Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob drummer A.J. Pero has died at the age of 55, the announcement coming on March 20 from Twisted Sister’s official Facebook page and website: “The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero. The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
At the time of his passing, Pero had been on tour with heavy-metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob, which he joined in 2013. The band posted today, “We write this with tears in our eyes & our hearts broken to pieces…our beloved brother A.J. Pero peacefully passed away in his sleep this morning on the bus.” The band had a show scheduled for this evening at The Chance in Poughkeepsie. No cause of death has been announced.
DJ/VH1 host Eddie Trunk told the Voice, “A.J. was a great drummer and even better human being. I am stunned and saddened at his passing. My deepest condolences to his friends, fans, and family.”
Carl Canedy, drummer of the Rods and producer of Anthrax, also fondly recalls the time he spent with Pero: “From the first time we opened for Twisted Sister at the Beacon Theater to the last, in Old Bridge, New Jersey, [at a] benefit for victims of Hurricane Sandy, A.J. was the nicest guy to share the stage with. The first time I heard the cowbell and tom triplets in “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was clear A.J. was a drummer who took no prisoners. He was always bringing finesse and style to his drumming while beating them mercilessly. A.J. was the kind of drummer who held the band together…solid as a rock, great technique and pounding rhythms, all without any hint of arrogance to accompany his amazing talent. A truly sad loss.”
A Staten Island native, Anthony Jude Pero, born October 14, 1959, “epitomizes the saying ‘born with the sticks in his hands.’ ” Having received his first drum kit as a toddler, Pero studied with jazz great Gene Krupa and performed as a solo artist on The Mike Douglas Show at age seven. After high school, he joined the already popular Twisted Sister, who would sign with Atlantic Records in 1983. During his tenure from 1982 to 1987, Pero recorded six albums and embarked on four world tours, earning him over 30 gold, silver, and platinum albums and singles. The songs “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” established Twisted Sister as a preeminent metal band of the day.
Twisted Sister re-formed in 1997 and 2001 and continue to tour today, though Pero had other projects and bands, and was beloved by all he worked with. Adrenaline Mob welcomed him aboard in late 2013, stating, “A.J. Pero is one monster of a drumming legend & we are proud to call him our new Adrenaline Mob brother! He brought an incredible feel & groove to the new Men of Honor album along with unbelievable chops. After hearing him track the 1st song it was undeniable that he would become the bands new drummer. A true veteran of every stage out there, his contribution to The Mob will be epic.”
Twisted Sister’s frontman, Dee Snider, is presently out of the country, and could not be reached for comment, though he did tweet upon hearing the news of Pero’s passing: “My friend, my brother, my band mate passed away today. My heart is broken. RIP A.J. Pero.” Fan condolences have been pouring in by the thousand to the band’s Facebook page, noting, “he touched a lot of lives by reaching out from behind his TS throne. …..Blessings to all,” and “…utter and absolute shock. I can only say Love and Light to the Adrenaline Mob family, the Twisted Sister family and to Aj’s family. He touched a lot of lives and blessed us all with his amazing talents and he will be missed. ”
According to his official website, Pero was hosting drum clinics for Tama, and was also “in the beginning stages of writing a book on his life’s journeys and lessons.”