Shreddtime Stories: A Live Gig With Dee Snider

In my first column I was telling you about the sessions I did recently with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, for his upcoming solo album. So I went down to CRC -- Chicago Recording Company, Chicago’s premier studio -- on a Thursday to start tracking (April 23rd I think, it’s all a blur) and was cooking along when Dee came to the studio to do his vocals. I was first told by my friend Damon, who was producing -- and then later by Dee himself -- that he likes to track pretty much with just the producer and engineer.

So I went out to the Bellwether for some drinks and then to a cool restaurant-grocery store combo called “Eataly” to kill some time. When I returned Dee had finished up but they were now tracking keyboards with the incredible Frank Lucas.

T D Clark, Chuck White, Damon Ranger

Frank had introduced me to Damon a few years earlier, which led to me playing guitar with Damon at several packed shows at The Double Door in Chicago, and doing an interview and jam segment for a Discovery Channel Europe show called “Guitars and Blues Influence” (it also featured Buddy Guy and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen). Since they weren’t done with the keyboard tracks yet, I was told I would have to come back to finish my tracks on Saturday.

The next day we were going to play "We're Not Gonna Take It" at a club called HVAC in Wrigleyville -- right down the street from Wrigley Field -- so I drove down and met up with Chuck White and his wife Kris for some dinner before the show. Chuck is a killer drummer and a good friend, and he was going to drum on the gig with Dee.

Damon would handle bass duties for this show. We were going to play at 7 but it got delayed until 10. It would not be a Rock ‘n’ Roll show without some drama! And, besides the three-hour delay, Chuck’s SUV got towed as he watched. Incredible. Apparently even though they tow you after certain times, the meters still keep taking your money, funny how that is.

I then got a $100 parking ticket to ad insult to injury. Now we have to play a show with one of the most legendary rock vocalists of all time -- ha ha, classic. Chuck and I were like, “WTF?” What else could go wrong?

So finally we all get onstage and HVAC is packed pretty solid. I was impressed at how many young hot chicks were there. I was not sure who would show up but it was great crowd and they were ready to go. Damon introduces Dee and he walks over to the mic and talks to the crowd.

They scream and Chuck kicks into “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and off we go. I had to do a double-take halfway through the song as it was hard to believe that I was onstage jamming with Dee Snider. I have jammed with and shared stages with incredible artists over the years and every time I get the same "No freakin way!" feeling as it goes down!!!!!

After we finished Dee took pictures with the audience and again I was amazed at the 50 hotties lined up to get a picture with him. The guy is an out and out legend! The club ended up paying for my ticket and for Chuck’s tow and I drove Chuck and Kris to pick up their car at 1 a.m. or so.

Then I drove to my girlfriend’s house where my kids were fast asleep. I kissed them and thought “What a great end to a fantastic day!” I crawled into bed to get some much needed rest. I had to be in the studio the next day at 11:30 a.m. and it was now 2:30 in the morning.

But that’s the Rock ‘n’ Roll life, right?

Next: Back in the studio to record more tracks with Dee Snider.

Got questions? Let me know what you think. Connect with me through my profile: tdclark

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