The most visited post on this site by a mile has been this one, where we questioned the whereabouts of John Chi, wondering why he dropped out of sight in SCOAN. The post has garnered almost 150 comments, with the latest one added today, which is amazing, considering the fact it was published almost a year ago. I am very grateful for that most recent comment by commentor “prayer warrior” because he/she finally shed some light on the whereabouts of John Chi. He is back in his native Cameroon, heading his own ministry. The ministry is called Ark of God’s Covenant Ministry International (AGCOM). Check here for the website of this ministry. It will provide all the proof you need.
What is not clear is if this ministry is affiliated with SCOAN, and also if he left SCOAN in a friendly manner. TB Joshua kept saying something about temptation when the man was leaving, so it is not clear if setting up his own ministry is the temptation that was being warned against. Anyways, it appears that the mystery is solved, which is great Ashampoo Winoptimizer 8 serialSo what do you think
Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate - Big Fish Games
A senior family judge was forced to install a panic button in her own home after a case she was presiding over came crashing into her personal life, a court has heard.
Judge Carol Atkinson was repeatedly harassed by Gary Hilton, 46, and Tracey McCarthy, 39, it is alleged.
The pair are accused of tracking the judge down, learning the names of her children and digging up information on where the family spent time - including the children's school names.
They then sent emails, a birthday card, and made a YouTube video stating they had the judge's personal details, Hendon Magistrates' Court heard.
In a public video they posted on Facebook, the couple accused the judge and her husband of having links to 'the war criminal Tony Blair', being an alcoholic and abusing her children.
Gary Hilton, 46, and Tracey McCarthy, 39, deny harassment without violence of a family judge in London
They said judges and social workers are 'stupid' and it was 'easy' to find out personal details about them online, it was said.
Through the search, the pair said they managed to find out that the judge and her husband were governors at two different schools, it was alleged.
Ms Atkinson said in 11 years as a judge, she had never experienced such 'intimidating' behaviour and was 'horrified' when she found a correspondence from Mr Hilton in her personal email, it was said
Giving evidence in court Judge Atkinson said: 'I have been a judge for 11 years and I've never felt as threatened or intimidated as I have in this case.
'I have never had a litigant pursue me in this way.
'I have never had to drop out of a case because someone has done this.'
Judge Carol Atkinson, who sits at East London Family Court, said she also received emails referring to her husband, Judge Christopher Kinch QC, from Gary Hilson (pictured)
Her voice cracking behind the screen, Judge Atkinson added she had to drop out of the case because she feared for her children's safety.
She said: 'In truth, the thing that utterly persuaded me to step back was the threat to my children.
'My youngest child is really nervous and she really lacks confidence.
'The school she goes to with her sister is related to the two schools we are governors at.
'I had to sit down and show her a picture of Mr Hilton because she needed to know who she had to look out for on the bus to school.
'I had to explain to my children why police were coming round and securing the house.
'Why we have CCTV all over, why we have a panic button.
'We don't open the front door without checking through the spy hole.
'My daughter always checks the CCTV before going to the front door.'
The judge added they 'had never even had an alarm before'.
The court was shown the YouTube video of the couple with an unknown male.
In it, Mr Hilton said: 'This people are so stupid, these social workers and judges, they are directors of companies.
'If you put their names into a company search, it comes up which companies they're involved in.
'Then, you go on the filings of these companies and it's got home address, date of birth, telephone number and everything.'
The couple are also accused of sending a birthday card to the judge.
It read: 'Dear Carol,
'Happy Birthday, keep up the good work, stealing for profit.
'Don't drink too many raspberry gins and stagger back to south London.
'Love Tony and Sherie,
'PS, send my regards to Christopher.'
Gary Hilson is accused of harassing a family court judge as she sat on a case involving him and one other. He denies the charge
The judge said she would often make raspberry gin for presents for friends.
She said: 'Combining everything together, it became apparent to me that there were extensive inquiries being made by Ms McCarthy and Mr Hilton about private details of my private life.
'The manner in which it was relayed to me was in order to make it clear to me that they knew where my children went, where we lived, my maiden name...'
Both Ms McCarthy and Mr Hilton, of Jodrell Road, Tower Hamlets, deny one count of harassment without violence.
The trial continues.
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Billy Dee Williams - Wikipedia
President Donald Trump named Washington, D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
'Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,' Trump said in his announcement.
'There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,' the president added.
