Jay Jay French is one of the most successful heavy metal musicians, writers and bandmates of all time- Twisted Sister is the iconic band- and Jay Jay has none of the hubris of an icon- he is down to earth, funny, brilliant, and a businessman. He is brutally honest about his past- drug use and drug dealing- but also about how his own sense of himself pulled him out of the dark and into the light. Consider Jay Jay’s brilliant Twisted Business as the ultimate guide to entrepreneurship- consider his book a guide to life- the perfect graduation gift. So often we focus on our weaknesses and our impediments instead of our talents. Jay Jay gives you the goods- he tells it like it is- I felt inspired and resplendent after reading his book. Here’s his four lessons for you- for all of us- for any endeavor we hope to undertake- and be successful!
Jay Jay: Twisted Sister started when Richard Nixon was president 50 years ago. Fifty years ago, I was just a guitar player in a band; I had nothing more than that. Fifty years later, after being turned down multiple times and coming back more times than Freddie Cougar and Michael Meyers… every story that applies to my life, every rejection… This is really what the book is about. It’s the tools to overcome rejection. Those tools apply to any business in the world. The message is so universal.
Adriana: You’ve got to seize opportunity, but you also have to exploit the opportunity, and you’ve got to stay the course. One of the things that I came away from this with, that actually made me cry, is the belief you have in one another [members of the band]. The brotherhood. Dee Snider- I mean, I look at Dee like a heavy metal head- and he’s a doll- a good guy. A brother to you!
Jay Jay: “If you ask me the most important lesson in this book of the TWISTED, it is tenacity, because without it you can’t have anything else… Twisted Sister is 50 years of tenacity. Nine thousand shows, 38 countries, a billion streams. You know, we started out as a band in the basement of a house, that’s all we were. What you really need to understand in business is the challenges and crises and catastrophes and understand the difference between the three of those things. And realize how to adapt yourself to them.”
Adriana: Tenacity is essential but so is getting along with people. I notice in my work that it’s the ability to navigate all kinds of personalities that helps an artist get her point across- it’s the team effort- the family- the cohesion that makes a project- a concert- a song- a book- whatever it is, take to the marketplace and SOAR. To that end, you have to get along with people. Right?
Jay Jay: Dee Snider is a narcissistic, mind-blowingly creative human being who focused his success the same way I did. I don’t write songs and I’m not a lead singer. I mean, my voice is terrible. God created Bob Dylan so I could sing songs. I couldn't make it as a singer, I needed Dee, but I also needed Mark Mendoza, Eddie Ojada. I needed AJ Perro. We needed the cumulative trust that this band made. Everybody was on the same page and that's why we made it.
Adriana: I can’t believe you can’t sing! That right there is persistence of the highest order- but it must have been amazing- after all that success…after all the acclaim- after all the royalties- you are still Twisted Sister and still at it! How? It seems you mastered dreaming- and re-dreaming!
Adriana: That’s one of your biggest lessons! It's a redreaming! You have to be prepared to enter into something…
Jay Jay: That version of the band, the version that everybody knows, that was the 14th version. A business is like a combination lock and you keep turning it until you hear the clicks, and then eventually the clocks line up. So, it doesn't matter what band you’re talking about. The clicks keep turning, until you find the right combination and then you can ride it…That's what happened with us [the band] and we had enormous success. And then things fell apart. I was so cynical and I’d already been through so many things in my life, I wasn’t traumatized by it. I knew what was going on. I describe to people that what they need to understand in businesses is trauma, challenges and crises. You need to understand the differences between the three of those things and realize how to adapt to them.
Adriana: So the bonus tip from you is ADAPT.
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