Q&A with Peter Steele
Sheila Rene': Hello Peter
Peter Steele: (low sexy voice) Sheeeela
SR: It's a pleasure to be talking to you again.
SR: Where do I sign up for the overthrow? Are you going to lead us? (This is in reference to the song "Wolf Moon." Steele is a firm believer that this country should be overthrown and renamed Vinnland which is the name the Vikings gave the U.S. many decades past)
PS: I'm going to have to give it some more thought. I think it might be an error. I expect the F.B.I. to be waiting outside my house any day now.
SR: We're not going to let that happen.
PS: Maybe I should move to Montana.
SR: I've been listening to this advance CD of several tunes from the upcoming album. It's killer. You had a lot of directions you could have gone such as the "Kill All" and "We Hate Everyone" route.
SR: The production on this album is so rich. So many levels of sound.
PS: It's a lot more laid back and it's more sensual. Anybody can scream and have a tantrum, but that doesn't take much talent. The goal is to try to layer stuff on top of other stuff, nice and compact, but not muddy. It takes a little more effort.
SR: At 3:00 am this morning I got in from the Butthole Surfers concert and I was listening to the advance tracks...surfing through Roadrunner's website looking for more information on you. I hit upon a chat room that was asking the question, is Type O Negative gothic? I told him to put the new album on, turn it up to eleven, put on the headphones and just leave his body.
PS: (laughing) Good for you. We are maybe junk rock.
SR: Is there any significance to the album's title?
PS: First and foremost I just like the way the word sounds. I would like to conjure up an image into the minds of our fans as to what our fans may interpret it to mean. Also, I love autumm. October happens to be my favorite month. I like working with metal so I'm often full of rust.
SR: I did learn one thing from your website, your lifetime goal is to be able to play bass and sing at the same time.
PS: It's a very difficult thing to do that's why I look at Mr. Paul McCartney as one of my all-time heroes because he is such a great vocalist and bassist, yet he can do both things completely independent of each other. It's as if two people are playing his instrument. The guy is just amazing.
SR: It says here in the biography that some of these parts were written when you were 13 or 14 years of age. You remember back that far, hell I can't remember last week.
PS: That is absolutely correct. I remember these little riffs I came up with. Simple little things and then I exaggerated them on the album to make them a little more interesting but, yeah the ideas did come from when I was a post-pubescent.
SR: Is that your garbage truck that you sampled? Do you miss it?
PS: Yes it was. You're not working for the State of New York anymore. (laughing) I miss it greatly.
SR: Our last interview you were talking about how you wrote a lot of songs waiting your turn to dump your trash load. Now this album was mostly written in the back of a bus while on tour.
PS: Yeah, that was not conducive to creativity...sitting in the back of a tour bus, looking at the Martian landscape outside the window wondering where the hell I am now. So I really had to search my soul to come up with some ideas. Unfortunately, I don't have a soul so when I looked into myself there's nothing there but a black hole. So I just had to play Beatles albums backwards and steal all the riffs off the Sgt. Pepper's album.
SR: I love your sense of humor, it's so great. I consider you to be quite a spiritual person, personally speaking.
PS: It's a strange thing people have said this to me but I don't even think I have a spirit. I don't think I've lived before. I don't believe in anything after death. I consider myself to be 240 pounds of organic chemicals and that's really about it.
SR: I've always thought you would make a great runway model.
PS: I'm a lot of meat in motion.
SR: I was at the Austin show. Standing right underneath you. I loved the whole thing. Was it a memorable show for you guys?
PS: Really? I'm trying to think of the Austin show. I only recall one bad show on that tour and it wasn't the Austin show, so I'm forced to say that it was a good show.
SR: Did you have any time to spend with Ozzy?
PS: Ohhhh. Mr. Osbourne seemed to be really busy at that point. He came into our dressing room once or twice and said a few kind words to us. But, otherwise, there wasn't any mingling or hanging out.
SR: That's too bad because you have a lot in common. You think alike on many subjects.
