On Tuesday, March 6, 2007, I interviewed Peter Steele of Type O Negative, a week before the release of “Dead Again” (SPV). It was only about a year prior that I had spoken with Peter for KNAC.com; but this time around, the site had assigned someone else coverage. I had no idea where I was going to take the interview, but the band’s publicist recognized my longtime support and agreed to let me speak with the charismatic frontman.
Type O Negative was the world to me; and that world was New York. Before I had first moved down to NYC from my hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, I had discovered “Slow, Deep and Hard” and was hooked. The strange song titles, the long slow pounding and the hardcore speed of their songs was baffling and exciting after years of radio glam-metal and terrible pop monsters. By the time I had moved down and settled in New York “Bloody Kisses” (RoadRunner) was out and I had seen my first show. As I struggled in the City trying to survive, Type O was right there providing the soundtrack.
I first met Peter at an autograph signing. Some store, now long gone. There was a line down the block and all these cool metalheads and goth chicks were there. The band arrived in a hearse, complete with circus performers – a fire eater, a juggler. I had just come from some important meeting at work and I’d worn a suit; when I finally got to the table where the band was signing, Peter looked at me and said, “Thank you for dressing for the occasion.” After signing my cds, he gave me a little bag of candy corns and fake vampire teeth, (which I think he had only been giving the girls). One thing I had always cherished about Type O was their mad sense of humor and I thought this was pretty funny, even if the joke was on me.
One of my favorite memories about seeing Type O Negative were the shows they did at Roseland. They ended with the band leaving the stage, with the guitars feeding back into the amps; only to return with rolls of toilet paper which they hurled at the crowd. After the house lights came up all the Goths and metalheads were still there throwing toilet paper rolls into the air. Type O, New York City. Cool.
Ten years later, I had found my calling and there I was talking to Peter on the phone. At this point I had written about Type O for KNAC.com,Metal Edge and Terroizer. I’d interviewed all of the members of the band (Johnny, Kenny, and Josh Silver – in the ladies room at Irving Plaza) and had seen them a bunch and even run into them at other shows. But I had never spoken to Peter. The band had recently signed to SPV and was promoting the “Symphony For The Devil” DVD. It had just snowed in New York the day before – a near-blizzard that melted away in about 24 hours. The interview went really well as Peter joked about shoveling his walk and yelling at people: he was in a great mood.
So a year later, when I’d had the chance to speak to Peter, I was excited and thought it would be light and fun. At the time, I was especially looking forward to it because I needed the cheering up. I was going through some kind of late-30s crisis that was exacerbated by having to move home for a short period to look after my mother (who had been hospitalized). But the Peter I spoke with wasn’t superficial – he never was. During the interview we went to some dark places and it affected me. He had just gone through so very much in his personal life – and instead of him just joking his way through thirty minutes of silly questions about song titles, Peter gave me two hours and we covered a whole lot more.
When I had finished speaking to Peter I reviewed the tapes. There was a sadness on there I wasn’t ready to deal with, and frankly didn’t know how. The band was about to go out on tour and it just didn’t seem right. As I had so much going on anyway, I put it aside and left it alone. When I learned about Peter’s passing last year, I considered putting out the interview; but there were so many tributes pouring out I just wasn’t sure what to do.
After listening to the tapes for the first time since the interview, I decided to share it. The interview remains intact, with no omissions. It runs from whimsical and upbeat to dark and foreboding and back to whimsical, because that was the man that Peter Steele was. There are moments of complete self-indulgence – I read Peter a review I had written about Carnivore – and downright silliness on my part that would have been edited for a mainstream publication; but overall it’s a thing to be cherished and something I want to share because Type O meant so much to me – and I know how much they meant to a lot of people.
For what it’s worth, this is the “lost” interview with Peter Steele. I could never say that I knew the man, but I was glad for the time I got to share with him.
Audio 1 : Greetings from Peter.
ROCKSALT.MX: Hello, may I speak with Peter, please?
PETER STEELE: (extra-deep voice) I AM PETER.
ROCKSALT.MX: How are you, Peter? It’s Mick Stingley.
PETER STEELE: How you doin’ brother?
ROCKSALT.MX: I’m good thanks. Thanks for making the time. I just want to check the levels real quick if you don’t mind.
PETER STEELE: Where you callin’ from, bro?
Editor’s note: It is here that I stopped the tape briefly to make sure the conversation was being recorded and we were coming in loud and clear.
PETER STEELE: (garbled) I don’t want to know my future.
PETER STEELE: It’s like being thrown into a fuckin’ volcano or something.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I take it you’ve been doing a ton of press, are you ready to go? Shall we begin?
PETER STEELE: Of course!
ROCKSALT.MX: Speaking of knowing your future, shall we jump right to this – the 99942 Apophis Asteroid – figures into your lyrics.
PETER STEELE: Oh, yes. The, ah, “rock star.”
ROCKSALT.MX: I want to jump right into that for “Profit of Doom” because, well, the last time I had the pleasure of speaking with you was literally a year ago.
PETER STEELE: Okay.
ROCKSALT.MX: And you were getting ready your song ideas for the new album. Not the album is not called “The Profits of Doom” but you do actually have a song…
PETER STEELE: Yes.
ROCKSALT.MX: Would you like to talk a little bit about the lyrics to this?
PETER STEELE: Well, let me ask you: do you have a copy of the album and the lyrics?
ROCKSALT.MX: I have a copy of the record which I’ve had since January – and I’ve been loving it by the way – and I have the lyrics in front of me.
PETER STEELE: Good. Because a couple of the other interviewers did not, which highly agitated me.
ROCKSALT.MX: I’m sorry to hear that.
PETER STEELE: Because it’s just, you know, because the lyrics… is… are the only possible way I can make a total fucking fool of myself. And if you don’t have them, then the joke’s over.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I’m here to let you make a fool of yourself.
PETER STEELE: So, um… I guess you could say that I’ve had kind of a rebirth, pertaining to my faith. I was baptized a Roman Catholic and I guess there are no atheists in foxholes and at four hundred and forty-five years old I guess I’ve realized my mortality and I’m like, “Oh man, maybe I should start believing in God” because from a mathematical point of view I have like one chance out of four of, you know, getting into Heaven. I just hope that those harps are tuned down a fourth, that’s all.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I don’t make a habit out of asking artists to decipher their lyrics because I feel that – I sort of take it on faith that there’s a certain amount of poetic license and input and most people seem to like to leave that to interpretation.
PETER STEELE: Well, I feel that I was kind of direct, due to my re-found faith. It’s a funny thing, when you talk to God, you’re religious, but when he talks to you, you’re a psychopath. So, you know, I’ve had a lot of changes in my life and I’ve asked for guidance and I’ve gotten it. And, you know, being that I’ve been feeling, kind of, worthless and useless in this world lately… like, “Hey, God – make me your tool. Just please not a dildo.” It’s like, “Hey, Pete, you fuckin’ asshole. You asked for it, you got it. You’re gonna be the mouth of God.” – “But I fuckin’ stutter!” – “That’s why I’ve chosen you! Because I love my lost little lambs the fuckin’ most. But you’re not a lamb.” – “What am I? A fuckin’ wolf or a fuckin’ goat or whatever?” – “No, you’re a shepard.” – “I’m a shepard? Oh, like thy rod and thy staff?” And I look down at my crotch and I’m like, “Right, I got it! Thanks God. Thanks.” – “Well, your mother didn’t name you Peter for nuthin’.”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) So you’re a shepard?
PETER STEELE: Well, actually, you know, ahh… some are called, very few are chosen. And I believe that one of the important messages on this album is that God will not forgive man until man forgives man. Even if you’re not a Christian, if you’re a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist or you’re into Communism, botulism, fascism – I don’t care whatever the fuck it is – I don’t care. Listen man, you’re on this fuckin’ rock going around the Sun, 93 million miles away, depending on apogee and perigee, just make each other fuckin’ happy, just a little bit. Why you gotta be a scumbag to each other. And that’s it. But forgiveness is a very hard thing.
ROCKSALT.MX: Do you… do you – regarding the asteroid, specifically – this “near-Earth” asteroid – I had to look up – I’m reading off Wikipedia right now, online -
PETER STEELE: Okay. I hate Wikipedia. That’s a fuckin’ rumor-mill.
