Sunday Old School: Remembering Type O Negative Frontman Peter Steele
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
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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