On March 20th, 2015 longtime Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Pero passed away at the age of 55 from what has been reported as a massive heart attack. I was absolutely heartbroken by this news for a couple of reasons. One being that I felt so band for his family, friends, bandmates, etc that they were now without this golden dude, AJ Pero. I have never met the guy but anyone I do know that has talked about what a sweet, kind person he was. He was so proud of the legacy of Twisted Sister and to be a part of that band and he just loved being a drummer in general. Second, this means that my chance of ever seeing this lineup Twisted Sister has been crushed.
Twisted Sister did announce that all booked shows for the remainder of 2015 will be played as scheduled. All shows this year will feature the core lineup of Dee Snider (vocals), Jay Jay French (guitar), Mark Mendoza (bass) and Eddie Ojeda (guitar), along with Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, ADRENALINE MOB, THE WINERY DOGS) on drums. Yes, I said Mike Portnoy. I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. Brainfart, this has to break your heart. Well it doesn’t break my heart as if this is what they need to do to move forward and complete the legacy, then so be it. Portnoy’s a great drummer and hats off to Twisted Sister if they can put up with him. Who knows? Maybe his ego has chilled the fuck out by now.
Twisted Sister will be playing a tribute show for their late drummer. “Twisted Sister – A Concert to Honor AJ Pero” will take place on June 13 at Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. And today, they’ve announced another show in honor of the late musician. On May 30, Twisted Sister will perform at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The show will be filmed for broadcast, as well as for a CD and a DVD. As for this tour, Twisted Sister have “made it official that 2016 will formally close the touring chapter of their illustrious and legendary career.” They’re calling their trek “Forty and Fuck It,” in honor of their 40th anniversary as a band. The farewell dates will feature the main lineup of Snider, Jay Jay French, Mark Mendoza and Eddie Ojeda. It has not been announced who will be replacing Pero on drums for those shows.
Of all the bands I love so fucking much, Twisted Sister is a band that I never got to see live. Not even once. I was too young (according to my parents) to see them when they were actively touring (I was 11) but by the time I was hitting the concerts with a vengeance, they were pretty much on their way out and not doing much. Even in these later years of all of their “reunion” shows they never left the NYC area unless it was to go to fucking Wacken or something. According to guitarist/founder Jay Jay French, Twisted Sister would never tour again because there just wasn’t any money in it for them. Man, I totally get that but Twisted Sister is a fucking band that means so much to so many that never got that opportunity to see them live. I’m bummed that it took the passing of AJ Pero for a Twisted Sister tour to manifest and I can only hope that this is a tour in the truest sense of the word and not a 12 date run that will have them coming nowhere near me. For now all we can do is just wait it out and hope that Twisted Sister will do the right thing and allow the fans all over the US pay our respects not just to AJ but to a band that means so much to us.