Listen to Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French as he lashes out at Judas Priest and Foreigner, chastising both acts and calling them “cover bands” in a Q&A earlier this month at the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, Fla.
The guitarist holds nothing back on a variety of topics, also taking on the Rolling Stones, Saxon and Led Zeppelin!
“Look what you’ve got with Priest,” Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister tells Three Sides of the Coin host Michael Brandvold. “K.K.’s gone – he went to golf. And now Glenn’s left. And it’s wonderful. And now it’s a cover band, essentially.”
Three Sides of the Coin Interview with Jay Jay French
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“No, no, no… wait, wait, wait…hold on,” French says when someone from the audience loudly reacts. “I come from a world of cover bands. When Twisted Sister started in the bars, the cover bands that played the bars were better than the bands they covered. The reason why we were so big, the reason why Rat Race Choir and the Stanton Anderson – these are the bands that existed as bar bands back when we were playing in the bars – the reason why they were so good was ’cause they were better than the bands they were copying.”
French then goes on to say that Zeppelin was struggling with ticket sales and poor performances during their oft-maligned and injury-plagued 1975 North American tour.
“You guys don’t even know that Zeppelin was deteriorating so badly that by 1975, you couldn’t go to a Zep concert without throwing up,” he continues. “They were so bad! You couldn’t give tickets away to Zep concerts, but if you came to see Zebra playing Zeppelin on Long Island, you heard perfect Zeppelin – perfect Led Zeppelin. If you saw Rat Race Choir, you saw perfect Pink Floyd, you saw perfect Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It really mattered. I get that. I do understand it. It’s a cover band. And that’s what a lot of these bands are. Foreigner is a complete cover band; there’s nobody left in Foreigner.”
Guitarist Mick Jones is the sole remaining original member in Foreigner, with frontman Rob Halford and bassist Ian Hill the only members in Judas Priest from the band’s classic lineup.
“Priest is 65 years, 70 years old, Saxon’s 80 fucking years old. The Rolling Stones are 90 years old. Watching Keith and Ronnie Wood trying to play guitar is like being driven in a tour bus by José Feliciano and Ray Charles without GPS – it’s a terrifying fucking experience. If the Stones were smart, they’d hire two 25-year-old guys from Nashville who know how to play their song parts and let these two cadavers walk around on stage and fucking act like Johnny Depp in fucking Pirates Of The Caribbean. They can’t fucking play. And it bothers me they charge eight hundred dollars for a ticket. At least when you go to see the Eagles, there’s 45 guys on stage, ’cause you want the [band] to sound like the Eagles. And when you see go see Roger Waters, there’s 45 guys on stage, ’cause you wanna hear what The Wall sounds like. But The Stones insist that you watch them decompose in front of your eyes for a high ticket price. And they suck so bad.”
“I get annoyed only because we work so hard to be perfect every night,” he continues. “And I watched them. I’ve been a Stones fan, by the way, all my life and saw them at the peak of their fucking life – in ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72. They were arguably the greatest rock band on the planet earth. And there’s a DVD, Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, which you can watch. Why are they happy sounding so bad when you’ve got this?”
Twisted Sister called it quits in 2016 following a farewell tour which concluded in Monterrey, Mexico as part of the Corona Northside Rock Park Meeting Fest.