Thursday, 15 April 2010

Everything Dies: RIP Peter Steele

Peter Steele, singer, songwriter and bassist for Type O Negative, has passed away at the age of 48. As a long-time Type O fan, this is a very sad day for me and for their many fans worldwide.

It’s no secret that for a long time Peter (born 1962 as Petrus Ratajczyk in Brooklyn, New York) had been fighting depression and various substance abuse issues for a long time. Rumours started circulating on the web earlier this morning that Peter had died but I didn’t really buy it. Back in 2005 the big guy pulled a hoax by posting his picture and the years “1962-2005″ on the group’s website leading the world to think he had died suddenly. So, this morning, I hoped this was yet another twisted gag by the dark and brooding but humorous Goliath (he was 6ft 7 tall you know.) Sadly, it was not to be. In an e-mail to CBS News, the band’s manager Mike Renault later confirmed Peter’s death. He wrote, “Peter passed away last night. As of now it appears to have been heart failure. That’s all the details we have right now.”

I’ve adored Type O Negative’s dark, heavy-yet-melodic and blackly humorous music since the early 90’s when I first heard their classic epic song Black Number 1 taken from their 1993 breakthrough album Bloody Kisses, an album which also spawned the classic track Christian Woman. Bloody Kisses became the first album released by Roadrunner Records to go platinum. At that time there was simply nothing else quite like Type O Negative around. And there never has been since. They rocked out hard, their music usually doused in overblown goth/horror-style atmosphere mixing romance, sex, death, religion, doom and depression but always accompanied by a massive dose of irony that couldn’t help make you giggle. Type O Negative were one of the most unlikely bands ever to break in to mainstream music. And yet they did. Although mostly dark and heavy and doomy (leading to their nickname of 'The Drab Four') Type O’s tunes could also be infectiously melodic, catchy and most chucklesome. They made some immensly cool and unforgettable songs on their seven produced albums.

Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)
The Origin of the Faeces (1992)
Bloody Kisses (1993)
October Rust (1996)
World Coming Down (1999)
Life Is Killing Me (2003)
Dead Again (2007)

It is an understatement to say that Peter Steele was central to Type O Negative’s success and enduring popularity. His unmistakably deep, scary, brooding voice, his song writing talent as well as his imposing physical presence were utterly integral in making Type O what they were. His was a (literally) towering presence in the world of rock and metal music, an icon of the scene for the past two decades. And he will be greatly missed.

Sleep well, big guy. :(

Black No. 1 (Bloody Kisses, 1993)

Christian Woman (Bloody Kisses, 1993)

Everything Dies (World Coming Down, 1996)

My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend (October Rust, 1996)

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