R.I.P. A.J. Pero of Twisted Sister
We hate to start your weekend on a sad note, but if you're a fan of Twisted Sister, then we don't have much choice: A.J. Pero, who drummed for the band on their first four albums - Under the Blade, You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll, Stay Hungry, and Come Out and Play - and returned the fold numerous times thereafter, has died at the age of 55 from an apparent heart attack.
Pero, who was born in Staten Island in 1959, had already been a member of the NYC-based band Cities when joined Twisted Sister in 1981, having attended one of their concerts and learned that they needed someone new behind the drum kit. He remained a member throughout their most commercially successful period, playing on such notable tracks as “The Kids Are Back,” “You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll,” “We're Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” and “The Price,” as well as their cover of “Leader of the Pack.”
After leaving Twisted Sister in 1986, Pero rejoined Cities for a time, but when the band broke up, he stepped away from music for a time…like, to the point where, when he described the period to the website Metal-Rules.com, he said, “I always have my drum kit at home, but I think my son ended up playing it more than I did.”
In the end, Pero's retirement didn't stick: he rejoined Twisted Sister for reunion shows in 1997, 2001, and 2002, and when the band reunited for the long haul in 2003, Pero was right there alongside Dee Snider, Eddie Ojeda, Jay Jay French, and Mark Mendoza, the same guys he played alongside from 1982 to 1986. Even better, their chemistry was as strong as it had ever been, and while the band may not have gone out of their way to record new material, they regularly turned in strong shows around the world.
Beyond his time spent with Twisted Sister and the aforementioned Cities, Pero had also been a member of the group Circle of Thorns, and since 2014 he had also been serving as the drummer of Adrenaline Mob.
When the news of Pero's death broke earlier today, Dee Snider issued a statement to Rolling Stone:
"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 me 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. R.I.P., my friend."
To commemorate Pero's death, we've compiled a playlist which includes those four classic Twisted Sister albums he recorded between 1982 and 1986. Give it a listen, and don't forget: Pero may be gone, but you can't stop rock 'n' roll.