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A Look Back: Exclusive! Type O Negative's Peter Steele Is Alive and Speaks To Mick Stingley

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 9:08 AM

"No one knows where Peter is..

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Type O Negative… is a difficult band to describe. And I have loved this band since the beginning.

Equal parts gothic and metal, part Doors and part Beatles, part Pink Floyd and part Black Sabbath… part Bauhaus and part Sisters of Mercy… Type O Negative is wholly New York and totally Brooklyn. They have called themselves, “Four dicks from Brooklyn,” and their fans refer to them as “The Drab Four.” Concert tee-shirts have boasted that they are “Blood, Sweat & Gears” while one of their early records has admonished, “Do not mistake complete lack of talent for genius.”

The band collectively known as Type O Negative is: Kenny Hickey, guitar; Johnny Kelly, drums; Josh Silver, piano/keyboards; and Peter Steele, bass/vocals.

They are often cited for their dark, grim material and morbid sense of humor. Whatever their influences, and whatever their predilections, Type O (or just TON as they are sometimes called by fans) is everything they claim to not to be and nothing more than a cool bunch of guys who grew up together and love to play music.

Driven by mainman Peter Steele’s incredibly deep vocals, sensual lyrics and the group’s heavy music, the band quickly gained a following among Goths and metalheads alike.

Sprung out of the hardcore ashes of the legendary NYC hardcore band, Carnivore, Type O Negative became synonymous with its record label, the Dutch-based RoadRunner when its second album, “Bloody Kisses” became a sensation in the era of grunge and early rap-pop. That record was the first RoadRunner album to go platinum and would become a hallmark for the band. The single, “Summer Breeze,” a Seals & Crofts cover, has landed them great attention and garnered interest in the band’s quirky, slowed-down, Sabbathy grooves. Songs such as “Black No. 1” and “Christian Woman” became underground hits and wildly popular amongst fans as much for gothic theater as for the dense sexuality of the music. “October Rust” would prove a noteworthy follow-up for its self-same sound and imagery and for the songs, “Love You To Death,” “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” “Green Man” and the Neil Young cover of “Cinnamon Girl.”

Type O Negative has been featured on soundtracks, compilations, video games and has five studio albums, (not including one “fake live” CD) and one video collection from its tenure with RoadRunner. Lead singer Steele attracted international attention when he appeared unclothed in a 1995 issue of Playgirl… to which he drew comparisons to Tommy Lee (and not for his percussion skills).

Following the success of the 2003 album, “Life Is Killing Me,” Type O Negative recently signed a worldwide deal with the German-based SPV label. When all the critics thought they might pack it in, the band has emerged victorious with a renewed focus on recording and touring. As such, the first new product to stem from their deal with SPV/US is a live DVD. A brand new album is slated to appear in the fall of 2006.

The new DVD, “Symphony for the Devil,” (March 14th, 2006 - SPV/US) is first Type O Negative concert filmed for commercial release. More than that, it is a behind-the-scenes look at the often mysterious gentleman that make up the band. The concert footage is spectacular; but it is the off-stage footage of the band which makes this DVD so compelling to watch. Gripping, hilarious and at times startlingly frank, Type O Negative demonstrate what they know all too well: we are born into this world between piss and shit and to get along the best thing you can do is laugh. This is a five-star effort, and if you don’t agree you obviously don’t get the joke.

With these guys in Type O… you never know how things are going to play out until they do. Scheduled to interview the notoriously reclusive Peter Steele on Wednesday, March 1st (Ash Wednesday), things fell apart when Peter failed to call. But, mercifully, things came together… but not without some small drama…

It started like this…

From: SPV
To: Mickstingley

Hi Mick,

Can you do a phoner @ 12:30pm Wednesday 3/1 w/ Peter?

Then Wednesday came and went. No call from Peter.

From: Mickstingley

Um, dude, what happened? No phone call. Did you forget?

There was no reply. I emailed Johnny Kelly.

To: John Kelly
From: Mickstingley

I had been in contact with SPV was supposed to be talking to your singer today at 12:30, but he never called. No word from SPV as yet. Any ideas?

Then, a reply came back…

From: SPV
To: Mickstingley

Looks like I lost Peter today. No one can find him. Can we try this again tomorrow @ 2:45pm?

And one from Johnny…

To: Mickstingley
From John Kelly

I don't know where he is today. Nobody has been able to get in touch with him. I was supposed to have press today and none of the journalists called...


I emailed them back…

How come no one knows where Peter is? IN BROOKLYN?

Then, finally, the word came down from SPV:

From: SPV
To: Mickstingley

Dude I just sent you this confirmation!!!! We are confirmed! Rock with it!

