You now, I never thought I would be one of “those” people. And by that I mean the people who are all set for their weekend and then tragedy strikes. We get that phone call, or in this day and age e-mail, Facebook post, or what have you…any way you slice it, it sucks. Well, the call came in yesterday that the one and only A.J. Pero, legendary drummer for not only TWISTED SISTER but also in recent years ADRENALINE MOB passed away in his sleep, and you know what? It sucks!! Here’s a guy who was not only a kickass drummer, but also a class act. So it is with a heavy heart that we do this week’s Classic Albums…we hate it when someone dies, believe us.
TWISTED SISTER…a more polarizing band I’ve not seen since my beloved KISS. You can say all you want about the band’s and singer Dee Snider’s make-up/stage outfits. But I guarantee if you said it to their faces, you’d get the shit beaten out of you six ways ‘til Sunday. That’s how we did it back then, and you either accepted it, or you weren’t on the scene. This band is the pride of Long Island, NY and we appreciate everything they’ve done! When Stay Hungry came out in 1984 we all had tape copies. THIS was an album that would change things. From the opening riffs of Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda and Jay Jay French, bass thumping of Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, and fast-ass drumming of A.J., “Stay Hungry” sets a tone and lets you know that this is a record you better strap in for! Colossal video hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is next and there isn’t a metalhead among us who didn’t live and die for this song back then. My cousin Franc and I first saw the video at 3 a.m. during one of our sleepovers when the whole house was snoring and we were huddled around my parents’ 27” Zenith TV. As comical as the video was, for me the song was something more.
I can still remember being in Mrs. Rich’s Fifth Grade class at Fairfield School with my buddy Frankie (WHO I STILL ROCK WITH TO THIS DAY!), and other metal kids listening to this album at our classroom Christmas party as songs like “Burn In Hell”, “The Price”, and “Don’t Let Me Down” blared from the speakers of the radio we had set up in the middle of our four desks pushed together. And of course, when the other huge hit of the time “I Wanna Rock” came on we carried on like complete savages! When I hear these songs I swear it’s like being sent back to a much more innocent time when all we cared about was the music and not all the other bullshit that’s involved now.
“Horror-Teria” a song in two-parts features A) Captain Howdy and B) Street Justice in a creepy tale of crime and punishment that rocked me to my core even back then. “The Beast” is arguably one of the most metal songs on this album and even as a kid I knew this band had the chops to hang with the big boys. Closing this landmark record is “S.M.F.” a song that still stands proudly as a Heavy Metal Anthem full of big guitars and bigger choruses. Even though this may not be my absolute favorite TWISTED SISTER album (That honor is reserved for Love Is For Suckers) there is no denying the effect Stay Hungry had and continues to have on the Heavy Metal landscape, then and now. I’m sad that A.J. Pero is gone, because I was supposed to see him in a few weeks with ADRENALINE MOB, but it’s OK. He’s up there jamming with Ronnie James Dio, Jeff Hanneman, and anyone else who straps on a guitar or mic in Rock N’ Roll Heaven, keeping the neighbors awake.
Rest in Peace Anthony Jude Pero (October 14, 1959 – March 20, 2015) Thanks for the memories… ~dc