PETER STEELE: That’s really all it fuckin’ is. It’s like, okay – it bends your comment – like every jerkoff in the world with a fuckin’ computer puts their, like IQ-in-double-digits opinion – and I have a right to speak because I have an IQ in single digits, but’s it’s a negative IQ.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Well, ah… be that as it may, what was the significance of tying that in to your recent, shall we say, epiphany?
PETER STEELE: I guess that, um, I just have a feeling that this asteroid coming toward Earth, which is of course, going to come very close on Friday the 13th, and, you know, what a fucking great day. And if mankind does not change its’ ways… the thing is, it’s not going to hit the Earth. There’s no way. What’s going to happen is that it’s going to hit the fuckin’ Moon. You want to talk about a science fiction movie? What if, like, the Moon shatters? And every fucking idiot is standing outside their house with their mouths open? “Wow! Look at that! Look at that!” It’s like, you’d better run motherfucker because when those rocks hit the fuckin’ atmosphere the gravitational constant is gonna turn those rocks into molten lava! So go get your fuckin’ World War II fuckin’ helmet on and hide in the basement. But you are doomed.
ROCKSALT.MX: So it’s…
PETER STEELE: I’m just like, really into Revelations and the Apocalypse. Actually, I do read the Bible. And the Bible is just one big metaphor. You really can’t take it literally. But if you read it each person will get something out of it. Take Adam and Eve. Eve, she didn’t give Adam the fuckin’ apple – that’s the fuckin’ metaphor. Adam raped Eve and the product of their disgusting union was Satan. And God’s like, “Yeah, you can eat from that tree, that bush, eat the fuckin’ antelopes – whatever you want, just keep the fuck away from that tree. Because that’s a crabapple tree and there’s worms in the fuckin’ apples.” And Adam’s like, “Hey Eve – psst, psst – come here!” You cut the apple in half, what’s it look like? A fuckin’ vagina. Oh, the snake tempted Eve? What the fuck is that? How stupidly Freudian can you get? It’s a big fuckin’ penis. “I shall smite you upon the eel.” Hey man, if you really want to take a bit outta me, go for my balls!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Do you ever feel that, as somebody who accepts a certain amount of science, that… (pause) well, is that why you feel the metaphors in the Bible are exactly that? Do you interpret…
PETER STEELE: I am very into science. I love chemistry. I love physics. I love mathematics. Because once you learn how things work, you can make them not work. All right, I don’t want to get into that, but one of my heroes is Tesla.
ROCKSALT.MX: Not the band of course.
PETER STEELE: No. Edison ripped him off – not Con Edison – but, you know, the other fucking idiot, Westinghouse, ripped him off, stole all his ideas. A maniac. He was great.
ROCKSALT.MX: You, ah… you’re been doing quite a bit of press. I’ve got the new Terrorizer, from England, and you’re perceived in the feature…
PETER STEELE: It’s hard to fit a size fifteen boot into my mouth, so what did I say now?
ROCKSALT.MX: Ah, I don’t know – I always like what you have to say. You’re certainly entertaining and you’ve got a great sense of humor – as do all of your band members there. This just has a picture of you holding up an apple in your left hand, and you’ve got your middle finger and index finger extended in a sort of, ahh… I wouldn’t say it’s quite a peace sign, but the title of the article is “The Great Deceiver.”
PETER STEELE: Well, it’s like: I come in peace, but you leave in pieces! I do not come in the name of the lamb of God, I come in the name of the lion. JC’s coming back. You know the fuckin’ hippie with the long hair and the sandals? He’s pissed off, man. And like, I’m not here to convert you or criticize or to condemn. I’m just here to say that there’s a rock coming your way – our way. And if you don’t stop the fuckin’ shit your doin’, you can get rid of all your fuckin’ science fiction movies. Because the end of the world is going to be fucking glorious and I will be right there.
ROCKSALT.MX: And how do you feel about it personally?
PETER STEELE: Like… “Hurry up! C’mon, man – Armageddon the fuck outta here! C’mon! Let’s go! Giddyup! Chop, chop!”
ROCKSALT.MX: What would be next, though, for you? Would you really, seriously be looking forward to that? Do you feel that you’ve done all that you want to do on the planet?
PETER STEELE: I actually feel that what’s going to happen in the near future is – because of the conflict in the Middle East – I mean, I am anti-war, but I am pro-soldier. Like these kids, eighteen, twenty, twenty-two years old, don’t even know what the fuck they’re fighting for. I sympathize with them. But it’s like, you know, if the United States wants to be the world’s police department, and everybody hates cops, well, that’s why the World Trade Center came down. Fuckin’ assholes! We have enough problems in this country to deal with. It’s their fuckin’ business! My solution is: give the Palestinians and the fuckin’ Israelis one nuclear weapon each. Okay? Let THEM fuckin’ solve their problems. All right? We got enough bullshit right here in Brooklyn.
Audio 2 : Bullshit In Brooklyn.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) What is some of the bullshit going on right now in Brooklyn for you?
PETER STEELE: What was that?
ROCKSALT.MX: What is some of the bullshit in Brooklyn these days?
PETER STEELE: What’s some of the bullshit in Brooklyn? There’s a huge parking problem. I mean, I gotta drive around for a fuckin’ hour and a half lookin’ for fucking parking. Which very much disturbs me, so I put very big tires on my car and just park on top of other cars. But then if I park illegally I get two tickets. Which I feel is fair.
ROCKSALT.MX: How do you feel about the changes going on, the sort-of “yuppification” if you will, in Williamsburg and Park Slope and other areas?
PETER STEELE: The gentrification you say?
ROCKSALT.MX: Gentrification; that yuppie-style of… is it good, is it bad? Notwithstanding where Duff’s is, but…
PETER STEELE: The thing is that life is all about adapting to change. But I’m a Groucho Marxist. And his motto was, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” So I’m against it. No matter what it is, I’m just against it.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) What are you for, then?
PETER STEELE: Ahh… what am I for then? Five.
PETER STEELE: I’m against anything that’s against me.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Good enough. The last year or so working on the record – and you’ve said as much, yourself – that you’ve got a new, positive outlook. Has that changed somewhat? Or has…
PETER STEELE: I really do hate to admit that, but this is probably like, the most positive Type O Negative album. I guess it’s like all those vitamins and Omega 3 fish-oil fuckin’ tablets I’ve been taking. I don’t know. Maybe. But I’ve been eating like a lot of lead paint lately. So that’s probably helping me, too. I don’t know what’s going on.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) What are some of the questions that you’ve been asked repeatedly over the last four weeks on these press junkets that you don’t want to answer?
PETER STEELE: Ah, pretty much everything that you’ve asked. No, I’m just kidding you! No, it’s pretty much, “Pete, when did you start playing bass?” – One string every eight years, and I’ve finally mastered it, okay? Do the math.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I notice that a lot of people have been talking about the length of the songs and I kinda want to go in the other direction and ask why are the songs so short?
PETER STEELE: Well some are short, some are long.
ROCKSALT.MX: This is true.
PETER STEELE: And this, you know, I’m like Slavic, I’m Polish – so I’m like a Bi-Polack. It’s depending upon my mood swings. All right, we’re gonna play hardcore songs for two and a half minutes, or I’m gonna get depressed and write dirge for two and a half fuckin’ centuries!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Did you do any editing before the record and take any songs down in length?
PETER STEELE: Actually I believe that there are physical limitations that are applied to the CD. I think they’re like, guaranteed to like, seventy-nine minutes fifty-nine seconds, something like that. So I feel that our fans have been really, really good to us and so we tried to give them more bang for their fuckin’ buck. You know? So, you know, this CD is like seventy-five fuckin’ minutes and then people go, “Why did it take three fuckin’ years?” And I’m like, “Why did it take three years? Because I was in jail.” I was in a psychiatric institution, I was in rehab, I got kicked out of my house – I was living in a cardboard box but it was very nice, it was insulated. But the thing is, you’re getting eighty minutes worth of fucking music. Now look at fifteen years ago. Bands used to come out with a forty-minute album every year and a half. This is three years – you’re getting eighty minutes! You’re getting the price of one album for two! So shut the fuck up, you cheap bastard! Fuck you! Don’t buy the album! Eat shit, motherfucker, I hate you!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Do you feel that your record company shares that view?
PETER STEELE: Ahh… they don’t know what to think of me. Pretty much. SPV – I call the “STD” because that’s what I know best.