So, on 2:45PM on Thursday March 2nd 2006, I called Peter…

(the phone rings twice)


MICK STINGLEY/KNAC.COM: May I speak with Peter please? (as if I didn’t recognize his voice)

STEELE: This IS Peter, how you doin’?

KNAC.COM: Peter, this is Mick, how are you?

STEELE: Hey, how are you, sonny?

KNAC.COM: (laughing) I’m good, thank you. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get a chance to speak with you.

STEELE: Yeah, uhh, my schedule’s been, uhh, crazy. I’ve asked the band’s management for 48 hours notice when I have to do interviews, and sometimes they’re not that…courteous. (clears throat) And I’m not here when certain people call, just because, well, you know, if I have to go and get the appendix removed, I just can’t wait. So…

KNAC.COM: (laughing) I hope that you didn’t have your appendix…

STEELE: No, no, no. Sometimes I just can’t change plans. But I’m glad that we’re speaking right now.

KNAC.COM: As am I. I was getting the impression that “no one knows where Peter is” is a running joke…

STEELE: Not even Peter does.

KNAC.COM: You’re at home now?

STEELE: I’m at home in Brooklyn, yeah.

KNAC.COM: Did you get any snow?

STEELE: It’s snowing as we speak, yeah. Well, we got, you know, plenty a couple of weeks ago. That was remarkable, I had shoveled four times at like, 5 O’clock in the morning. I was in my Russian military uniform, which, of course, the neighbors get a really big kick out of. I mean, they won’t even come out of the house when I’m outside, shoveling, in the crazy uniforms that I wear.

KNAC.COM: Yeah, but it was gone, like, a day later, though.

STEELE: Kind of crazy- all that shoveling for nothing. But, it gave me something to do.

KNAC.COM: So, uh… I saw the new DVD.

STEELE: Uh-oh.

KNAC.COM: Congratulations!

STEELE: And you’re still calling me? That’s remarkable. You must be blind.

KNAC.COM: (laughs) Well, I’ve always been a Type O Negative fan…

STEELE: I appreciate that.

KNAC.COM: …and I don’t want to go off on a tangent about that, necessarily, but I’ve never really known too much about you.

STEELE: And now you know too much! Now you know more!

KNAC.COM: Well, originally you were this very mysterious character…

STEELE: And now I’m like this delirious character… yeah.

KNAC.COM: Are you proud? - Are you comfortable? - Are you happy with the results?

STEELE: (pauses) Ah, you know, there is… there are some things in there that I feel should not, maybe, have been portrayed to the public. But everyone else in this band, we kind of like, voted on each other’s behavior and stuff. And it was kind of known that, if everyone goes - “That’s funny, that’s great! Leave it the fuck in! We don’t care what YOU think!” - then it stayed. There were things that Johnny did, and Kenny and Josh that they weren’t really too happy about, but… “Fuck you, we’re gonna use it anyway!” So- what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

KNAC.COM: I don’t even know where to begin, but the concert footage… it was shot on the “October Rust” tour, or just after?

STEELE: This was shot in ’99. Now I’m gonna have to back up and explain to you that, when we started to formulate this video, with various footage, which, I would imagine was around 2000 or 2001, we were just gonna do a home, like a home-movie type-thing. And this footage from this show in Germany, from ’99, was not even considered at the time. So it’s really… it’s a home movie with live footage. It’s not live footage with out-takes. Simply because the video came to our attention right before we were actually gonna finalize the home video. We did some research and we found out that we could buy it; and it was five-point-one (5:1) digital, and there were three cranes and twelve cameras and all this other stuff and we looked fairly, reasonably well-preserved at that time… so we said, “All right, let’s throw this in.” The entire concert was actually going to be a separate disc and then there was going to be this home movie. But then it got into cost-effectiveness of putting two or three discs into a package and all this other stuff. So we decided that, for people like me with ADD, to have a constant sensory assault, and to keep on cutting the footage and going to different things just to keep the average viewer’s attention. Because I have no attention span anyway.

KNAC.COM: I think you’ve succeeded. It reminds me of watching a concert on television, except when they cut away to commercial, you get the home movie…

STEELE: It’s got that vibe. And you know, I’ve also been voted “Sweatiest Bass Player!”

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: So… (laughs)… I got something out of it.

KNAC.COM: You know- I would never have thought to have noticed that until I saw you at the CBGBs show. It was so ungodly hot there that you couldn’t help but notice…

STEELE: Oh, my God! That… that fuckin’ place man!

KNAC.COM: In the video… you had an interesting… uh… there’s, there’s a, uh, “contemplative moment” with you in the basement of CBs… was that shot the same day?

STEELE: I believe it was, actually. We had gone there for sound check or something. There’s really actually not too much to do down there now, so you go wander the streets and then you come back and…that’s that!

