Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 3/23/15.
Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.
In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the 70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.
This week, we pay special tribute to A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister, Adrenaline Mob) who suddenly passed away hours before he was scheduled to take the stage with Adrenaline Mob.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
ADRENALINE MOB – “Dearly Departed”
On March 20, 2015, the members of Adrenaline Mob tried unsuccessfully to wake drummer, A.J. Pero, for their gig at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY. The rock world was dealt a crushing blow when Pero died at a Poughkeepsie hospital. In a sad twist of irony, the title track of the band’s latest album (released February 15th) is the first song featured on this week’s Music Discovery Monday. Also ironic is the fact that the song is about a fair-weather friend, which by all accounts, is the polar opposite of what A.J. Pero was to those who knew him. Time had not at all diminished the pure power that Pero was known for, as evidenced by the intense drumming featured on “Dearly Departed.” Like this track, all of my selections this week pay tribute to a man who truly is “dearly departed.”
ADRENALINE MOB – “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”
Rock fans in the late 70s had a wealth of music to choose from, and most never gave country music a second thought. Of course, there is an exception to every rule, and for a brief moment, The Charlie Daniels Band made country “fans” out of everyone with their signature song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” For nostalgic reasons, the original version of the song still holds up to this day, but Adrenaline Mob’s cover is much more in line with the taste of most hard rock music fans. Opening with a thunderous drum intro by A.J. Pero, who paces the song with an urgency that simply didn’t exist in the original, this full-throttle remake of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” puts the adrenaline in Adrenaline Mob.
NOTE: Rather than having an interview segment this week, we have included the thoughts shared by the members of Adrenaline Mob and Twisted Sister (in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment) about the tragic loss of their bandmate and friend.
“We write this with tears in our eyes & our hearts broken to pieces…our beloved brother AJ Pero peacefully passed away in his sleep this morning on the bus. We are in complete shock & our hearts & prayers go out to his family. It has been nothing short of an honor to have shared the stage with such a beautiful soul & legend! We love you AJ, rest in peace.
We will cherish this last picture we all took together on tour forever! What a great night we had…we’ll miss you buddy!”
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
KISKE/SOMERVILLE – “City Of Heroes”
More than four years after the first electrifying album from the vocal pair of Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic) and Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Avantasia) comes a follow-up album due for worldwide release next month. As with the first effort, songwriting has been largely handled by Primal Fear mates Mats Sinner and Magnus Karlsson, with predictable quality immediately evident on the first pre-release single. Another combination formed in the mind of Frontiers Records President, Serafino Perugino, Kiske/Somerville is one of his best concoctions to date.
SCREAMING FOR SILENCE – “The King Is Crowned”
Another band from the heartlands of the United States, this Nebraska-based outfit describes themselves as “Hard Rock and Metal” with “Nu-Metal and Alternative tendencies.” I’d suggest that they consider just describing themselves as “band that will musically kick your ass!” The guitar work shines on this track from their debut album, a solid introduction to their work for many who first heard of them when received some degree of airplay across the country. Certainly a band to keep an eye on for the future, as they seem poised for a breakout.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
LONELY ROBOT – “God vs. Man”
John Mitchell (It Bites) brings his distinctive voice and guitar style to a new progressive rock project. Borrowing the name from a lyric by Sting’s daughter, Eliot Summer, Lonely Robot explores our loss of human connection in this age of technology. There are several guests on the album, including Marillion’s Steve Hogarth, who lends his piano.
EVIL INVADERS – “Stairway To Insanity”
There is nothing new under the sun in the debut album from Belgian speed metal band Evil Invaders, but they shine brightly all the same. Mad riffs and perfect execution mark their work here, with shades of Iron Maiden, Agent Steel and of course, Razor, whose 1985 album they borrow their name from. They are over-the-top and in-your-face, but catchy and melodic at the same time.
ADRENALINE MOB – “Dearly Departed”
RIP A.J. Pero, drummer from Twisted Sister, and here, Adrenaline Mob. In the mix of soaring vocals by Russell Allen (Symphony X) and blazing guitar riffs by Mike Orlando, the precision and frenzied intensity of Pero’s drumming always beats through. He will be missed. This, the title track from last year’s album, showcases his technique for a fitting, if far too early, farewell.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
ALL THAT REMAINS – “The Greatest Generation”
Lyrics, power and lead vocals (Phil Labonte) stand out on this recent release from All That Remains. This metal outfit from Springfield, Massachussetts pays a grungy (yet melodic) tribute to the hard-working ethos of a past generation.
MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK – “Lord Of The Lost And Lonely”
The third studio album from Michael Schenker’s supergroup features vocals and keyboards/guitars from Doogie White & Wayne Findley (Rainbow), and the rhythm line from Herman Rarebell & Francis Buscholz (Scorpions). Classic-themed metal from this famous bunch. Doogie has shown to be another great compliment to the masterful MSG sound. Also notable from the album is the track –“Vigilante Man.”
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
CITIES – “Cruel Sea” (1986)
Although Twisted Sister has a long and storied career, their catalog of studio albums with the famous lineup that included A.J. Pero is relatively small. While the other members of the band were recording the album that ultimately led to their breakup (Love Is For Suckers), Pero was busy with his side project, Cities. If ever there was a band that was tailor-made for the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment of Music Discovery Monday, Cities is it. Although there are shades of Twisted Sister to the band (due in large part to Pero’s distinctive drumming), the band also incorporated elements of thrash and speed metal. “Cruel Sea” is a nice introduction to a band that released its only album in 1986.