ROCKSALT.MX: Regarding your record company and the first single, it seems that you’ve chosen “These Three Things.” To be the lead single.
PETER STEELE: I really, like, can’t believe that, to like, edit a seventeen hour song down to four minutes and thirty seconds – I’m like, “What?” You know, talk about trimming the fat.
ROCKSALT.MX: So there’s an edit of that song coming?
PETER STEELE: There’s gonna be mutilations all over the place, on every song I’m sure. I’m like, okay – I’m gonna keep outta this single fucking department. You know? Because I don’t really… if you want to make me into a human dildo and fucking exploit me “Oh, poor me!” You know what? I’m laughing all the way to the sperm bank. I don’t care. “Fuck you!”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Um… “Dead Again” is a fantastic song. And it leads off the album…
PETER STEELE: Thank you.
ROCKSALT.MX: You’ve got, uh… I don’t know, Peter, it’s difficult for me. With Type O Negative, every time I think I’ve got a favorite song, you come out – well, four years later – you come out with a new record…
PETER STEELE: You talking about my criminal record?
ROCKSALT.MX: I’m not! But if you want to, you’re welcome to.
PETER STEELE: I could talk about that, too.
ROCKSALT.MX: I don’t know much about it. I only know bits and pieces. And I think it’s none of my business, but if you want to share that… you’re welcome to.
PETER STEELE: Yeah… I, I accidentally punched somebody in the face fifty times.
ROCKSALT.MX: Fifty times?
PETER STEELE: Yeah. So I have an E Felony. But I’m a really nice felon.
ROCKSALT.MX: Was this over a parking-related problem?
PETER STEELE: Um, I think it was a food dispute.
ROCKSALT.MX: It was a food dispute? Did somebody eat off your plate?
PETER STEELE: Ahh… no, it, of course, had to do with a woman. But let’s just leave it at that.
ROCKSALT.MX: Fair enough. Uh… “Please make me smile/if you learn from my trial/Baby I’ll pay the price/maybe saving your life for ya”…
Audio 3 : Learn From My Mistakes.
PETER STEELE: Right. So learn from my mistakes then learn from your own.
ROCKSALT.MX: Are you learning from your own mistakes?
PETER STEELE: Ahh… slowly. I mean… honestly, I’ve had a problem with cocaine and alcohol. The coke is… pretty much out. You know? I still drink; but from time to time – rarely – I dabble in coke. And I always, like when I wake up the next morning… I have this huge sense of shame. And I feel like “I died last night.” Like I took a part of my life away – it’s just like slow suicide. So – learn from my mistakes.
ROCKSALT.MX: Fair enough. What, um… what was good about doing coke?
PETER STEELE: What’s so good about coke?
ROCKSALT.MX: Yeah. I don’t – I’ve never done it, so…
PETER STEELE: Oh, man. It totally superceeds endorphins. L dopamine, serotonin… it goes right to the brain. It, it… you know, it’s like, uhh… I don’t know. It’s like an influx of fucking concrete into your fuckin’ head. I mean, at first – yeah, it feels great when you have serotonin and l dopamine and all the other, like, feeling-good chemicals running around in your fuckin’ head. But I didn’t destroy all of my synapses, I have, like, no frontal lobe – my cerebellum is gone! I keep lookin’ for it, but… so… when they say “Coke is it,” I’m like “Diet Pepsi’s better!”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Ah… now you’re going back a bit to “World Coming Down” which seems to me is an under-rated record.
PETER STEELE: It was actually quite brutal, that album. Because it was really honest.
ROCKSALT.MX: Aren’t all of your records honest, though?
PETER STEELE: Yes, but… I mean… it was blatantly honest and the thing that it lacked was a sense of humor. There were no puns or funny, sarcastic bullshit: it was just like, devastation. Like walking to the gallows and trying to write an album and you have two and a half minutes before the hangman puts a fucking noose around my neck. I’m like, “Well, I’m a size eighteen!”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) But, I mean, out of great suffering… comes great art. I mean, “Everything Dies” – what a tremendous song.
PETER STEELE: Well, art is quite subjective. Like I love to make fun of art. I’d like to take a shit and insert it into a cube of lucite, plastic, and sell it for a hundred thousand dollars. Why is it art? Because I thought of it first, that’s why!
ROCKSALT.MX: It’s not too late – Paul Stanley’s selling his paintings in Hawaii.
PETER STEELE: Is it art?
PETER STEELE: It’s simply a personal fucking expression. I love meeting people who go, “I’m an artist.” What bullshit.
ROCKSALT.MX: Isn’t music a form of art?
PETER STEELE: Or – “I’m a painter.” – “Oh, how many rooms do you do a day? Two coats?” – “You’re a asshole!” – “I’m not a asshole, I’m AN asshole! And fuck you bitch, I’m impotent anyway!”
ROCKSALT.MX: Well, if you are, it doesn’t come across in your music. Some of these songs are, shall we say, uh, penetrating…
PETER STEELE: Ahh… I really feel that, like one of my greatest joys in life is to laugh. Because every time you laugh, you’re kicking the reaper in the fuckin’ nuts. And that’s why we are the only species who laughs, because we realize our mortality. You don’t see elephants walking around – okay, maybe hyenas – but they’re just fake laughing. Coyotes, muskrats? They don’t laugh. I laugh because I know I’m gonna die. The sooner the better.
Audio 4 : Laughter and Mortality.
ROCKSALT.MX: I don’t think it would be better.
PETER STEELE: I go outside in thunderstorms with a fuckin’ iron rod a hundred feet tall, “Come on man! Come on! What the fuck?”
ROCKSALT.MX: I feel like you’re changing your tack your optimistic groove that you were in last year.
PETER STEELE: I am quite optimistic.
ROCKSALT.MX: You’re quite optimistic? Even though you would welcome the, sort of, the lightning rod?
PETER STEELE: No, but I love to tempt fate.
ROCKSALT.MX: Ah, okay.
PETER STEELE: I love to… like true fun means taking fucking chances. Like what is more fun than the possibility that you may get killed?
ROCKSALT.MX: Okay. What chances did you take with the new record?
PETER STEELE: Well… uh… we tried to run away with the budget. What chances did we take? Well, I looked at the whole thing as, instead of me writing all the songs and just coming down to the band and saying “Play this, play that” – let me just walk into the studio and just jam on certain parts and write the songs then and there. So that was that chance.
ROCKSALT.MX: I interviewed Kenny about a month, month and a half ago…
PETER STEELE: I’m sorry.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) No, it was very entertaining. He said that the first song you guys really started out with was “September Sun” and it was just an extended jam that went on and on and on until it became what it is.
PETER STEELE: Yeah, and that’s the song I wanted to leave off the album.
ROCKSALT.MX: To leave off the album?
PETER STEELE: I wanted to leave it off the album. I’m like, “Oh, it’s too fuckin’ sensitive.” You know? Feathers and fuckin’ frills and doilies and shit. The Golden Girls are gonna love it! It’s like I can’t even get my dick hard anymore! What do I care if the girls are gonna love it?
ROCKSALT.MX: Did you feel that it didn’t suit Type O Negative, or was it because you were coming off the tour with Carnivore and you were feeling a bit more aggressive?
PETER STEELE: I honestly felt that I had exposed too much of myself in that song. Vulnerability. It was… it was… quite personal. For me. And when I hear it back, you know, I can’t believe I said that. It’s just… you know.
ROCKSALT.MX: But you’ve crafted an amazing song. I’m surprised they didn’t want to edit that and make that the single.
PETER STEELE: Oh, they will. There’s no doubt about that.
ROCKSALT.MX: Oh, okay. Are there songs that when you look back at the bulk of the work you’ve done with Type O Negative that you have that same feeling with?
PETER STEELE: That I regret?
ROCKSALT.MX: Yeah. Any regrets for Type O?
PETER STEELE: Well… looking back I would like to have done certain things differently, but – it’s really strange. Our albums come out like every two or three centuries… and as I’ve grown through the Millennium, it’s a reflection of the person that I was at the time. So it’s almost like looking at a photo album, but like Charles Manson’s photo album. I’m like “Holy Fucking Shi-ite!” So, you know, yeah – if I could – but that’s the person that I was at the time. So I have to live with that.
ROCKSALT.MX: I can’t imagine it would be all that difficult to live with, you’ve got an incredible body of work. I’m sure your fans would say so.