President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
Trump called Brett Kavanaugh 'one of the sharpest legal minds of our time.' Kavanaugh was joined by his family, wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza, at the announcement
Melania Trump sat next to Judge Kavanaugh's parents during the announcement
Judge Kavanaugh watches with his family as Trump signs a document confirming him as his nominee for the bench
Judge Kavanaugh's parents sitting next to first lady Melania Trump
He called Kavanaugh 'one of the sharpest legal minds of our time' and urged the Senate to confirm his pick quickly.
'This incredibly qualified nominee deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support,' Trump said.
The announcement was a family affair. Kavanaugh was joined by his wife Ashley, and daughters Margaret and Liza. His parents were at the White House, seated in the audience next to first lady Melania Trump.
'Mr. President, I am grateful to you, and I'm humbled by your confidence in me,' Kavanaugh said. 'Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.'
In his remarks, Kavanaugh touted his strong record with women throughout his career, noting he's hired a majority of female law clerks and that Elena Kagan, who is now on the Supreme Court, hired him to teach at Harvard.
Kavanaugh also paid tribute to his parents, who were both lawyers.
'My mom was a trail blazer,' he said, noting she went to law school when he was 10 years old and became a prosecutor. 'The president introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh but, to me, that title will always belong to my mom.'
His remarks were filled with stories about his family and his appreciation of them.
He noted both is daughters love sports and joked his young daughter Liza 'loves sports and she loves to talk.' He then gave her a high five.
He added that he's coached both of his daughters' basketball teams, where he's called 'Coach K.'
He and his wife met when they both worked at the Bush White House and their first date was September 10, 2001 - the night before the terrorist attacks.
'Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and everyone in this building,' he said of the aftermath. 'I thank God every day for my family.'
Kavanaugh's remarks were filled with light-hearted stories like the above, making the audience laugh and showing his all-American appeal that Trump was said to be looking for his pick. His talk was focused on the personable with little conversation on his judicial record.
Judge Kavanaugh's remarks were filled with light-hearted stories about his family
Judge Kavanaugh will replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks after his nomination
But he did make an appeal to the Senate that will confirm him.
'I will tell each Senator that I revere the constitution,' he said.
'My judicial philosophy is straight forward - a judge must be independent and interpret the law, not make the law,' he said. 'A judge must interpret the constitution as written.'
'If confirmed by the Senate I will strive to keep an open mind in every case,' Kavanaugh noted. 'And I will always strive to preserve the constitution in the United States.'
Kavanaugh was a front-runner for the nomination ever since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.
Trump, in his announcement, indicated he wanted a judge that followed his successful first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
The president noted Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, clerked for Kennedy. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh also went to the same high school.
Gorsuch's confirmation is considered one of the major successes of the Trump administration.
But Kavanaugh's long record – 12 years as a judge, nearly 300 written opinions, a multitude of scholarly articles, a paperwork trail from his time in the Bush White House, and thousands of documents from when he served on the Starr investigation – has raised concerns Democrats will have an embarrassment of riches to use in questions during confirmation hearings, leading to a lengthened process and a tough confirmation vote.
As he did with Gorsuch barely 10 days after taking office last year, the president introduced Kavanaugh to a packed East Room at the White House and challenged the U.S. Senate to confirm his nominee without delay.
The Gorsuch nomination was seen as an even political swap for the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, one rock-ribbed conservative for another.
Replacing Kennedy, often seen as a 'swing vote' on tight 5-4 decisions with enormous societal implications, with a conservative nominee is a far weightier exercise.
President Donald Trump is naming Washington D.C. federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
This is Trump's second nomination to the Supreme Court since he became president
Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch
Melania Trump arrives in the East Room of the White House
Reactions to Trump's decision reflected a nation - and its capital - as divided as ever.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Kavanaugh 'one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees to come before the Senate' and 'a superb mainstream candidate.'
The Democratic National Committee declared in a statement that the jurist 'should not be allowed anywhere near our nation’s highest bench.'
'Let’s be clear: a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to rip health care from American families and deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions,' DNC Chair Tom Perez claimed.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who ran for vice president with Hillary Clinton in 2016, said he would judge Kavanaugh according to his views on preserving the Obamacare law, abortion rights and civil rights, and serving as a 'check' on Trump himself.
Kaine also argued that there should be no final confirmation vote until after the November midterm elections.
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall blasted Trump for 'farm[ing] out the selection of his Supreme Court nominee to far-right interest groups.'
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy sniped that '[t]he Constitution doesn’t direct the President to nominate justices to the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. That is the role specified by the Constitution for the United States Senate.'
North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, however, called Kavanaugh 'a mainstream and fair-minded jurist.' Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe praised him for 'respecting judicial restraint' on environmental regulations.
