MK Interviews

October 2, 2007

THE GATES OF STEELE: Alex Zander Catches up with PETER STEELE of TYPE O NEGATIVE

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I’m not about to get into the whole, this band needs no introduction scenario with Type O Negative again. MK has in one form or another had a relationship with the Brooklyn quartet since MK ULTRA’s inception in 1994. In the past 13 years a lot has changed about them, about us and about the world in general. But nothing has changed more drastically that the climate of the music industry. Through TON and the bands we, as a publication or for sake of a better term, entity, worked with before that time and till now and I can certainly say I enjoyed the fruits of the heyday which are long gone.

 

From my office window I see Virgin Records Mega Store on Michigan Avenue, and they are closing. Last year I watched as the once mighyt Tower records chain did the same. So there are signs not that the end is near, the end is here. Rock is dead.

 

And that is where Type O fit in and why the world they embrace and compose songs about makes more sense now than ever. Songs that say we are all human and we all make mistakes. We all bleed when we get cut and even the strangest of men can be reduced to tears. Some of us more than others.

 

The ban do just that on their latest offering, “Dead Again” which had just sold just over 22,000 copies prior to this interview, in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart.

 

In this revealing and personal and interview w/ my old pal Peter Steele he talks about the price of his shortcomings and of coming face to face with his sins.

 

Steele suffered cocaine-induced psychosis, went to jail for a month for violating probation, and did time in a psychiatric ward. “I’m pissed off at myself more than anything,” said Steele to Revolver Magazine, who has been clean for over six months at the time of the inerview. “I’m actually trying to kick myself in the ass, and nothing beats rehearsing three or four times a week at 160 decibels for three hours.”

 

While journalists have had fun as of late and done things such as expose Peter’s birth name in print or talked about the rumors and or details leading up to and concerning his personal fall from grace and subsequent arrest and rehab stint. We have chosen it is not relevant.

 

And so without going into details of his incarceration, Peter has been up front and brutally honest and apologetic for what landed him in jail and in rehab in the press. This is a place many artists would prefer not to go.

 

Our treatment is less of an interview and more of a couple of old dawgs catching up on life. A lot has changed since I met Peter and his band 13 years ago outside of Pittsburgh when they opened for Motley Crue. But one thing that hasn’t changed, is this bands unwillingness to compromise by making the music that they want, which is as evident as ever and that Peter Steele is one of the nicest gentlemen in the music business, as he always has been.

 

It was the day after Easter 2007 and I brought my girlfriend Shelly (a stunning scarlet haired Princess) and my good friend Jason Meudt a Type O friend and associate with me for my interview w/ Peter downstairs in a private room beneath Chicago’s famous Metro. Peter’s weakness for beautiful redheads and wine would work to my advantage as he sat between Shelly and I and paid a lot of attention to my girl, in a friendly way. It seemed that and I hope he was sincerely impressed.

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Alex Zander: I have got to say man, number one, to be as honest that you have been and open with your situation that you have been in, I’m impressed. Most people don’t address these things.
 
Peter Steele: Well you know the band is based on honesty.  Honesty and sodemy, you know it’s like ebony and ivory.
 
That’s the eight deadly sin, isn’t it.
 
I have to say that after doing many interviews and being very honest and expecting people to understand, not that I want pity or compassion but if it could happen to me it could happen to anyone and to be ridiculed by the people that were interviewing me  because no offense but my dream in life is to kill a journalist with a fuckin pen.
 
AZ: Wow, you said that in our very first interview. A big fuckin pen, Remember that.in 1994.
 
PS: Well I am consistent in some ways but. Human nature never fails to disappoint me that when you know when I was honest and I was not expecting sympathy or empathy I was like look I fucked up and that reason that I am saying this is because look it’s better to learn from my mistakes then from your own. I don’t want any of my fans to have to go through what I went through and I am not blaming anyone I blame myself. You want to blame someone go look in the fuckin mirror, it’s not the church, it’s not the schools, it’s not your parents it’s fuckin you man, everyone has a choice.
 
