Wednesday, April 21, 2010


"PS: They’re going to dump me in prospect park lake Brooklyn and not even fuckin cremated. (Ha! Ha!) There going to put me on a meat slicer."

There is never gonna be another Peter Steele, that's for sure. His is a fascinating story ripe with great tunes on a winding-road of sociology that included both "deep shadows and brilliant highlights" indeed (to borrow a turn of phrase from the band HIM). 1st of all, How many 6' 7", born to sing Goth metal crooners out there do you know about? Over his musical career as a satirical button pusher, both in Fallout and Carnivore and then with the mighty Type O, Peter was truly an artist who was hell-bent on being an individual. Type O in particular were absolutely brilliant at blending their musical influences like Black Sabbath and The Beatles with their own flavor of melodic woe, soul searching and tongue-in-cheek black humor.
The most important vantage point from which to view Peter Steele and his art is by remembering that he was human, full of talents and flaws, a troubled soul like the rest of us who managed to make platinum selling music out of his unique, twisted sonic landscapes, doubt, pain and even...confidence. Pete could sound like the cockiest dude in the world on some songs and then the most vulnerable, sad person you'd ever heard...despite his insanely low and menacing voice, nonetheless!
I am very, very progressive politically, and while this would often make me question the taste or validity of certain Type O songs, I am a HUGE fan of the band. I am not an "apologist", but I will say that "Kill All The White People" is basically about racist black people, a basically much poorer-taste Brooklyn faux-racist version of "Guilty Of being White." Type O was always about saying "fuck you" to being "PC". When the rather heterosexual (to say the least) Steele found out that his famed Playgirl centerfold spread was mostly seen by gay men, he wrote the campy and ridiculously immature-mouthed "I like Goils" that talked about how he didn't want his poop poked, but Type O also covered "Angry Inch" from Hedwig & The Angry Inch on the same record! The band was not about catering to popular opinion and loved to push buttons, much like, say, Steve Albini in his Big Black days. Remember..."We Hate Everyone"! I have to say, I still always preferred the more serious or Gothy-fun side of Type O to these sort of songs, however, which is why OCTOBER RUST is my favorite Type O record by far.
As a music journalist, I was really hoping I would get a chance to talk with Peter when Type O made another record. I had a great time interviewing Johnny (drums) once for his newer band Seventh Void, and everyone I've met associated with Seventh Void or Type O has always been super fucking cool.
Looking at the band's catalogue or live output, there are so many moments that stand out. The warm and gloomy cover of "Summer Breeze" on BLOODY KISSES. The fun and again 'campy" yet emblematic hit anthem "Black No.1". The stunning "Wolf Moon" from OCTOBER RUST, maybe the most beautiful and hypnotic sounding best (and only) song ever written about having werewolf sex with someone while they have their period! (hmm...maybe Moonspell has a song like that too).
The live footage of Type O at Wacken Open Air that is on the deluxe CD version of DEAD AGAIN is nothing short of brilliant. Watching it again gave me goosebumps the other day.
I can remember playing "Angry Inch" really loud in a health food store where I worked and seeing an old lady turn white when Peter started talking about getting a sex-change. Awesome. We had to put on Yanni afterwards to pacify the customers!
The last few years as the national and international music scene grew even more and more fluff than ever before with cookie cutter "emo" bands who've never even heard of Rites of Spring, Fugazi or Team Dresch cluttering pop culture with the same bad haircut, I found myself returning to bands like life of agony and Type O from my earlier days as a metal head more and more. Granted, there are tons of killer bands out nowadays like Ava Inferi, Kylesa, Stray from The Path and Salome who are being themselves, but it also was cool to know every time I picked up a record of Peter's that he was going to make you think, throw in some startling twists and turns and use his real, insanely personal voice. I am a melodic singer. I love death metal and hardcore (and have interviewed many major artists in these genres) but I hate when say, "metalcore" bands all try and copy the same screaming style ad nauseum. Peter was always someone who reminded listeners you could fight hard and make it big by sounding like yourself. Fuck yeah.
There's a lot of contradiction within Type O at times, sure. The tray of LIFE IS KILLING ME bore the phrase: "Type O Negative is a non-prophet organization".
The following (and final album) DEAD AGAIN would find Steele unloading tons of baggage and grief following the death of his mother and a newfound faith in a Catholic God. Some of this was easily foreshadowed to fans on the song for his mom "Nettie" that appears on LIFE IS KILLING ME, a beautiful and very personal song Pete wrote to his mom hoping she wouldn't be ashamed of him.
Later on in interviews he would take his religious views to a new extreme, while still performing "Christian Woman" and other "blasphemous" songs live and begging for forgiveness before performing them. Why do it? I guess to be an example of 'sinfulness'? ,who knows. His band mates stuck by him anyway. The former atheist Steele even felt that God had spoken to him.