South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune's statement was a virtual shoulder shrug that seemed to acknowledge Democrats' plan to play the role of obstructionist.
'Senate Democrats have already made it clear that they intend to listen to the far left of their party and fight this nominee regardless of his credentials,' Thune said.
'I encourage all of my colleagues to carefully review the qualifications of this nominee instead of trying to solicit his opinions on political issues, and to remember that the responsibility of a Supreme Court justice is to interpret the laws as written, not substitute political opinions for the law.'
The Kavanaugh announcement was a family affair: President Trump stands with Ashley Kavanaugh and daughters Margaret and Liza
Melania Trump arrives at the Supreme Court nomination announcement
Reaction to Kavanaugh's nomination was diverse
Kavanaugh, 53, has strong ties to the D.C. area
Kavanaugh, 53, has strong ties to the D.C. area, where he was born and attended the Georgetown Preparatory School.
Conservatives are fans of his work; he has strong ties to the Federalist Society, which helped compile Trump's list of potential nominees, and he was said to be the favorite of White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Kavanaugh's history includes time in George W. Bush's White House, where he served as staff secretary to the president. He also clerked for Justice Kennedy.
And he played a lead role in drafting Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report following an investigation into President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh also led the probe into the suicide of Clinton's Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster.
Kavanaugh argued at the time that Clinton could be impeached for lying to his staff and misleading the public about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
That could hurt Trump if the Supreme Court were ever asked to rule on the implications of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
But Kavanaugh, who worked in the Bush White House after his time with Starr, later expressed misgivings about the toll investigations take on presidents.
In 2009 he wrote that Clinton should have been spared the burden of an investigation while he was in office. And indicting a sitting president, he wrote, 'would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis.'
Some Republicans also have misgivings about Kavanaugh, stemming from his rejection of a pair of constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare – the health insurance law Republicans tried to dismantle for years.
In one dissenting opinion, he argued that the ACA's individual mandate could be considered a tax, opening the door for the rationale Chief Justice John Roberts used in a later Supreme Court decision sparing the law.
A recent case before Kavanaugh that will likely come up in confirmation hearings combined the hot-button issues of abortion and illegal immigration.
A pregnant teen in immigration custody wanted to obtain an abortion, but her government guardians said no.
Chief Justice John Roberts, age 63
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, age 85
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, age 79
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, age 70
Associate Justice Samuel Alito, age 68
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, age 64
Associate Justice Elena Kagan, age 58
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, age 50
Kavanaugh dissented from the opinion of the D.C. Circuit's full bench to permit the teen to receive the abortion.
Some conservative critics say his opinion in that case was too cautious and showed too great a willingness to compromise in the face of controversy.
But Kavanaugh's legal history of opinions include several dissents that were later vindicated by Supreme Court majority opinions.
Kavanaugh sits on United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a spot for which Bush nominated him in 2003. His confirmation hearings stalled for three years amid charges of partisanship.
At the time, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin called him the 'Forrest Gump of Republican politics.'
Kavanaugh was confirmed by a vote of 57-36.
Like Gorsuch, Kavanaugh's name came from a list of 25 potential Supreme Court nominees that Trump has made public, a collection of candidates expected to be largely interchangeable on the key question of how to read the words in the U.S. Constitution.
The list consists mostly of federal judges, and entirely of what conservatives call 'originalist' legal thinkers – those whose rulings are rooted in the believe that the Constitution must be interpreted according to the plain meaning of its text, and not logically expanded to reflect changing values and norms.
As he barnstormed and blustered through the Republican primary field in 2016 and became considered the 'presumptive' Republican presidential nominee, Trump released a list of 11 potential jurists in a maneuver calculated to put conservatives at ease. That list nearly doubled in length by the time of his inauguration, and added five names just nine months ago.
The Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, two right-wing groups, consulted with the White House on the list.
Kavanaugh was not among the first 11 potential nominees Trump identified in May 2016, only appearing on the list last November.
Brett Kavanaugh was on Trump's list of 25 judges to consider
In this April 26, 2004, file photo, Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill
The final contenders for the spot to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy were federal Judges Thomas Hardiman, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge, and Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh will need 51 votes in the Senate to be confirmed.
The GOP's 51-49 voting advantage is complicated by Arizona Sen. John McCain's absence. McCain, recovering from brain cancer surgery, hasn't been in the Senate all year.
The resulting razor-thin margin leaves no room for error.
