Friday, 4 June 2010

RIP Peter Steele 1962 - 2010

This is a transferred post from my previous wordpress blog published on: Apr 15, 2010.

“Well, that's it, that's all we have. I hope it wasn't too disappointing…” - October Rust 1996

Everyone has a band that speaks to them. That one band that you ‘Get’, that has never released an album you didn’t like, that has a song for every mood you’ve ever had or will have. Type O Negative were that band for me. A band to be a little fanatical for.

As I’m writing this I’m on my third rotation of October Rust and struggling to find the right words so expect this to be a little bit of a ramble. Ask any genuine metal fans though, and there will be nods of agreement amongst them that this album was the bands finest moment, and it ensured their place in the annals of music. For me it was the first album I genuinely and whole-heartedly loved. In the 11 years since buying it, whenever I need a pick me up, something cathartic to drink to, or even something to seduce the girls that wander into my lair with - this album has been the soundtrack.

I suppose like a lot of people I was sceptical at the news at first. The band famously made a bad joke about Peter’s death in 2005 on their website. Peter had been in fact detained in a psych ward due to his substance abuse. But it felt different this time. The outpouring was so immediate that it felt all to genuine.

At the time of writing there is no confirmed cause of death. The widely held rumour is of heart failure, possibly linked to Peter’s well documented years of substance abuse.

But grief shouldn’t cloud the genuine brilliance of a career. A lot of bands over the next year or two (probably my own included) will make a public tribute of some kind and that’s fine. But when you start trading off someone else’s name, then we’ll know when it has become a marketing ploy.

The strange thing in all this is I wrote a career overview of Peter/Type O Negative back in January for a University portfolio. In the notes I wrote “Please excuse this if it reads too much like an obituary rather than a profile” (I‘ll post that up in due course). Long-time fans of the band will know what I mean by that. Type O’s musical legacy is one fuelled by Steele’s personal demons. From substance abuse, bad break-ups, and family tragedies they all went into creating a palette to draw from. It’s not like the band were without a sense of humour though. Songs like ‘We Hate Everybody’, ‘Kill All The White People’ and covers such as ‘Angry Inch’ showed that it wasn’t always doom and gloom, even if the humour was a little black. Instead the band , with Peter at the helm created a unique sound that bridged alien influences such as The Beatles, Black Sabbath, and The Sisters of Mercy and moulded them to suit.

But that was Type O Negative and Peter Steele - unique, contradictory, brilliant, and genuine.

RIP Peter Steele


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