Mike Portnoy + Chad Szeliga Join Adrenaline Mob Onstage Following Death of A.J. Pero
The music world is mourning the death of drummer A.J. Pero, best known for his work in Twisted Sister and more recently with Adrenaline Mob. For Adrenaline Mob, after tributes were posted online, they did the thing they know how to do best -- play live.
The group played the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey with a pair of special guests sitting in. One of those guests was Mike Portnoy, the band's former drummer whose exit led to A.J. Pero joining the band. Portnoy stated, "I will be sitting in this evening to help out my Adrenaline Mob brothers in their time of need to honor and pay tribute to our friend AJ Pero tonight at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey."
Portnoy had also added his own online tribute, stating, "I am absolutely shocked and devastated to hear of the passing of my friend A.J. Pero … He was truly a kind soul and a great guy … My deepest sympathies go out to my brothers in Adrenaline Mob and Twisted Sister for this terrible loss."
The other special guest at the show was former Breaking Benjamin drummer Chad Szeliga. "What a sad day yesterday losing such a great guy in the music business," stated Szeliga. "AJ was one of the nicest guys I have ever met and was always fun to be around. He will be forever missed. In honor of AJ, Mike Portnoy and I will be playing the show tonight with Adrenaline Mob. I'll be doing the whole tour. Stay humble. God bless. Fly high AJ."
In addition to their own songs, Adrenaline Mob shared in their loss by covering a favorite from Pero's other band Twisted Sister, taking on "You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll" during the show's encore. Twisted Sister's Jay Jay French sat in on the track, and fan-shot video footage can be seen below.
While both Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob issued their statements on Pero's passing, Adrenaline Mob's Russell Allen went a little more in depth, posting a photo of Pero with his kids. In it he stated:
I lost a dear friend today. A man who I looked up to. A man who's humility and sincere companion for his fellow man was truly inspiring.
Oh and did I mention he was one of the greatest rock drummers of all time? His accomplishments on stage are legendary and it was an honor to share the stage with him every night. But it was his love for his family and friends that I connected with. We spent many nights talking about our families and how much we missed them. His work ethic was unmatched, he would bust his ass playing a show and afterwards help the crew load the trailer with the ALL the gear.. That's the kind of guy he was. Always willing to help and always putting others before himself. I will miss his quick witted sense of humor and those late night talks we'd share while we watched the world go by. Gods speed AJ Pero! RIP my brother. My thoughts and prayers are with his family in the moment. He's pictured here with my son Jack and my daughter Ava. They loved him.
Adrenaline Mob still have dates booked into early May. As stated, Szeliga is stepping in to help them complete the run. See their upcoming dates here. And check out fan-shot video by Randy Gill of what would have been A.J. Pero's final song -- a performance of the band's cover of Black Sabbath's "Mob Rules" filmed during the March 19 stop in Baltimore, Md. The clip can be seen below.
Adrenaline Mob Perform "Mob Rules" in Baltimore (A.J. Pero's Final Song)
Adrenaline Mob With Special Guests Mike Portnoy + Jay Jay French Perform "You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll"