Thursday, April 15, 2010
My Thoughts On The Death Of Pete Steele
It goes without saying that the death of a prominent musical figure usually produces a tidal wave of people saying how much they always loved the band. I can't say that about Type O Negative but I can say that about Pete Steele. My introduction to Steele's music was in a giant room on the upper west side, the apartment of my then best friends Josh and Jason Diamond.
It was early 1990 and one of them had secured a tape of the "new Pete Steele" project called Repulsion. I remember thinking it was cool the tape was green but other than that I was kind of new to Steele and his music. One of the two put on the first Carnivore record and I flipped out. I remember the song "Carnivore" when Pete ended a line screaming "I LOVE TO EAT PUSSY" and I thought that this guy was awesome. I also dug his voice.
Then the Repulsion tape went in and I loved that music just the same. I really, really thought I was going to become a lifelong fan. Later Steele changed the name to SubZero but had to change it again because there was already a hardcore band with the same name who, ironically enough, I had been friends with for awhile. Once Type O Negative established themselves they released The Origin Of Feces which was pretty much the Repulsion tape.
As subsequent Type O Negative records came out I became less interested in the band. I know it's blasphemy but I just don't care about gothic metal at all. I could lie here and say that I had all their albums but I didn't, to be honest I didn't really like their style of music. I did go and see Type O live a bunch through the nineties because no matter what you thought of the music live the band kicked a lot of ass.
As the years went on I had the chance to meet Pete a few times, worked with the band on putting Type O music into the film Nosferatu as well as seeing a few Carnivore reunion shows. One of those reunion shows ended up with my sprawled on the floor after being whacked in the face with a large side of raw beef. Through all of that what I always liked about Pete was his honesty, his ability to show suffering in a genre that relied on everybody being a testosterone idiot playing fast.
If the genre called for fast, Pete played slow. While everybody screamed about satanic this and that Pete sang in a low drawl about love and Gothic chicks. Pete was king of giving the middle finger to what the "genre" wanted and doing his own thing. He also loved to fuck with people and his honesty about everything including himself was legendary. In a world and a genre so filled with ass kissing dickheads. Pete was a seven foot tall breath of fresh air. Let's also not forget the motherfucker could play an upright bass like a normal on with it looking weird.
Pete was harsher on himself than anybody else could be from his music to his body. Over the years he had cleaned himself up and returned to writing music, something that he was driven to do. Sadly everything caught up to Steele and he passed away from heart failure. There are so many people in metal that deserve to die Limp Bizkit, ICP, Phil Anselmo, the list goes on.
When a guy who really did move the genre forward gets taken from us like Pete or Dimebag it not only hurts us but also the music world. I hope Pete's looking down now, drinking a beer and laughing his ass off. I also hope he's tuning up a band with Dimebag, Phil Linot, John Bonham and all the other greats who are no longer with us.
RIP Pete Steele, you will be missed.