Twisted Sister was formed in December 1972 by guitarist Jay Jay French. In 1975, Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda,a former high school friend of French, joined as co-lead singer andsecond guitarist. He had previously recorded with a New York City bandcalled SPV.Kevin John Grace replaced Mel "Starr" Anderson on drums. Bass guitaristKenny Neill (Kenneth Harrisson-Neill) completed the lineup. The bandfollowed a glam rock direction, influenced by David Bowie, Slade, Mott the Hoople, Humble Pie, and New York Dolls. It played at local clubs without much success until 1976.
In early 1976, Dee Sniderjoined the band as lead vocalist and principal songwriter. Afterreplacing drummer Grace with Tony Petri, the group took a heaviermusical direction, influenced by Motörhead, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper, but without abandoning its glam image.
! Although glam was out of fashion in those days, Snider's phenomenal abilities as frontman propelled the band to considerable local success. It broke attendance records at large halls in the Tri-State Regionand its growing fan base began to take the name "S.M.F.F.O.T.S.", forSick Motherfucking Friends Of Twisted Sister. Later shortened to"S.M.F." for "Sick Mother Fuckers." No record labelwas interested in signing the band, so in 1979 it released the single"I'll Never Grow Up Now" / "Under the Blade" on their own label,Twisted Sister Records, followed in 1980 by "Bad Boys (Of Rock &Roll)" / "Lady's Boy".Eddie Kramer produced both singles.
In this period, the group's membership changed. On October 31, 1978, Neill left the band, the band's roadie and friend, Mark "The Very Scary Animal" Mendoza, formerly bassist for The Dictators, replaced him. In December 1980, Petri also left for the Plasmaticsand was replaced briefly by Ritchie Teeter. Teeter, also formerly ofThe Dictators, was replaced in that band by Mel Anderson. In April1981, Teeter was replaced by "Fast" Joey Brighton, who was in turnreplaced by A.J. Pero from Cities, another unsigned band with local fame.
This lineup—Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendozaand A.J. Pero recorded four studio albums and perform numerous liveshows around the world.