PS: But 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 fuckin Christianity. And that you are going to fuckin pay for what you say and that’s your ticket to death so. . .

Prior to this it is well known Steele had a rough few years from family deaths to prison for assault and acute paranoia from cocaine abuse. He had to spend time in a mental institution and let me tell you, that kind of shock, especially I can imagine after being such a big rock hero, is a lot of strain on a person. Despite DEAD AGAIN having some very conservative streaks in it like the anti-abortion "These three Things" (which also claims Zion must convert to Christianity or we're all fucked), it is still a great album, a snapshot of a struggling person. Peter enjoyed a long period of sobriety and was turning things around, it is said, towards the end of his life. Some people use God for that. That's fine. The ironic thing to remember here, and this is not an attack on Peter, but a hard that Catholics condemn a lot of rock n' roll people simply for being themselves and finding salvation or a path to sacred feelings or self-worth through rock music. That is bullshit. Music is just as valuable as religion and brings many more people together than stringent orthodox thinking. The Pope certainly wouldn't approve of Type O's music, but I sure do, and that is what fucking matters
I write this as a fan and not to be insulting, but rather that some of this controversy overshadowed the talent of Peter and Type O at times. The thing we should all keep in mind as music fans is that he was looking for answers just like you and I are, and that the full sweep of his music, whether you agree with all of it or not, is a testament to that.
Thanks for all the music, Peter. RIP. NYC and music were forever fucking changed.

I love that when Peter died no one was sure if it was real or not. THAT is so perfect for Type O fans, sad as the reality may be. But remember, "don't go there to mourn, but to celebrate...". On the bright side, maybe he has finally found some peace of mind.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Fear" Of A Black Rainbow

Current mood:om
my pal neesh wrote me yesterday and wanted to know why i tweeted an old flier. it was from 1st ever pitchfork militia woodstock show w shabutie/melancholy in '94. she also wanted to know more about Pat, the drummer of my first band Melancholy. Next year will be ten years since his tragic overdose. upon careful reflection i wrote neesh this back (with some minor editing for this blog):

Just an old flier.was trying to make point about how long we've all been@this & how sad drug shit was for the still hurt by coheed's conduct. i don't let it HURT me anymore as have embraced compassion, so i am not writing out of anger so much, but will always speak what i believe to be the truth. I don't NEED anything from them and am not asking for it, other than respect adn the truth. know you (neesh) and jtb666 (john the baker/eppard uncle/my hero) are well intentioned. only you & ern from weerd science ever said anything good about amp/crusher ws intierviews i did for josh after they came out.josh-just complaints...even after he + coheed never admitted my sis Cambria exists,stonewalled nate kelley for years & used my lyrics-"be the engineer"-in hearshot kid disaster song,a tune which i've performed 2x w them live back when i thought any day they'd admit it! best was when i intyd liam from the amazing dillinger escape plan for (in the archives section now) re-ire works & he was sad about chris leaving dep for coca & didn't know i was in a band w original shabutie drummer nate kelley at the time (PPSP)! irony is a dead scene for sure-speaking of which,on the subject of DEATH...i am one of only people who tried to save mic todd,a former band mate of mine (the electric ten inch) & a one time best friend-even after he scooped someone he knew i was madly in love w off me,his now ex wife-who i am friends w again. mic's own dad thanked me later & said "we almost lost mic"! "be the engineer" was fuse song (my old band: on error 404 comp i put out w shabutie on it! the 1st time they were ever on cd was due to me and my friend Tom Moretti! my real life sis cambria was called liar/whore by coheed fans just for telling stories to kids on message boards and no one stood up for her. coheed wrote her and said 'it wasn't meant to be weird"/ so tell the truth then!!!! coca all knew pat howland from melancholy, we all played shows every weekend together! & they saw me struggle w dope at age 16! read my book i will be scene. i even had a sci fi novel comic in fuse going back as far as 97 tying in w fuse songs (before them)!


