Aftermath, Part 1: The Hurricane

On April 8, we made the official announcement that 2016 will be the last year that we perform live concerts. (That will be the 40th anniversary of my band Twisted Sister, with the lineup as most of you know it.) This decision came after a tumultuous two weeks following the tragic death of our drummer AJ Pero.

Before his death on March 20th, I had planned to write a column on dealing with the three C's of business: challenges, crises, and catastrophes, based on my experiences as manager of Twisted Sister. Obviously, these words took on a new meaning after I received this terrible news.


For most businesses, you're confronted with challenges on a day-to-day basis. The problems are basically manageable. It may take a few minutes to get your ducks in a row. You may need to take a deep breath or have a quick meeting. These are small fires that need to be dealt with quickly. Get them off your plate as soon as possible. 


This is the next level. Coming up with an answer to this problem may take up to a week. Usually, the key to a solution is gathering as much information as possible. Then, being able to anticipate questions and, ultimately, articulate a solution will help you get past this one. Yes, these are bigger problems, and if you don't handle a crisis well, it could be disastrous to your company and/or your career. But, if you're a good manager, you should be able to get through it.


Well, this is where we've been for the past couple of weeks after AJ's sudden death. Dealing with something of this magnitude--if you have been doing business for many years and have survived crisis after crisis--there's a surreal quality of calm at the very beginning. I have been through catastrophes before, and I know how to deal with them.

But life has taught me that there are differences between traumatic events, and you have to know how to recognize them. There are two kinds of real-life changing situations: the first is proactive and the second (and much harder to deal with) is reactive.

In proactive events, you make the decision that will possibly change you life. You have the luxury of having the time to play out all scenarios in your head, like a chess game. You also prepare yourself mentally for what is about to happen. In reactive ones, you are given a situation that you wouldn't possibly have prepared yourself for and you have to do go into survival mode. I have been in that mode for the last two weeks. 

I created a priority list of immediate, short-term, and long-term problems, and right after the funeral, I started to attack each of them, in the order of importance. I never thought that I would have so many issues confront me so quickly. I have been working nonstop, dealing with problem after problem, in an order that I can only say I developed instinctively over the years.

In this state of mind, I took time out to write this column, so that you would know that I am in the eye of the hurricane right now.

But I'm still standing.


Next column: The Aftermath, Part 2: How Today's Disasters Become Tomorrow's Opportunities

Published on: Apr 13, 2015
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