As I wander into the Peter Steele's hotel suite to do the interview, I'm greeted by Type O's road manager, Mike Amato, who's as cheery as ever. He makes sure everyone knows everyone, then he graciously accompanies Pete's LA female companion out on to the hotel balcony to give Mr. Steele and I a little quiet. Peter's holding a bottle of red wine just as if it were a beer bottle and drinking directly from it. Being the hospitable gentleman he offers me some of his wine. "A glass would be nice," I sarcastically murmur and he replies "you see, women always want everything." Considering no one else in the room was drinking and there was already one empty wine bottle on the table and his current bottle was only half full, I was prepared for a laid back interview with the sometimes intimidating Peter Steele.
One of the most lyrical confusing songs from your new album is "In Praise of Bacchus" Can you explain it?
It's a very personal song. Not to harp on the past, but when I tried to kill myself seven years ago, I had parked my car in Red Hook, which is my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, and I was looking at the Brooklyn Bridge and it was raining, so it looked like a molten oil painted bridge to me. And the streets are cobble stone. When I get drunk sometimes I use the word that I'm feeling furr, because it seems that I'm feeling so nice and luscious that my internal organs have sproute fun and that they're all rubbing up against each other like I have a stomach full of kittens. I had said something about being "A furry vino tinted slave," meaning a slave to my emotions. So vino meaning wine, and furry being under the influence of alcohol. So that song has meaning to me.
So if you don't mind me asking, how did you try to kill yourself?
With razor blades. I got really drunk. I felt that I was doing the right thing. And it was, I think, the best thing I ever did with my life. The person I was is now completely dead. And ever since that day things have been so great that I in fact feel guilty about it. I just stopped caring. And once I stopped caring and I stopped giving a sh*t everyone seems to just think that I had this confidence about myself, that I could do anything. It wasn't that I was brave. I just didn't give a sh*t. Somebody that's going to jump off a cliff has to be either really brave or a f**king fool. I'm just a fool that doesn't care. At this point I don't have anything to live for basically. I just live for my family and that's about it.
So are there scars?
These are scars. (as he shows me the thick scars across each wrist)
So I take it you don't speak to her anymore?
NO! And I have never mentioned her name in an interview simply because her head was big enough before I went and did this.
Were you fairly young when you did this?
I did this October 15, 1989. So young is a relative word. I was younger. I was a totally different person when I did it. I can't foresee killing myself for anyone ever again. However, I will be quick to point out that I will take my own life. Because I feel that's a privilege. I'm gonna wait, you know like if I find out that I have cancer or something like that. You know, sit around and wait to die and pray and try all these vitamins and chemotherapy and put my family through hell.
So by killing off your former person, is this what changed your whole sexual persona. I mean there's a big difference between you now, posing in Playgirl, and the old Carnivore days when women used to run from you, or showing your *ssh*le on The Origin of the Feces cover. Was that the 180 shift a conscious decision?
No. It was something that happened when I finally grew up and said, "All right, I am going to stop writing songs just to shock the world, and stop having a tantrum, and I'm going to start to write songs that really mean something to me." That's when women started to show up at shows, and when all these skinheads and all the pimple-faced masses started to disappear. Which I would rather see 70% women and 30% other, as I call them. I mean after having five older sisters and five nieces and always being in this estrogen stew back home. I'm kind of used to it. I like the company of women. I just don't like men. You know people say I'm a sexist and the answer is yes! I don't like men! I prefer the company of women and that's that.
Well you've even changed the physical appearance of everyone in Type O. Nothing against Sal, but...
He was altitudilly challenged.
Even when comparing the differences between Type O's appearance now to Carnivore.
