DEE SNIDER – Dee Does Broadway (2012)

DEE SNIDER - Dee Does Broadway (2012)


In a signature song early in his career, Twisted Sister frontman DEE SNIDER vowed ‘I’ll Never Grow Up’. But bless his twisted heart and frizzed-out hair, that’s exactly what’s happening to the hard rock legend with his new album “Dee Does Broadway”.

Dee Snider has become a brand. He’s done stints as a commercial voice-over actor, hosts a hard rock radio show, has written a book, he appears on just about every celebrity-themed reality show, and even has directed a movie.

But “Dee Does Broadway”, a collection of iconic classics from the Broadway stage, is the boldest departure yet from the MTV fixture of the ’80s. It melds the timeless melodies and passions of musical hits with the fire, intensity and energy of hard rock.

It makes more sense when you consider that Snider had a featured role in 2010 in the ’80s rock musical ‘Rock Of Ages’ which put the Broadway bug into him.

Though at first glance the album might seem like a conceptual mess, the worlds of show tunes and ’80s pop metal have a surprising amount in common, with both genres being the kind of place where a certain amount of flair, bombast and swagger is not only encouraged, but necessary.

The album one-plus year in the making enlisted producers Bob Kulick and Brett Chassen (whom Dee worked with on the metalized Frank Sinatra tribute called Sin-atra) and also features orchestrations and keyboards by the renowned Broadway composer/arranger Doug Katsaros and the bass playing of one of rock’s prolific players, the legendary Rudy Sarzo.

Also, several special guest stars, including Broadway and television icon Bebe Neuwirth, Cyndi Lauper, Clay Aiken of American Idol and Dee’s oldest son Jesse Blaze Snider among others.

Although I don’t like opener (and first single) “Cabaret”, once you hit next track “The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd”, the album grips its groove and doesn’t look back. This is a heavy energetic version that sounds like a perfect third act to Twisted Sister’s ‘Horror-Teria’ and would fit seamlessly in one of the band’s live shows.

If Paul Stanley of Kiss could sing “Music Of The Night” from ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, then so can Dee Snider, and very well. The heavy-electric violinist Mark Wood adds an interesting solo at the end.

Snider also teams up with his son Jesse Blaze Snider on a frenetic cover of “The Joint Is Jumpin'” from ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Seemingly everyone who was on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ for the last few years does a guest appearance on this disc, led by a delightfully wacky duet with Cyndi Lauper on “Big Spender”.

Even better is a duet with Clay Aiken on “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” from ‘Guys And Dolls’ which, it is safe to say, rocks harder than anything Aiken has ever done.

“Razzle Dazzle” is from the musical ‘Chicago’, but Twisted Sister fans will doubtless latch onto the cowbell drum beat that is very similar to the one that made ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ such an adrenaline rush.

Like a great Broadway production, the album builds to a final crescendo in “Tonight/Somewhere” from ‘West Side Story’, in which ‘Evita’ star Patti LuPone and Snider give the ’80s power ballad treatment to one of the stage’s most enduring melodies. Haters beware: The dude really can sing.

At the end of the day, “Dee Does Broadway” isn’t the disaster I was supposed. In fact, works for the most part. And Rocks.

The album adds a snarl to these classic Broadway staples as Snider deftly maneuvers his way through the new, more aggressive hard rock arrangements. What really makes the album successful, though, is that the singer not only adds his own spin to the songs, he keeps the spirit of the original intact.

Snider’s song choices are upbeat and epic, evoking all the bright lights of Broadway while skipping over all the needless plot of the actual musicals.

Remarkable is Bob Kulick’s crispy production, which makes every instrument perfectly perceptible to the ear. He performs some fine guitar solos as well, while the rhythm section of Rudy Sarzo and Brett Chassen (MSG) is truly solid, with the latter adding cool cowbells everywhere.

With a good track list, some great guest spots (with Cyndi Lauper, Patti LuPone and Mark Wood standing out), and a solid performance from Snider, “Dee Does Broadway” proves to be an album that, while a little odd, is ultimately a fun listen that shows the sort of creative strangeness that can happen when an artist doesn’t take himself too seriously and is willing to take a risk on a fun, weird project.

You’ve seen it first here, at zerodayrockz

1. Cabaret

2. The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd

3. Big Spender (with Cyndi Lauper)

4. Mack the Knife

5. Whatever Lola Wants (with Bebe Neuwirth)

6. Music Of The Night (with heavy-violinist Mark Wood)

7. The Joint Is Jumpin’ (with Jesse Blaze Snider)

8. Luck Be A Lady (with Clay Aiken)

9. I Get A Kick Out Of You

10. There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame (with Will & Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams)

11. Razzle Dazzle

12. Tonight/Somewhere (with Patti LuPone)

Dee Snider – Vocals

Bob Kulick – Guitar

Rudy Sarzo – Bass

Brett Chassen – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Doug Katsaros – Keyboards, Piano, Arranger, Backing Vocals

Mark Wood – Violin, Viper, String Ensembles

Cyndi Lauper – guest Vocals

Clay Aiken – guest Vocals

Jesse Blaze Snider – guest Vocals

Bebe Neuwirth – guest Vocals

Patti LuPone – guest Vocals

Priscilla Queen of the Desert cast:

Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon, Nick Adams – guest Vocals


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