'Simple math tells you if John McCain is absent it's a 50-49 Senate. One Republican senator can decide the fate of any Supreme Court nominee,' Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday on 'Meet the Press.'
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had become concerned that Barrett's orthodox Catholicism would alienate either Maine Sen. Susan Collins or Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski – or both. The two moderate Republicans have spoken positively of the 45-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
That landmark Supreme Court case has weighed heavy on the West Wing in recent days, with Trump threading a right-to-life needle – resisting the urge to publicly call for the case's reversal while also avoiding giving Democrats a reason to turn abortion rights into an existential rallying cry.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer drew blood Monday morning on the Senate Floor, insisting that any nominee must pledge adherence to the Roe decision as 'settled law' and 'share their personal views' about abortion. ignoring past nominees' customary silence on hypothetical questions about how they might rule in future cases.
McConnell fired back, predicting a mudslinging battle for the ages and pointing fingers of blame at Democrats no matter who Trump should nominate.
'We don't know who he will name, but we already know exactly what unfair tactics the nominee will face,' McConnell said.
'They won't be new, and they won't be warranted. We can expect to hear how they'll destroy equal rights, or demolish American health care, or ruin our country in some other fictional way.'
By Monday morning some liberal pressure groups had already announced plans to rally in opposition to an as-yet-unnamed nominee.
Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told the Associated Press that he's bracing for a brutal confirmation battle centered on the abortion issue.
Kennedy is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will have the first opportunity to question Hardiman. He predicted a 'rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight.'
Kavanaugh will spend the coming days meeting with senators at their offices, sitting for a variety of get-to-know-you sessions and gauging support levels ahead of confirmation hearings.
Former Arizona GOP Sen. John Kyl will serve as his 'sherpa,' the White House said Monday, steering him through unfamiliar and sometimes shark-infested waters.
Kyl was the number-two leadership Republican in the Senate when he retired in 2013, and a veteran of the Judiciary Committee.
Some were concerned Kavanaugh had to close ties to the Bush family
President George W. Bush, left, watches Brett Kavanaugh being sworn in to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 1, 2006. Kavanaugh's wife Ashley is by his side
McConnell was also said to have doubts that Kavanaugh could get confirmed.
Brett Kavanaugh, an appointee of President George W. Bush, clerked at the Supreme Court for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
He was also a prosecutor under independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton. He helped write the infamous Starr Report and investigated the suicide of Clinton aide Vincent Foster.
The 53-year-old was born in Washington D.C., grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and went to the Georgetown Preparatory School. He went to college at Yale University and is a graduate of Yale Law School.
His mother served as a Maryland state Circuit Court Judge from 1995 to 2001.
Kavanaugh was the White House staff secretary under President George W. Bush from 2003 until 2006.
Bush nominated him to the federal bench in 2003. However, he wasn't confirmed by the Senate until May 2006 as his confirmation hearings were stalled for three years over charges of partisanship.
He is married to Ashley Estes, who served as Personal Secretary to the President in the Bush White House at the same time as her future husband. They have two daughters.
He is a Roman Catholic and has run the Boston Marathon twice.
Kavanaugh has a long judicial record from his 10 years in the D.C. federal court - a system seen as a feeder to the Supreme Court.
He has written most often in administrative law cases, including string of cases involving rulings by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a SCOTUS blog post. Kavanaugh has largely attempted to rein in Obama-era EPA regulations.
He has demonstrated a resistance to the expansion of administrative-agency authority.
However, Kavanaugh rejected two constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare - the health care law Republicans tried to dismantle for years.
But in Garza v. Hargan, a case in which a pregnant teen in immigration custody wanted to obtain an abortion, Kavanaugh dissented from the opinion of the D.C. Circuit's full bench to permit the teen to receive the abortion.
His opinions include several dissents that were later vindicated by Supreme Court majority opinions.
Kavanaugh has a long judicial history for both Republicans and Democrats to pick through during the hours of Judiciary Committee hearings that will dominate cable news in the weeks to come.
He has written nearly 300 opinions in 12 years as a judge along with a plethora of legal articles. There are thousands of files and emails from his time in the Bush White House plus the 20,000 pages of material he compiled while working on the Starr investigation.
It's common for a major nomination to trigger a paperwork avalanche.
Last year, the Justice Department sent the Senate more than 144,000 pages of records relating to Gorsuch's time in the agency, according to Politico.
Kavanaugh's long and controversial history could give Democrats an opportunity to delay the confirmation vote into October, when the Supreme Court's new term begins and when the midterm election is looming ahead.
