Dee Snider Says Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio Are "Great Singers" but "Not Performers"

Don't get it twisted, sister

Photos (from left): Ronnie James Dio by Adam Bielawski, Dee Snider by Rick Clifford, Robert Plant by Kamara Morozuk

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 4, 2023

It's the year of our lord 2023, and old men are still drudging up ancient rock debates on Twitter. The latest to "I just think it's funny how" their way into some classic rockers' bad graces is Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, who has gone on quite the tangent about the difference between vocalists and "frontmen." (Why's it always gotta be men?)

Snider admitted that, although he thinks they're great singers, Robert Plant and the late Ronnie James Dio are, in his opinion, "not performers."

The whole thing began innocently enough, with the Twisted Sister vocalist praising late drummer Cozy Powell, who played on Plant's debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven, and used to perform with Dio in Rainbow. Then, an audacious fan responded, brazenly declaring that Dio was the second-best bandleader of all time after Freddie Mercury.

"You are confusing singing with performing," Snider said in response. "There is a huge difference between a great frontman & a great singer. Ronnie was one of the greatest singers of all time, but as a frontman, he pretty much just stood on stage & sang. Freddie was an amazing singer AND frontman."

When another fan mentioned Plant, the singer seemed to put him in the same category as Dio. "I'm a HUGE Plant fan vocally…but he showed me nothing as a performer," Snider wrote. "Looked amazing, great hair…stood on stage with one hand raised and sang his ass off. Not a frontman in my opinion. And FYI many great frontmen are not great singers."

Somebody else called Snider designating Dio as "not a frontman" an "absurd take," prompting the Twisted Sister singer and/or frontman to clarify his stance. "He is one of my vocal heroes, but… My frontmen are all over the stage and interact with the crowd. Showmen. Think David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Mick Jagger, Freddy [sic] Mercury, Axl Rose…the list goes on."

After making a further distinction between performance and stage presence (and claiming Dio and Plant have the latter "in SPADES"), Snider went on to add Bruce DickinsonBono, James Brown and, uh, Kid Rock to his list of great frontmen.

To really twist the knife, when asked for his opinion on Rush's Geddy Lee, Snider said, "FOR ME, a great frontman has people in the audience wishing/dreaming they could be like him or her. A commanding presence (yes, like moi) who captivates the imagination of the crowd. Is Geddy one of those guys? For me, no."

Only time will tell if Canada-US relations can ever recover.

See Snider's tweets below.

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