PiercingMetal Talks To Twisted Sister’s Mark “The Animal” Mendoza (12/3/2009)

As a kid I grew up on all of those Rankin Bass Christmas specials such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “The Year Without A Santa Claus” and like many others who enjoyed these time honored classics, I could probably recite them word for word and know every verse of the cool songs…..especially the ones sung by Heat Miser and Snow Miser (those guys were soooooo Metal when I think about it today). Fast forwarding to a few years ago we had long been enjoying the magic of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra but for the Metal faithful something was missing…..that something was a tried and true Metal take on the holiday standards and this curiosity about whether such an idea would work or not was answered by the one and only Twisted Sister. The band released the album “A Twisted Christmas” and well its, uhm, ahhhh…..something that you really need to listen to for yourself to properly understand. In my opinion it is an infectious bit of fun that is often hard to turn off. Something you really want to blast loud as you pour a little extra rum into the eggnog. The band set out on tour for this adventurous undertaking and 2009 finds them doing it for the fourth year straight. We recently had the chance to get a few moments of bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza’s time and asked him what his thoughts were about this and other recent Twisted Sister happenings. Here is what he had to say.

Logo - Twisted Sister

PiercingMetal: The chill is in the air and thoughts of holiday decorations, presents, spiked eggnog and now Twisted Sister come to mind. How does it feel to be getting ready to do the “Twisted Christmas” show for the fourth year straight?

Mark “The Animal” Mendoza: Freaking incredible. When the project was first conceived, we never thought it would go this far. We are elated that the world has embraced, “A Twisted Christmas.”

PiercingMetal: Rewinding a little bit to the ideas first conception, did you think that Dee had lost his mind when he suggested it? Furthermore, were you surprised at the largely positive response that the album and its videos received.

Mark: I was not surprised at the suggestion of doing Christmas songs. Collectively, we did think it might put one of the last nails in our “career coffin.” What an incredible surprise that it went the way it did.

PiercingMetal: The shows grew into something larger and more interesting each year from that first night at the Starland Ballroom which we find on the DVD release to the insane Metal Santa’s Toy Factory that we saw happening at the Nokia. Can the fans look forward to the band mixing it up as this continues to get more popular or will you be keeping the design pretty much the same.

Mark: This year, it will be similar. We have a few different tricks up our sleeves, but next year, you might see a big difference…too early to elaborate.

PiercingMetal: As a musician how much fun was it for you to morph your Sister classic sound into these new holiday compositions. Which of the batch are your favorites?

Mark: The “morphing” was quite easy, actually. All we did was arrange the songs just like we would arrange our own originals. Each song has its’ own energy and the show really plows ahead. I particularly like them all.

PiercingMetal: Outside of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, we didn’t see a ton of your Hard Rock and Metal artists delivering such material until you guys gave it a go. Now we have Halford doing one, REO Speedwagon and that cast of luminaries who did “We Wish You A Metal Christmas”. Does the growing popularity of this make the need for a second album of this kind to be done. If one is already in the works what can you tell me about it.

Mark: There is a second album in the works. The entire project involves something quite a bit larger than just an album. To what extent, we don’t know yet. It’s still in the planning stages.

PiercingMetal: Do you prefer doing this kind of special holiday show more than the traditional Twisted Sister performance at this point?

Mark: Personally, it’s just as fun as the standard Twisted set. However, it is fun to do something different than we do all year round.

PiercingMetal: Congrats on the 25th Anniversary release of “Stay Hungry” by the way. What’s the timeframe on the tour to celebrate the album in some of the bigger markets?

Mark: We celebrated the 25th Anniversary of “Stay Hungry” at every show we did in 2009…from North America, through Europe, and to Brazil, for our first ever show in South America (which I should mention, was overwhelming).

PiercingMetal: Dee has said in interviews that after this had been done that the makeup and time honored uniforms would be retired and the band would just play “as is” when gigs happen. Do you think that the fans will be supportive of that, and do you really want to perform like this as opposed to “suiting up”?

Mark: Two summers ago, we played a show in Holland, co-headlining with KISS. Dee’s flight was so delayed that we ended up playing without the “suits” on. In the end, playing in street clothes did not affect anyone, including the press. We think that the SMF’s will accept us as we are.

PiercingMetal: After doing this for so long are there any Sister tunes that you hate to play, and what would you say are your top three absolute favorites to do no matter what.

Mark: There isn’t a single song I dislike playing. I love them all. In fact, I couldn’t pick a favorite. I would play any TS song, anywhere, any time…and that’s the truth.

PiercingMetal: I noticed how this year’s holiday hoedown will have the comedians from Eddie Trunk’s “That Metal Show” instead of the traditional opening band. What was the reasoning behind this instead of bringing along some talented up and coming band to get the Rock and Roll started early for you guys.

Mark: No one mentioned anything about the opening acts for the last couple of years, so we’re looking to change it up for the fans. Additionally, it’s quite an elaborate stage set and not having to deal with a lot of change over helps everyone involved in the production.

PiercingMetal: As 2010 fast approaches us, what do you want to see happen for the music and madmen of Twisted Sister.

Mark: In 2010, we intend to record another Christmas record and play a number of shows. Great success, millions of dollars.

PiercingMetal: Closing out with another holiday hoopla curiosity. Last year we had Lita Ford making a surprise appearance and I just wondered if we could count on that again. She sure looked great and added to the fun of the night with “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”.

Mark: Lita won’t be joining us this year, however, we do have some other surprises in store.

PiercingMetal: What’s on your list to Santa this year?

Mark: Health. Happiness. Success. Large caliber weapons, more Harley’s…and lots more fun.

Thanks to Mark for taking a few minutes out of a busy musical day to answer our inquiries. Closing up let me stress that you should really see this holiday presentation because its so much fun. I am excited already. PiercingMetal.com has been able to review and photograph the past “Twisted Christmas” shows that hit our region as well as a host of other Twisted Sister CD and DVD releases. We invite you to check out these articles by clicking this provided LINK.

TWISTED SISTER’S, TWISTED CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA IS COMING TO TOWN! Tickets for TWISTED SISTER’S, TWISTED CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA are available online, at the theatre’s box office or on the phone. Please visit TwistedSister.com for all ticket purchasing information, a video highlight reel and photo gallery.

Official Website: http://www.twistedsister.com

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