KNAC.COM: So a lot of this was shot before and after the concert was filmed, which was where exactly?

STEELE: The concert was in Germany.

KNAC.COM: Hence, the relationship with SPV (a German-based record label) probably helped get some of that I would imagine.

STEELE: Uh… that’s kind of a complicated issue; but to answer your question, yes.

KNAC.COM: Are excited to be a part of that having come off of RoadRunner?

STEELE: Yeah, I mean, I do want to say that… when we finalized things with RoadRunner, it was done very platonically. I consider Case Wessell to be a close personal friend still. I consider the staff at RoadRunner, especially the New York office, to be friends. And you know, if they’d ever need anything, I would hope that I’d be the first person that they would call. But you know, I’m not doing this for my health. And SPV offered us a better contract, so of course we had to go with them. And they’ve been treating us really well and they’ve been very patient with us, because we’ve had some fits and starts as far as this next album and this video. There have been some snags, and they’ve been patiently waiting for this product, so finally, here it is. And they seem to be very happy with it, and I’m happy they’re happy. I have a very - I hate to say it - but I have a very positive outlook for the future. Which is really scary.

KNAC.COM: You do?

STEELE: Yeah, I do. I feel like I’ve gotten, like, a second chance here.

KNAC.COM: Wow. Excellent. That’s great to hear.

STEELE: You know? I can’t wait to get this album done. The earliest we’ll be in the studio will be March 21st. All the songs have been written and the working title for the album is “The Profit$ of Doom” - spelled like “monetary profits” but with a dollar sign instead an “s” - so… well, are you… are you familiar with my former band, Carnivore?

KNAC.COM: Yes I am.

STEELE: Okay, well the new album sounds like Type O Negative meets Carnivore.

KNAC.COM: Holy shit!

STEELE: It’s a bit more hardcore. The songs are somewhat shorter. Instead of being, like, fifteen minutes, they’ll be, like fourteen and a half…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: (laughs) Just a joke… I gotta be careful with how I answer, because when I am printed verbatim and quoted and it just doesn’t make any sense you know?

KNAC.COM: Well, I like that about you. I will say this, for KNAC.COM, it’ll be written as told to- unless there’s anything you don’t want to talk about…

STEELE: Let’s just not talk about the weather. Oh, but we already have… (laughs)

KNAC.COM: (laughs) Shit!

STEELE: That’s it!

KNAC.COM: Well, I think that you guys have this incredible sense of humor, that Brooklyn sense of humor… I mean, you’ve talked about this. But I guess it gets misconstrued to a lot of people.

STEELE: It does, you know? Because we are so used to being sarcastic to each other, like even within this band. We have guests that come up on to the bus and they’re horrified. “How can you talk to each other like that?” And I’m like, “You know what? Fuck you too!” (laughs) I’ve known these guys for over thirty years. I have five older sisters and I always wished that I had brothers, and God gave me these three brothers, Kenny, Josh and Johnny. But after thirty years of beating each other up and cheating on each other’s girlfriends and playing hockey in the street and playing football, you know, fuckin’ each other over and getting drunk and having great times - there’s nothing to talk about it!

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: There’s NOTHING to talk about. Everybody has their own little corner of the tour bus, and that’s it. So, you know… Brooklyn is a very sarcastic place. I like to think that I have a sense of humor and I like people with a sense of humor because one of the greatest feelings I get out of life is actually laughing at myself. Also I like laughing at other things, too; comedies, juvenile pranks and slapstick. Which of course, you saw much of that in the video. So that whole adolescent attitude really comes to the forefront with this DVD.

KNAC.COM: It’s who you are.


KNAC.COM: Jumping around again- “The Profit$ of Doom” - that was the working title for the last record, was it not?

STEELE: Yeah. I mean, I lie about everything, so you can’t believe me. But, it is the working title for right now. I don’t have any titles for the songs, but I can say that the album sounds like a mixture of… let’s just say… Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Discharge, the Cult, the Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Psychedelic Furs, Devo and Laibach. So prepare to be confused.

KNAC.COM: Well… but I don’t know. I feel… as a Type O Negative fan who has been following you guys since forever… I feel that, that description would suggest any of your records.

STEELE: It does actually, it’s just that… the songs for this next album… you see it’s really hard for me to be objective because I’m the songwriter. So, it’s like, no mother ever thinks that her newborn baby is ugly. You know? And by that I mean it’s hard for me to step outside and say what I think, but I will try. The songs are somewhat shorter, they’re faster… I’m asking the other guys to actually do more of the vocals- not because I’m losing any nonexistent talent anyway - but the fact is that the other guys have really good voices and I think that they should be utilized. And, also, I’ve been making calls to see if people like Glenn Danzig or Phil Anselmo would want to do guest vocals or something.


