In the seven-minute video below, Jay Jay French (guitar), Eddie Ojeda (guitar) and Mark Mendoza (bass) from TWISTED SISTER share memories of their fallen drummer, A.J. Pero, with Eddie Trunk backstage at VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show".
Said Ojeda: "People say [A.J. was] underrated [as a drummer], but I think a lot of people did know his capabilities, mostly drummers and other musicians. He was such a solid guy to play with. And his sense of humor was unbelievable. Some of the joking around, some of the laughs we had were just amazing. He was just a naturally funny guy."
Added Mark: "When you look at sports, you have what's called a team. The guys practice together. They've gotta get along to some extent, if not even great. They probably hang out together and everything like that. We had a team. We still have a team. But we had a team and he was a member of it. And I don't care if it's TWISTED SISTER, a rock band, the Mets, a sports team, a basketball team, a football team, a S.W.A.T. team, a military team… When you are with the same members, and you make something happen, and you're a team, you know how the other guys are gonna think."
He continued: "If you ever watched TWISTED SISTER, rarely… In all the things that we'd would do, even when Dee [Snider, vocals] would bark out commands, we rarely had to look around and figure out, 'What's he gonna do? How's A.J. gonna recover?' We knew how it was gonna happen. Not 'cause of practicing — just because you knew what he was gonna do. We were a team, and it worked every single time. And then just like a S.W.A.T. team rehearses going into a building, and one of their team members has to leave, or, unfortunately, dies, or something, and they've gotta replace that guy, it's tough, because everything was a huge amount of teamwork."
Stated Jay Jay: "What John Bonham was to [LED] ZEPPELIN, what Keith Moon was to THE WHO, A.J. was to us. And I just mentioned two legends. A.J.'s up there with them, as far as I'm concerned."
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.
Pero joined TWISTED SISTER in 1982, leaving the band in 1986 but returning in 1997. He remained a member of the group, which has toured on and off over the past 15 years, to this day. He played drums on six of the group's seven studio albums, except for 1987's "Love Is For Suckers".
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.