 
AZ: Well let me ask you this, I saw the interview with you and we put it on the website and you talked about. . .
 
PS: Is this the one with Carol Burnett?
 
AZ: Did you rip that shit up? I know you like the red heads…..This is bait. (Pointing to Shelly) “laughing”
 
PS: I am the master baiter. Let me tell you a funny story, really quick. Due to cocaine, when I was in a drug induced psychosis I was locked up in a fucking psychiatric ward and so when I was there the doctor’s go to me  and ask me what my drugs I choice are and I go you know cocaine, alcohol and red heads. Then like 25 fuckin Sigmond Freuds come in and they are like, they thought that I was talking about a new drug and I was like I am talking about women baby! You know 6 ft 4 with full breasts. You know IQ and you know double digits and what not.
 
AZ: (again, alluding to Shelly) Look at this cleavage will ya?
 
PS: You are a lucky man, I have to say.
 
AZ: Thank you, that’s the first time that you ever said that to me.
 
PS: Um I think I got that from an ELP song, oh what a lucky man he was.
 
AZ: But really I mean the experience, really I want to talk about a few things.
Jail, did you actually go to jail?
 
PS: I was in Reikers Island because I had violated probation.
 
AZ: So you went to jail and you’re a big guy, there’s always somebody that wants to fight the big guy.
 
PS: You know when you are going to jail when you are like 43 years old, it’s not like a high school territorial thing anymore, like unless somebody is in my face or touches me, like really touches me, I’m like what the fuck ever, I have nothing to prove because I knew that I was only in there for 30 days because there were guys in there that were in there for life and of course I was like one of 3 white people so of course I am like the great white dope, you know and some guys in there would be like hey man what’s the name of your band and of course I am like Type O Negative and they thought the I said Tae Bo! Tae Bo! Yo Tae Bo! Yo! Yo undertaker! Yo Tarzan! Tarzan! You know the worst thing was that um my mother was not doing very well and stuff.
 
AZ: Hey by the way I am sorry to hear about that.
 
PS: Thank you very much.
 
AZ: No, you know I thought about you a lot during that.
 
PS: So I was in jail and you get like one 8 minute phone call a day and that’s like where most fights come in. Yeah over fuckin telephone usage. So I every time I would speak to my mother I never knew and every time I spoke to her I never knew if I was going to speak to her again. So you know so that was like a real jail sentence for me. Thinking about what I was going to come home to but you know I have to admit that I got myself that, I violated probation because you know due to drugs and alcohol and just having a case of like all I had to do was like show up once a month and put my hand into a fuckin machine.
 
AZ: And you just didn’t show up once?
 
PS: I didn’t show up for like 6 months and then I’m like so, let them come and get me and you know what? (Bang! Bang! Bang! Is Peter there? Housekeeping!
 
AZ: And your mom was upstairs?
 
PS: Yeah! And so they took me out in chains.
 
AZ: I don’t know if this rumor or what because you tend to hear everything in the press but, then I heard that there was an intervention.
 
PS: There were many.
 
AZ: How hard is that?
 
PS: They were.
 
AZ: I mean did you just want to say fuck you?
 

PS: I mean there was one of like, that show, like that whole friends and family comes down. There was one of those. I have had people you know, friends, family, co-workers you know pull me off to the side and say you know Peter you are really fuckin up you got to do something, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah there have been many interventions but I am a very stubborn fuckin person and as you see I am drinking fuckin alcohol here, I’m not coked up because if I was this interview would of lasted fuckin 3 seconds because I would of answered all of your questions like, blah, blah, blah.  But um so you know I have to get rid of one demon at a time. You know I have two demons cocaine and alcohol and I guess red heads but don’t tell her. (again to Shelly)
 
AZ: She knows.

