Let me set the record straight: Brian Williams was never a member of Twisted Sister!
I had a feeling that would get your attention. Truth be told, I am a fan of Brian Williams, and he, of course, never said he was a member of Twisted Sister. However, the subject of this column centers on the problem that Brian is now facing and, to a larger extent, the problem that anyone in a position of influence can run into:
In Brian's case, he was not just a newsreader. He is a journalist, and that is where he really got into trouble. His fish tales grew ever larger as time went by and the expectations of his profession don't allow much wiggle room when relating personal stories of near-death experiences.
This tends to be a problem with great storytellers. I should know. I am one.
As a motivational speaker, I have told many stories over the years about the rise, fall, and rise of my band Twisted Sister. I have turned a lot of the band's history into very funny anecdotes. (Although most of them, at the time they occurred, were not only not funny but were, in many cases, near disasters.) I did keep a diary at the time--so I can verify times and places. But the prism of time does tend to bend it all into, in my case, interesting, entertaining, and compelling stories-- and hopefully some takeaways and larger lessons to help you get through challenging times in life or business.
One story I've told frequently concerns the incident that lead to the break up of the first version of Twisted Sister in December 1974. (In my next column, I'll discuss the specifics of what happened and what I learned from the situation. But it basically started with a drunken disagreement between a roadie and the bass guitarist and escalated to the drummer being held at gunpoint by the lead singer.) What was always the most important aspect of my storytelling was that I had the facts straight. Why am I now so concerned? Because I write this column and I feel a responsibility to my readers that my experiences, interpretations, and advice are grounded in truth.
I started thinking about this recently after a former roadie for the band contacted me on Facebook. He was the very person whose actions triggered the fight that led to the firing of the two founding members. The incident happened over 40 year ago, and I have been telling a version of it for just as long. This week, however, I had the chance to, for the first time in 40 years, go over what happened, step by step, with the person whose actions directly led to the end of the first version of the band.
That conversation led me to contact the club owner, in whose living quarters the incident occurred, as well as the original former bass player, who was also at the center of the break up.
After all the conversations, I am happy to report that, besides some minor details revealed in my conversations concerning issues that don't directly change how this incident affected me, my story remains intact. It seems that I remembered many more details than others did, because I was not drunk during this episode. So my memories of the event will stand as the official record of it, and my confidence concerning the value of the lessons learned stand ever stronger today. As an entertainer, I realize that the bar for credibility is set very low, maybe a rung or two above lawyers and politicians.
But it matters to me, and it should matter to you, too.
Maybe one day it will also matter to Brian Williams.