PETER STEELE: It’s really… it’s not difficult, but it, um… my life has changed quite drastically over the past few years. And when I listen to these albums back, it’s like – the strongest sense in the human body is the sense of smell. If you smell something from your childhood it’s going to evoke a billion memories that are going to overwhelm you. But when I hear these albums back, it’s like that. I think about where I was at the time and I think about who I was with – and who I am no longer with. So it’s really hard to listen to this stuff back.
ROCKSALT.MX: Is that – does that have an impact when you choose a set list?
PETER STEELE: Actually, there are some songs that I cannot play. Because no one wants to see a fuckin’ six foot eight fuckin’ vampire cry on stage. The band really wanted to play the song “Nettie” which is… which is about my mother. She passed away about a year and a half ago. And I was like, “Listen, man, I can’t. I just fuckin’ can’t. Can’t play it.” Music is… I feel, it should be all about passion. Like really feeling it and playing what you feel. And I really feel that song. And I just… I cannot.
PETER STEELE: It’s a great song. But I don’t care if it’s a fuckin’ great song or not, it’s something that I really meant. And I just can’t, man. So stop fuckin’ asking me! I have no choice – I can’t, I can’t do it! It’s not that I won’t do it – I can’t. Move on.
ROCKSALT.MX: In that same context, are there songs that you play over and over that you get sick of?
PETER STEELE: Well there are songs that we always have to play. Due to popularity: “Black No. 1,” “Christian Woman,” “Love You To Death”… I mean, I’ve played “Black No. 1” I would imagine, over a thousand fuckin’ times. Probably. You know, it gets a little boring, but you know what? People pay to get into a fuckin’ show… I’d rather let them in for free, but charge them to get out. So if they want to hear “Black No. 1” and “Christian Woman” and all the fuckin’ stupid standards, well, okay, fine. It’s part of my job, you know?
ROCKSALT.MX: Do you expect the same thing, as a spectator, when you go to see a band?
PETER STEELE: There have been times that I’ve gone to see bands that, um, I was really disappointed when they did not play what I really wanted to hear. I mean, how would you feel if you went to see Black Sabbath and they didn’t play “Paranoid?” I’d want my money back! Even if I scalped the tickets – gimme back my seventeen dollars and fifty cents! Like the worst fuckin’ seats at Madison Square Garden and you can’t hear a thing anyway because of the PA system. So I try to look at it as if I was a fan of the band – which, I’m not that insane, but if I was – what would I want to hear? And after putting out six or seven albums, whatever, that’s over ten hours of music and we’re gonna play ninety minutes on stage. So we have to pick shit off of each album, whatever the fuck it is, and try to fill up ninety minutes with garbage. It’s like, you know, if you have a really huge load of laundry and you try to stuff it into a washing machine, you know, it doesn’t really get clean because you overload it. That’s the visual concept of a fuckin’ Type O Negative show.
ROCKSALT.MX: It’s been suggested that you don’t like to play new material from an album until it’s been out a while and digested a little bit.
PETER STEELE: The thing is, it’s my policy – and I love using that word because when you say, “It’s my policy,” people stop and go, “Oh, okay.” – But also, “Whaddya mean it’s your fuckin’ policy? Play the fuckin’ new shit ya jerkoff!” and I’m like, “Nooo!” I don’t want to play new shit because, getting back to Black Sabbath, I remember seeing them at Madison Square Garden, August 27th, of 1979, with Josh. And Van Halen opened for Black Sabbath. And they played some songs of off “Never Say Die” – and because of the acoustics or the drunken sound-man or whatever the fuck was going on – I could not even tell what key the song was in. And I’m clapping just out of respect, you know? Iommi could’ve taken a shit on stage and I would have clapped, too. And depending on the acoustics, I think it would do more harm if we had played a new song and it sounded like shit than to not play it and have fans bitch. It’s like, “Listen, you get eighty minutes of fuckin’ music, shut the fuck up asshole!” – “What’s the matter with you? Didn’t your parents raise you properly?” – “You listen to Type O Negative? It’s like child abuse!”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Child abuse?
PETER STEELE: Well, yeah, to subject minors to Type O Negative is child abuse. Parents should go to jail for that – multiple life sentences.
ROCKSALT.MX: So when you played your shows out in LA, you played no new material. And the record will be out, basically, a week from today.
PETER STEELE: Yup! The day of doom!
ROCKSALT.MX: And in three weeks, you’ll be kicking off the tour here in Rhode Island. Will there be new material?
PETER STEELE: Yeah. Yes. We are playing “Profits of Doom,” “Halloween In Heaven” and “These Three Things.”
ROCKSALT.MX: Very good. I’m looking forward to that. Some of the new songs, for example the chorus on “September Sun” – is that you or is that Kenny? Because it sounds like Kenny I think.
PETER STEELE: Yes, that’s Kenny. Kenny actually has a much better voice than I do, but he’s much lazier. So to get him to sing thirty minutes or thirty seconds on a fuckin’ album I have to spike his orange juice with crystal meth. And then he’s into it even though he’s ground his teeth to nothing, but still we get results.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Now on “Halloween In Heaven” you brought in Tara Von Flower; but a year ago you’d speculated that you wanted to seek out the girl from “Otto’s Daughter.”
PETER STEELE: Yes, well her schedule – their schedule – conflicted with ours. So that didn’t work, but I believe that Tara did a great job. And I think it was something really, kinda unexpected, you know, to hear this hottie female voice next to mine, which sounds like a fuckin’ brontosaurus farting.
ROCKSALT.MX: That seems very popular now, especially in Europe, that, uh… what they call “Beauty and the Beast” vocals thing.
PETER STEELE: Well, it worked. And I like how it came out, but the question is, “What are we gonna do live? Well, Kenny, we’re gonna have to cut your balls off! Are you ready? Hand me the fuckin’ nail clippers!”
ROCKSALT.MX: This is your, what? Second, third… you did a duet with Doro some time ago. Doro Pesch.
PETER STEELE: Yeah, that was a couple of years ago, yeah.
ROCKSALT.MX: But you also appear on the Brand New Sin CD and they’re going to be opening for you on this tour.
PETER STEELE: Correct. Yeah.
ROCKSALT.MX: How did that come about?
PETER STEELE: Um… Joey Z from Life of Agony owns a studio here in Brooklyn. And he was recording Brand New Sin… and I went down and I was just hanging out and then it was just, you know, “Hey, Pete, you feel like singing?” – “Well if I could I would. But I can fake it real good!” Just like in bed – just ask any of my ex-girlfriends. Yeah, so, I did a little thing, but what-the-fuck-ever. But they’re really, really cool guys. And I had recommended them to be on the tour with us with Celtic Frost, so I think it’s a pretty interesting lineup. I’m a huge fan of Celtic Frost – Seltic, Keltic whatever -
ROCKSALT.MX: Yeah, I don’t know either.
PETER STEELE: And it’s probably going to be too much fun. Someone is going to die on this tour, there’s no doubt. Suicide, murder, mutilation, drug overdose – it’s all part of the fun.
ROCKSALT.MX: Come see them before they self-destruct?
PETER STEELE: Yeah. So hopefully we’ll get through half the shows before we have to start replacing band members.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Now, ah…. I don’t want to tax your patience or take up too much of your time here…
PETER STEELE: Oh, no, it’s fine. I have nothing to do really.
PETER STEELE: No. I’m just laying on the futon in my fuckin’ apartment and just hanging out. I mean, this is my day of doom, this is the interview day.
ROCKSALT.MX: Okay. Well… your publicist had asked me to focus on your lyrics, specifically.
PETER STEELE: Oh, she did, did she? I’ll fix her fuckin’ ass all right!
ROCKSALT.MX: She’s a good… Kristine is great. There’s three or four publicists out there that – you went with one of the powerhouses, MSO. Have you met the guy who runs it, Mitch Schneider?
PETER STEELE: Oh, I don’t know… I meet so many people and I’m so bad with names.
ROCKSALT.MX: It’s not important, just curious. He’s sort of a character. But you’ve got a great publicist and I’ve worked with her on a lot of bands, so I want to, you know… “She Burned Me Down” – sort of a classic Type O theme there. Was it influenced by any particular person or anything like that?
PETER STEELE: It is actually a sonic representation of confusion. We had this fuckin’ song and I had to write, like, bullshit lyrics and come up with, oh like, “clever choruses” and I’m like “Yeah, let’s put these fuckin’ things together” and look like this is so cool and “What the fuck are they talkin’ about?” and what I’m talking about is I’m writing the lyrics on the fuckin’ toilet and I have, like, ten minutes!
