Tuesday, 12 October 2010

None more negative... (Part 2)

Peter Steele (b. 1962 - d. 2010)
Vocalist/Bassist (Type O Negative)

Though it was the band’s most successful period it was one of the hardest in Steele’s personal life. The heights of success inevitably opened the doors to chemical influences taking hold of the front man and personal tragedies sent him into another spiral of depression. At this time, burnt out from two solid years of touring, Steele dreaded the phone calls from the label asking for a more successful record from him. Though an album was finally finished it was evident that Steele was writing to exorcise his demons, not to sell records.

1999’s ‘World Coming Down’ returned to the melancholic dirges of ‘Bloody Kisses’ sans the humour. The album was the darkest since the band’s debut with songs like ‘Everyone I Love is Dead’, Everything Dies’, and ‘World Coming Down’ dominating the track listing. The album wasn’t as well received as previous efforts, but it still fed the hungry waves of fans and the resulting tour led to Steele attempting to clean up his act. An interim best of album called ‘The Least Worst of Type O Negative’ was released while Steele focussed on himself.

“What asshole starts to drink and use drugs every day when they are 36 or 37? It’s a real F**king disgrace. I’m kind of shocked at myself, I’m embarrassed […] That slump of doing too much drinking and cocaine is becoming a thing of the past and I’m starting to get myself back a little bit.” - Terrorizer Magazine [http://www.casketcrew.com/media/terrorizer-interview/]

The band’s next album ‘Life is Killing Me’ showed that Steel was indeed getting back to his old self. Though dark, the album had the most humorous and playful feel than any album since ‘Origin…’ and ‘Bloody Kisses’, even including a cover of ‘Angry Inch’ from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The supporting video for ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Me’ made a modest impact on radio and TV play lists, but ultimately the band was left to tour to promote the album. This proved to be the last album released by Roadrunner under the contract Steele had signed back in the 80’s with Carnivore. The band parted ways with the label after European competitors SPV signed them to release the bands next album.

But another spell of silence befell Steele and co. With the band’s webpage proclaiming “Peter Steele: 1962-2005” On the interim live DVD ‘Symphony For The Devil’ and other interviews Steele explained that the length between releases was down to his incarceration in Riker's Island and "the psych ward at Kings County Hospital" at the hands of his family for his psychological and drug problems.

“I violated probation because you know due to drugs and alcohol and just having a case of like all I had to do was like show up once a month and put my hand into a fuckin machine […] I didn't show up for like six months and then I'm like so, let them come and get me and you know what? Bang! Bang! Bang! Is Peter there? Housekeeping!" - MK Magazine [http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/Blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=73285]

The album for SPV records followed soon after the DVD release. ‘Dead Again’ saw Steele once again working through his feelings, this time regarding drug addiction and betrayal (‘Tripping a Blind Man’), as well as his conversion to Catholicism (‘Ode to Locksmiths’), and opinions on abortion (‘These Three Things’). Unlike ‘World Coming Down’ however, Steele maintained his sense of humour and the album received a positive run with one of the highest chart positions since ‘October Rust’ as well as good radio and TV coverage of the band’s singles ‘Profit of Doom’ and ‘September Sun’. The subsequent tour received positive reviews for the newly sober Steele, and the band continued on supporting the album, in 2009 signing up for the Jaegermeister tour with fellow New Yorkers Hatebreed and 3 Inches of Blood.

“Apparently, when you’re drunk you don’t realise how badly you’re playing and how badly you’re singing. People have told me that I sound much better and I’m playing much better. I don’t really see it as much as other people do because I was drunk. But I realise that I was primarily responsible for almost destroying this band. The last five years of tours have been full of coke and alcohol and I didn’t think the thing was apparent […] If I’m fucked up, half the band’s fucked up […] So I’m trying to rectify the damage that I’ve done by just doing the best job that I can…” - Hardtimes.ca [http://www.hardtimes.ca/typeoOnegative09]
Steele’s new sense of optimism was unfortunately cut short on the 14th of April this year. The cause was widely reported as heart failure. Rumours of the front man’s death had flooded the internet but been met with scepticism after the infamous 2005 prank. However the news that Stele had died aged 48, was later confirmed by the other members of Type O Negative and soon tributes flooded in from friends, bands and fans.

Peter Steele was buried in Saint Charles Cemetary, Farmingdale alongside his parents.

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


Nerine Dorman said...

Many, many thanks for posting this two-part blog. I really appreciate it. I posted my own tribute to the man on Friday.

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