STEELE: Because Johnny’s very tight with Glen, because he goes out (on tour) with Danzig and hopefully, Glen wouldn’t have a problem with that. And (I’ll try to) get a hold of Phil. And there’s a female vocalist, her name is Jacqueline, she plays in this band called, “Otto’s Daughter,” from Germany, and she’s got a really good voice. And some of the stuff that I’ve written, I believe might call for a feminine touch. So I’ve been speaking to her about possibly coming in and doing some vocals. But, you know… speaking of Carnivore… after this album is done and in the can, I just might be doing a real short Carnivore tour…

KNAC.COM: You’re kidding…

STEELE: … but not… with… uh… it’s the original members, but it will be, like… somewhat… well-known… rock-and-rollers… that are going to be a part of this…

KNAC.COM: Wow- who?

STEELE: (pauses) That I can’t mention right now. There’s going to be down time… I don’t know when this next (Type O) album is set to be released. I would imagine that if it’s done by May 1st, the label really wants six months of “set-up” time… which I think is somewhat excessive; but when you change jobs, you know, there’s a whole set of unwritten rules that nobody tell you, you just have to learn them by making a dick out of yourself. You know? And nobody tells you, like you’re not supposed to piss in that toilet you supposed to shit in that toilet. Which is how jail was…

KNAC.COM: Oh, God, right…

STEELE: But anyway, I won’t go into that. But what I’m getting at is that SPV is the new girlfriend, and so there’s a whole new set of rules. I really can’t agree that they need six months set-up time, if they’re going to be looking at, like, a November 1st release date, traditionally we have toured the end of September through mid-November for the Halloween season, because, after all, we’ve got the faces for it… so hopefully, if they make a “back-to-school” release which would coincide with the touring, that’s fine. I’m just kind of concerned about sitting idle over the summer while all these festivals are happening, Ozzfest and everything else like that. So that’s why I was thinking about maybe doing, two weeks of touring with Carnivore, something like that. East coast. It’s actually more for the fun, because there is really so much work involved with Type O Negative. Not so much in the writing and writing lyrics, and going to rehearsals, it’s accommodating each member’s schedules. As we get older, life becomes more complicated. I just, uh, recently, you know, lost my mother…

KNAC.COM: I was sorry to hear that…

STEELE: Well, thank you. I mean, I’m not saying that for pity or…

KNAC.COM: Of course not, I know…

STEELE: … but that took a big chunk of out of my creative process, you know? And the other guys have got wives and kids and house payments and all this other stuff. So, you have to go with the flow. Since I’m the guy, ironically, right now, with the least amount of social responsibilities- no kids, no wives, no girlfriend- which is not to say that I’m not looking- not for kids - but for a girlfriend- that… I try to accommodate them. I’m pretty much on-call and that works out well, but I don’t like to have too much free time. From past experience, after there’s this album-release rush-thing, there’s some dead time. So I figure why not get out and see what happens with this Carnivore stuff. It just might be fun.

KNAC.COM: You mention actually, in the video when you were talking to Juliya from FUSE TV, that you wanted to do some more hardcore stuff. Which strikes me as interesting since you did the Deep Purple cover for the NASCAR thing and on “Life Is Killing Me” you have at least one fast song with “I Don’t Wanna Be Me” which is almost a return to earlier stuff.

STEELE: Well, I think that those two songs you just mentioned are pretty good indicators of what you’re gonna hear on this next album. I will also say that it’s not gonna be ALL hardcore. I mean, there is something about me that really can’t get past, like, “Black No. 1” and doom and gloom and (singing very deeply) “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…” you know?

KNAC.COM: More songs about women and fire?

STEELE: Right, you know? And complaining… for like fifteen minutes about getting old. And like, “Grow up, Pete, already!”- you know? But there will be some of that.

KNAC.COM: I wanted to touch on, a little bit… what is your- you’ve often, or maybe not so often, I’ve been aware of it because it’s certainly evident in your music, who your influences are. How does it feel at this point in your career to look and see the impact that Type O Negative has had? On bands that have come up since; notably, Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, HIM… there’s this dynamite band from Finland called Sentenced…

STEELE: (pauses) Um… it’s… it’s, you know… there’s an old saying, “Mimickery is…?” or… “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Something like that. I always thought masturbation was the sincerest form of flattery…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: But, okay, you know, I’m a dickhead. I’m a big dick with a big dick…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: Aahh… so you know, whaddya want? But I’m very flattered by it, but like I said before about being objective, it’s hard for me to see it. Like I really don’t see it. I’m not that in tune, no pun intended, with modern music. I’m very satisfied with listening to my trance-dance stuff and listening to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and hardcore and 60s psychedelic and real industrial music. Now when I say “real industrial” I’m not talking about repetition, I’m talking about people banging on 55-gallon drums with ball-peen hammers…

KNAC.COM: Einsturzende Neubaten.

