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Sunday Old School: Remembering Type O Negative Frontman Peter Steele

Photo of Type O Negative

Band Photo: Type O Negative (?)

Given the tragic news posted earlier this week, it seemed not just fitting, but mandatory that this week we dedicate Sunday Old School to the memory of Petrus T. Ratajczyk, better known as Peter Steele, who passed away last Wednesday. Steele was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was the founder of the infamous crossover thrash band Carnivore, before going to achieve massive success with Type O Negative. Before that however, he was in a band named Fallout which also featured Agnostic Front drummer Louie Beateaux and future Type O Negative keyboardist Josh Silver. Fallout only lasted three years and in such time only released one record, a single named "Rock Hard" which was limited to 500 copies.

Beateaux would go with Steele after the demise of Fallout to form the band Carnivore in 1982, with a self-titled debut album being released in January 1986. The album was exceptionally well received and praised for its unrelenting speed and tongue in cheek humour, along with spawning such great songs as "World Wars III & IV," "Male Supremacy" and the title track. A second album named "Retaliation" would be released the following year through Roadrunner Records, which was once again critically praised. "Retaliation" would prove to be the bands last album however, as they split up soon after.

From here, Steele formed the band he is perhaps best known for, Type O Negative, which although labelled as a gothic metal outfit, mixed in many aspects of doom and thrash metal. The group released their first album, "Slow, Deep and Hard" in 1991, using alot of material which was originally meant for Carnivore. The album received mixed reviews, though music historian Piero Scaruffi would go on to call it "the greatest heavy metal album of all time." Type O Negative followed this release with "The Origin Of The Feces" which was designed to sound like a live album, dubbing in audience noises, banter and even stopping a song because the "venue" had a bomb threat called in. The album was less well received than "Slow, Deep and Hard" but the band would achieve massive success with their next album, "Bloody Kisses," which eventually reached Platinum status, becoming the first album from Roadrunner Records to do so. The album featured the popular singles "Black No. 1" and "Christian Woman" along with the controversial "Kill All The White People" and "We Hate Everyone." The band released two more acclaimed albums in the form of "October Rust" in 1996 and "World Coming Down" in 1999 before releasing a compilation album entitled, "The Least Worst Of." The group released their last album for Roadrunner, "Life Is Killing Me" which featured much shorter songs than previous albums, with the exception of the 7 and a half minute, "How Could She?" which is essentially a list of female television characters.

In 2006, Steele was incarcerated for a brief period for narcotics possesion and was sent to a drug rehabilitation centre. Following his sobriety, the band split with Roadrunner when they released a compilation album without seeking the bands permission. They soon signed to SPV/Steamhammer Records and released the album, "Dead Again" in 2007, which earned the band their highest spot on the Billboard album chart when they entered at number 27. The album spawned the singles "Profits Of Doom" and "September Sun" which were both made into music videos. It was also around this time that Steele decided to make a change in his life and began identifying himself as a Roman Catholic, believing his former atheistic beliefs to be closed minded. Type O Negative continued to tour the world and Steele also reactivated Carnivore, touring across Europe with a new lineup of the band, though no new music was recorded.

Both Type O Negative and Carnivore have since become legendary names in the world of heavy metal, owing to the cheeky but brutal style of the latter and the dark heaviness of the former, mixed with some morbid humour. With the passing of Peter Steele, it is unclear what the future holds for Type O Negative, as he was the bands primary composer as well as frontman. His death is not only a hard hitting blow for his fans, but for the metal genre in general. Having stood at 6ft 8 inches tall, it is no exagerration when I say that the genre has lost one of its true creative giants.

Carnivore - "Carnivore"

Type O Negative - "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend"

Type O Negative - "Christian Woman"

Type O Negative - "September Sun"

Peter Steele on the Jerry Springer Show

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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19 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Remembering Peter Steele"

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Tom_Himself's avatar

Member

1. Tom_Himself writes:

Top Score. A fitting tribute to one truly inspirational man.

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 11:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Cassandra Lynelle writes:

my heart goes out to you Peter Steele may you rest in peace metal brother

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 12:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
sepultura1987's avatar

Member

3. sepultura1987 writes:

RIP Peter
Thank you for the inspiration and creativity

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 1:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
DeathCrush's avatar

Member

4. DeathCrush writes:

RIP PETER STEELE! You are all probably laughing at us in Heaven now!

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 2:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. Chaz writes:

Well said. This man was my Hero, and a part of me has died with him.

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 2:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
WOLF7's avatar

Member

6. WOLF7 writes:

Excellent tribute, Oz, excellent.

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 3:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

7. brandedcfh420 writes:

DAMN OZ, THAT WAS ONE OF THE BEST ARTICLES I HAVE READ IN A LOOOOOOOONG TIME!! WELL DONE SIR!