It was different. When we formed Type O Negative, especially lately, we've realized that a band is not just a sonic thing. A band is also a visual thing as well. I think a band should look the way they sound and vice versa. So we've made a conscious effort to model ourselves after some of our favorite bands which namely were: Kiss, Black Sabbath, and the Beatles. Now there were four members of each band that even though they looked a bit different and had different personalities, they looked like they belonged together. So that's why when I sit down and watch MTV and see these bands where they all look totally eclectic and different, these are bands that I don't remember because they don't have an image. They look like every kid that goes to a show. Maybe there's a little sex appeal that we can try to play upon. It's a business. You know we're trying to have fun at it too, but we've got bills to pay. And it doesn't hurt to have your ego stroked every now and then. Most guys in bands are only in bands because they're nobodies. Because they can't do anything else. Because they're f*cking useless and they need to have their egos stroked and these are the guys that wind up becoming the so-called rock stars. You know, the *ssh*le attitude. Whereas if they ever lost their job in the band no one would even hire them to sweep the f*cking floors or clean a park.
So is there a rock star in Type O Negative?
I think we're probably the ultimate anti-rock star band. We're four guys that have always had blue-collar jobs, or in my case green collar. Guys that know when a fan comes to see our shows that he or she has worked their *ss off for the price of a ticket. And when they buy a f*cking T-shirt for $55, that either A: This is a true fan, or B: this is a kid that is not really in touch with reality. The worst thing that I could be called is a rock star. I've got this image [of a rock star] of like some arrogant, skinny *ssh*le, with a big mouth, with a needle stuck in his arm, and demanding that he can't have brown M&M's in the bowl. No names, but there are many. Unfortunately, I don't even think these people know that they are being this way. I don't think that they realize that they're being arrogant and something that I have to realize is that maybe I am arrogant. Maybe I am acting like a rock star. I hope I'm not, but I don't know for sure.
Do you think that people might get that impression of you since you're not really the social, party-guy?
Oh, of course. You know if you don't show up to a party because you are hiding under a bed, because you are f*cking shy, people are like, "Oh, he's a snob." It's ironic that a person like myself, who has always been very introverted and shy and just wanted to be alone, who never liked noise, never liked crowds, is not thrust into a situation where this is what I deal with every single night. I know that there are many people that would probably die to be in my shoes, they can have them. But until I become financially independent, these shoes are mine. I mean I wish I could play to like a hundred people every night, like a hundred women actually, like I said.
So is that why you've been doing the little Carnivore shows on the East Coast every once in a while, to play to smaller audiences?
Well, that's something that's probably not going to happen any longer. It's too stressful. Up on stage, I'm not the same person I was when I wrote those songs. I find it very hard to scream, "Suck my d*ck." when I'm 34 years old. It just doesn't work. When you're 18 you can get away with it, a very high testosterone level back then. Now I am thinking, "Man, I sure wish I could get my d*ck hard to have it s*cked at this age."
I saw an interview you did on MTV Europe where you said that this record (October Rust) was more commercial, but not a sell-out. What could constitute a sellout in your eyes for Type O Negative?
If I wrote 15, three-and-a-half minute songs, all like cute, poppy things. And if we all cut our hair off and started to wear black horn-rimmed glasses and started to wear button-down shirts that were not tucked in. And if we took a couple of strings off our guitars and tried to look cute, like we were back in college, like technical school or something. Maybe chemistry majors.
So you don't think things like MTV or talk shows or doing Playgirl would constitute a sellout to you?
That's like a borderline. You know just because you make an effort to invest in your own career doesn't mean that you're selling out. I think when you really start to compromise your ideals, or just go for the quick money, or go for the trend. I think that's selling out and I don't think that's something we've done.
So the band's not shaving their head tomorrow?
No. I'll shave my chest later tonight, though.
Is that an often occurrence?
Basically every day. The only part of my body that I don't shave, as your because it's such a f*cking pain, and no pun intended, in the *ss. I mean do you know what it's like to try and shave your own *ss? Setting up mirrors and God forbid slice off a hemorroid. So I have chimpanzee legs.
From that MTV interview all I can think about was the sight of your pointing out Josh's bare *ss on camera.
