TWISTED SISTER will "honor" the band's late drummer A.J. Pero by fulfilling its touring obligations this year with the help of "a professional drummer who is a friend," says guitarist Jay Jay French.
Pero died at the age of 55 while on tour with the band ADRENALINE MOB. After members of that group failed to rouse him on their tour bus on March 20, he was taken to a Poughkeepsie, New York hospital and pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack.
Writing on his blog at his blog at Preview.inc.com, Jay Jay said: "I realize that our collective history is so long, so deep, so intertwined that A.J.'s death has shaken us to the core. It made me realize the fundamental connection that we as a band and as a company share as friends with a nearly 40-year history."
He continued: "This company employs a lot of people and has created a business model that is the envy of many of our fellow bands.
"We will honor A.J. during our shows this year. A professional drummer who is a friend will be filling in shortly. This will allow us to fulfill our touring obligations and, most importantly, give us some space to make some very hard decisions about our future."
Jay Jay added: "We are surely not the same kids who had a dream 40 years ago to become 'rock stars.'
"We carry the scars to prove it.
"We are adults who run a business, and businesses must go on, even through a curtain of tears."
A couple of days after Pero's death, TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider told a TMZ cameraman that the group would "probably" would keep playing, "for [A.J.'s] family, because his family will benefit from us playing, financially."
French sounded less certain about the band's future when he told radio host Eddie Trunk on March 23 that "it may be time" for TWISTED SISTER to call its quits in 2016 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of French, Snider and Ojeda first playing together. He said: "We need to look at this and say to ourselves, as a live, breathing entity, on which our reputation totally rests on — being a great live act — how do we honor that history? And how do we honor A.J.? And how do we honor the fans' loyalty? And I think you know me and Dee and the band enough to know that we are totally realistic and genuine when it comes to our relationship with our fans."
TWISTED SISTER rose to prominence from the New York club scene in the early 1980s. Their biggest album, 1984's "Stay Hungry", contained the hits "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".
In addition to touring with TWISTED SISTER and ADRENALINE MOB, Pero also recently played with former and current members of IRON MAIDEN and DISTURBED in a band called THE FOUNDRY. He also hosted drum clinics and seminars.