PETER STEELE: That’s what I’m talkin’ about! It’s not clever, man, I’m just desperate!
ROCKSALT.MX: So you don’t keep a journal of your… poetry or lyrics or ideas?
PETER STEELE: No. I mean.. I, I, like I write shit down on telephone bills and all this other stuff and they get lost. I find things like ten years later and I’m like, “Wow, did I write that? Hmm, that’s not my handwriting! Who was in my house? And why are the windows painted black? Oh, oh, I remember now…”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Okay, I think that undermines the idea of talking about your lyrics. Let’s… this is the first Type O record, I think, where there is not a cover song.
PETER STEELE: That is true. We were actually going to record “Bad Moon Rising” but contractually and technically we were only required to perform ten songs. And the physical limitations of a CD are seventy-nine minutes, fifty-nine seconds… so it was like, why should we give the Creedance Clear-fuckin’ Assholes all the fuckin’ money? And we’ll just put one of our lousy songs on there.
ROCKSALT.MX: Was there ever any concern, though, because Type O is a bit known for its’ covers? To do something else?
PETER STEELE: Actually the band did discuss that. And we felt that, like, whatever you expect from Type O Negative, we are going to give you the fuckin’ opposite. And so, “Well, you expect a cover? Okay. Fuck you asshole!” In fact, whether you love us or you hate us, it’s too fuckin’ bad ‘cuz you already paid us! That’s actually a quote from Twisted Sister. Which I felt was brilliant.
ROCKSALT.MX: That is brilliant. What, uh… what are you listening to these days?
PETER STEELE: Well, let’s put it this way. A guy that works in a Ford factory all day, the last thing he wants to do is work on his own car over the weekend. I listen to nothing. I swear. I don’t even have a fuckin’ stereo. I listen to nothing. I do not want to be influenced. Am I a snob? Call me whatever the fuck you want. Call me whatever four-letter word you want. Okay? “Pete” – another four-letter word. And after I’m dead, it’ll be “P-E-A-T.” But I don’t really, I don’t listen to that much because I like complete fuckin’ silence, honestly.
ROCKSALT.MX: Wow. You don’t even throw on 1010 WINS in the morning?
PETER STEELE: Oh, I put on the local news – just to see which one of my friends killed somebody. Like after fifteen minutes, “Oh, there he is. His hair’s a little shorter than I remember. But that’s him, yup!” I watch the news, “Law and Order,” “Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons”… this and that. But I don’t listen to music, really.
PETER STEELE: Because I’m, like, sick of it. Really. Like, I don’t know how bands, backstage, they have to have their rockstar boom-box blastin’. The Kiss vibe, or whatever. This is like sensory overload. I mean, you have just destroyed one of my five senses. I don’t believe there’s like… any… lawsuit that could possibly… c’mon, man! Silence! I’m gonna go onstage with like a billion fuckin’ decibels and I turn my bass amp on and it vibrates my fuckin’ colon and I feel like I have to shit for ninety minutes. I’ve been holding it in for ninety minutes! I don’t want to hear any other – Judas Priest, AC/DC, Ramones, Danzig, Henry Rollins – it’s all great fuckin’ music – but just let me shit in peace! That’s all I ask is, give Pete a chance! And that fuckin’ backstage stupid rockstar bullshit.
ROCKSALT.MX: Backstage rockstar bullshit can be fun, though, no?
PETER STEELE: I’m sick of it. Because I’m, you know, I’m kinda proud that I’m getting to be a really cranky old fuck. I’m gonna be the guy, like, in fifteen years, that kids throw snowballs at my house. And I come out and go “Blahrgh-ragh-ragh!” and chase ‘em down the block with a cane. I’m that guy already. I’m just rehearsing, it’s practice. I am so fuckin’ cranky and irritable. I bother me. Everything bothers me. I look in the mirror, I’m bothered. “What are ya lookin’ at?” Everything’s a fuckin’ complaint. And that’s me. I’m gonna be the cranky old, fuckin’ creep that lives on the block. That’s my destiny.
ROCKSALT.MX: There’s a guy like that in my neighborhood. He sits on the bench and feeds the pigeons and yells at the kids when they go by. Sometimes he just yells at the pigeons.
PETER STEELE: Yeah! Every neighborhood has that guy. Of course, when you’re so cranky like that, the kids go out of their way to put like, bags of shit on fire in front of your house and throw snowballs and ring your doorbell and run away!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) So you’re not gonna settle down and move to the suburbs and get a house with a white picket fence and raise rugrats?
PETER STEELE: I really honestly thought that that was gonna happen. I mean, uh, I don’t want to be the cranky old fuck, but ultimately – I like engineering, I like… planning, I like architecture – I’d love to build my own house out of glass, stone and steel. But I’d want to do it myself and that’s probably gonna take six hundred years.
ROCKSALT.MX: It could take less than that…
PETER STEELE: No, actually I do have it all planned out. I want, like, concrete form levels inside the house. I want a waterfall going through the house that goes down to the basement and ends up in the fucking swimming pool. With blue lights from underneath, so that everyone who swims in it looks like they’re fucking dead. Because I want them dead. They’re just shadows… And glass, like it’s a big fucking glass cube. But everything inside the house covered with fur and feathers and all this soft shit – and the greatest part about it is I’d put all that crap, all that shit that’s covering the couches and the fuckin’ chairs, put it in the closet; I pull a lever and superheated steam soapy-water comes out and washes the entire fuckin’ house down, to a drain in the basement. Like, hey, okay, I’m fuckin’ Ethel. That’s it. Housecleaning’s over! Five minutes! Chop chop! Maintenance-free. “Oh, you’re very clever!” No, I’m lazy! I’m not clever… like all these idiots… okay, women love, like “dustables.” They have to collect things and put things on shelves and stuff like that. Not just women, like other fuckin’ people too. My motto is, “When in doubt, throw it out!” It’s not functional – I don’t want to have people come into my house and look at my fuckin’ doll collection to give me more personality. You get these fuckin’ glassy-eyed bitches in a cabinet that I know are gonna come out at night and fuckin’ stab me to death, with like, butterknives! Is this like, an extension of my personality? My personality is, like, I have none! So that’s why the interior of the house is just concrete and white walls and nothing. Nothing. That’s it. This is a fuckin’ reflection of me. I will have mirrors, so that does make sense, like “Wow.” All these egotistical fuckin’ idiots come into my house – “You wanna see the greatest thing in the world? There. Look at yourself. You’re the final product of six million years of evolution? Oh, man.” I’m gonna crawl back into the swamp after seeing that.
ROCKSALT.MX: What scares you, Peter?
Audio 5 : Abandonment and Heartache.
PETER STEELE: What scares me? Abandonment. That’s why I will never love anything ever again – and I am completely serious with you.
ROCKSALT.MX: That’s heavy.
PETER STEELE: I mean, to the asshole who said, “It is better to have loved and lose than never to have loved at all” – you know what, jerkoff? Fuck you! I’m gonna hit you in the head with a high-heel shoe. Get the fuck outta here, dickhead. You want your heart ripped out? You think you’re cool because you have a four-chambered heart? Wow, man. Get the fuck outta here you medieval-lookin’ motherfucker – fuck you! No, man… it’s just I have, when I… love… I mean, I was with somebody for a really long time. And… she’s no longer in my life. And – the depth of my love for her – was just like taking a cinder-block and dropping into the Mariana Trench. Which is the deepest part of the ocean of the coast of fucking Japan. Thirty-seven thousand feet down where they have those, like, creepy black fish – with the big teeth?
PETER STEELE: That was the depth of my fuckin’ love. So now I wish that she was down on the bottom with those creepy black fuckin’ fish. And I will never ever love like that again. I cannot. A fuckin’ defense-mechanism. I just cannot. And it’s a really sad thing, because God’s gift to mankind is life. And to live is to love. I love love – I want to love. But it seems to me that I love too much; and if I base my life on someone else, when they walk outta my world, they take my world with them. And it’s… something I have a problem with. So you know what? I have five cats – five, yeah! I have my day-to-day fuckin’ things to do and I just think to myself, you know what, man? There are things in life worse than loneliness. I mean, I do not want to be alone for the rest of my life. I’d love to have a life-partner. But… you know, I just – I don’t think at this point in my life, I just don’t think I could handle someone walking out of my life if I loved them that much. Maybe I’m weak, I don’t know.
