Veteran hard rock producer Tom Werman has shot back at TWISTED SISTER over their comments regarding his collaboration with the group on the double-platinum "Stay Hungry" album.
In a recent press release announcing the release of the re-recorded and expanded version of the classic 1984 album (under the new title "Still Hungry"), guitarist Jay Jay French said, "'Still Hungry' is 'Stay Hungry - The Way It Ought to Be'. It has an ultra-heavy sound, which is the way we wanted 'Stay Hungry' in the first place. But at that time rock records had a thin, very midrange kind of sound and so 'Stay Hungry' was recorded very lightly. We battled Atlantic Records and producer Tom Werman about it, but we lost. These re-recordings are faithful to the original arrangements but they sound much heavier."
Speaking to Eddie Trunk of the "Friday Night Rocks" show on New York's Q104.3 FM, Werman responded to the band's comments, stating, "Initially, the band appeared to be quite excited about their double-platinum record, but as with many bands, the story changes over time — first, [TWISTED SISTER frontman] Dee [Snider] said I wouldn't 'allow' 'We're Not Gonna Take It' on the record, and generally slagged me for providing Jay Jay with different amps, since it took us three full days to arrive at a basically acceptable rhythm guitar sound.
"The producer has zero influence on the selection of recorded material for the record. He sequences it, but the label A&R has the last and only word on LP content. As for the rhythm guitar sound (the foundation of every good metal song), Jay Jay's live sound was not at all right for the record, and we spent three days until we found one that was barely acceptable. Our engineer was damn good, too.
"Eventually, Jay Jay decided to revise history as well, and the complaints grew from not allowing a song on the record to 'battling' the band about the 'thin' sound.
"Since these records were made twenty years ago, they are obviously going to be apparently bass-deficient, compared to today's recorded music. Dee Snider sat in on the mix and approved every note. Most producers operating in this genre at that time would simply not have allowed the artist to participate in the mix. Regardless of this fact, Dee and Jay Jay now condemn the mixes that Dee personally signed off on.
"It seems to be routine for bands like MÖTLEY CRÜE, TWISTED SISTER and CHEAP TRICK to wait until twenty years go by, and then suddenly decide that their success was actually limited by the producer of their records, who 'didn't capture their sound' and 'didn't understand their music.' [Atlantic Records president] Doug Morris called me personally to do him a favor and produce TWISTED SISTER. The band urged me to take on the project, even though Dee has alleged that I was 'forced' on them by the label (patent bullshit).
"It was a very difficult record to make, as most '80s metal band records were. It was by far the biggest record of their career, and Dee's personal choice of a different producer for the follow-up record led to a failure. Together with six other bands, I made the biggest record of their careers (all at least gold, many multi-platinum), but sure enough, here they come blaming me for holding them back. It's pathetic, really.
"I'll be happy to discuss my mistakes — my worst records, the ones I made that didn't make it — I even issued a 2-CD set called 'Tom Werman's Greatest Hits & Greatest Misses'. The 2nd CD has all of my favorite productions of bands that didn't make it — none of us is perfect. But there is little doubt in my mind that I contributed very significantly to the success of each one of my platinum bands — TED NUGENT, CHEAP TRICK, MOLLY HATCHET, JEFF BECK, POISON, MÖTLEY CRÜE, and yes, TWISTED SISTER.
"I probably should ignore the bullshit that they throw down, but I hate to see them get away with it. Dee Snider has always had a problem sharing credit with anyone. He's a one-man show, and it's distasteful."