Giuliana Rancic: Dee, I cannot wait to see the musical. In the show, the band Däisy Cütter is willing to sell their souls to the devil for success. With Twisted Sister, did you ever sell your soul to the devil? Dee Snider: No, but close: I signed with Atlantic Records. [Laughs]
GR: Oh my god. You are so bad. That’s why I love you. DS: The devil in that scenario is actually my manager now, so caution: He’s the guy from Atlantic Records who signed me. I love him. No, but a lot of the story is very inspired by my own trials and tribulations. My band was together for almost 10 years before we broke; eight years before we had any kind of a record deal...I went through a lot of hardships, and that is put into the story line.
GR: That’s your personality—you’re not a quitter at all. I like how you reinvent yourself; you don’t get stuck in the same box. DS: Well, look who’s talking, Giuliana! You can totally understand. I’m more excited to talk about something I’m working on now—that hasn’t sold anything—than to talk about the past. I’m proud of the past, but at the same time, it’s the newest thing that I have that I’m most passionate about.
GR: I know the holiday spirit is a major theme throughout the musical. What do you love the most about the holiday season? DS: I love the family element, and it’s really the message that we go through life always looking far ahead, and we very rarely truly stop to smell the roses. That’s really the story within the story of Rock & Roll Christmas Tale: about appreciating the things you have. I love that the world does seem to take a breath [during the holidays] to appreciate the great things that are out there.
GR: You’re such a great family man, and in my eyes [that’s] what makes you the coolest. You and [your wife] Suzette have been together how long? DS: I met her 38 years ago, and we’re still happy together, as The Turtles would say. We have four children, three grandchildren. There’s some concept that once you “settle down,” your life is over. That’s just a self-imposed exile. You can be cool and have fun. Rock & Roll Christmas Tale will prove that. This is a family show, Giuliana. There’s not one word of profanity, it’s not overtly sexual...I want a show I can take my kids and my grandkids to, and have a shared experience that was fun and that we all walked out feeling the Christmas spirit. That’s the real impetus of this show.
GR: Speaking of, the show’s actually very sweet. A lot of people in Chicago could walk out and go, “Aw, I have a soft spot for him. He’s a bit of a softie.” DS: All the toughest guys are soft at heart. Life makes you tough, but at our core we all want the same things—to be loved and live in a loving environment. [But] I know a lot of tough guys...So don’t think I’m not tough!
Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale runs through January 4. Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St., 800-775-2000