ROCKSALT.MX: Are you saying you’d rather not try… or are you just, you don’t want to let it in?
PETER STEELE: I mean… I’m hoping that someone may come along. But I’m not looking at this point. It’s just, I have just given up. “Okay, Pete, you’re like the prophet of doom, World War Three, Armageddon, blah, blah, blah – do you want to have a wife and kids walkin’ behind you holdin’ hands when there’s nuclear weapons and shit like that?” Nah, probably not. But I would love to have someone I could share things with and that, someone who I could learn from as well. And you know – love is… another fucking asshole once said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” – “Hey dickhead! Love means having to say you’re sorry!”
ROCKSALT.MX: Erich Segal. From “Love Story.”
PETER STEELE: Yeah, well fuck him too. Love means saying you’re sorry. I’m human, I make mistakes. Okay, the shit came out before I hit the fuckin’ bowl – sorry about the seat. We all make mistakes. I’m a realist and I’m an idealist, but I cannot mediate them both.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well, certainly to an outsider like myself, it seems like there’s no shortage of girls who want to be a part of your life.
PETER STEELE: But they only know one side of me through my so-called music. That is really a very small side of me and I call it sublimation – which means channeling socially unacceptable behavior into socially acceptable behavior. Yes, I’d rather write a couple of lousy fuckin’ songs than go outside of the house and smash car fuckin’ windows and go to jail for it. And you know what? I can smash car windows for free, but I get paid for writing fuckin’ songs.
ROCKSALT.MX: Let’s uh… let’s move away from this a little bit, because you’re bummin’ me out here!
PETER STEELE: Why?
ROCKSALT.MX: Why? Because I’m going through something like that right now. I’m about to turn thirty-nine and I’m back at home where I grew up and I’m surrounded by people who are all married. And all the girls my age are divorced, or divorced with kids or batshit insane and I’m really starting to get nervous that I’ll never fall in love again…
PETER STEELE: I really do understand that. Like, I look at the other guys in my band… and… something that I have seen on their faces is how they look at their children. It is… undescribible. It is like, the purest form of love I have ever seen in my fuckin’ life. How they look at their kids. The… the fuckin’ relaxed joy on their face. And I, I evny that. But the grass is always greener. But… it’s… they have some – like I don’t even know… what they feel when they look at their kids. But just by the look on their faces and knowing them for thirty years, it is like the purest fuckin’ emotion I’ve ever seen in my life. And it’s a really beautiful thing.
ROCKSALT.MX: Yeah… yes it is.
PETER STEELE: And… I look at, like… me at forty-five years old… I, I meet somebody – if they’re half my age, well, you know, then there’s going to be a lot of cultural misunderstanding, what she’s into, blah, blah, blah – if I meet somebody my age, well she’s got like three ex-husbands, eight kids and like four suitcases. Not really gonna work. So I believe that I am destined to be alone. I truly believe that, you know, six billion times around the sun ends here. Right now.
ROCKSALT.MX: Oy, dude. (long pause) Hey – what about the bartenders at Duff’s? There was that one girl, she was one of the blood-and-guts girls at the Carnivore show!
PETER STEELE: Um, you’re talking about (name withheld). She’s a very nice person. I have had some conversations with her and we’re friends. But, um, that’s pretty much as far as it goes. And you know… if I meet a woman on the road, I’m thinking to myself, “If you’ll fuck me, you’ll fuck anybody.” I mean, look at my face. Don’t you have any fuckin’ taste in men? Really. It’s like, if you’ll fuck me, you’ll fuck anybody.
ROCKSALT.MX: That’s funny. I just had a conversation, email, with an ex who said that she tends to gravitate towards relationships that she knows are not gonna work out because she’s afraid to get too involved because she doesn’t want to get hurt.
PETER STEELE: That’s pretty much the compensation. She wants to get into something but if she knows it’s going to fail, well, therefore she wins because she has gotten what she wanted. So even if it was working out, she would probably cause it to fail.
ROCKSALT.MX: Do you ever feel like that yourself?
PETER STEELE: Self-sabotage? All the time. I do not deserve all of the good things that have come to me in my fucking life.
ROCKSALT.MX: Does anyone?
PETER STEELE: Well, that’s a pretty good question. When I use the word “deserve” maybe that’s the wrong word. But, it’s… you know, I have a really interesting life. It’s completely fucking insane – and, apparently, after getting into a motorcycle accident last week and all the other stupid shit that I’ve done – it’s quite apparent that I am immortal.
PETER STEELE: (singing) “I don’t want to live forever” – but you know – psych! I was going fifty miles an hour and this car pulled out from behind a stop sign. And I went, “Pete, you can either brake and hit the car, or you can lay it down.” And I laid down. And I get up and it’s just bumps and bruises and scratches and that’s it. And I was laughing.
ROCKSALT.MX: That’s a healthy outlook, wouldn’t you say?
PETER STEELE: Well, that was the high point of my week. And I had no license, no registration, no inspection, no plates. I have this prototype Harley Davidson military type vehicle which is, it’s a five hundred CC NT five hundred and it’s a gigantic green fuckin’ dirtbike. It’s a fuckin’ assault vehicle. And I’m riding around Brooklyn on this fuckin’ thing and I have like, I collect World War II memorabilia, so I dress like a Nazi or I dress like a Communist and ride around Brooklyn with this military bike. Just to see people’s reaction. And they look like humanzees – like stunned, like chimps with their mouths open and their close-set eyes lookin’ right the fuck at me. I’m like, “Wow! You’ve seen something you’ve never seen before!” And then they laugh – and they’re only laughing because the day will come – (whispers) – when you will never laugh again! I promise you that!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Uh, Peter I see that I’ve taken up an hour of your time. I don’t want to end so abruptly…
PETER STEELE: No, no, man, that’s all right. I have nothing else to do. I’m enjoying the conversation. I’m just sitting here pretty much… and I have kept the end of my evening open. But, um, I do like to experiment with human nature, just because I think it’s fuckin’ funny.
ROCKSALT.MX: You certainly make it fun – and funny.
PETER STEELE: You know? And I really want to start to document these things on videotape. Like, you go to the Brooklyn fuckin’ Aquarium, but under your coat you have two twenty-four inch-long fuckin’ fishes. And then when you’re walking out, you just carry them out, like, proudly. “Hey! Hey! Where you goin’ with them?” Or you walk in there with a fuckin’ fishing rod, to the Aquarium – get it on videotape! Well, I would think that it’s fuckin’ funny!
ROCKSALT.MX: It is funny. You know, that begs the question – are you working on any videos for the new album? Any video ideas?
PETER STEELE: Actually we’re looking at treatments for “The Profits of Doom” and stuff, so of course I have to play Rasputin. And -
ROCKSALT.MX: Nice! Wait – you’re gonna play him and not Josh, though – who’s already got the beard?
PETER STEELE: I’m going to play Rasputin. Because it’s like art mimics life and the other three band members are against me and want to kill me! Which is like, Wow! So fuckin’ accurate! But we are leaving for tour on the twenty-seventh or the twenty-eighth, so I’m like “When is this thing gonna be done, man?” So we are thinking about that and the record company in their infinite wisdom… I mean, I had suggested that, if you want to make videos of other songs, when you have the crew there, it’s like a one-time cost to ship in lights and sound, then why not do just three videos at one time? And they were like, “That’s a great idea. “ And it’s not a great idea, I’m just a cheap fuck! And then it boomerangs on me and they’re like, “We can do this in three days!” Three days? For three videos? What the fuck? Man, you have the greatest sense of humor I have ever… when you change locations everybody’s gotta pick up and go and it takes six hours! Three videos in three twenty hour days? There’s not enough make-up in this fuckin’ world, there’s not enough plaster, not enough spackle to put under my eyes to make me look human! They’re outta their fuckin’ mind! And so… now we’re gonna do one video. Sooner or later.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well that’s good. No?
PETER STEELE: Yeah, but you know, some things I just keep out of. What I primarily deal with is writing the songs and the artwork for the CD. Outside of that realm, you know what? Do whatever the fuck you want, I just want to go to sleep, man. Leave me the fuck alone. I just wanna go to White Castle, fuck you! “Oh, this guy’s difficult to work with!” Why? Because I don’t wanna wear a pink fucking boa in this fucking scene? I’m difficult to work with? You wanna see difficult? Let me eat two loaves of fuckin’ bread and watch me take a shit – that’s gonna be fuckin’ difficult! Watch that, idiot!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Do you find, sometimes, Peter, that your sense of humor – your inherently Brooklyn sense of humor – doesn’t translate all that well to people outside of Brooklyn?
