Interview with a Vampire: Type O Negative”s Peter Steele

Type O Negative comes to Headliners Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 26.
Type O Negative comes to Headliners Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 26.
Peter Steele is not your typical rock star.
For starters, he’s 6-foot-7 and built like an oak tree. To say he cuts an imposing figure is an understatement. Dude is scary looking, an image that has suited him well as bassist and singer for the mighty Type O Negative.
The fun-loving kids in Type O (which also includes Josh Silver, Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly) have been inflicting their unique fusion of heavy metal, progressive rock and gothic gloom on their devoted fans for 18 long years.

This March, Steele and the gang released Dead Again to positive reviews, and, indeed, the album is probably the band’s strongest effort since October Rust. Songs like “Tripping a Blind Man,” “September Sun” and the title cut are dark and melodic, while lengthier tracks “The Profit of Doom” and “These Three Things” carry on the tradition of Type O epicness.

In his inimitable speaking tone — think Lurch with a Brooklyn accent — Steele tells LEO he is happy with the favorable press. “I’m no longer doing this for my health, and I do have bills to pay, so it’s a good thing.”

Naturally, the 10-minute “Profit” is the lead single, having been whittled down to five minutes for that purpose. “It always seems to happen that most of our longer songs become the single. We have to slice and dice, cut and paste, and it’s like rewriting the song after it’s done,” says Steele. “And as the songwriter, it’s like having a baby and watching it get cut in half. But you can’t just sit back and bitch about it, because that’s going to get you nowhere. You have to find a creative way of turning pain into profits.”

But as noted philosopher Ringo Starr once said, it don’t come easy, and Dead Again arrived after a lengthy gestation, during which Steele went through some heavy drama, including incarceration for assault.
“I was doing too much coke, and I was drinking, and I got into some trouble with the law. I spent a little time in jail, I was in rehab, I was in the nuthouse,” he says. “Fortunately, all that stuff happened in a three-month period, so I got it out of my system. Things are much better right now.”

Stranger still, Steele, the man who wrote “Christian Woman” (sample lyric: A dying god-man full of pain/When will you cum again?/Before him beg to serve or please/On your back or knees) and crafted new lyrics for Black Sabbath from Satan’s perspective, is now a practicing Roman Catholic.

“My views on virtually everything have changed radically,” he says. “People ask me about how I used to fuck around on the road and abusing my body and writing songs like ‘Christian Woman.’ I turn around and say, ‘God loves his lost little lambs the most. Especially those that return to the flock. So flock you.’”  

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Type O Negative
w/ Lordi, The Revenants, Empyrean Asunder
Friday, Oct. 26
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Road
$20; 8 p.m.