Vote counters will be watching moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
Also being watched are three red-state Democrats up for reelection this year were yes votes on Gorsuch, Trump's last Supreme Court nominee.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota met with Trump in late June to talk about the court pick. However, all three were invited to the White House for Monday night's announcement and none of them attended.
Kavanaugh's strong ties to the Bush family were also said to cause doubts in Trump's mind.
Trump and Jeb Bush fought each other hard during the 2016 Republican presidential primary and, in recent days, the president has mocked former President George H.W. Bush's 'thousand points of light.'
Others said the president likes Kavanaugh's 'all-American' looks. Trump is a fan of 'central casting' as he calls it, preferring to nominate those who look the part
An example is a photograph of Kavanaugh that is circulating online and in the media.
In it, Kavanaugh is being sworn to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by Justice Anthony Kennedy, while his wife, Ashley, dressed in a pale pink suit and pearls, holds the Bible.
'It looks all-American,' a source told Politico of the picture call free
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Trump names D.C. circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme .
Twisted Sister had been around for three years when Snider joined in 1976. He quickly asserted his dominance, wresting control of the songwriting from guitarist Jay Jay French. The turning point came early on when he brought in a song, and French blew him off. From there, Snider soberly and efficiently wrote song after song. "My sole purpose was to obliterate Jay Jay French and his songs, and take over songwriting completely," he says in the film. "I was maniacal and malicious."
Carl Wiser (Songfacts): Have you seen the final cut of this film
Dee Snider: I think so. I was at the screening for the fans and investors and the band in New York City, so I assume that was the cut.
Songfacts: What did you think of it
Dee: It's very tough to be objective. It's my life, you know. I'm too connected to the material, so I really just look to the audience to see what they think of it.
Songfacts: Was there anything that surprised you or that you learned that you didn't know
Dee: No. I lived everything. I lived it all and I've heard Jay Jay's stories before. [Laughing] Believe me, we've been regaled with the tales of the "original band." I've got the quotation marks going on. I say, you know what You should go on a tour with the original band, and me and the replacements will go out and we'll see who draws more people.So, no, there were no surprises there.
Songfacts: Did you have any creative control of this film
Dee: No. None at all. That was one thing we agreed upon. We supported the making of it. We even did a show to raise money to help Andrew Horn after, like, three years of trying to do it on his own. We encouraged fans to support it.But one thing we said was, we will not tell Andrew what the story is. We knew it could go a number of ways. He's very much an outsider - he wasn't a Twisted fan, as he's said. He wasn't even really aware of the band beyond a couple of things, and he sort of fell upon the story while researching a documentary on Klaus Nomi. So we said, you know, this is going to be the most objective, uninfluenced point of view that we could possibly have, so we just let him do his thing.
Snider wrote the screenplay for the 1998 horror film Strangeland, where he stars as Captain Howdy, a boogyman who uses chat rooms to lure victims into his traps.
Songfacts: Well, you've been on the other side of the camera with Strangeland, so you know all about framing and editing and stuff like that. So I'm wondering if it drove you nuts while it was being made and then watching it.
Dee: No, no. The filming is done in classic documentary style where you just set up the cameras and they film you. You see the frame on camera and everything's shot in that way. Everything else was historical footage. There was nothing shot for the thing except for the interviews.And it's documentary. I don't do documentaries, so it's a different thing.
Songfacts: Not a lot of people know this about you, but you are a classically trained vocalist.
Dee: Originally, yes.
Songfacts: Contralto tenor or something
Dee: Countertenor, they call it. It's a male soprano.
Songfacts: What is your training in songwriting
Dee: My training in songwriting is just school of hard knocks. Purely learning by doing it. And like any craft, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
But I worked at it. By the time I got to Stay Hungry, I had become studied in not just heavy metal, but in popular heavy metal. Doing analyses of bands who were having great success, Def Leppard in particular. Mutt Lange in his work with AC/DC, Def Leppard - god, he's worked with so many other people, but those were the two big metal bands he worked with. And analyzing song structure and things like that.
Songfacts: Were there any specific songs that you looked to emulate
Dee: "I Wanna Rock" was designed when I realized that Iron Maiden was having tremendous success with their sort of galloping metal rhythms, and then there was the anthemic thing that I like to do, which bands like AC/DC do, and one of my biggest influences, especially in that area, Slade. I thought that if I could combine the drive of a Maiden song with the anthemic quality of an AC/DC song, I'd have a fucking huge hit. And I was right. [Laughing] I was right.
