Years ago, it must’ve been in 2005 or something, I got a call – a voice says on the phone: “Hi, I’m Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister, and I want your guitar, man”. He went on explaining how he had read about me on ToneQuest Report magazine, and that he was really impressed of my work philosophy. I found out that Jay Jay is not only a player but also a passionate guitar collector – and he ended up ordering a Mojo Grande from me. And he loved it.
Jay Jay and I got to know each other better over the years when meeting occasionally at guitar shows or Twisted Sister gigs, and one time he caught me by surprise by telling me about his Pinkburst Project – a massive charity effort to raise money for uveitis (a chronic eye illness) research, that Jay Jay’s daughter Samantha suffers from. Jay Jay had custom ordered pinkburst colored guitars from Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, Gretsch, PRS and Martin, with matching amplifiers from Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Vox, Orange, Hartke and Diamond – and he wanted to order one more guitar to the collection – from me! What an awesome project to be part of, and what an honor for me to be included among all the iconic American brands! Jay Jay talks about the project on this video filmed at NAMM in 2010.
Since those days Jay Jay has bought some more guitars – a Unicorn Classic that he ordered to celebrate his 60th birthday, and a Unicorn Supersonic that I noticed he played on many gigs of their ’40 And Fuck It’ tour.
Twisted Sister was formed in 1972 by guitarist Jay Jay French under the name Silverstar. The name changed to Twisted Sister a year later, and in 1976 Dee Snider joined the broup as lead vocalist and principal songwriter. Their major international breakthrough came with the third album Stay Hungry (1984) including such hits as We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock.
The band broke up in 1987, and the members were after that involved in different projects. Jay Jay stopped performing except for some guest appearances. Twisted Sister reunited in 2001 to headline a benefit concert in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, NY. The demand for more live dates was immediate, and the band took the first steps toward returning to the concert stage.
Twisted Sister has sold over 25 million records and been awarded with 31 platinum and gold records in 8 countries. Today the original lineup, including of course the legendary axman Jay Jay French, is playing to the largest audiences of their career in Europe.
Twisted Sister celebrated their 40th Anniversary in 2016, headlining festivals in 35 countries. Twisted Sister has played over 9,000 performances since 1973!
Some years ago Jay Jay invited me and Emma to visit his home on Manhattan. Since then I've had the idea to have a little profile film done about him, cause the better I've gotten to know him, the more impressed I've become - a fine man with plenty of wisdom to share.
"I love my Ruokangas Unicorn. Simply put, Ruokangas Guitars are Playable Art. This is now the third guitar I have purchased from you and I can say, without hesitation, to all discerning collectors of fine electric musical instruments that one can never have enough Ruokangas guitars!!!"
- Jay Jay French / Twisted Sister