TWISTED SISTER – “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n Roll” (1983)
In 1983, Twisted Sister released the first of what would become their trademark comedic music videos. The title track from their second full-length album set the tone for what was to come from this legendary Long Island band. Fueled by AJ Pero’s relentless power, “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n Roll” is raw, balls-to-the-wall, energetic hard rock at its best. This is the track that introduced many “MTV Generation” rock fans to Twisted Sister, although they wouldn’t become a household name until the following year.
TWISTED SISTER – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (1984)
Even those who have no interest in 80s heavy metal are well aware of “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” the iconic anthem that defined a generation, and took MTV videos to an entirely different level. Realistically, this is one of the last songs that you would ordinarily expect to see featured on Music Discovery Monday, but this week (for me) is about honoring the memory of A.J. Pero. More often than not, hard rock anthems are defined by guitars and vocals, but “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is one of those rare tracks that is easily identified by the opening drum beat.
From 1982 until his untimely passing on 3/20/15, A.J. Pero left an indelible mark on the world of hard rock with his powerful drumming. I didn’t know him personally, and never got the chance to meet him, but he made an impact on my life. It seems most fitting to close this week’s Music Discovery Monday with the heartfelt words shared by his bandmates after learning of his tragic passing. Rest In Peace, AJ!
John Jay Jay French – Twisted Sister
“AJ Pero was a force, the likes of which I doubt I will ever have the chance to play in front of again. His drumming was legendary but his heart, as a human being, was even greater.
This April 1st would have been his 33rd year as a member. In the Twisted Sister world he was always affectionately known as “the new guy.” That is how long and deep our history was/is. In our hearts he will always be the engine that drove the train. I loved him and today my heart has been ripped out. RIP”
Dee Snider – Twisted Sister
“Today I lost a brother. Anthony Jude Pero passed away. A.J. was the final piece in a band that would become an international sensation and one of the greatest live rock acts to ever hit the stage. 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. I will always remember that smile. RIP my friend.”
Eddie Ojeda – Twisted Sister
“My family, extended Twisted Sister family, and I are heartbroken and devastated to hear the news of Anthony Jude Pero’s passing. A.J. was a dear friend and brother to me, and in my opinion, one of the most talented drummers of all time. I will always remember the amazing experiences and great laughs we shared. A.J. always had an amazing sense of humor and did his best to please everyone he came in contact with.
Back in the day, when the band first started touring, we were often room-mates and he never failed to keep me smiling. It’s very difficult for me to talk about this right now. However, I feel that out of respect for his legacy, it’s important for us to let the world know how we all felt and will always feel about him. I know I will dearly miss him, but I’m grateful to have been his friend and musical partner for thirty three years.
At this time, my sincerest sympathies go out to his family. Heaven just got a great drummer, one that will live forever in our hearts.”
The Ojeda Family
Mark “The Animal” Mendoza – Twisted Sister
“This morning I received the tragic news about AJ’s passing. As anyone would be, I am devastated. With such a loss, even I broke down and cried, allegedly the tough guy in the band. One statement says it all, “AJ was my band mate, my friend and my brother and I will miss him forever.”
On the day of A.J. Pero’s passing, Mark Mendoza called into WBAB on Long Island to speak to the band’s longtime friend and supporter, Fingers. To those outside of the Long Island area, Fingers is an institution in his own right to hard rock and metal fans. His show – Finger’s Metal Shop – has been on the air since October of 1983.”
Fingers – WBAB
“Everywhere he was a rock star. On Long Island he was family.”
Click here to listen to a real, emotional moment between friends sharing a painful loss. In a world where radio has become less personal, kudos to WBAB for allowing Fingers to break format during a time of tragedy.
TWISTED SISTER – “I Am (I’m Me)” (1983)
Before breaking out with hits in 1984, eventual legends Twisted Sister were building a foundation in the northeast with both live gigs and a pair of early albums. Memorable songs can be found on both Under The Blade (1982) and the follow-up You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll a year later. The first single from the latter is my trip back in time this week, in both remembrance and honor of drummer A.J. Pero. Rest in peace.
HELLOWEEN – “March Of Time” (1988)
With a driving beat and a glorious chorus, power metal pioneers Helloween remind us that our time here is limited, and the world will one day go on without us. But in the meantime, there are so many joys and so much amazing music, including the entire Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 album, chock full of classic pieces like this one, that somehow manages to lift you up even when they’re exploring a sad theme.
SHADOW GALLERY – “Digital Ghosts” (2009)
U.S.-based progressive metal band Shadow Gallery puts their bright and highly skilled musicianship on display with “Digital Ghosts,” an epic jam with outstanding guitar work and terrific vocals from Brian Ashland (who is very much like Geoff Tate).
BLUE OYSER CULT – “Astronomy” (1978)
Taking the time machine back to the early days of metal for a B.O.C. classic. “Astronomy” has gone through some metamorphosis in a couple of recordings since the original back in 1974, but it remains one of the band’s greatest songs, especially this live version from Some Enchanted Evening. Extra time on this one for an excellent and long Buck Dharma solo.
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