Noise, mayhem, pathos, endless reversals and plenty of uproarious comedy.The Independent (UK)
A raucously riotous rags-to-riches record of rip-roaring rock renegades! (…) Very, very, very entertaining!The Hollywood Reporter
“‘W.A.T.F.S.’ is one of the most surprising movies I have seen in quite some time.(…) a film for everyone, not just fans, one which [imparts] a deeper understanding of and respect for the men who lived it.”
– Pamela Glasner, Huffington Post
“ hilarious and revealing interviews (…) as well as plenty of riotously entertaining footage from the band’s Seventies Tri-State club heyday. Immensely compelling”
– Dan Epstein, Rolling Stone
They were the Grand Funk of Glam and the NY Dolls of Metal. Some considered Twisted Sister a joke, others called them the greatest bar band in the world. While microcosm of Punk/New Wave was taking over NYC in the mid 70s – early 80s, Twisted Sister was battling their way to the top of a vast suburban, cover-band bar scene that surrounded NYC in a 100 mile radius, yet existed in a parallel universe.
The film follows them from their beginnings as a cross-dressing glam band playing 4 shows a night, 6 nights a week, of cover songs in New Jersey bowling alleys and Long Island beach bars, to the suburban mega-clubs of the late 70s/early 80s, to their bust-out appearance on the UK rock TV show, “The Tube”. Through it all, Twisted stood ready to do or die for the sake of “the show”, giving their all to the crowd, and mounting a full frontal attack on anyone not participating. They refused to play the usual bar band role of “human juke box for drunk and horny teens”, the band was going to force you to pay attention – taking the stance that they would not be ignored.
They regaled their audiences with comedy rants, dragging them on stage for vomit inducing drinking games, engaging them in fits of disco record smashing and, at their most extreme, whipping them into club-destroying frenzy. The performances were low on style and heavy on the humor and attitude – but behind it all, always smart and full of self awareness. Spinal Tap may have been clueless but Twisted Sister knew exactly what they were doing.
It was both a great living and a dead end because once you reached the peak – headlining clubs attracting audiences of 2, 3 or 5 thousand a night – there was nowhere left to go. Because as big as Twisted got on that circuit, in the eyes of the world, ie the music establishment, they were nothing but a bar band.
If you think you know them from their hit songs, the MTV videos and their massive stadium shows, this is the untold story of how they became that band – full of strange, and often hilarious, twists and turns. It’s about Rock ‘n Roll and the business of Rock ‘n Roll. It’s about perseverance and things blowing up in your face. It’s about finding yourself, finding your audience and doing literally anything, however wild, to connect with them. And even though we know how it ends, the roller coaster ride of getting there is what it’s all about. A mesmerizing, and wickedly funny story of a 10 year odyssey to overnight success.
Twisted guitarist, Jay Jay French, says, “the history of Twisted is really those 10 years in the clubs. The years we spent clawing our way through the bar scene. It was learning how to make order out of chaos and how to win in bad situations. And it was unique to Twisted. I talk to hundreds of bands and nobody’s ever gone through what we went through. It’s who we are, and it’s why we are, and why we do what we do.”
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