dudettes.” And then he walked away. I stood there stunned and I think my friends may have reacted with cordial laughs and niceties. But who the hell knows cuz I just met Dee freaking Snider!
Two things I vividly remember about that moment. One being that the budding feminist in me noticed that he equally addressed the ladies with the female version of “dude”. Two being… That. Was. Awesome! And so it began. I didn’t realize it at the time but the intriguing, intoxicating world of the entertainment business was on my doorstep and I was hooked.