PS: He seems to be a really nice person. He was just really busy. I pull up to the show and then I leave. I didn't want to be like every other band who's toured with him these last 25 years and who wanted to tell him what an influence he was. I just wanted to leave the man alone and have some peace.
SR: That's the way I feel about you. I was hanging around but didn't see a time when I could interrupt you with so many folks around you.
PS: You can bother me anytime. Next time make sure you say hello.
SR: Okay, next time I'll come over and say 'Hey, good lookin' what you got cookin'? What's been your favorite tour to date.
PS: (laughter) The Pantera tour was fun just because those guys are party animals. I mean I'm not really into partying, but they're just down-to-earth fun people. They treated us like brothers. It was quite refreshing and I miss them a lot. We might be touring with them in Europe around Christmas.
SR: You're leaving for Europe.
PS: Yes, we're leaving next week to play ten festivals and then we're doing two weeks of press. We're going to be on the move.
SR: I just got the Donnington Festival lineup. It's pretty impressive.
PS: Yeah, I wasn't really too happy about that, but we think that we have a lot of fans over there. We feel that they've been so supportive that we should go over and play for a while. We'll be there for a month and then we're coming back to New York, then we're going back for two weeks for press. I believe we're going back around Christmas for a month.
SR: That doesn't leave much time for your U.S. fans.
PS: Things change by the minute and I'm sure that everything I just told you will be completely different. It's just how things work.
SR: I'm glad to see that you've keep the 'thigh' thread going in this album. We had a sensual line in "Christian Woman" and now again in "Druidess."
PS: (laughter) Oh, the thigh thread. That's something I didn't even think of to tell you the truth. Thigh rhymes nicely with many words.
SR: I really, really love that "Druidess" tune. 'Smell your hair, brush my hand against your thighs." Very, very sensual. It's 7:18 of sensuality.
SR: The "Wolf Man" brings up the new craze of beasts, warlocks, vampires, et al. All the major networks are getting to this now trend.
PS: People just love to be scared.
SR: The West Palm Beach show was a lighting scare. That show got the most mentions as being a great show on the internet.
PS: Yes, it was. That was our last show too. I wonder why they thought that was our best show?
SR: I just think they thought that God had spoken with nature's light show. They'll remember that show for a long time.
PS: I felt really bad for our fans at that show. They were really getting soaked, but there was nothing I could do about that.
SR: The guitar solo on "Druidess" is suburb. Is that Kenny Hickey?
PS: It's simple but it rocks.
SR: Has Johnny helped out on any of the writing? I see you decomposed almost everything.
PS: Not really. Pretty much like Sal he's just really good at taking orders. Not that I'm a dictator or anything. I just tell him what I'd like to hear and he just comes up with three or four different things and I choose the best one. There's a lot of cooperation that's necessary between us. There's an understanding that I write the songs and bring them down to the band; if somebody wants to add something to the song, that's fine, so long as it doesn't change the overall idea. It seems to have worked the last five years.
SR: Your production skills keep getting stronger.
PS: That's also because we had a much larger budget this time which helped. If we didn't like something that we heard back on tape, our motto was 'when in doubt throw it out.' So we just worked it out until everybody could live with it.
SR: I didn't get to see the Playgirl article, but I'm still trying to find a back issue.
PS: If you've seen one you've seen them all.
SR: I don't think so.
PS: (laughing) Why do you say that?
SR: I just think you're pretty different from a lot of people.
PS: Thank you.
SR: I don't understand this song called "Wolf Moon." It's a 'so-called song' full of marching and screaming sounds, entitled "The Liberation Of Vinnland by Pan-European Forces."
PS: That comes back to the fact that I think this country should be overthrown and should be recristened Vinnland which is what the Vikings named this land many years ago.
SR: That's not a different song, it's part of "Wolf Moon." Right?
PS: That's right.
SR: Count me in as a flag carrier. A black cross, with a white border on a green field.
