The heavy metal drumming community has seen its fair share of excellent drummers. And when you mention the best of the best, A.J Pero will not miss the list.
The late Perp from Twisted Sister was one of the most remarkable stickmen in heavy music history. Most every modern drummer has probably directly or indirectly learned at least something from his skills. His barbaric playing behind the drum kit has always left many amused.
A. J. Pero had a thunderous playing style fueled by punchy, authentic songwriting. It is certainly hard to understand how his kit could stand up to such constant abuse with with his dynamics.
You may not find much of his work in studio recordings, but you will find a lot live performances available. He gave an outstanding performance that brought Twisted Sisters to the light.
One of their best performances of all time is “Live at Hammersmith” in 1984 at the English festival. The performance is a perfect display of what Pero can do and why he is such a good drummer.
Early life and career
The best way to understand such a drummer as Pero is to know his life journey. He went to St. Peter’s Boys High School on Staten Island. He left because he did not want to cut his hair as the school demanded. He joined New Dorp High School, from where he graduated in 1977.
The drummer worked as a taxi driver for several years before joining a local New York City band called Cities. He continued to grow and develop his skills until he joined Twisted Sisters in 1982 after seeing them playing at a club. After the show, he learned they needed a drummer.
He departed the band in 1986 and rejoined the Cities in 1986. In 1987, Pero participated in the re-union of Twisted Sisters and worked with them until his passing.
However, these are not the only bands he played for. The Ozzy Osbourne cover band and No More Tears became famous because of his commitment. These are well-known bands in Staten Island, New York.
In 2007, he created Circle of Thorns with a former Cities guitarist Steve Marinovich, (also known as Steve Irons). In 2011, Pero participated on a song called “Elephant Man” on the Eric Carr CD “Unfinished Business.“
He was announced the new drummer for the Adrenaline Mob band in December 2013. Tragically, on March 20, 2015, the band members while traveling from Baltimore to Poughkeepsie, tried waking him up on their tour bus, but failed. They rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a heart attack.
Throughout his life, Pero was a fantastic influencer in the heavy metal drumming scene. Not many have managed to handle drum sticks as fast and intensely as he did. It really is no wonder many of us still are inspired by his work.