3/22: REMEMBERING AJ PERO
I was traveling all weekend doing live shows with Don & Jim in VA and DE so this is the first time I have been able to get on a computer. While driving to VA Friday the tragic news came in that AJ Pero had passed away. Needless to say it was a huge shock to all. Twisted Sister and I have a huge history. They first reunited after over a decade apart to play my 9/11 charity show NY Steel back in 2001 and have been going ever since. The times I have seen and interviewed the band are way to countless to mention. They are all good friends and we play a role in each others history. So to say I was shocked and saddened to hear AJ passed would be an understatement. He truly was a great guy and a massively underrated drummer in many ways. On the NY scene AJ was a legend for his playing before he even joined TS. He was a classic New Yorker, fun to hang with, and always had a smile on his face. AJ was also a big Mets fan (as am I) and when Mike Piazza and I became good friends back in the late 90’s, AJ would always get excited when I would bring Mike around to Twisted shows. Mike even co-hosted NY Steel with me and there is a great group photo of all of us in my first book. I never knew the caliber drummer AJ was because I knew him mostly for his work in Twisted Sister. Now don’t get me wrong, he is rock solid in that band, but for ages I heard how he had ability way beyond that which didn’t fit for that style of rock. A couple years ago when Mike Portnoy left Adrenaline Mob and I heard AJ would replace him I at first questioned it. How can he cover Portnoy stuff and new stuff? AJ and the AMob guys were in my radio studio not long ago and we had that exact discussion and laughed about it. Even Portnoy himself told me AJ was a great player and could easily handle the gig. It just takes one listen to the studio album Men Of Honor he did with Amob to see how true this really is. So it was great to now have AJ doing his thing with TS for the handful of dates they play a year, and working more with Adrenaline Mob with a style that showcased all his talents. When I talked to him about it he seemed really happy to be doing all of this in his mid 50’s. AJ died of an apparent heart attack Friday morning while on tour with Adrenaline Mob. The outpouring of love for the guy since has been amazing and very well deserved. My radio show in NYC Friday night was already recorded and I was in Virginia, so I had no time to do anything in that show but will next weekend. My live SiriusXM show tomorrow will feature a live interview with Jay Jay French and maybe some other TS members to discuss AJ. As of now details on his services have not been announced. I am also working to see if we can clear a little time for some of the TS guys to come on That Metal Show this week and remember AJ. That show is already booked but I’m hoping we can find a couple minutes. It also depends on when AJ’s services will be. I was unable to make it to the AMob show in NJ last night because of travel but it was very cool that Mike Portnoy returned to the band so they could play in honor of AJ and Jay Jay and others were able to celebrate him on the live stage. Twisted Sister prided itself on being one of the few bands with all original members. Now one is gone. What they do next will be announced when the time is right. But for now condolences to AJ’s family, friends and fans. I will miss seeing him not only at TS shows, but out and about NY and NJ at various events. A truly great guy gone way too soon. RIP AJ.