Twisted Sister has lost a dear brother.
A.J. Pero died today after apparently suffering a heart attack, according to the band. He was 55.
The drummer had been on tour with heavy metal group Adrenaline Mob, which he would play with in between Twisted Sister gigs. He was found unresponsive by fellow Adrenaline Mob members this morning on their tour bus.
"The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero," the band said in a statement on its Facebook page. "The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time."
"My friend, my brother, my band mate passed away today," frontman Dee Snider also tweeted Friday. "My heart is broken. RIP A.J. Pero."
In a separate statement on Facebook, 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."
The "We're Not Gonna Take It" rocker continued: "His sledgehammer assault on the drums helped drive Twisted Sister and me 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."
Anthony Jude Pero was born on Oct. 14, 1959, in New York.
He played with the local band Cities before joining Twisted Sister in 1982. A few years later he re-joined Cities, but returned to Twisted Sister when they reunited in 1997 and continued to play with them for what turned out to be the rest of his life, including on their 30th anniversary tour last year. He drummed on all of their albums except for Love Is For Suckers.
"Musically, not a lot of people—unless you come and see us—realize the intensity and the musicianship that goes up," Pero said in January 2014 during an appearance on Brian Tichy's East Coast Bonzo Bash. "because, you know, Twisted was amongst the KISS and Motley Crue and this which is more hair and makeup and show.
"But," he added earnestly, "we play our instruments very well.
Adrenaline Mob also mourned Pero's passing, stating via Facebook:
"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!"