A.J. Pero, drummer for Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob, has died from an apparent heart attack at the age of 55.
According to the Associated Press, Pero was touring with Adrenaline Mob when his bandmates were unable to wake him up from his sleep on the tour bus. He was taken to a hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY where he died.
A statement was posted on the Twisted Sister website saying:
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.
Later in the day, each member posted their own statements:
“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
The following was posted on Adrenaline Mob’s Facebook page:
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!
Pero initially learned to play jazz drums but eventually moved to heavier rock. His first professional experience was with the local New York City band Cities, in which he played while working as a taxi driver.
In 1982, he joined Twisted Sister who had seen him playing in a club, replacing Richie Teeter. Pero played on their debut album, Under the Blade, and the next three releases before leaving the band in 1986 to rejoin Cities.
In 1997, Pero joined the newly reformed Twisted Sisters and played with them until his death. In addition, he was part of Circle of Thorns with former Cities guitarist Steve Irons.
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