STEELE: Yeah! Einsturzende Neubaten. Laibach does that. Two of my favorite bands. (pauses) Actually, one of the best experiences that I ever had, I went to see Laibach at, I believe it was…Danceteria? Nah, it couldn’t have been…

KNAC.COM: Limelight?

STEELE: Limelight maybe. I had gotten on the VIP list… I slipped somebody two dollars… and Laibach actually came out of the VIP area… to see me. To, like, meet me. And I was dying to meet them. It was… that they were… “You’re one of our favorite bands!” And they’re one of my favorite bands. It was just… just one of the best rock experiences I’ve ever had. That evening. They’re just really nice guys and it was such an honor being a big fan… it was like I had a cow’s tongue stuck in my mouth. Being star-struck. I could only equate it with, if I was 16 years old and I met Ozzy Osbourne. I wouldn’t be able to say anything. I’d be in shock. I would just stand there.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that surprises people that you’re into that kind of music? Even though there’s elements of it within your music? I don’t know if it’s because of record company promotion or what, but obviously Type O Negative often gets put into…

STEELE: We get categorized and stereotyped, sure. I think people know that there’s something wrong with me… I have very strange tastes and very strange fetishes and I eat in a very strange manner. I am not normal in whatever the sense is. I even have extra teeth.

KNAC.COM: You have extra teeth?

STEELE: I have 37 teeth. They’re called supernumerals, yeah. So- boy- when I get a hold of you- when I clamp down…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: …it’d be like trying to shake off a fuckin’ pitbull!

KNAC.COM: Did that come into play… I heard you were going to play a vampire or something in a movie.

STEELE: That’s something that… I had spoken to a director down in New Orleans before the whole thing happened with the disaster down there. And I really didn’t hear from him after that. I made a couple of calls just to see if he was still alive, but the phone was disconnected. So, I hope for the best, but I expect the worst. I hope everything’s cool, you know what I mean? But I get offered parts here and there and I don’t really pay that much attention to them. Usually they don’t pan out. I did some minor acting, I did an episode of “Oz” which was pretty cool. That was fun. But I think I’ll just stick to horror movies and stuff. This way they’d just save a lot of money on makeup…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: I can always play the monster. Just ask any of my ex-girlfriends.

KNAC.COM: (laughs) I don’t know any of your ex-girlfriends, so there’s no follow-up.

STEELE: That’s because they’re incapacitated at the moment…

KNAC.COM: Okay… (laughs) I want to get back to the DVD for a moment. Who is “Slitzy?”

STEELE: Slitzy is our light-guy. And he is also our team mascot. (laughs) He’s the constant source of entertainment and abuse for us. He just makes life more interesting. He’s got a really, really good sense of humor and as you could see, he does not mind being a literal punching bag. He works with the band, but firstly and foremostly- he’s a great friend and he’s an ally. So, this is his big break in Hollywood or something. I don’t know. I don’t know what part he’s gonna get next. “Return of the Moleman” or something. Maybe I’ll get that part…

KNAC.COM: (laughing) So again with the ADD… I wanted to ask you about your participation in “RoadRunner United.”

STEELE: With Joey from Slipknot?

KNAC.COM: Yeah… I had an opportunity to speak with him before the record came out and he mentioned that you were on it, and I was surprised because…

STEELE: A journalist is always the last to know. You see that?

KNAC.COM: Ohh… tell me about it. But he was telling me that you had come up with this stuff and he was psyched and he was freaked out about it.

STEELE: Joey was freaked out because what he had sent me was at first was kind of like, “Love You To Death,” like a piano-thing. And I’m like, “I’m gonna fix Joey’s ass, man! If Joey thinks I’m gonna sing, (again, singing very deeply) ‘Woo-ooh whoa… I love you… I want you to kill yourself for me…’ No, no. no.” So- I turned it into…I thought, “How can I really fuck Joey’s day up?”

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: (laughs) But this is all in real good fun, and I loved what he wrote. But I’m like, “I’m gonna…” So what I thought of was, a dictator who is about to give his final speech- in a language that doesn’t even exist! And so that’s why there’s tubas and snare drums and tanks and planes flying overhead and basso produndo… Like, “What the fuck is wrong with him?” I know that’s what they were saying about me! But, hey- I have an excuse: I was born a breach birth. I wasn’t breast-fed until I was 19 years old. And it was a surrogate so I didn’t get all those antibodies. My immune system’s fucked up! I have a million excuses, you know?

