According to the Twisted Sister Facebook page, iconic metal drummer A.J. Pero has passed away at the age of 55.
“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.”
Pero got his first drum kit by the time he was three years old, and took drum lessons from iconic jazz drummer Gene Krupa. He went on to play on the first four Twisted Sister studio albums, and played on six overall. He joined Adrenaline Mob in 2013, appearing on their 2014 album, Men of Honor. He was found on Adrenaline Mob’s tour bus, as the band were in the midst of a tour that was scheduled to run through May. There’s no word on whether the tour will continue on.
The surviving members of Twisted Sister have issued individual tributes to their fallen bandmate. First, frontman Dee Snider weighed in with the following:
“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.”
Guitarist Jay Jay French added the following:
“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”
Guitarist Eddie Ojeda and his family added:
“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.”
Finally, bassist Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza shared:
“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.”
Pero’s bandmates in Adrenaline Mob also shared their thoughts: