Peter Steele is a music legend, with his Type O Negative has gifted us with magnificent songs.
But what do we know about this legendary character?
Peter Steele The Giant Vampire
Petrus Thomas Ratajczyk aka Peter Steele was born on January 4, 1962, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in a Catholic family this 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall giant has always defined himself as an atheist even though towards the end of his life he had changed his mind.
In fact, he said “when you start to think about death, you start to think about what’s after it. And then you start hoping there is a God. For me, it’s a frightening thought to go nowhere. I also can’t believe that people like Hitler are gonna go to the same place as Mother Teresa.“
This artist has always been capable of questioning and challenging himself. In one of his earliest bands, Agression, he played guitar but then he was asked to play bass. He agreed so as not to be kicked out of the band.
The problem was that he was left-handed and owned only a left-handed guitar. Buying a left-handed bass was too expensive for him at that time, he could only afford a normal bass. So he learned to play a right-handed bass and continued to play this way for his entire career.
To support himself before his musical success he worked at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. He did a bit of everything, park maintenance, surveillance, etc. He has always remembered that period as one of the happiest in his life.
In 1994 started touring with the band and his life changed radically.
Those who have been touring with him have always said that he was a kind and generous person. Although his appearance and his height were intimidating, this giant who looked like a vampire was actually a good person. Always ready to make jokes (generally dark jokes), always ready to help a friend.
Success also led him to pose naked for Playgirl. He later regretted that decision because the leader of Typo O Negative did not know that only a quarter of the magazine’s subscribers were women. He found himself many times having to sign one of his photos for a happy young man. He has never been homophobic but he undoubtedly preferred to sign women’s boobs.
His mood began to change after the death of his friend Dimebag Darrell, guitarist of Pantera.
Peter Steele had never denied that he used drugs and alcohol to fight depression. In 2005 he disappeared, and it was rumored that he was dead. He had actually taken the time to go to Rehab.
Music had always helped him fight his demons but the death of loved ones and the disappointments with Roadrunner record, a company from which he felt exploited, had increased his anxieties.
Peter Steele on April 14, 2010, at the age of 48 died of Sepsis, formerly known as septicemia or blood poisoning. Alcohol and drug abuse probably damaged his liver.
Peter Steele The Giant Vampire
The band that could have replaced him with Johnny Kelly released this statement:
“When Peter died, Type O Negative died with him”
In fact, it would not have been easy to replace such a charismatic character. Thank you for your music, gentle giant, you still live in our Noir hearts.
If you like Peter Steele’s low voice and the Type O Negative sound you will probably like Edgar Allan Poets too. Here is one of their songs.