KNAC.COM: (laughing, yet again) It’s awesome… it’s a little strange and unexpected, certainly- but at the same time, I’m curious- why did you not participate in the RoadRunner thing, live? Which I attended, hoping to see you all… I mean- I ran into Josh and Johnny there…

STEELE: Well, they just, you know, kind of… put me on the spot. And that is, uh, I was asked by RoadRunner, personally, to do it. And that put me in a very strange situation. Because, Type O Negative’s management were having some problems with RoadRunner at that time. Which I didn’t take personally- this is business. But… I was kind of used… like a pawn. I was told by the band’s management, even though - ya know, management works for me, I don’t work for management - I’m paying these people to make these decisions, what’s right, what’s wrong… politically. I was told not to participate. (pauses) So… right after that… I mean… people… got the impression that I was… like, you know… snubbing everybody there. Or snubbing the label. And… you know, I really didn’t even foresee that. That I was going to look like the bad guy because I didn’t show up. I was pretty much asked to show up by RoadRunner, and told not to show up by the management. And so… it was this lose/lose situation. But, my allegiance goes with Type O Negative. So- as much as I would have liked to have done this show- I really was not… fully aware, exactly aware of everything that went on… about, ya know? Being fully released from contract and it was just… I was used… like I said, like a pawn. Which I really don’t appreciate. But, you know, it’s passed… and in the past. And hopefully I’ve learned something from it. Looking back, I think that I should have done it, and I regret not doing it. But with the information that I had had, at that exact moment- ahhh…. I felt that I had made the right decision at the time. But of course hindsight is always 20/20. So, live and learn…

KNAC.COM: Well… for what it’s worth, between sets- variously, throughout the night- they were showing video highlights from different bands on RoadRunner and so on… and when images of you and the band came on… there was just, like… riotous cheering.

STEELE: Cool. (pauses) I wish was there. That - that actually makes me feel worse, now.

KNAC.COM: Oh- no, no, no… I didn’t mean to-

STEELE: (laughs) I wasn’t ordered not to go… but- I knew that I’d be hounded. Like, ”How come you’re not up there?”

KNAC.COM: Right.

STEELE: And, well… you know I’ve got this, like a social phobia… type thing, believe it or not. I really don’t like crowds. But thankfully I’m a fuckin’ masochist, so that’s why I’ve chosen this line of work…

KNAC.COM: Well, it goes back to, uh, the opening of our interview here, because the official party line from Josh and Johnny was, “No one knows where Peter is!” So-

STEELE: (laughs)

KNAC.COM: But there was nothing bad said about anyone, and certainly not you. It was a good night, and everyone had fun- but you were missed, dude. Um… how much time do we have left? Probably not a lot, huh?

STEELE: We have about… ten more minutes.

KNAC.COM: Okay, sounds good. You talked about having a social phobia; and to some degree you’ve… you’ve become… as much as Type O Negative has individuals who are… there are personas as diverse as the Beatles. You… you’ve definitely… in a lot of ways… you’ve become the focal point. Is it difficult… because… do you get, like, just hoarded and hounded? Even in New York?

STEELE: I never realized that… with like, let’s just say with “a semi-celebrity status,” that the trade-off is privacy. And I’m a very private person.

KNAC.COM: Notwithstanding the video…

STEELE: Notwithstanding the video. But I do have to point out that there were many things that many things that each member really didn’t want to put in there. But we would just threaten each member that we’d kill them…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: And you know… there’s that scene of me going down on this girl…

KNAC.COM: Yeah… (laughing)

STEELE: …and there’s that scene of me where I shit on the street in fuckin’ Sweden- which I did formally apologize to the Swedish government for- ya know? I laid waste upon the Earth… I don’t think that those things should have really gone in there… although, being in like, both shots, you really see my ass… I guess I’m showing my best side…

KNAC.COM: (laughing) How do you think girls are going to react to that?

STEELE: I think it makes me look… you know, disgusting… and juvenile and like a male slut…

KNAC.COM: Is it a catharsis? A way of purging… say, the “Playgirl” image?

STEELE: Um… I think I’ve actually just amplified the Playgirl image…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: …but there were, a couple of things that were ‘staged’… maybe… me going down on this girl may have been one of them… we’ll leave that to the ‘taste-test’…

KNAC.COM: Okay. Just quickly again, about the social-phobia and being a very private person… not to push the envelope, but… I’m curious, because, being a New Yorker… and a metal music fan in what is essentially a small scene… I see Johnny out- and Kenny - rarely Josh- I see them at shows a lot, you know, just out here in New York. And I’m just wondering… is it… is it… is it that kind of thing, where it gets to the point- I ran into Johnny and told him I had seen the Bauhaus show.

STEELE: Oh, yeah…

KNAC.COM: And he said, “Oh, I think Peter had wanted to go to that.” That kind of thing. Is it to the point where you can’t even see a show?

