For a band that’s been defunct for the better part of two decades, TS has released more music recently than in their prime. That prime came quickly during the mid-’80s, a high time for hair bands posing for pin up mags and playing pop-metal music… and not necessarily in that order. Twisted wasn’t about to do much camera work for looks alone, but back in ’84 with the release of their acclaimed Stay Hungry, their grease-painted faces were plastered all over the place.
Twisted Sister has as much rationale for wanting to re-record this album as they would to slap someone else’s name on “Love Is For Suckers,” or pretend it never existed. Stay Hungry was simply an anthemic masterpiece of its time, but it was overproduced, the group overexposed, and by the time Come Out and Play followed the next year, Twisted had become the character actor in the clown suit without enough ol’ school riffage and angry poses in their arsenal to win back much of the underground cred they’d left behind. We couldn’t stop rock n’ roll, it’s true, but nor could we do much about double-fisted profit motives in the production room where more meant more in the truest sense — You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll to Stay Hungry… W.A.S.P. to The Last Command… Motley Crue, and so on. The differences were clear, and the bands’ style suffered as a result.
Still Hungry is Stay Hungry, with a cruder, up to date production making for a welcome revisit to a bygone era where “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” were the rallying cries of the metal nation. The real draw here is the rest of the album, as most listeners would likely attest: the opening storm of “Stay Hungry,” the creepy “Burn In Hell” and “The Beast” and equally anthemic, if unfairly luckless pursuit of their usual crowd pleaser, “SMF.” All the tracks were re-recorded live, lending to the more underground sound that graced earlier works like Under The Blade and You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll.
Still Hungry features seven additional “new” tracks, of which, “Never Say Never” and “Blastin’ Fast & Loud” were from the original ’84 sessions and later resurfaced on the reissues of 1999. Four more tracks follow in the form of new versions of early bootlegged broadcasts that were initially heard when their “Club Daze” volumes came out a few years back. And “Heroes Are Hard To Find” originally appeared on Dee’s Strangeland soundtrack. Besides the blazing recovery of the band’s classic album, the bonus cuts are a discovery of the unexpected kind; far from being tack-ons, they’re powerful and pleasantly primeval examples of the original TS tradition.
What would compel a band whose history has been long since solidified to take hold of a career-breaking six million seller by its balls and basically re-work it in its entirety? Why not? It’s not much different sounding, but with Mark The Animal behind the knobs, it does sound bolder, brasher, and yes, better. Bottom line, it does add a new degree of credibility to what will always be remembered as an age-old classic in a commercial era of heavy metal dictated by stiffs in suits and parental advisory stickers.
Twisted Sister: www.twistedsister.com