Now Josh should shave his *ss! I have known Josh (Silver - Keyboards) since I was twelve years old and I've never seen his *ss. I thought he had f*cking taped a rug to his *ss or something. I was like, "Josh, what the f*ck man? What do you have on there? What is that? A fur coat?" Josh is pretty hairy.
I first saw the "Black No. 1" video almost three years ago on Halloween weekend after getting home late, on Headbanger's Ball. It was your face singing "Now it's all hallows eve, the moon is full. Will she trick or treat? I bet she will." And I thought it was some MTV spoof on Halloween. Well, obviously it has since caught on. Now your new album is entitled October Rust, does that have to do with Halloween, as well?
I have always loved Halloween. I have always loved monsters, simply because I always felt like one. I always felt like an outcast, like someone who truly did not belong. Not just for how I look, but for how I think about things and how I see life. So Halloween was like the only day that I could really be myself. I could finally take my mask off. Whereas most people were putting masks on, I was something really scary on Halloween... I was myself! So, I've always lvoed Autumn. I've always loved Halloween and October happens to be my favorite month.
Is there a reason for that other than Halloween?
Even though October is not the eight month, it was originally the eighth month until Pope Gregory changed the calendar. Eight happens to be my favorite number because when you turn eight sideways it means infinity. So it's just symbolic to me. October is just really, really special. I just wish I could live in a place where Autumn never ended. Where the leaves never stopped falling.
So in October Rust, does the rust stand for the color of the leaves?
The original title was Octobers Rust, but it sounded linguistically doofie, so I figured let's take out the S.
With all the big words you use in your lyrics you come up linguistically doofie? For example, on the song "Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia)", what does that mean?
"Wolf Moon" is about a guy that transforms into a werewolf whenever he engages in oral sex with menstruating women. Zoanthropic Paranoia is a form of psychosis that a person thinks that this male, it seems to only affect males, believes he is a wild animal and craves human flesh and goes out and attacks women and tries to eat them. This is someone who really thinks that he's a wolf, or he's a lion, and goes out and hunts people and rips them apart with his mouth and with his hands.
So are your lyrics fiction or fact?
Well, they are exaggerated facts. I actually think of myself as a werepoodle.
With the whole blood drinking thing, isn't there a fear of A.I.D.S.?
There is fear of A.I.D.S., but I figure if I am going to have oral sex with someone, whether or not she is bleeding, I don't think it really increases the chance. And even if it does, when I'm with someone that I care about there are certain compromises that I make. When a woman is bleeding, it doesn't bother me. It doesn't make any difference whatsoever. I would go so far as to say I find it mildly arousing. Mildly. You know it's not something that I'm like looking at the calendar waiting. (He rubs his hands in excitement) "Are you bleeding yet?" No, but if she is it doesn't matter to me.
Is this something that doesn't bother men as they get old, or has it always been this way?
I don't know, I mean I meet guys that refuse to even have sex with a woman when she is bleeding. I honestly have never met anyone, probably as open-minded about it as myself. I mean there are some women who don't even want to be touched when they are bleeding, because they feel dirty. I feel there's nothing to be embarrassed about. It doesn't make a difference to me.
So is the song "Die with me" about some girlfriend that dumped you and moved to England to go to school?
That's it pretty much.
It wasn't the same girlfriend you attempted suicide for was it?
No, this was someone different. I wasn't exactly dumped. It was someone who chose education over me. Which of course is the right choice, but I can't help but feel f*cked up that I'm dropping someone off at the airport and I'm not going to see them again. Whereas the week before we were talking about dying together and now she's on a plane.
Okay, let's see if my impression of "Haunted" was correct. Is that song about a wet dream?
Do youknow what an incubus is? An incubus is a male demon that comes to a woman in her sleep and has sex with her. Years ago, if a child was born deformed or still-born the people at the time thought that this was the child of the demon. There is a feminine form of an incubus called a sucubus. The female demon comes to a man in his sleep and has sex with him. That is what the song is about. Pretty much about being raped by a ghost. Hence, I mean who would ever want to wake up if they were having sex in their sleep?