"We're Not Gonna Take It" was influenced by a lot of different things, like the Sex Pistols and Slade and bands like that. But I had the hook for that song in 1980, so I always laugh when people say, "Oh, that's when Twisted sold out." I say, "Yeah, 1980 when I had absolutely nothing and I was broke, I wrote that hook."But I couldn't finish the song. I could never figure out how to write a verse for it. And in studying some of Mutt Lange's work with Def Leppard, I saw that a number of their songs were using variations on the chorus as a verse. I said, Oh, that's interesting. Why don't we try doing something with that. And that gave me the information I needed to come up with the rest of "We're Not Gonna Take It," and hence that song has done pretty well.
Songfacts: Well, "We're Not Gonna Take It" has some brilliant songwriting in there. At one point in the song, you take that line that the authority figure always says to the underling, "If that's your best, your best won't do," and you turn it around and aim it right back at them and let them know that their life is boring and confiscated and what are you going to do about it
Dee: Yeah, that's pretty big words for a teen anthem, right Trite and jaded, boring and confiscated. There's certainly the tail wagging the dog there, for sure. And definitely firing back the same exact words at them in a sort of who-are-you-to-judge-me sensibility.
Songfacts: Were those songs directed at anybody in particular
Dee: Well, I always said that the job of the songwriting should be to create something that people can interpret and put their own situation into and read their own concerns or passions or worries. Not to be super specific.
"Funky Claude" is Claude Nobs, co-founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival and the man who helped evacuate the crowd when the Montreux Casino caught fire (set ablaze by "someone stupid with a flare gun") during Frank Zappa's set. Deep Purple, scheduled to record their Machine Head album at the casino after Zappa's concert, watched the smoke rise from Lake Geneva and wrote a very famous song about the whole mess.
There are, of course, some very successful songs that are super specific, like "Smoke On the Water," which is literally about a fire. And when it gets down to naming names, I actually one day met Funky Claude in the weirdest of introductions. You know, the line in the song, "Funky Claude was running in and out." I was at a business event and my manager says, "Dee, I'd like you to meet somebody." And this little white-haired gentleman in a suit comes up. He goes, "This is Funky Claude." And I said, "As in 'was running in and out'" And he goes, "Yeah, pulling kids from the ground." I'm like, "Holy shit!" I thought that was an imaginary character - it's actually a person. But for the most part, songs lean towards being general, and that was always key for me with lyrical content. So with "We're Not Gonna Take It," whether I was singing about my parents, my teachers, my bosses, my peers, people around me, I felt it was important not to define it by actually naming names and singing, "Dad, you're so trite and jaded, I hate my teachers, too." And thus, the song has had a life in sporting events, at political rallies, at protests, pretty much anybody who's not taking something from somebody else, they're going to break into "We're Not Gonna Take It" all over the world.
Songfacts: "I Wanna Rock" has that similar universal feel to it. That song structurally is remarkable. That's a master class on how you write an anthem. You blast out with the chorus and you've got these great little vocal melodies in the pre-chorus that let you use that classical training. I'd like to get your thoughts on how you structured that song.
Dee: You know, the songs are inspired. They're not thought out. "We're Not Gonna Take It" was an exception in that regard that I discovered something through song analysis and tried to use it. But as I sang the verse of the song, it just led without any thought, just poured out the B verse. And the "whoa, whoas," that part, it just came out. It just flowed out. All my songs are like that. "I Wanna Rock" was the same way.I wrote all of Twisted's songs by myself and I would work off song titles. I would just sit with my list of song titles and the title would inspire a groove, or maybe an idea. In the case of "I Wanna Rock," I wanted to have that Maiden feel, and I just started singing that groove. All of a sudden I just started singing, and the entire song came out: A verse, B verse, chorus, all that stuff. So I really don't construct songs. Arrangements is a different thing, but that comes with the producer's involvement, the band's involvement, when you have ideas on how you're going to arrange it and sequence it. And with some songs I have to go back and say, "Hey, we really could use a release on this part, a middle 8 as they call it." And I go back and come up with something. But I have been blessed with what I call a faucet-like creative force that I can turn on or turn off. I could just constantly write. I learned to just stop thinking about it unless I was prepared to put it to tape or in some capacity, because I would forget the great ideas and it would make me nuts. So I wouldn't think about it.
The Stay Hungry record, with the exception of the chorus of "We're Not Gonna Take It" and the song "The Price," I wrote that album in 45 minutes. That was the essence of the entire album. My wife was going to the store to get dinner, and my son, who was a baby, he was sleeping in the crib. My wife said, "Hey, I'm running out for food. Keep your eye on Jesse." She went out and I said, "This might be a good time to do some writing, Jesse's sleeping."
