Metal journalists and BLABBERMOUTH.NET staffers Keith Bergman and Ryan Ogle have released the following comments eulogizing TYPE O NEGATIVE frontman Peter Steele, who passed away yesterday of suspected heart failure:
"My first exposure to Peter Steele was as a college radio DJ, playing edited tracks from 'Slow, Deep and Hard' in 1991 and 1992. TYPE O NEGATIVE were one of a small handful of bands to completely unscrew my head and rearrange the brain matter within, taking a musical path I didn't even know existed and making it the most important thing ever. Their songwriting, their unconventional production choices (you can identify a recorded squeal of TYPE O feedback in 0.5 seconds, tops), even Peter's is-he-kidding-or-not caveman-offensive lyrical stances at the time — twisted genius. In a fit of adolescent pique, I played the unedited 'Unsuccessfully Coping With the Natural Beauty of Infidelity' (a/k/a 'I Know You're Fucking Someone Else') as my last song before my metal show was booted from the station's lineup.
"Later, I went backwards, exploring the hugely-underrated CARNIVORE albums, and caught TYPE O several times on tour. A bunch of us met Peter after a lackluster Detroit show reluctantly opening for THE EXPLOITED and BIOHAZARD ('I'm sick and I got a bunch of smelly fuckin' pissed-off punks staring up my nose' was his assessment of the gig), and his hulking presence and sandblasted dry humor were charismatic. A couple years later, when 'Black No. 1' became a hit and the band got relatively big, I might have been the fifth-most-surprised person alive (behind Steele and his bandmates, of course).
"They changed a lot from 'Slow, Deep and Hard' to 'Bloody Kisses', and made some less-drastic twists and turns after that, but I remained a fan, even if that meant standing in sweltering rooms full of Rubenesque goth chicks who cracked their gum and milled around confusedly until 'Christian Woman' started. I interviewed Peter a few times over the years, and no matter where his head or the band's fortunes were at, he was droll, blunt, sarcastic and considerate every time. I don't know much about what he was doing with his life outside of the band, and I don't wanna know — all of us are imperfect slobs, but only a few get to leave a mark on the world as massive as he did.
"In the musical overload of post-Internet 2010 life, TYPE O had faded into the background a little bit for me, but all it took was one teeth-grinding blast through 'Slow, Deep and Hard' this morning to rekindle that green-tinted haze and tap into that mad-at-the-world primal yowl and flint-eyed gallows humor. And that damn bass guitar tone! I don't think it's overstating the point to say TYPE O NEGATIVE permanently changed heavy music, or that they put Roadrunner Records on the map (pour out a little liquor, SLIPKNOT and NICKELBACK). It's gonna take years for most of us to realize how big his impact really was, and how much we've lost with his passing.
"Rest in peace, Peter, ya bastard, and thanks for giving us a soundtrack with which to rage against the gravitational constant."
"I first heard Peter's voice in '93 when 'Bloody Kisses' came out. Being one of 'those kids' (hair in my face, always dressed in black, etc.) in high school, TYPE O's brooding sound made them an instant favorite of mine. I had never heard anything that managed to blend darkness, beauty and comedy so well you couldn't tell one from the other. 'We Hate Everyone' and 'Kill All The White People' became tongue-in-cheek anthems of my teenage angst, while 'Bloody Kisses (A Death In The Family)' struck an entirely different nerve altogether (you can only imagine how the album's cover and the 40-second long female orgasm at the beginning affected me at that age…). A budding guitar player at the time, my focus naturally gravitated towards said instrument when diving into an album, but TYPE O NEGATIVE had an irresistible force that demanded your attention. That force was the 6'8'', vampirish baritone, Peter Steele. The dude had a voice like no other. His croon could scare small children and moisten crotches from miles away. Read his lyrics. Peter Steele was a poet, a comedian, a historian and one goddamned gifted lyricist. He was truly one of a kind.
"I never got the chance to meet Peter, but did know a few people who were close to him.
"During an interview for his band SEVENTH VOID, TYPE O guitarist Kenny Hickey was hardly at a loss for stories about his front man. Though not the focal point of the conversation, I remember the laughter that would follow any anecdote Kenny shared about Peter. The same rang true for many other people I've talked to that have encountered Mr. Steele. Be it fan, friend, musician or industry type, anyone that ever came across him seemed to take something from the experience. Whether his behavior erratic, comedic or anything in between, I got a laugh from every tale told.
"Like I said, I may not have known the man, but I loved his music and his passing will weigh on my heart; a sentiment which is surely echoed by the rest of fans.
"To Kenny, Johnny and Josh — I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and bandmate. May the music you created together live on as a tribute to him. We can only wonder what was coming next. To Peter's friends and family — I've lost enough people to know how annoying long, drawn out condolences can get, so I'll simply extend my deepest sympathies. And to Peter — thank you for sharing your music with us. You were a great songwriter and one hell of an entertaining performer. Wherever you are now, I hope it's a hell of a lot better then the place you left. Come back and see us sometime. You will be missed. You truly were one of a kind."