Twisted Sister frontman, '80s metal icon, anti-censorship warrior and horror film star (Strangeland and its coming sequel, Strangeland: Disciple) Dee Snider is – if I may borrow a line from his band’s legendary anthem – not gonna take it anymore! He’s upset by what he describes as the "systematic abuse" of the famous "horns-up" hand signal beloved to metal fans for decades, and he’s launched a new website in support of that cause. Read on to learn how you can "Take Back the Horns!"
Snider created the new site to honor the history of metal's most beloved call-sign, all the way back to its esteemed origins; lore has it that metal legend Ronnie James Dio adopted the horns-up sign from a hand signal often used by his ancestors to ward off the "evil eye" and other curses, and fans embraced it. (Despite his own claims, Gene Simmons did not invent the gesture.) It’s a symbol every proper headbanger knows instinctively, but according to Snider, it’s been subject to "rampant misuse" over the years, which he considers "an insult to true fans of the music form it represents."
The horns "were never intended to be thrown by members of the hip hop, country and pop communities," Dee declares on the site’s mission statement. "We fought long and hard for the music we love to be recognized. They have no right to use our sign!"
While he acknowledges the impact of the horns on popular culture is a sign of its power, he still rails against the "exploitation and degradation" of a gesture so revered by the metal community: "[w]hen little Johnny throws the horns to his mom because he's successfully made a number two," he continues, "things have gone way too far."
Now don’t go thinking Dee’s being 100% serious about all this… this is also a really fun site for any dedicated metal maniac, with features like a "Metal Or Not?" rating system, a photo gallery in which fans can rat out known horns-abusers, guidelines for proper usage, fan forums and lots of cool metal factoids.
So sign up, defenders of the faith… and posers beware!