So I got my title list and I turned on the tape recorder. I remember standing in front of the tape machine. Roll tape. And I just sang ideas from these song titles. And when my wife came back, she said, "What did you do" I said, "I wrote some songs. I think I got some good stuff." And that was the Stay Hungry album in 45 minutes. So I've been blessed that way.But it's never been really contrived. I might have an idea to do a song with this feel or that feel, but writing the parts has never been that thought out.
Songfacts: What happened with "The Price" You said that's one that didn't flow right out of that batch.Dee: I wrote it after. For the first three albums, there was so much downtime when we were recording, I would be working on ideas for the next album. So You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll was being written while we were recording Under the Blade, and when we were recording You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, I was working on the songs for the next album, Stay Hungry. I wish I kept doing that. I broke that pattern, and that was a big mistake in hindsight, because what that did was make sure all the records were created in a hungry place. Under the Blade, we were struggling, and I was writing You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll. You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, we hadn't had Hit 1 yet, and I'm writing Stay Hungry.
When we were recording Stay Hungry, we had a hit single in England ["I Am (I'm Me)"], but we hadn't had a gold album of any kind. I should have been writing the next album, but there were some issues at that point within the band - we were starting to come apart. And Mark Mendoza, who used to be the vanguard over producers and sit with them and make sure that they were doing the right thing, he had in silent protest stopped doing that, because he couldn't stand that we were using Tom Werman as our producer. So I was assigned the job of sitting and making sure Tom Werman didn't destroy the band, which he was hell-bent on doing.Lightning has struck 15 times with Tom Werman. He gets mental when I say that, but it's true. He's a very good AR guy and he really is a shrewd businessman, but he's not on any level a good producer. But he's had a gazillion platinum albums. I know, it makes no sense at all.
So anyway, we were recording You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll. I was working on the songs for Stay Hungry from that 45-minute session, and I got inspired. I had been away from home for four months from my wife and my son, and not even in a position to pay for a phone call. That's how hungry the band was. I wrote "The Price," inspired by those feelings at that time. But it was not part of the original 45.The phone rang in the studio. I answered it. It was Jay Jay's sister-in-law. She'll tell this story forever - it's her claim to fame. She was calling to speak to Jay Jay, and she said, "How's it going, Dee" I said, "Well, I'm feeling pretty blue. I haven't seen Suzette and Jesse in months now." And she goes, "Well, I guess that's the price you have to pay." I handed the phone to Jay Jay and I grabbed my handheld tape recorder. I went into the bathroom and sang "The Price." Just top-to-bottom, melodically - not every word. The whole song just poured out of me.
A lot of times some of the key lines will come out of me as well, and if lines do come out of me, I like to use them as a jump-off point for the rest of the lyrics. I usually keep those handful of lines that do come out, you know, [singing], la la, ladada, hey, and all the games we gotta play, da da da dada. When something like that happens, I put that line in there, and I figure out how the rest builds around that line.
Songfacts: I read a review in one of those British magazines that gave your first album, Under the Blade, their highest rating. Then I realized you guys weren't signed yet, even though every indication was pointing at you guys being the next big thing. What was going on there
Dee: Internationally we were signed to a British indie label called Secret Records, so there was product for a very short window. As a matter of fact, Secret Records, from the time they released the record in September, within two months they had gone bankrupt. So we didn't have an international deal, for sure.
Songfacts: And no American label figured out to sign you at this point
Dee: Look, industry people are noncreative and not risk takers, for the most part. There's a handful of these people who are willing to put it all on the line and continue to put it on the line. People don't like to take chances. They want to go with a safe thing.
There was no hair metal. We were a metal band wearing the makeup and costumes.