PETER STEELE: It actually does not. You are correct. Like on the East Coast, it does pretty much; but I really have to tone it down because people take me literally – in other places. And, you know, there is a hint of sarcasm and irony, but I have to watch what I say in other places. Because they just don’t get it.
ROCKSALT.MX: How is that working for you with the German record label, considering some time ago you a little bit of a, I don’t know what… calling you Nazis or something?
PETER STEELE: Well, the thing was, with that, what started the whole thing off was, we, in Type O Negative, are really big fans of the Beatles. In fact, if you play “Sgt. Pepper’s” backwards at double-speed, it sounds exactly like our new album. But it says “I buried Pete” not Paul. So anyway, when we did press in Germany, John Lennon had said in one interview that he felt that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ… so when I went to Germany I said that I thought Type O Negative was more popular than Adolf Hitler. Well, oookay… that didn’t work out too well. I just thought I was being fuckin’ funny. You know? Talking about the sense of humor and sarcasm? Nope. Did not work.
ROCKSALT.MX: So when you were in negotiations after leaving RoadRunner, did they come at you about that?
PETER STEELE: Actually… you know, money talks first. So if there was some kind of political problem or what-the-fuck-ever, if there’s a dollar sign involved, that’s looked at first. So, the past is the past. But yes, I mean the definition of rock music is to antagonize people. So because this country and the whole world has shifted away from a sort of left-wing attitude, which was not the way that rock music from the fifties and sixties which is more right wing – you know, when you say right-wing things, that makes you a real rock band. Because you are antagonizing everybody. If you upset people, you’re in a rock band. If you can listen to an album with your parents, kill yourself! So, all right – God is dead, Jesus Hitler and all these other fuckin’ things – it was a socio-ethnic fuckin’ experiment just to upset people and I actually went a little bit too far. With that stuff; and I really upset people.
ROCKSALT.MX: But you’re…
PETER STEELE: My goal was to upset everyone. To upset Christians, Jews, Muslims, Nazis, Capitalists… quadrapeds, people in wheelchairs – like everyone. I want to fuckin’ antagonize everybody! And I did. But they didn’t get it. They didn’t get the fact that this is real fuckin’ rock music, because I’m saying something that they didn’t want to hear. And that’s what makes it – rock is rebellion and that’s what it’s about. To go against the fuckin’ norm. And it’s a really interesting thing, that when Carnivore played Wacken, before “Jesus Hitler” we blasted a fuckin’ Hitler speech for sixty seconds. I was like, “Man, this is the first time in like sixty years that these idiots have fuckin’ heard this!” And they were trying to raise their hands, like trying to Seig Heil, looking at each other like, “Should we?” And I just looked at them and shook my head, like “Nah. Don’t bother. It’s almost over.”
PETER STEELE: And it is illegal in Germany and I was like, “Fuck that.” I’ve been in a New York City jail. How can a jail in fuckin’ Berlin be any worse? Put me in jail! This is called freedom of fuckin’ screech! I mean, speech! I mean, I was really thinking I was going to be assassinated on the fuckin’ stage, you know, playing “Jesus Hitler.” But it went past and that was that. Nothing. Which kind of disappointed me; I wanted some sort of upheaval.
ROCKSALT.MX: Maybe they were just happy to see Carnivore out, after all the years?
PETER STEELE: I had a really good time. It was my frend Joey Z, from Life of Agony; my friend Paul, Steve and…
Audio 6 : Carnivore Review.
ROCKSALT.MX: Oh, yeah. I caught the show at Northsix!
PETER STEELE: Oh, did you? What did you think?
ROCKSALT.MX: I loved – I reviewed it for Terrorizer. You wanna hear what I wrote? It’s about two hundred words.
PETER STEELE: Yes.
ROCKSALT.MX: All right. I’ll read it to you. I never do this, but what the hell? “Carnivore. New York. Northsix.” Oh, and keep in mind that when writing a review for a British publication I had to write in present tense, which I don’t understand, but whatever. “The resurrection of Carnivore in 2006 brought a much-needed kick in the ass to the world of live music, as Peter Steele proved that a little blood goes a long way, but a lot of blood and half-naked women can make a great show into a party.”
PETER STEELE: Woof-woof.
ROCKSALT.MX: “The show is a homecoming of sorts and the crowd feels more like a family, albeit a dysfunctional one, as the mosh pits break out before the first note is played. On a stage decorated with blow-up sex dolls and Joey Z on loan from Life of Agony, Steele and his companions get right down to business with hardcore insanity. Carnivore, Race War and Angry Neurotic Catholics are all played with punishing zeal as the crowd eat it up. ‘Oh, it’s nothing but the hits!’ Steele yells, and calls in Inner Conflict. He seems to be enjoying himself immensely and often jokes with the crowd, mocking himself, deriding the sound-man and so on. If this music thing doesn’t work out for him, he might have a future as a comedian. Joey Z blows both of his amps at the end of the set – “
PETER STEELE: (laughs) Let me just interrupt you – when he blew his amps, I was going to walk backstage and downstairs – and I fell down a flight of stairs! Because they were all wet and fuckin’ slippery, I fell down a flight – I’m like, “Where the fuckin’ camera?” (laughs) I’m sorry, go ahead. Go ahead. But no one knows that.
ROCKSALT.MX: Okay! “Joey Z blows both of his amps at the end of the set and Steele and company take a short break while another is quickly procured. The band return, now clad in butchers aprons, and run through Jesus Hitler and World Wars Three And Four, before being joined by a dazzling array of bikini-clad beauties who throw pieces of meat at the crowd. As Steele is gearing up to promote his other band, this glimpse into the past is a welcome treat for those who missed out the first time around; and certainly for the crowd tonight, Carnivore is a bloody good time.”
PETER STEELE: Who paid you to write that?
ROCKSALT.MX: Paid me? They don’t pay me.
PETER STEELE: Thank you very much! That’s…
ROCKSALT.MX: Well, you’re welcome. I had fun.
PETER STEELE: That was a great compliment. Thank you.
ROCKSALT.MX: Not at all. It was a fun fuckin’ show.
PETER STEELE: You know, what should have been a side feature was what was going on while we were not on stage, all the chaos. Like me falling down a flight of stairs and all the other shit. Like all those girls? Backstage they were fighting with each other. It was complete… it was fuckin’ insane back there. Yeah, really.
ROCKSALT.MX: Wow. I’m sorry I missed that.
PETER STEELE: The show was really backstage! But you know, when I asked Joey, Paul and Steve to do the Carnivore thing, I was like, “Listen. My goal is for fun and profit. But emphasis on fun.” Because, okay, I’m forty-five. I know I’m gonna die soon. Let me get it out of my system and just, you know, play this really fuckin’ fast shit – which is fun to play! Yeah, I could stand on stage like a dead tree and “Whooooooah” and play like, two beats every fucking century – “Line!” But this was like a little kickstart. That’s all.
ROCKSALT.MX: You know, there is something I’ve been dying to ask – it’s stupid and maybe not appropriate – but you did something there at the beginning and screamed out “Greetings and Felicitations!”…
PETER STEELE: Correct.
ROCKSALT.MX: And I was wondering – this is totally random, but for Christmas a friend gave me the complete DVD set of the original Star Trek series. And there’s an episode… are you familiar with Star Trek? I mean, that’s where I’m going with this. There’s this episode where they go to this planet and there’s this New Romantic-looking guy, and that’s how he greets them. It’s called “The Squire of Gothos” and I thought maybe there was something there…
PETER STEELE: I… I mean, I used to be – not a real, like Star Trek fan – but if it was on at six o’clock at night and I was eating dinner, I’d watch it. I probably got it from there. But around Christmas I say, “Season’s Greetings and Felicitations!” Just to be proper.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well it was totally random but I wondered about that.
PETER STEELE: I may or may not have stolen it from there. Honestly, I probably did, but I really don’t remember.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well it worked, it was great!
PETER STEELE: I just thought it was pretty funny to look disgusting and have this air of superiority. That’s a real fuckin’ paradox.
