AJ Pero, best known as the drummer for heavy metal band Twisted Sister, has died. He was 55.
The news was posted on the official Twisted Sister Facebook page this afternoon. No cause of death was given.
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.
Hailing from Staten Island, NY, Pero was originally from NY-based band Cities. He joined fellow NY band Twisted Sister in 1982 and appeared on their debut album that year, Under the Blade. Although AJ Pero might not be a household name the way his bandmate Dee Snider is, the drummer was part of the core line-up of Twisted Sister that went on to find mega-success with 1984’s Stay Hungry, which yielded the hits “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”; he can be seen in the videos for those songs as well. His drums parts were a prominent part of those hits and helped define the anthemic heavy metal tunes of the genre.
Pero stayed with the Twisted Sister through 1985’s Come Out and Play, but left in 1986 to rejoin Cities. Twisted Sister lasted only a few more years before disbanding, but starting in 2007, the group has been periodically reuniting for projects and shows, of which Pero had been a part of, including the New York Steel concert to benefit the NYPD and FDNY Widows and Orphans Fund in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on NYC.
In December 2013, Pero joined the heavy metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob, which just released its latest effort, Dearly Departed, last month via Century Media Records. Earlier this month, Adrenaline Mob kicked off a U.S. tour opening for Drowning Pool. Dates were scheduled through April 3rd, with a stop tonight in Poughkeepsie, NY. The band has yet to make a statement about Pero or of any revised tour plans.
UPDATE – Adrenaline Mob has posted a note about Pero’s death – see it below. They note that Pero passed away in his sleep while on their tour bus.
We write this with tears in our eyes & our hearts broken to pieces.. our beloved brother AJ Pero peacefully passed away in his sleep this morning on the bus. We are in complete shock & our hearts & prayers go out to his family. It has been nothing short of an honor to have shared the stage with such a beautiful soul & legend! We love you AJ, rest in peace.
We will cherish this last picture we all took together on tour forever! What a great night we had… we’ll miss you buddy.
UPDATE – the surviving members of Twisted Sister posted their personal messages on FB this afternoon:
“Today I lost a brother. Anthony Jude Pero passed away. A.J. was the final piece in a band that would become an international sensation and one of the greatest live rock acts to ever hit the stage. His sledgehammer assault on the drums helped drive Twisted Sister and I to greatness and inspired me to rock every single show. My heart breaks knowing I will never feel the power of his beat behind me, or turn to see his face smiling broadly from the sheer joy he got from doing what he loved. I will always remember that smile. RIP my friend.”
“AJ Pero was a force, the likes of which I doubt I will ever have the chance to play in front of again. His drumming was legendary but his heart, as a human being, was even greater.
This April 1st would have been his 32nd year as a member.
In the Twisted Sister world he was always affectionately known as “the new guy”. That is how long and deep our history was/is.
In our hearts he will always be the engine that drove the train. I loved him and today my heart has been ripped out. RIP”
Jay Jay French
This morning I received the tragic news about AJ’s passing. As anyone would be, I am devastated. With such a loss, even I broke down and cried, allegedly the tough guy in the band. One statement says it all, “AJ was my band mate, my friend and my brother and I will miss him forever”.
Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza
My family, extended Twisted Sister family, and I are heartbroken and devastated to hear the news of Anthony Jude Pero’s passing. A.J. was a dear friend and brother to me, and in my opinion, one of the most talented drummers of all time. I will always remember the amazing experiences and great laughs we shared. A.J. always had an amazing sense of humor and did his best to please everyone he came in contact with.
Back in the day, when the band first started touring, we were often room-mates and he never failed to keep me smiling. It’s very difficult for me to talk about this right now. However, I feel that out of respect for his legacy, it’s important for us to let the world know how we all felt and will always feel about him. I know I will dearly miss him, but I’m grateful to have been his friend and musical partner for thirty-eight years.
At this time, my sincerest sympathies go out to his family. Heaven just got a great drummer, one that will live forever in our hearts.
Eddie Ojeda and The Ojeda Family
All of us here at Geeks Of Doom are saddened by the news and extend our condolences to Pero’s family and friends. The hard rock/heavy metal world has lost a giant today.