A.J. Pero, Twisted Sister drummer, dead at 55

Story highlights

  • A.J. Pero, the longtime Twisted Sister drummer, dies at 55
  • Pero played on "We're Not Gonna Take It"
  • Members of the band are "profoundly saddened"

(CNN)A.J. Pero, a longtime drummer for the metal band Twisted Sister, has died, the band posted on its Facebook page.

"The members of Twisted Sister are profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of our brother, AJ Pero," said the post. "The band, crew and most importantly the family of AJ Pero thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time."
Pero was 55.
    Pero died of what appears to be a massive heart attack, his longtime agent Dan Stanton told CNN.
    "He had been complaining of a sore arm all week and took a few days off from his tour with the band Adrenaline Mob," says Stanton.
    Pero had been on a tour with the band in Poughkeepsie, New York, and was scheduled to play tonight, according to Stanton.
    Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French told CNN that Pero was found this morning in his tour bus. He was taken to a hospital and died there.
    "We are devastated. He was a great guy and one of the best drummers," French said. "To lose someone you have depended on for 33 years ... I don't know what it is going to be like to be on stage without him. I can't even think about what it will be like."
    Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider tweeted about the death.
    "Today I lost a brother. Anthony Jude Pero passed away," Snider said in a statement. "His sledgehammer assault on the drums helped drive Twisted Sister and I 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."
    A.J. Pero performs at the Twisted Sister 30th Anniversary Stay Hungry Tour at Starland Ballroom on May 17 in Sayreville, New Jersey.
    Pero joined Twisted Sister, best known for its 1984 song "We're Not Gonna Take It" and accompanying comedic video, in 1982. Though he left for a time in 1987 to join another band, he reunited with Twisted Sister in the 1990s and was with the band for the past 12 years, according to Loudwire.com.
    In the "We're Not Gonna Take It" video, which also starred "Animal House's" Mark Metcalf, Pero can be seen in concert, hitting a drum that brings up a cloud of glitter.
    In recent years, he was also the drummer for the band Adrenaline Mob.