they don't care about me or my family or truth. i loved & always have tried my whole fucking life to help us all rise. they never helped my old band divest like they always talked about, even though we also worked w doc from bad brains and had same applehead producers as coheed. dave parker from divest even quit the band to join coheed! dave/josh ALSO even asked me to try to help mic todd by doing an intervention about his drug use & i didn't know they were fucked up 2 (i later apologized to Travis for this)! meanwhile, DIVEST had written a full length album about my struggles with heroin GHOST TOWN RECKONING that these people were a part of or orbitting!!!!!! i am positive person but don't deserve/need this. i will be scene took me 15 years to write & not 1 word from coca about it! pat's story is in there as is mine & much of theirs.mic hasn't talked to me in 4 years despite my attempts.last thing i told him on phone was "i love you like a bro/please stop smack!" mic overdosed @ a7x/coheed civic center show backstage. have tried for years to extend olive branch to him, when it should've been the other way around.
sorry...just seeing JTB666 (who i have huge respect for and love) tweet about how coheed was all about "family", when they are named after someone from MY family and have stonewalled me, who helped them all the time for years in the early days, really made me sad. I love the guys from 3 (for example) and everyone in the scene and have no problems with 99.9% of people in my life except a truly small handful of people.everyone knows i am all about the love. i was even hapilly talking with travis and being civil for awhile/extending faith for a better outcome/healing and I sent him congrats when i heard the amazing news about them and peter david working on YOTBR together/i am proud of that for them! but i saw them a few years back at a boris show and said i wanted to get through our differences. they agreed. SO This is not an "attack" but still after all this time they still have never admitted one of my claims even after i tried to make peace and wrote nice things about coheed in a baroness AMP interview and several other major national articles. Mic still won't talk to me. I interview bands for free everyday trying to help the scene. I make no money doing so, not a cent! I have $60 to my name and my dad has cancer and thousands to pay in medical bills. I do this from the heart. Mic's "recovery" has become just more spin for the band when earlier his problem was so hushed up he almost died several fucking times. i find it hard to get enthused at the same old song and dance and sweeping of this shit under the rug.
it takes 5 seconds to tell the truth and is always better policy. i always credit everyone who influences me or try and keep the history of the scene true. i am sure i will always believe that is right. it's less about anger or money than the truth.lifers keep going at this out've faith and love and will never stop even when we are starving artists, so it's certainly not all about money, more about respect/the truth and the people who died fighting for the same cause that get no respect/are forgotten. that's my motivation. love ya all/even Coheed. This is still fucked, though.

then again:
"kali can be defined as the insight born of tragedy, catharsis and suffering. Kali's glance reveals to us the deeper meaning, transforming our lives. Yet Kali is not present only in suffering. Her SHAKTI represents the seasons of spring and summer as much as she manifests death and decay. Every transformation holds some of Kali's shakti. We need to embrace the power of transformation inherent in every moment. Ultimately embracing all life at the momnt of death brings us full circle with Kali's forces...the dilemma rests in that we only want to embrace the changes we enjoy and resonate with. This isolates us from the reality of transformation itself, drawing us into inertia and mediocrity. Kali facilitates all transformations, including those that are painful, thereby connecting us..."-Shambavi L. Chopra from YOGIC SECRETS OF THE DARK GODDESS.

so, i am embracing and feel fine./peaceful...but it isn't wrong to speak what i believe is true.
Currently reading:
Star Wars: The Truce at Bakura v. 4
By Kathy Tyers