Nirvana’s Nevermind is generally seen as the “year zero” moment for the changing tastes in rock and pop music in the early ‘90s. The truth is, culture was changing with or without Kurt Cobain’s trio. Seattle’s Alice In Chains released their debut, ‘Facelift,’ a year before ‘Nevermind.’ An often-told story is the one when Warrant frontman Jani Lane visited the offices of his record label, Columbia Records, and he saw Alice In Chains posters going up where his band's posters used to hang. In an interview years later, Lane recalled his first thought: “Hello Seattle, goodbye Warrant.”

It’s true that a lot of great music was coming out of Seattle at the time, and there were other non-Seattle bands playing loud guitars that didn’t really fit into metal (although they were all influenced by the genre), including Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. But even if those bands hadn’t existed, metal was making itself irrelevant anyway. In retrospect, there wasn’t some sort of flannel-shirted death knell for metal in the ‘90s; if anything, it was a reboot.

Dee Snider, frontman for Twisted Sister tells Loudwire that metal -- and glam-metal in particular -- was ready for a reckoning: “Metal was so over the top, so stereotyped, such a parody of itself, that people got sick of it. It became a joke. And the grunge movement was a reaction to that joke.”

Part of the problem: metal went pop. “We went from being down and dirty to being polished and clean and mainstream and acceptable. Twisted broke up before ’87, so it was long before the grunge thing hit, but still I remember getting a fan letter from someone who said, ‘I love Duran Duran, Boy George, and Twisted Sister.’ And I went, ‘Uh-oh.’ She said, ‘My favorite magazine is 16.’ ‘That’s not good.’ I knew we had crossed a line, and you can’t keep your core audience when these [mainstream pop] people are embracing you.”

And that started to leave a vacuum, which Alice In Chains, Nirvana and other bands filled. “That was a complete dissociation of everything about the era: the look, the hair, the sound, the performing style. You’ve got Eddie Vedder facing the back of the stage not looking at the audience, doing the complete wholesale rejection [of rock stardom].”

“But that Jani Lane moment... that’s true. Record labels and radio [said] ‘We don’t do that [kind of music] anymore.’ Everything that I worked for, the way I performed, the way I sang, the style I sang in, the way I studied and wrote music, everything I did: ‘We don’t do that anymore,’ Even Guns ‘N Roses, they started out with the big hair, but soon they were rejecting it. It all led to people saying, ‘We’re done with this.’”

Still, Snider also says that the resentment some old-school metal fans have towards the alt-rock bands of the ‘90s is misdirected. He says that he’s friends with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, who has a UFO tribute band called Flight To Mars. “I’m going to be joining them at their next show. We’re both UFO freaks!”

“Most of those bands were great. I loved a lot of those bands. If I had any problem with them, it would be that they’re a little too whiny and complain-y and don’t have enough ‘Fuck you’ attitude. Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, they were metal bands, they just were just a different kind of metal bands. But I don’t think even they said ‘We’re grunge.’ And Pearl Jam, they were original--and Nirvana. Those four bands. Everything else: you get Stone Temple Pilots, they’re literally imitating these bands. So now everybody’s trying to follow the new trend.”

He also points out that, years after dissolving, Twisted Sister’s comeback was sparked by interest by members of two of the hottest bands of the ‘90s: “Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson sold out two nights at Madison Square Garden [in December of 1994]. And [NIN’s] Robin Fink and [Manson’s] Twiggy Ramirez called me and said, ‘Hey, you wanna do a set of Twisted stuff [at an afterparty]?’ And we go down and we do this club gig. We did the gig as the Sick Motherfuckers. And that was the first time I’d played Twisted music in years. These guys, they grew up on our shit. So Manson carried the torch in a lot of ways, the whole makeup and costume thing.”

Snider realized that people still loved his music. “When I saw the reaction, I started doing shows with my [solo] band, and I would do Twisted stuff; the response to that was so huge, especially when I got over to Europe. That wasn’t the reason for [Twisted Sister] reuniting. But when the band finally got together, I was like, ‘Guys, you’re not gonna believe what’s waiting for us out there.’ And one of our first shows was headlining Sweden Rocks. It was like 50,000 people losing their shit in Sweden. And the guys were going, ‘Holy fuck.’ You thought it was all over, but it wasn’t.”

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