STEELE: Sometimes I get really bad… anxiety. And I feel like I have to leave. I don’t like to be hoarded or surrounded. Bauhaus happens to be one of my favorite bands, and sometimes I just really can’t go and just see a show that I want to without- I hate to use the word, “bothered” - but there are times when I really just want to be left alone. And I know from past experience, well, chances are, I would say… half the crowd at Bauhaus may recognize me. So… if like only ten per cent of that crowd might approach me, do I really want to be approached by even five per cent of them? So… sometimes it’s just the best for me to stay home. And when I go out, too, I’m trying not to drink, because it just turns me into “instant asshole” and makes me want to self-medicate when I go out. Yeah, I might have a couple of drinks and if I’m having really bad anxiety, you know, I might drink… I’ve been known to drink two bottles of vodka, Absolut vodka… I’m 6’7” and I’m half Polish and I’m half Russian and so - “Woof, Woof!” - go figure, you know? I mean, I got the alcohol genes up my ass. So, sometimes I wind up getting into situations that I’d rather not be in. I really can’t…. trust myself. Sometimes… I have a short fuse… I’ve gotten into trouble… like, fighting and stuff. And, uh… into trouble… but it’s always when I drink.

KNAC.COM: That begs the question then… the Sisters of Mercy are playing here Monday…


KNAC.COM: (laughs)


KNAC.COM: Webster Hall. First time in seven years…

STEELE: You are the Devil in disguise…

KNAC.COM: I’m tellin’ ya. I love that shit.

STEELE: Huh. I’m gonna try to go. I had met, uhh…

KNAC.COM: Andrew Eldritch?

STEELE: Yes, Andrew Eldritch. Met them. We had played a show with them in Germany, like ’97. And he was just like the nicest fuckin’ guy, man. He was really great. Made me feel right at home… had a drink with him… though he was busy with his, uh, situation… you know, there are always “situations” on tour…

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: (yelling) ”WHADDYA MEAN YOU COULDN’T GET THE COKE? GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!” You know… so Monday, hah? That sounds like that might be a done deal…

KNAC.COM: I’m going to get my ticket today…

STEELE: Webster Hall, huh? Who’s opening for them?

KNAC.COM: Uh, this band called “The Warlocks”…

STEELE: The Warlocks?

KNAC.COM: I’m not familiar with them. They’re kinda new I think…

STEELE: I guess like ‘Born-Again Christians” hah? Okay.

KNAC.COM: I think the Sisters take the stage around 9…

STEELE: Wow. That sounds really good. Monday night, huh? I might try to make it down there…

KNAC.COM: Yeah… something to think about.

STEELE: Absolutely.

KNAC.COM: Um… I know we don’t have a lot of time left… so I wanna blow through as many questions as I can if you don’t mind…

STEELE: We’ve got… ahh… let’s see… until… like, 3:40 or so…

KNAC.COM: Okay. Just talking about getting approached made me think of something. I went out to see Johnny’s Led Zeppelin cover band (earlscourtrocks.com) last summer at Fat Daddy’s…

STEELE: Right. Uh-huh. Wait- Fat Daddy’s is… that’s where now?

KNAC.COM: I don’t think it’s around now. Flatbush Avenue? Not too far from that place “Frank’s”… the pizza place …

STEELE: Oh, okay.

KNAC.COM: I don’t know if it’s still there. I mean- I’m up in Washington Heights- it took me forever to get there-

STEELE: But of course…

KNAC.COM: But I mean- what the hell? It was a night out, summer… whatever. So they took a break between sets, and he was kinda hanging out, chatting, whatever. And, I was talking to him for a little bit, and I noticed throughout the night, during that break there, that people kept coming up to him… you know, he’s very personable and charming….

STEELE: Yeah, he is. Johnny’s like the social butterfly.

KNAC.COM: Totally the social butterfly! But one thing that struck me was, people would come up to him, you know- I don’t know if they knew him, or they were just fans, or maybe from the neighborhood or whatever - and they all had suggestions about what Type O should be doing…. especially with covers…

STEELE: (laughs)

KNAC.COM: And I looked at him, and he was laughing and smiling, and we a moment to talk, and I asked him, “Does that happen a lot?” And he goes- “I get that all the time!”

