The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States forever changed the course of history.
Few Americans were unaffected by the tragedy and anyone connected to New York City at the time vividly remembers that day and the strange months that followed.
For all the horror of 9/11, the sense of unity that came afterwards has been well-documented. For Long Island-native and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, 9/11 was both one of the darkest days of his life and a catalyst for the return of his hit-making heavy metal band, which at that point had been broken up for 13 years.
After the attacks the morning of 9/11, Snider received a rare call from his old Twisted Sister bandmate, bassist Mark Mendoza, who at that time was working for the New York State Police. The two had barely spoken for a decade; there were hard feelings between them, but on one of the scariest, most uncertain days of their lives, they were speaking again.
As Snider tells it, in those terrifying hours following the attacks, Mendoza called to make sure his old friend had his family with him. He urged Snider to take his kids out of school, believing they would be safer at home than in a public place. Flaws had been exposed in America's homeland defense, and no one knew if there would be more attacks that day.
In the months following the tragedy, Q104.3's Eddie Trunk and New York Mets star Mike Piazza launched a benefit concert — New York Steel — to raise money for NYPD and FDNY first-responders. Twisted Sister was invited to reunite, in a lineup stacked with hard rock legends like Anthrax, Ace Frehley and Sebastian Bach.
"That is what put the band back together," Snider said. "...We were bands that nobody wanted at their [benefit] concerts."
After speaking with guitarist Jay Jay French, Snider agreed to bring back Twisted Sister for at least the New York Steel benefit show. That show led to a few other performances for charity and for first responders.
"I think we were all thinking the same thing: 'What can I do?'" Snider said. "You realize how important your job is when something like this happens. ...There are significant issues, and you really come to appreciate those front line workers, just as with COVID. ... So whose job is really important?"
For Twisted Sister and many others, 9/11 put everything into perspective; their differences weren't all the significant. The band fully resumed its career by 2003 and continued touring regularly until officially retiring in 2016.
Watch Snider tell his 9/11 story via the player above.
Photo: Getty Images