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Shelly, Peter and AZ

 

PS: Things are actually much better now, you know I am no angel but I mean I fall off from time to time but listen it’s better to do, and I am not justifying my usage by any means but I think it’s some what better to do I mean like maybe one gram like every two weeks then like 3 eight balls a day like for fuckin 2 years. I mean I can stick my fuckin finger up my fuckin nose and hit the back of my fuckin head. I have like burnt out my entire cranial cavity. I mean luckily I was not born with a brain to begin with so there was like nothing to lose. I mean I heard an echo in my head. It’s like hello, Merry Christmas!

AZ:So where did this translate into this record because it is night and day to the last one?
Number one I got to say the new label spared no expense and has done nothing but push this shit the way I wish Road Runner would of the last one.

PS: I have to back you up that they really did spare no expense and I think that they are doing a really, really great job and a lot of people think that we were dropped from Road Runner, we were not dropped, that wanted to resign us but under different conditions that were actually much worse then the previous ones. So rather than be a small fish in a big pond we became a big fish in a small pond. So this is call mutualism when 2 preachers or 2 organizations benefit each other by mutual respect so SPV wanted to break there label there German label here in the states and told us that we were going to be a priority.
 
AZ: Do you feel like a priority?
 
PS: With SPV, yes, and that was the motivating factor but as far as what has happened over the past couple of years I have learned from jail and rehab and being in a psychiatric institution, I’m still learning. But I think that I after my mothers death, I was born a roman catholic and I think that I have gone back to my faith. You know people ask me are you a born again Christian and I said no I am a dead again Christian I have always been dead. You I believe in Jesus Christ and God and the whole thing but you know I don’t shove it down anyone’s throat. You know it’s a very private personal thing and faith is really strong and I really want to see my mother and father again and also I can’t believe that somebody like Hitler and Mother Teresa are going to the same place after death. I can’t believe that.
 
AZ: If you give a shit and if you can give you two minutes of my time I want to tell you this, my mother that I barely knew in 40 years of my life. I met her when I turned 18 and I saw her at 25 and she really disappointed me, she passed like 2 years ago.

PS: I’m sorry.
 
AZ: And I was next of kin becuz she made so many fuckin mistakes in her life, I had to go claim the body and the life support thing and I took her ashes and I took them to Sedona Arizona, on the great vortex and she was Apache but she had never been to Apache land, man and I was like I just want to like put her home.
 
PS: You like gave her a great gift.
 
AZ: And I felt that I was at peace, although I never knew that women, I met her maybe twice in my entire life Pete but she was my mom. She your’s mom.
 
PS: Well that was a very beautiful thing I sure that there must have been a lot of feelings involved.
 
AZ: I poured tequila over it. And I said this is our last drink, baby. I had to do it that way, I couldn’t take her to Lake Michigan and dump her in the water there because that had nothing to do with her, she was a lonely but beautiful woman.
 
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.
 
AZ:So this record man, I was so glad when they sent me the fucking lyrics but it’s so hard to read them.
 
PS: Well that’s one thing that I have been specifying, not that my music or my lyrics are so important but that they go together. You know you really need one with the other and some of the songs are really fast.
 
AZ: As a lyricist though and how long these songs are they remind me more of anything that you have done of Morrison type stuff it’s not catchy pop, it’s not a pop feel to this record to this record at all to me. It’s a fuckin artist, heavy record there is not a. . . my girlfriends, girlfriend there’s not a, you know the one that I love you know on your last album, I mean. . .

PS: It was not intentionally singlable.
 
AZ: But you can read so much, I want to know what song of your latest record was the most personable to you and what you went through, what you got through this intervention, psychiatrist and the fuckin jail and all that shit.

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PS: I think the song, these three things because when I was very lost and I ask God what my purpose is because I quit because when you talk to God you are very religious, when God talks to you, you are a psychopath.  So now that I have heard Gods voice. . .
 
