Twisted Sister Clashes With Australian Politician Over Rock Anthem
Jay Jay French and Dee Snider of the American heavy metal band Twisted Sister performing in Mexico City in 2016. They said they had not been informed that their song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” would be repurposed for a political advertisement in Australia. Credit: Hector Vivas/LatinContent, via Getty Images
SYDNEY, Australia — It’s the same thrashing guitar and rock music, but the words are different from the lyrics of Twisted Sister’s hit song, and the band is not impressed.
The heavy metal band from New Jersey has told an Australian politician to stop using its song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in his advertising campaign.
Clive Palmer, a conservative politician and mining magnate, rolled out a national marketing campaign for his center-right United Australia Party over the holiday period.
Ads from the campaign use the music from “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” changing the words to “Australia ain’t gonna cop it.” The ads criticize spending and delays related to the National Broadband Network, an infrastructure project intended to improve the country’s internet speeds.
Dee Snider, the lead singer of Twisted Sister, responded on Twitter this week to questions from users who were incensed by the ad’s “butchering” of the song. He said the band was considering legal action.
One of the band’s guitarists, Jay Jay French, also said on Twitter that the band had not been informed that its music would be used for political purposes.
Mr. Palmer responded by suggesting that the band members were motivated by poor ticket sales. Mr. Snider is scheduled to perform in Sydney and Melbourne this month.
Clive Palmer, a conservative politician and mining magnate, used the Twisted Sister song in a marketing campaign introducing his United Australia Party.CreditDave Hunt/EPA, via Shutterstock
“Old rocker who can not sell enough tickets to their last gig need publicity,” Mr. Palmer wrote in a text message to Australia’s ABC News on Wednesday.
He, too, threatened to sue.
“I wrote the words personally that appear on our promotion and hold the copyright for those words,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mr. Palmer as saying.
If members of the band “attempt to use my lyrics in any of their songs, I’ll not hesitate to take legal proceedings against them,” he said. “As foreigners, they should stay out of Australian domestic politics and stay where they are. Aussies are not going to cop it at all!”
This is not the first time Twisted Sister has clashed with politicians about the song, which, when it was released in 1984, struck a chord with its themes of rebellion and freedom of choice.
Paul D. Ryan, the outgoing speaker of the United States House of Representatives, used it during his vice-presidential run with former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts in 2012. Mr. Snider’s statement at the time denouncing Mr. Ryan’s use of the song included the comment: “There is almost nothing on which I agree with Paul Ryan, except perhaps the use of the P90X,” referring to Mr. Ryan’s workout program.
Mr. Snider did, however, allow Donald Trump to use the song in his presidential campaign. Mr. Snider told Newsweek that Mr. Trump was a friend and had asked him for permission, which he gave because Mr. Trump’s “rebelling” was in the song’s spirit. (Mr. Snider has since said that he was “not a fan of Trump’s style,” though he said the president was “not being given a chance.”)
Mr. Snider harkened back to the rebellion theme in further Twitter posts regarding Mr. Palmer’s advertisement.
“‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ is a song about EVERYONE’S right to free choice,” he said.
Mr. Palmer and his party “are NOT pro choice,” Mr. Snider wrote. “So THIS AIN’T HIS SONG!”
Originally published at www.nytimes.com on January 3, 2019.