ROCKSALT.MX: Would you say that you’re a paradox? Would you say that that’s a fair assessment?
PETER STEELE: Do I believe that I’m a paradox? I… well, just like God said, “I am what I am.”
ROCKSALT.MX: Was that God or Popeye?
PETER STEELE: Not that I’m God. I’m like the vigilante-Christ. So… yeah. Depending upon my fuckin’ mood swings, I mean… if we had this conversation an hour later, my answers would have been completely fuckin’ different. There’s no doubt. So depending upon when you catch me and you ask me these questions, well, that’s what you’re gonna get. At the time.
ROCKSALT.MX: I like that. Although it makes me want to keep interviewing you over a series of times to see how those things change.
PETER STEELE: I believe I did… the answers are pretty qualitative – the facts are there and they are factual – but my opinion depending upon what I’ve drank or put up my nose or who shot me with some dart full of fucking drugs outside my house – you may get different answers.
ROCKSALT.MX: Well, let me see if I get a different answer from you about this – and I will end on this.
PETER STEELE: Okay.
ROCKSALT.MX: And I will take whatever you give me as gospel for the moment. Because the record’s coming out a week from today, and because it’s been four years in coming – so there’s a great buildup – and obviously you’ve been doing a lot of press to that end – and the tour kicks off…
PETER STEELE: Mm-hmm.
ROCKSALT.MX: Terrorizer Magazine asked you – the guy, I guess, Paul Schwartz, “What would Pete expect Dead Again to do in terms of numbers?” And I’m going to temper that a little bit, for America. And the question is, what do you think for first-week (sales)? Do you think that Type O will see its’ first Top Ten record?
PETER STEELE: That is not a simple question to answer, because I don’t know what other records are going to be released that day.
ROCKSALT.MX: Nothing as good, I’m sure.
PETER STEELE: Okay, so if like, Madonna comes out with an album, and Marilyn Manson, and the average kid has like, twenty bucks to spend on a fuckin’ CD, you know, it’s gonna be a fuckin’ impact, on sales. Whatever the number is, I hope it isn’t in negative digits.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I don’t think they could chart that.
PETER STEELE: Actually it could be sub-charted. Then you’d turn the page and we’d be negative seven or negative thirteen or whatever the fuck. I’d rather chart negatively.
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) That would mean the record would ship gold and have to get more product back than it shipped out! But is that something that concerns you ever, you know? As a musician? As a person who can write lyrics in ten minutes on the toilet and then go into the studio and knock it out? Is that something that concerns you, or is it just a necessary evil?
PETER STEELE: The thing is that, money doesn’t really fuckin’ matter that much to me. I’m a fuckin’ slob, you know? I wear green shirts and black pants and combat boots every fuckin’ day, I go food shopping… and I’ve got like five changes of clothes. I don’t wear jewelry, I don’t give a fuck what you have; but, okay, yes. Is the album going to pay my bills? That’s a reasonable question. I wish I did not have to depend upon mass psychosis. And all the sex-line numbers get very expensive. “What do you look like?” – “I’m nine feet tall and I have a dick the fuckin’ size of a peanut.” Sometimes I call those numbers up just to fuck with the girls. And they’re like “Hi lover!” Lover? “I love names ending in –er. Marker, fucker. Fucker. Fucker. Ahh… I’m sorry. Listen I gotta hang up, my Chinese food’s here!” What was your original questions?
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I’ve forgotten. (laughs) First week out, numbers? Does it matter?
PETER STEELE: Unfortunately, it does have to. You know? I have to maintain homeostasis successfully. Okay, we are very popular with the deaf, that’s why they go out and buy the fuckin’ album. And that reflects, the album sales reflect to the record company and to the management… to the IRS and to the KGB, like how we’re doin’. So the first week or two is very important. If I was financially independent, I would put out the worst fuckin’ album, like, ever heard. But this is music that would be listenable to me, because there’s something wrong with me. But to other people, they’d be like, “What?” Kicking fifty-five gallon drums down a fuckin’ staircase for thirty minutes – is that music? If it pleases me. It gives me a semi-erection. And to do insane interviews, like, “What were you thinking when you were sharpening knives for fifteen minutes and thirty seconds?” – “I was thinking about your mother!” – “If you’re gonna ask me a stupid blatant question like that, I’m gonna give you an idiotic Polack Brooklyn answer! I’ll come right the fuck back at you, man! What else? What else?” – “Vat is your favorite color?” – “Clear.” – “Oh, Petah. You have all zee answers!” – “Yeah, but you have all the questions!” -
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) That’s gotta be your German interviews…
PETER STEELE: Oh, yeah! Because they tell me what they think they know the song’s about. “Oh, this song is about Rasputin, how you love him, you want to fuck him up the ass!” And I’m like, “Hey, Kraut. Down baby. Down. Easy. Easy now. It wasn’t about Rasputin. I was talking about a roast beef sandwich!” – “But then why did you say this?” – “Why do you think I fuckin’ said that? How about I interview you? Because you seem to know what my fuckin’ songs are about and even I don’t!” I mean, half the time I was on drugs or I was fuckin’ drunk and I just find the lyrics and boom!
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) I can’t wait to see those interviews!
PETER STEELE: “Zo, Peter… vat iz da future of Type O Negative?” And I’m like, “World domination!” Am I gettin’ under your skin a little bit there, Kraut-boy?
PETER STEELE: Hey, good evening Ladies and Germans!
PETER STEELE: They asked, “Why are you such an asshole?” I said, “Because I get paid for it. You’re an asshole for free!”
ROCKSALT.MX: You’re not an asshole. I think you’re funny and I think you should do standup!
Audio 7 : This too shall pass.
PETER STEELE: Well, you know, the thing is: you have to laugh at life. And you know what? If there’s no one around me to have a little stupid fuckin’ happy-party, then I’ll make myself laugh. Especially when I’m naked right in front of the fuckin’ mirror. Actually, it’s quite disgusting, but, you know… this too shall pass.
ROCKSALT.MX: You know, maybe that’ll be the title of the piece. I usually try to wait until the end, but that’s actually pretty good.
PETER STEELE: Which? What?
ROCKSALT.MX: “This too shall pass.”
PETER STEELE: How about, “Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah Bing Bang Walla Walla Bing Bang?”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Okay!
PETER STEELE: Or how about “All You Need Is Blood!” (sings) “All you need is blood! Blood!” This Blood’s For You!
ROCKSALT.MX: This Blood’s For You… nice.
PETER STEELE: I don’t know… “I wish I had an HIV-8!”
ROCKSALT.MX: (laughs) Oh… I gotta stop here. I can’t… I can’t. This is too much!
PETER STEELE: Can’t what?
ROCKSALT.MX: I can’t – you’re killin’ me!
PETER STEELE: See, I really like puns. Somebody says something, I like to turn it around, and make it into something that I would laugh at.
ROCKSALT.MX: “Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah” might work.
PETER STEELE: (sings) “I went to the witch doctor he told me what to do…” You know the song I really want to cover? And this has to be, like, my wedding song – when I meet the right ghoul, I mean girl! (sings) “Remember when you ran away and I…“ “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”
ROCKSALT.MX: Oh, yeah…
PETER STEELE: “Oh, they’re playing our song!”
ROCKSALT.MX: Didn’t you do that at L’Amour once? You had it running over the PA…
PETER STEELE: Maybe; but I want to play it live. I really sympathize with that guy, I was in a fuckin’ nuthouse. I know what he went through. Those baskets are really hard to weave. And I know all the words, like, psychotically. What’s wrong with me? I guess this is what happens when you’re a fuckin’ breach birth.
Audio 8 : As You Were!
PETER STEELE: All right then! As you were!
ROCKSALT.MX: All right, Peter Steele. Thank you! And I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks up here in Rhode Island.
PETER STEELE: I will probably be dead by then.
ROCKSALT.MX: No, no no! No, please – I’m bringin’ people! Don’t die yet, if only for selfish reasons!
PETER STEELE: Well, maybe I’m dead already! I’m actually talkin’ to you from the grave right now. I have a phone going down into the fuckin’ grave.
ROCKSALT.MX: I don’t know what my long-distance plan is for that.
PETER STEELE: Of calls not. I don’t know. All right… but, ahh… see ya later!
ROCKSALT.MX: All right, Peter, take care.
PETER STEELE: Thanks, man. Bye!
Live photos courtesy of Evelyn Duncan.