You've probably heard Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" used in varying contexts over the years. It's been used in movies and commercials, at sports games, by politicians on all sides and just about anyone else with a point to make, which former frontman Dee Snider says was an intentional choice when writing the tune.
In a recent radio interview transcribed by Ultimate Guitar, Snider broke it down:
"I was writing an anthem very deliberately. I wanted something people would use as a rallying cry. And I deliberately was very vague about what are you not taking. As a matter of fact, I believe it was the 'Village Voice' review of Twisted Sister's 'We're Not Gonna Take It' [was] 3 words – 'what from whom' – and then a big blank space before the next review. That was it. And I'm screaming, 'That's the point!' The point was, 'This isn't 'Smoke on the Water,' man. I'm not telling you about 'Funky Claude' – who I met, by the way. 'He's a dude?' 'Dee, this is Funky Claude.' I said, 'Who was running in and out? Pulling kids on the ground?' 'Yeah, that was him.'"
Snider said he had a few people in mind when writing it but he refrained from getting too personal about them. He never thought the song would get as popular as it has, though.
"But I said, 'I want to be general,' so people can put their situation [in]," he said. "Now, mind you, I was thinking about my dad, my bosses, my teachers, ex-girlfriends – things like that. And because it's so general, it has become a battle cry for every cause and every side. So, I've got all the way on the left singing it and all the way on the right they're singing it. And now, it's almost a folk song at this point – where it's just transcended the genre, the band. And that's incredible. I never expected that."