In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station, former TYPE O NEGATIVE and current DANZIG drummer Johnny Kelly remembered TYPE O’s late frontman frontman Peter Steele who passed away in April 2010 from heart failure at the age of 48.
“Peter, for the most part, he was a clown,” Johnny said. “He was always joking around — sarcastic, very self-deprecating humor. Just the opposite of what the music portrayed. When we were working on music and stuff, the end result, he was very serious about what he wanted, how he wanted something to sound. Other times, he was a clown.
“I always said that he wanted to be a normal person, but because he was Peter, that was just not in the cards for him; it was completely impossible,” he continued. “I bet he would love to just be able to hang out, go to the bar, have a few drinks. And we would try to do that, and the minute he would come out to the bar, everybody gravitated towards him. He couldn’t go to the store by his house without something happening to him.”
Asked if that was because of Peter’s size, Johnny said: “I think so. He just had this very striking look. He didn’t look normal. And he had fangs. [Laughs] He was six and a half feet tall, [had] long black hair and fangs. You’re not gonna get the normal reponse when you’re going grocery shopping.”
Steele was born Petrus T. Ratajczyk on January 4, 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. He stood 6′ 7″ (201 cm) tall, and had a low, bass-heavy voice, which was one of the most recognizable features in TYPE O NEGATIVE’s music.
Before forming TYPE O NEGATIVE, Steele played for the metal group FALLOUT and the thrash band CARNIVORE.
“Going through a midlife crisis and having many things change very quickly made me realize my mortality,” Steele told Decibel magazine in 2007. “And 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 Stalin and Hitler are gonna go to the same place as Mother Teresa.”