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Dee Snider Says After PMRC Hearings His Mail Was Being Checked & His Phones Were Being Tapped

Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke to Twisted Sister's singer Dee Snider about his new graphic novel by Z2 Comics 'He's Not Gonna take it' outlining his battle for freedom of expression at the PMRC hearings in 1985.

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When Snider was asked about the aftermath of the PMRC Hearings he said, "I felt very abandoned by the rock community for the most part, they did not understand the importance of what was going on. And the industry as I said to you before they folded before we even spoke. They agreed to the sticker; it was a done deal. And a lot of the other musicians stayed out of it, they went quiet, they said just waited for the dust to settle. They deliberately made that move. I damaged my band. I became Public Enemy Number One even though you the fans knew we were not the worst of the bunch. But still that face to Mom and Dad was like oh yeah you can go see Motley Crue but you can't go see Twisted Sister. My mail was checked, my phones were tapped, my packages were being checked. It was disheartening. I remember Ronnie Dio trashing me in the Press and he said who is Dee Snider to speak for us. And my first line (at the hearings) was "I cannot speak for anyone but myself he didn't even listen to my first line and then reacted and spoke out against me, years later he apologized but no one remembers the retraction."

Dee Snider and Z2 Comics have teamed up to bring you Dee Snider: HE'S NOT GONNA TAKE IT.

The name of Dee Snider is synonymous with the battle for freedom of expression in the arts. This new graphic novel will follow the impact of it throughout Dee’s life. From a childhood where he was frequently silenced, through the early efforts to stifle his band’s music, to the open warfare of the PMRC hearings in Washington DC, and his current efforts on social media, HE’S NOT GONNA TAKE IT tells the story of why free speech is so important to this man who has fought for it. Even when it endangered everything that was important to him.

Creator Credits

Written by Dee Snider and Frank Marraffino. Interior art by Steve Kurth featuring covers by Erik Rodriguez and Josh Bernstein. Prints by Roy Burdine, Javier Aranda and Carlos Olivares. Edited by Rantz A. Hoseley and designed by Josh Bernstein.

The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an American committee formed in 1985 with the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to have violent, drug-related, or sexual themes via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers. The committee was founded by four women known as the "Washington Wives"—a reference to their husbands' connections with government in the Washington, D.C. area. The women who founded the PMRC are Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice PresidentAl Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury SecretaryJames Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius. The PMRC eventually grew to include 22 participants before shutting down in the mid-to-late 1990s.

As a method of combating this alleged problem, the PMRC suggested a voluntary move by the RIAA and the music industry to develop music labeling in the form of a rating system similar to the film rating system developed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Additional suggestions from the PMRC that appeared in an article in The Washington Post included: printing warnings and lyrics on album covers, forcing record stores to put albums with explicit covers under the counters, pressuring television stations not to broadcast explicit songs or videos, "reassess[ing]" the contracts of musicians who performed violently or sexually in concert, and creating a panel to set industry standards.

In August 1985, 19 record companies agreed to put "Parental Guidance: Explicit Lyrics" labels on albums to warn consumers of explicit lyrical content. Before the labels could be put into place, the Senate agreed to hold a hearing on so-called "porn rock". The hearing was held on September 19, 1985, when representatives from the PMRC, three musicians—Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, John Denver—and Senators Paula Hawkins, Al Gore, and others testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on "the subject of the content of certain sound recordings and suggestions that recording packages be labeled to provide a warning to prospective purchasers of sexually explicit or other potentially offensive content.

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