AZ: Thank you for clearing that up (Ha! Ha!)
 
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. . .
 
AZ: So this is Pete and not you trying to be the funny man, this is. . .
 
PS: I swear on my mother’s grave, I swear.
 
AZ:Thank you very much man. That’s truly fuckin awesome.
 
PS: That’s the only thing that I can say because if I say that I would never lie about fucking anything
 
AZ:  So you are saying that is your belief, to get in the habit, these three things?
 
TO: Plus you need a Neo city Metro card that cost $2. (Ha! Ha!) Oh I said these 4 things. (Ha! Ha!) Next stop heaven, watch the closing doors, bing! Bong! (Ha! Ha!)

AZ: How does Type O pick a single especially off this new album, I mean you can’t.

PS: That’s a very good question but. .  people think that it is watching the Wizard of Oz, you know that great Peter Steel. Pay no attention to the man behind the mic stand, you know the Oz. You know it goes through the record company, it goes through the management, it goes through the band, the band discusses it we squabble and the problem is that we have a habit of writing quit long songs and so how do you make a single out of a 14 minute fucking song?

AZ: Yeah but I think that is where you guys got your training.

PS: You make a double or a triple. That’s curtains for you see. (Ha! Ha!)

Jason: You know I have the greatest, you know I have the entire collection, not that I listen to those because I want to listen too. . .

PS: You had an erection, what did you say? (Ha! Ha!) You filthy pig!

AZ: I bet he does.

Someone eavesdropping: I want to listen to the entire version, I can’t listen to the radio edit. I have to hear. . .  but obviously you have to deal with radio and all that other. . .

PS: It’s an occupational hazard so to speak. . .

Some unknown guy talking again: It’s got to bug you though.

PS: I mean I feel that there is no really dignified way to make a lot of money, either you are exploiting yourself, someone or something. Luckily, I get to explote myself, so. .

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AZ: Over the years you’ve been involved with some bands and musicians that are very close to me as friends. You took out The Electric Hellfire Club, Thanatos, and Lycia. And as much as you liked them the audience I was told did not and that people were throwing stuff and that, and the people.

AZ: Yeah we got the hottest girls but also the most mindless fuckin jocks and they have no tolerance and throw stuff.

AZ: I’ve noticed with you it’s about loyalty and honesty and that’s what I have always appreciated, and by the way thank you after our first interview when you opened for Motley Crue in 94, when nobody would buy nobody would buy my fuckin interview and I was like I’m starting my own fuckin magazine and then it just and somehow there was a voice there and bam, it exploded.

Jason: I remember the first magazine, it had Peter on the cover. I was at the Vic Theater, Peter and Jesus.

PS: You know what is a really strange thing too, being like I’m not going to say a born again Christian but you know getting back to the faith again you know very strongly. A lot of the things that I have said in the past, I do have to say I regret and I do when I am on stage, before I perform, I do ask for forgiveness. But I like God you made a deal with me, I will make it worth your while.

AZ: That’s cool man.

PS: Because I’m just, people change. And it’s like what’s the difference between a criminal and a non-criminal? A criminal gets caught. I mean, I have gold platinum criminal records, I mean how many people can say that? I mean I get the big breaks.

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Type O Negative on CD

   

1991  Slow, Deep and Hard  Roadrunner

1992  The Origin of the Feces  Roadrunner

1993  Bloody Kisses  Roadrunner

1996  October Rust  Roadrunner

1999  World Coming Down  Roadrunner

2000 The Least Worst of Type O Negative Roadrunner

2003  Life Is Killing Me  Roadrunner

2006 The Best of Type O Negative Roadrunner

2007  Dead Again  SPV/Steamhammer

Type O on DVD

1998 After Dark Roadrunner

2006 Symphony for the Devil: The World of Type O Negative SPV/Steamhammer

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Websites: www.typeonegative.net and

www.myspace.com/typeonegative

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