So could you ever imagine being raped by a woman?
I would love it!
It would be pretty hard for a woman to overpower a man your size.
Unless someone got me drunk or stoned and tied me up and then shoved a broomstick up my *ss, I could not be raped by a woman. Because a man has to have a voluntary erection. But I don't ever like to force myself on a woman, because any f*cking *ssh*le can do that and women are so used to that happening anyway. You know there's always some jerk on the street saying sh*t, or grabbing you, or whatever. The ultimate compliment to me is when I realize that a woman is attracted to me and shows it which ever way she sees fit.
Would you miss the female availability if you didn't tour?
I think the band has done wonders for my social life. I mean I wasn't doing too badly when I worked at the parks department. I mean there was one woman who had no idea that I was in a band, who offered me fifty thousand dollars for my semen. And unfortunately, being the good boy that I was I went home and I spoke to my then girlfriend about it, about her feelings. I mean I did not have to have sex with this woman, she just wanted my semen because she felt that I was genetically valuable. And my girlfriend back then f*cking freaked out and that was the end of it.
Would you do it now?
Yes! I mean I do it for free usually.
Were you raised Christian, because you seem to have very negative views towards Christianity.
Let me tell you why. I was raised by a Russian Orthodox father and a Roman Catholic mother. So it was like just getting it from both sides and finally realizing that Christianity is just completely anti-nature. It is anti-human to me. In the way that everything pleasurable is a sin. For a long time if I was having a really good time, I knew I was doing something wrong. And when I was miserable I was happy because I was going to heaven. And I said, "You know what, after death I will be dirt. Before my birth I was f*cking dirt, I was just a different form of matter. There is no God. There is no satan. There is no Heaven. There is no hell. There is nothing after death so why not live for the day and just respect other people, try to make myself and the people I carea bout happy as I possibly can and try not to do any harm, or at least as little as possible.
So when you die are you going to have a burial plot and a headstone?
Well the way that I would like to die is that I would really like to die with a woman. Kind of make this pact. A romantic thing. I've got this thing for fire, where I just find it the most erotic thing, so I want to burn. I want to get into a bed soaked in gasoline and I want to have sex with her and as we're both cumming, put the bed on fire. And that's how I want to die.
I can't think of a more painful way to die.
It is extremely painful, but I don't want there to be anything left of us. I just want us to melt together. To become one unit, like welded together in both life and death. Death can be a very beautiful thing. Which is kind of what the title of October Rust means Autumn is the transitional time during the year where life starts to fade and it becomes apparent that things will and are dying. And there is beauty in death, you know, just like the trees changing. So why not just sit back and enjoy it because it's going to happen anyway.
The final question, which I find most people curious about is most simply; Are your fangs real?
(He pauses, and almost hesitates as I tell him not to lie.) Well one was knocked out, but they were both real until one was knocked out. There was a car in front of me. Apparently he was driving a clutch and he must have taken his foot off of the brake pedal. He was bending down looking for something under the seat and he backed into my car and he thought that I rammed him. So he got out of his car and came up to my window and started saying sh*t like. "Hey man, why'd you hit me?" I'm like I didn't hit you. You f*cking backed into me. You were looking for your drugs under the seat and you backed into me". I'm like whatever and to shut him up I turn and reach over to turn the radio on. All of the sudden I felt not even pain, but some kind of hot pressure on my face. When I turned around he was running back to his car with a hammer in his hand. I thought he slapped me and the hammer just happened to be in his hand. I cahsed him and he got away. As I drove away, I'm like a son of a b*tch, the f*cking guy slapped me. I'm tasting like this iron in my mouth and playing with my teeth (as he sticks his tongue over his teeth) and there is a f*cking tooth missing. The guy hit me with the hammer in the face. Ripped my lip open. I picked the tooth up off the floor and it couldn't be put back in. Well I did put the tooth under the pillow and ... no, I did not get a dollar.