PS: Okay, thank you.
SR: I know you used "Cinnamon Girl" on this album because you played it in concert. Did you get a lot of requests for it to be recorded?
PS: No requests. Actually it was always one of my favorite songs. Having been born in 1962 and having five older sisters, I was constantly exposed to all different types of music. This one song seems to have stuck out and I was never a big fan of Neil Young, honestly. I just happen to like that one song. It was easy to make heavy. It only has four chords and I only know four chords so it's the song for us.
SR: What are you listening to these days?
PS: Everything from Devo to Curve, My Bloody Valentine and stuff like that. Red House Painters is another. Since my testosterone level drop I just can't get into really heavy music anymore.
SR: What are you looking forward to with this band in the next year or two?
PS: Meeting more of our fans hopefully and perhaps finally gaining financial independence and being able to take care of the people close to me that I care about.
SR: Are you married?
PS: I have been married but I'm not anymore. It wasn't a real marriage. It was like playing house. Just the wrong thing to do. She went her way and I went mine.
SR: I don't think rock and roll and marriage mixes very well.
PS: No, it's not a good thing. There's a lot of temptation out there on the road and being human sometimes I fall into the passions of the flesh.
SR: There's a tune out speaking to the same subject as your "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend." So we've got a trend going here. Two girls, one guy and one bed.Your last cover on Bloody Kisses would have worked here.
PS: There's no doubt about that. We've got a lot of female couples that come to see the band which is not a problem for me. The more the merrier I always say.
SR: What's the new cover? I just have the advance with no paperwork.
PS: It's a picture of four, thorny stems that run from top to bottom on a black background. It pretty much represents the four members of the band. It looks very phallic too. The thorns on the stem say something about the dangers of the penis.
SR: I love your quote in the bio that goes 'We decided to follow our hearts and penises and see where they take us. That usually leads to trouble, but that's what I'm used to.'
PS: (laughing) Yeah, but trouble is fun. Fun without danger really isn't fun. You might as well go to Disneyland.
SR: Have you ever thought about doing a spoken word album?
PS: Ummm, no I haven't honestly. I don't really see people wanting to know what I have to say. My opinions are based upon my environment so those who've not walked in my shoes I don't think would really give a shit. Anything is possible. I've learned to never say never.
SR: Who was Bacchus? I looked up Bacchus and Druidess and they're not in the dictionary.
PS: Bacchus was the Greek god of wine, merriment and the woods. I came up with the Druidess word myself. I was always into druids and Celtic lore. I figured what if there was this druidess and I was her male slave and she had me do certain things to her. It's just a fantasy of mine.
SR: It's on the same plane as "Christian Woman."
PS: That song was actually autobiographical whereas I didn't want to write about my boring puberty, so I projected my body into a 13 or 14 year old girl and I exaggerated it to make it interesting.
SR: Did Monte Conner have any input on this album?
PS: He tried but there were some things I listened to him about. I'm essentially pig-headed and shut out everyone and did just what I wanted to do.
SR: How long was the recording process?
PS: Recording and mixing took about ten weeks.
SR: Back to Systems Two.
PS: Yeah, they're in Brooklyn. The whole band is from Brooklyn so it made sense.
SR: Are you friends with those Biohazard guys? They're coming to Austin in two weeks.
PS: Yes, we're good friends. When you see them please tell them I say hello.
SR: Lots of interviews today?
PS: You're my seventh out of ten for the day.
SR: I'll let you go because I know you're really busy.
PS: That's okay. This has been fun. They've got me working. They're feeding me so that's fun. They have a girl who comes in every hour and she puts a bib on me and spoon feeds me while I talk. She will not breast feed me. I just don't know what the problem is.
SR: What's been the most common question?
PS: The question about the title of the album, October Rust?
SR: We all just want to know everything about everything.
PS: Yes, yes inquiring minds just want to know.
SR: I wish the best of times in Europe and I'll track you down when you get back to Texas.
PS: Thank you sweetie.