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Burned out? Lessons from Dee Snider

Dee Snider of Twisted Sister is seen performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Jan. 24, 1986. (AP Photo/Corey Struller)

Is 65 the new 35?

I doubt it for most of us, but I ran across two stories this week at impressed me. Aging musical front men making a comeback.

Steve Perry, the 69-year-old former front man from Journey, and Dee Snider, the 63-year-old singer from the 80’s metal band Twisted Sister.

In the case of the former, Perry chose to walk away from one of the biggest bands in the world. He was burned out. And he just never went back.

In the case of the latter, Snider was crushed by the musical movement born in Seattle. When Nirvana rocketed up the charts, the industry came to Dee and told him he was done. After several bankruptcies, he took a job at a call center for $200 a week. In a recent interview with Brian Koppleman on his podcast, “The Moment,” Snider talks about being spotted at this entry-level job.

“People would walk in the office and say, ‘Aren’t you Dee Snider?’ and I would say ‘NO.’ I denied who I am.”

He had to reinvent himself as the voice of MSNBC and a morning radio host before his latest effort. At the age of 63, Dee Snider stepped back into the vocal booth and landed the #1 metal album in the United States.

For Perry, his journey back behind the mic was motivated by tragedy. He found love in his 60’s with a woman named Kelly Nash. They fell hard for each other and things were going great until Kelly started having terrible headaches. According to a recent interview in the New York Times, Steve talks about learning it was cancer. He promised his new love that if anything happened to her, he wouldn’t recede into seclusion again.

Nash died on Dec. 14, 2012, at 40.

Perry kept his promise and funneled his grief into a new batch of songs. It’s his first new music since he left Journey a second time in 1997.

To quote a song from a lifetime ago:

Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Don’t stop believin’

You can hear “What are we talking about here?” everyday at 4:45 p.m. on 97.3 FM.

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