Your Clive Davises and your Ahmet Erteguns, they have a history of saying, "I don't care, I like this, I'm doing this." You look at Clive Davis' signings and it's Hendrix, it's Aerosmith, it's Janis Joplin, it's Mariah Carey, it's Whitney Houston. It's crazy, the stuff he has. But most people are afraid, to quote Blazing Saddles, for their phoney baloney jobs. They don't want to take a chance. You've got to realize, this was the early '80s. There was no Mötley Crüe, there was no Ratt, there was no Poison, there was no hair metal. We were a metal band wearing the makeup and costumes. Even Kiss had taken their shit off. It was a holdover from the glitter era of a decade earlier, and it was not the trend. It was not what was going on. As a matter of fact, it was something that probably held us back a great deal. Jason Flom takes credit for signing the band. He did not. He's a dear friend and I love him, and he would have if he could have, but he literally got his job threatened by Doug Morris. He was told if he mentioned our band's name again, he would be fired. And to his credit, he still went and told Phil Carson about the band. And Phil Carson wound up seeing us and said, "Holy crap! This is that band Jason was talking about and man, they are really something!" It took a Phil Carson, who was the head of Atlantic Records in England, someone with that much clout but still a man who trusted his instincts, to sign the band against the wishes of Atlantic US, which was Doug Morris. Doug Morris had rejected us about five times personally and threatened people's jobs because he was so sick of hearing about Twisted Sister. Phil Carson, who is my manager to this day, he signed AC/DC, he signed ABBA, he signed YES, Genesis, ELP, Foreigner. He's one of those record company legends and a guy who knows his own mind. That's the kind of person it took, and those are the people who will take chances and sign. We are the first hair band. Like I said, these other bands weren't around. Look at it. I mean, Quiet Riot was around. To their credit, I would say they were the West Coast Twisted Sister: a band hanging onto remnants of the glitter era, playing the bar scene on their coast, hugely popular within their community yet unable to get arrested. I didn't even know about Quiet Riot, but they were on the West Coast doing the same thing.
Songfacts: Was your look based on the name of the band, the whole idea of a twisted sister
Dee: The name of the band came from the look, essentially. Twisted Sister formed in 1973 as a glitter band inspired by the New York Dolls and David Bowie, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople, bands like that. They're from New Jersey, assumed the classic glam rock look, the androgynous look of the era. They were called Star.But they were thinking they wanted a new name, and the original singer, who was out on a binge, out drinking, he woke Jay Jay up in the middle of the night with a classic drunk person's name. He said [in classically super-drunk voice], "Jay Jay, I got the perfect name, it's Twisted Sister." I mean, think about that. It's a real drunk guy's phraseology, you know. And Jay Jay's like, "What" He goes, "Twisted Sister. Twisted." So he got the idea for the name based on the fact that they were these dudes wearing women's clothing. So really, the look begat the name, not vice versa.
Songfacts: Did you ever consider bringing in Desmond Child and writing a ballad
Dee: You know, I wrote ballads on every album Twisted did. "The Price," that was one of our biggest songs, and it certainly falls into the ballad category. So I did plenty of ballads. I always felt that heavy metal and the ballad work very well together, because heartbreak is a powerful emotion, and violins and folk guitars do not capture heartbreak the way a power chord and a thunderous drum roll can. The pain of a broken heart is much better expressed by some guy in a high screeching voice screaming his lungs out, because that's really the drama of heartbreak. It's not quiet. It's not solitary. You may express it in public that way, but internally, you are screaming. And so I think that's why metal always connected with the ballad.But I was always champion of the ballad, and we had our brush with the ballad thing. So I never thought about bringing in Desmond.
Songfacts: You were talking about how you're a male soprano, essentially. Did you write specifically to that range to give you that special sound when you sang these songs
Dee: Well, it's tough to say which came first, the chicken or the egg. I started singing choir the same time I started singing in rock bands. I was in the glee club in elementary school and I was already singing - not professionally, but I had a band. So they were sort of simultaneous.In rock and roll, especially back in the old days, it's so loud and you had no monitors. You had your PA system, and the only way you could be actually heard over the guitars was to sing really loudly, and low notes didn't cut. High notes are the only thing that cut, so I gravitated towards singing where I could hear it, and that tended to be up in the upper register. Now, was that the case of a lot of singers of the era Robert Plant and Ozzy were singing up in the upper register, and then that became the thing. You know, Deep Purple and all the bands from that era, people sang high. So I don't know if it's because they all came from the same place, or they started to feed on each other. When the bands got heavier with more distorted guitar, that guitar competed directly with the same frequencies as the voice, the vocal frequencies, so you had to compete against the guitar. And thus, I'm working my range up higher and higher, and I'm going back into the choir and I'm singing higher. Because now it's a muscle - I've developed it and I worked it to the point where I could sing high.
Songfacts: What's the Twisted Sister song that deserves more attention
Dee: Twisted Sister song that deserves more attention... gee, there's a whole shitload of them.[Pause] I'm thinking. [Pause] We only got attention on two or three or four songs, so there's too many to mention, but "I Am (I'm Me)" should have gotten a lot more. It was our first hit in England, but it never got released in the States, and it could have been as big as "We're Not Gonna Take It" as a rock anthem. And it's one of my favorite songs statement-wise.
February 18, 2016.
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