EXCLUSIVE: Mike Portnoy has opened up about replacing A.J. Pero in Twisted Sister, saying it is "a total honour" to be taking the late drummer’s place. The Winery Dogs drummer made the remark about the role in a brand new interview with eonmusic.
Pero passed away suddenly in March 2015, and it was then that Twisted Sister called on Portnoy to help them fulfil the remaining dates of their touring schedule. The band are currently engaged in a farewell tour dubbed ‘Forty And F**k It – The Final Tour’, with their appearance at Bloodstock Open Air in August is set to be their last ever British date.
Speaking exclusively to eonmusic, Mike said that as a long-time fan of the band since their beginnings, it was an “honour” to have been asked to fill in for Pero. Said Portnoy: “It’s a total honour for me. I grew up in Long Island where they were the ultimate club band back in the late seventies and early eighties before anybody else around the world knew about them. I grew up with them and they were local heroes. I became friends with them through the years, especially with A.J.”
Going on to talk about how Pero’s passing affected him, Mike said that the death had hit him hard. “When he passed away it was very sad on a personal level, because we were friends”, he said, adding; “when they asked me to come on board and help close out the remaining chapters, for me it was, and is a huge honour”.
When asked if he was shocked to receive the call to help out Twisted Sister, the former Dream Theater player revealed that both his and Pero’s paths had crossed professionally before. Said Mike: “Well, we had a weird connection because when I left Adrenaline Mob, A.J. took my place, and the day after A.J. passed away, I actually did a show with Adrenaline Mob. They were already booked to play a show in New Jersey the next day, and they asked if I would come and do the show. So there I was, literally twenty-four hours after A.J. passed away, playing his drum set, and his show with Adrenaline Mob”.
Mike went on to reveal that it was that same night that he was first approached by guitarist Jay Jay French about seeing out the remaining Twisted Sister Dates. “That night Jay Jay French came out to join us on stage as well, and that was the night that Jay Jay asked me if I would be interested, and if I was available to help them out with the remaining shows.
He concluded: “So it was a weird connection already, you know, with A.J. helping out my former band and with me helping out A.J.’s band”.
Twisted Sister are due to close the Friday (12th August) night of Bloodstock Open Air, which takes place at Catton Park, Derbyshire from 11th – 14th August 2016. The band are also set to release a new live album, remembering Pero, on 5th August.
Look out for eonmusic’s full interview with Mike Portnoy coming soon.