BY MIKE COHEN
JAY Jay French is founder, guitarist and manager of heavy metal legends Twisted Sister, but that only tells half the story.
Before he became Jay Jay, he was drug-dealing high school dropout John French Segall. Now, though, he is an in-demand motivational speaker and author — along with Steve Farber — of self-help book Twisted Business: Lessons from My Life in Rock ‘n Roll (Rosetta Books, £22.99).
By using the letters of TWISTED, Jay Jay explains his tips to success — Tenacity, Wisdom, Inspiration, Stability, Trust, Excellence, Discipline.
“People said to me, ‘What’s the book going to be about?’ And I go, ‘Well, it’s a business book. Well, it’s a memoir. Well, it’s a business book. Well, it’s a memoir’. Well, which one is it?,” Manhattan-based Jay Jay told me.
“The answer, it’s both. It’s a ‘bus-oir’ — a business book and a memoir all rolled into one, it starts off in one way and ends completely differently. And I want to take people through a journey of evolution so they would appreciate that business story.”
Jay Jay’s rise to stardom began in the early-1970s when he answered an advert for a band called Wicked Lester.
The two leaders of the band, Gene Klein and Stanley Eisen, went to watch Jay Jay jamming with a band called Scout at a church dance.
“When I walked off the stage at the end of the set, Gene came up to me and told me to take my glasses off,” Jay Jay writes in Twisted Business. “‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because you look too Jewish,’ he said.
“I’d never heard that before. ‘If you join the band,’ said Gene, ‘you’ll have to change your last name.’ My name was still Segall back then. ‘It sounds as Jewish as you look.’
“When I asked him why it was a problem to seem Jewish, Gene explained that the new band was going to portray itself the way English bands look and sound; therefore, their band member names had to sound English, too. That’s why Gene Klein was going to call himself Gene Simmons, and Stan Eisen was changing his name to Paul Stanley.”
Jay Jay wasn’t asked to join Wicked Lester. The job went to Ace Frehley and the band became Kiss.
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