AJ Pero was the drummer for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. He died aged 55 of an apparent heart attack while touring with Adrenaline Mob, a group with whom he played in between engagements with Twisted Sister.
Pero was on the tour bus when Adrenaline Mob band members tried to wake him up. He was taken to a hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was declared dead. “His drive was the heart and soul of the band’s sound, the engine that drove us,” the Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French said. “We lost a friend and a legend.”
The band’s singer, Dee Snider, called Pero “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 to greatness, and inspired me to rock every single show.”
Pero, who began as a jazz drummer before taking up heavy metal, was well-known for a scene in the video for the 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in which he struck a snare drum covered with glitter, sending it spraying into the air. He had joined Twisted Sister in 1982, just before the Long Island bar band exploded on to the burgeoning heavy metal scene after nearly a decade of slogging their way round the club circuit.
With their extravagant make-up and costumes, they made a perfect match for the fledgling MTV and became one of its mainstays with hits that included “I Wanna Rock”. Pero left the band in 1986 but rejoined when they got back together in 1997, and had played with them since.
Anthony Jude Pero, drummer: born Staten Island, New York 14 October 1959; died 20 March 2015.