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 4:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

8. wilco writes:

like allways oz you outdid your self again hail to you

a good tribute to peter
he will be miised

# Apr 18, 2010 @ 6:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

9. hellrat writes:

right on Oz man---nice work brother

....a true giant indeed, ol Pete sure was larger than life...

a true Tower of inspiration to his wide and varied audience....a real magic man

cheers Peter---and thanks!!!

# Apr 19, 2010 @ 10:14 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

10. Blindgreed1 writes:

Well done Oz... *gets himself another beer*

# Apr 19, 2010 @ 11:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

11. Diamond Oz writes:

Thanks for the feedback guys, it means alot! Glad I could pay a fitting tribute to the man.

# Apr 19, 2010 @ 11:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
marxianamarx's avatar

Member

12. marxianamarx writes:

Hi, im from argentine, thes best article i have see about pete, he deserves this and more, i cant continue my life fully since i notice this tragedy, wish i could do something better to show all the world what we have just losted. He was (and its) a giant not only musically but i think inside him. hail and farewell peter, thanks for the inspiration you won the heaven.

# Apr 19, 2010 @ 6:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathfreak's avatar

Member

13. deathfreak writes:

:(,,,, I still dont want to belive it. I want him to come out and say "Here I am" To bad that won't happen.

# Apr 20, 2010 @ 3:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. In Memory writes:

I was at a show in Dayton years ago to interview Danzig. Sitting in the hall at the arena backstage, on a couch - waiting. Door next to me had a big sign "Type O dressing room". Along comes Peter Steele. Walks past the door, up the hall - down the hall. Back and forth a couple times, then stops and asks, "Do you know where our dressing room is?". I chuckled a bit and pointed to the sign next to us. He just stares a moment, then enters the room. A minute later he comes out and asks, "Do you know where our couch is? There is supposed to be a couch." I just smiled and pointed down at the couch I was sitting on. Peter walked off mumbling ... comes back a few minutes later ranting about how the couch they requested would not fit through the door. Every once and a while I think of that night ... fondly.

# Apr 20, 2010 @ 6:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
kristinasativa's avatar

Member

15. kristinasativa writes:

Indeed,the best tribute .Thank you Diamond OZ.
It is just to sad.I want to celebrate his life.
But if i try i cry........

# Apr 22, 2010 @ 8:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

16. Blindgreed1 writes:

Awwwweee... *hugs kristinasativa*

# Apr 22, 2010 @ 8:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. aga-agnes writes:

Peter Steele Ratajczyk:After my mother passed away last year and a couple of other things happened, I pretty much got back to my faith. I was born Roman Catholic. Believe it or not, I go tot church on Sunday and I do read the Bible. But I don’t read it as a how to live your life book. I read it as if I have a question I can open any page. If you’re open minded you will get the answer from a passage. And you will get a different answer if you read the same passage but it will still be just as worthy. ““I went to confession for the first time in 30 years. And the priest was very happy that I had come back to church and stuff. I didn’t go into each and every sin otherwise he would have to take two weeks vacation (laughs). I said ‘Father I did wrong and I want o apologize to God for my behavior and I’m going to try for it to not happen again.’ It’s better to pay in this life then in the afterlife. "I have pretty much been instructed to say three things: One is that God will not be the man let the man be the man. That abortion is the killer of angels and I am guilty of that myself. And that peace on earth shall not come until this state of design has been converted to Christianity. And that you are going to f***in pay for what you say and that’s your ticket to death so. . ." "My mother always told me if I really didn’t wan to do something, if I was really tired, but if I had helped someone and I really went out of my way for them but I asked nothing for it, that I should donate my energy to the souls in purgatory—meaning that to give my goodness to those who are trapped. This is purgatory/limbo. This is a very Catholic thing that very few people really understand." “Ever since I have come back to my faith, such incredibly strange things have been happening. Ten times a day if I ask God for a sign, through numbers and letters I will get it. I believe that God speaks to everyone in a way that only that person can understand, but I have been enlightened…

# May 4, 2010 @ 5:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

18. Blindgreed1 writes:

^^^Please stop spamming our website.

# May 4, 2010 @ 6:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Just Another Fan writes:

I was glad to hear of Peter Steele having gone back to being christian. I myself am a christian Catholic, but also have been listening to Type O negative since Bloody Kisses came out. For me, it was like the man knew what I was feeling, and we've never even met. I only got to see him once live in concert in 2008 at the House of Blues, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was my voice for all the pain, suffering, and agony I went through in most of my youth. Being around a lot of family members, who are now dead and gone, and a girlfriend that had cheated on me. There were a lot of times where I thought of suicide and I would listen to Steele's Gravitational Constant song which fueld my emotions even more. The music of Type O Negative has helped me through some of my darkest hours where all I could think of was the wanting of death. Thank you for your music and creativity; and even though you never knew it, thank you for being there for me.

# May 12, 2010 @ 4:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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