STEELE: (laughs) All the time. “Yeah, you guys really oughtta play this song… you know that song, Inna Gadda De Vida?” And I say, “No. I’ve never heard it… bay-bay!” It’s always like that. (pauses) But you know, speaking of covers… on this next album we’ll be doing “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedance…


STEELE: But in like a punky-style. (sings, “I see a bad moon a-rising…”) Not that banjo-solo shit… nobody gets Creedance, but ya know…

KNAC.COM: No, that’s fantastic… I had my own, of course, that I was going to throw your way, and I’ve been sitting on this for years…

STEELE: Well, I’ll tell you… and the others that we’ve kinda screwed around a bit with…one song is “Play That Funky Music White Boy” …

KNAC.COM: (laughs)

STEELE: But like, (singing, again… the guitar parts), you know? Just like that. The other was… and we’ve just been throwin’ around “Satisfaction”- the way Devo did it. This is much closer to the Stones. And we might even do “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles… even though so many bands have done it.

KNAC.COM: Motley Crue. Siouxsie…

STEELE: Exactly…

KNAC.COM: Well, so I was wondering what you might make of this. How familiar with the song you are, I don’t know... but I always thought, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” was just a Type O song just fucking waiting to happen…

STEELE: Oh, my God! Of course I know that song! That… that’s on my list of like, one-offs. Maybe - I did have this idea- I want to do this album, called, “Dis-Covered by Peter Steele” - because I’m covering all the songs badly - hence “Dis-Covered.” And one of the songs… (sings, again…) I love that song.

KNAC.COM: I hear that song and I immediately think of Type O…

STEELE: Gordon Lightfoot.


STEELE: You know, someone actually compared me to him, one time, and even though I don’t see that comparison, really; I was extremely flattered… because I think he’s great. That song… like a dreamy-steel pedal thing, like you know, whining... but I was gonna do it with the whole sound effects of the accident…

KNAC.COM: Oh, my God…

STEELE: Going down and ship horns and men screaming and shit like that. Not to make fun of it… because it was actually a very horrible thing… but I want to donate to the proceeds to the survivors to the guys that died. And even though I would make it graphic- it would be no joke. I have other songs I’d like to do, like “Time In a Bottle” - and some other songs…

KNAC.COM: Do you think that’ll ever come to fruition or do those songs… really deserve…

STEELE: I think it’s really up to me. It doesn’t really take that much money to do an album there days. And I can program drums and I can play bass guitar and sing a little bit… if the rest of the band doesn’t want to do this thing with me- well- fuck them! I’ll just do it myself… I’ll be a “hundred-aire”…

KNAC.COM: (laughing) I wanted to ask you one stupid journalist question, even though I’ve seen a quote…

STEELE: I have a stupid bassist answer for you I’m sure…

KNAC.COM: Okay, okay… here it is: if you hadn’t been born in the 60s, what era would you have liked to have been a part of?

STEELE: What era would I have liked to have been a part of? (pauses) Well… I think with my body-type and my obnoxious attitude… and my sarcastic nature… I should have been born about a thousand years ago. In like, Russia. (pauses) And I should have died on a frozen battlefield with a sword through my head…

KNAC.COM: (laughing) …through your head?

STEELE: Yeah. I miss the good ole days when men were men and…

KNAC.COM: You said you have a Polish-Russian background. Do you speak… Polish or Russian?

STEELE: I can fake it pretty well, you know? Especially in bed. Actually, my father’s people were, I would say that they were Northern Slavic, because he was a combination of Polish and Russian. And my mother’s people were a combination of Celtic-Nordic: Norwegian, Irish, Scottish and Icelandic. So I am a typical American mutt. I am what I call, an “Ice-nigger”…

KNAC.COM: (laughs) That’s awesome…

STEELE: I have a ‘black’ soul- that’s why I can use the ‘N-word’…

KNAC.COM: Oh… before we go… I’ve been so curious… and you mentioned briefly and I’ve seen it elsewhere a couple of times… can you tell me some of the things that you have in your CD collection… some of the industrial, and maybe some of the more obscure things that you are into? Some of the things that you’re into, which might inspire people to get into, besides Sabbath and the Beatles and Pink Floyd…

STEELE: I like 80s bands a lot. A Flock Of Seagulls… Depeche Mode, Duran Duran…


KNAC.COM: A Flock… Hello?


STEELE: Uh-oh… can you hold on… just one second? I think this might be the… another journalist…

KNAC.COM: Yup, yeah. No problem…


STEELE: Yeah, that’s it! You’re busted!

KNAC.COM: Ah, shit!

STEELE: (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Well, Peter- thanks for taking the time!

STEELE: My pleasure… and hopefully… I’ll see you Monday. If I have the balls to creep out of the house… maybe I’ll try to go in, like, disguise or something…

KNAC.COM: That’s perfect! That’s perfect! And no one will know where you are…

STEELE: (laughs) We’ll see if that works…

KNAC.COM: Ok, then- thank you Peter…

STEELE: All right, Swami…

KNAC.COM: Thank you!

STEELE: Thanks sonny… Bye-bye…

“Symphony for the Devil” is out on March 7, 2006 on SPV/US.

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