The past 36+ hours have been brutal for the music world. Since the announcement confirming Peter Steele’s death, the metal world has erupted pouring their hearts out and offering condolences to friends, family, and bandmates. I get the sense the last time people were struck so hard by a metal icon’s death was when Dimebag Darell was fatally shot.
Burdened by substance abuse for much of his life, Steele died of heart failure on April 14th because of a short illness. No specifics about the illness or if any substances were the cause have been made available. Released yesterday evening, the band posted the following statement:
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Type O Negative front man, bassist, and our band mate, Peter Steele passed away last night of what appears to be heart failure.
Ironically Peter had been enjoying a long period of sobriety and improved health and was imminently due to begin writing and recording new music for our follow up to “Dead Again” released in 2007.
The official cause of death has yet to be determined pending autopsy results. The funeral services will be private and memorial services will be announced at a future date. We’d like to share our thoughts and those of Peter’s family below.
We are truly saddened to lose our friend and appreciate the tremendous outpouring today from around the world.
Josh, Kenny and Johnny
After the statement, each of the members posted a personal note:
Josh Silver: “Peter, My endless source of frustration, (as I’m yours) you have really done it this time. You have changed and touched countless lives through music, comedy and often brutal honesty. You’ve made life both interesting and irritating and I could not imagine not having known you for 37 years. It still isn’t true in my mind but in time I will miss you and the creating that we all endured together. We certainly disagreed constantly and I believe (and hope) we all learned from each other. Should I call you my brother, friend or neighbor? I can only call you Peter (and usually after 2 PM). We laughed at ourselves more times then I can count. Knowing humans are preposterous creatures and I know we reveled in that fact. I will miss you in time, but at this moment your premature departure seems surreal and has pissed me off to no end. Though I never told you that I harbor a deep respect for you, I do. Goodbye my friend.”
Kenny Hickey: “Peter Steele was one of the most brilliant and funny personalities in music and it was all for real. Half the time people thought he was joking, but he was actually telling the truth. Part of me died with him.”
Johnny Kelly: “It’s impossible for me to put into a few sentences what I am feeling at the moment Peter. I’m not sure if I should eulogize or roast you. Both good and bad, we went on one hell of a ride together and sadly, the ride has come to an end. You truly were a unique person. Your music touched many people. Myself included. Whether it was talking about The Beatles, power tools, how Pluto was no longer considered a planet or calling me at 3am asking me to drive to your house to have a fistfight with you, you always kept it interesting. It was a privilege to have been your bandmate. It’s something that I will always cherish.”
The Metal Community Responds…
Once various news sources confirmed Steele’s passing, the metal community began releasing various statements expressing thoughts about Steele.
SVP of A&R Monte Conner, who originally signed Type O Negative to Roadrunner Records in 1989, said:
“We have lost several Roadrunner artists over the years but this is a biggie – this one hurts the most,” said, “not just because Peter was a great, great guy, but he figures so prominently in the history of this company (our first Gold album, our first radio success). He was a tortured soul for most of his life and certainly for the entire time we all knew him. Let’s hope he is in a better place.”
You can read what other Roadrunner executives had to say here.
Metal artists and fans have begun posting comments on Twitter:
“ Peter Steele…R.I.P :_(“ tweeted Kristofer Dommin from Dommin.
“Rest In Peace Peter Steele” tweeted Megadeth.
Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt issued the following statement from MySpace:
Basically I just want to express my condoleances on behalf of Opeth. Peter and company took us out for a little spin in Germany a few years ago and we became mates with ’em I guess. Peter was always very kind to us, from the get-go he went up to Mendez and offered him his bass guitar if he wanted to borrow it. I mean, things like that simply don’t happen in the rock business anymore, but I think he had a different view on things.
Last time I saw him was a few years ago when he and Johnny (Kelly) and Kenny (Hickey) came to see us playing the Irving Plaza in NYC. There was a knock on the door, I opened, and there was Peter towering over me. I said ‘Hey Pete come in…’ and he said ‘You again, I thought you was fired!’ Went straight passed me, grabbed a bottle of red from our rider and started guzzling away in the corner, leaving funny remarks at whatever conversations that was going on in the dressing room.
The dude was funny, intense, intimidating and overall, a good guy. That was my impression, can’t say I knew him too well, but we did develop some type of ‘heya’ friendship with Johnny and Kenny. I also did a song with Josh (Silver) a few years ago even though I’ve never talked to him in person. Anyways, I just wanted to write something… I am in a bit of a shock I guess…
Thoughts goes out to Johnny, Kenny and Josh as well as to Peters families and friends. His and their music lives on, or as they say, echoes in eternity.
Peter Steele R.I.P
There are several other statements I could post, but I will conclude with the one posted by Singer Andrea Ferro of Lacuna Coil (Blabbermouth):
“These are a few words from a comic book that I’d like to use to remember Pete Steele.
“Thanks a lot for the great journey I had (and will always have) with your music. Thanks a lot for the inspiration and friendship, R.I.P.
“He saw the true face of the 20th century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it. No one else saw the joke, that’s why he was lonely. Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says ‘But, doctor…I am Pagliacci.’ Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains Fade to black. (Rorschach from The Watchmen)”