Type O Negative is a gothic metal band active from 1989 through 2010 based in Brooklyn, New York. The band comprised of vocalist, bassist and frontman Peter Steele, guitarist Kenny Hickey, keyboardist Josh Silver, and drummer Johnny Kelly, who replaced Sal Abruscato. The band released seven studio albums, two best-of compilations, and two concert DVDs. The band was permanently split up following Peter Steele's death from a heart failure.
Musical and lyrical themes Edit
Many fans describe Type O's music as "sad, depressed, dark, and haunted". Type O Negative incorporates mainly gothic metal and doom metal into their music while some sections in certain songs utilize different genres including gothic rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, new wave, punk, hardcore punk, thrash metal, sludge metal, and industrial. There are numerous songs that have riffs resembling Black Sabbath, while many nonmetal tones and parts sound like that of The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or others. Combining this fact with being a metal band, Black Sabbath has the biggest influence on Type O Negative.
The main lyrical themes of Type O Negative were romance gone bad, depression, and death. Because of its theme, the band goes by the nickname "The Drab Four" (in homage to The Beatles' "Fab Four" moniker).
History and albums Edit
Peter Steele left his previous band Carnivore and recruited with childhood friends Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver and Kenny Hickey, formed the band initially called Repulsion before Steele renamed it to Subzero in 1990 after discovering that a grindcore band also uses the name Repulsion. But soon after, he discovered that another metal band uses the name Subzero, forcing Steele to change the name again. After seeing ads for donating type O-negative blood that read "Needed: Type-O-Negative.", Pete settled on Type O Negative, reflecting on his tattoo showing the number 0 with minus sign within it originally used for the logo of Subzero. Shortly after signing to Roadrunner Records in 1991, Type O released their debut album Slow, Deep and Hard.
Slow Deep and Hard and The Origin of the Feces (1991–1992) Edit
Type O Negative's first album Slow, Deep and Hard incorporated dragging dirge riffs, maniacal punk-metal outbursts, and droning industrial and gothic atmospheres. The songs were long, multi-part theatrical epics, with lyrical topics ranging from heartbreak to getting revenge on a cheating lover, and even contemplating suicide.
They began creating a new album that was supposed to be live. The subsequent 1992 album was entitled The Origin of the Feces and a warning label was put on the album cover: "Not Live At Brighton Beach".
Bloody Kisses and October Rust (1993–1998) Edit
Type O Negative's third album, Bloody Kisses, was released in 1993 to critical and listener acclaim, and eventually became the first record for Roadrunner to reach certified Platinum status in the US.
Bloody Kisses mostly addressed loneliness and heartbreak, with songs like "Too Late: Frozen", "Blood & Fire", and "Can't Lose You". The organ-driven "Set Me on Fire" is vintage sixties garage rock, while "Summer Breeze" covered the 1972 Seals and Crofts hit. "Christian Woman" and "Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)" became the most popular tracks, after having been edited down to radio-friendly lengths (the album versions were 8½ and 11 minutes long respectively). In order to promote the album, Type O Negative embarked on a two-year world tour. During this time, the band was featured on MTV, VH1, and in Rolling Stone. In the midst of this media blitz, drummer Sal Abruscato quit the band to join another Brooklyn quartet, Life of Agony. Johnny Kelly, the band's drum technician, was therefore hired as a full-fledged member. Bloody Kisses was re-released a year after the original release in a limited-edition digipak form, including eight of the musical tracks from the original (omitting the "filler" tracks) and the previously unreleased "Suspended in Dusk".
Type O's October Rust picked up where Bloody Kisses left off, this album continued to explore themes of sex and sensuality, explored in a humorous sense on the single "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" and then taken much darker with "Love You to Death". This record also saw a cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" as well as the fan favorite, semi-serene "Green Man". While not quite as successful as Bloody Kisses, the album was certified Gold in the US, and was the first Type O Negative album to enter the top half of the Billboard Top 200, debuting at No. 42.
World Coming Down and The Least Worst of Type O Negative (1999–2001) Edit
With the completion of another successful world tour, writing for a fifth album began. Following October Rust is 1999's World Coming Down (working titles included Prophets of Doom and Aggroculture). World Coming Down debuted at No. 39 on the Billboard Top 200 charts. World Coming Down featured a much darker, bleaker tone than its predecessors, having been written after a series of deaths in frontman Peter Steele's family.
A best of album followed in 2000, entitled The Least Worst of Type O Negative. Although most songs appear on previous albums, many are unreleased remixes or B-sides of previously released singles. Along with these songs are some unreleased numbers from the World Coming Down sessions, the band's cover of "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath (Peter Steele's version with different lyrics, written from the perspective of Satan), and a cleaner version of "Hey Pete" (originally released on the mock live album The Origin of the Feces).
Life Is Killing Me and Dead Again (2002–2009) Edit
Type O Negative's sixth studio album, Life Is Killing Me (originally called The Dream Is Dead after the closing song), was released in 2003. For this album, the band picked up the pace of their sound from the dirgeful slowness of World Coming Down. Songs such as "Todd's Ship Gods (Above All Things)", "(We Were) Electrocute", and "I Don't Wanna Be Me" convey the band's classic elements of melody, though the song lengths were much shorter on this outing, the longest being the seven and a half-minute "How Could She?", whose lyrics contains a list of female character names from television shows. The album includes a humorous cover of the song "Angry Inch" from the musical Hedwig and the song details a sex change operation gone terribly wrong.
Type O then left Roadrunner and signed with SPV Records. Under that new label, the band released their final album Dead Again in 2007. The album debuted at No. 27 in the United States, the band's highest peak. It is the longest Type O Negative album, lasting more than 77 minutes.
Peter Steele's death and the end of Type O Negative (2010–2011) Edit
On April 14, 2010, frontman and bassist Peter Steele died, reportedly from heart failure. The following statement concerning Steele was released April 15 on the band's official website:
“It is with great sadness that we inform you that Type O Negative frontman, bassist, and our bandmate, 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
Type O Negative had signed with Napalm Records right before Steele's death.
In a November 2010 interview with Rock Hard magazine, Johnny Kelly and Kenny Hickey confirmed that following Steele's death, Type O Negative had definitely split-up. In a July 2011 interview with TV4, Johnny Kelly said that it is impossible to continue Type O Negative without Peter:
“If there is somebody that could take his place, it wouldn't matter. We don't have any interest the three of us in continuing it. It's impossible to continue Type O Negative without Peter. It's impossible. It hasn't even come up in any kind of discussion, like, 'Hey, what do you think? Are there possibilities?' When Peter died, Type O Negative died with him.”
Roadrunner Records released a box set of all the band's albums except for Dead Again for Back to Black Friday 2011, a spinoff of Record Store Day, on November 25, 2011. Each vinyl cover has no text and The Origin of the Feces uses its original cover art. The box set also contains various bumper stickers related to the band.
- According to Pete Steele, one of the the logo colors was chosen to be green instead of red is because green is the opposite of red.
- The lyrics in World Coming Down were inspired from a series of deaths in Pete's family and is the most depressing album.
- The sixth album title was going to be called The Dream Is Dead but was changed to Life Is Killing Me as Pete worried that fans think that would be their last Type O Negative album.
- The working title for Dead Again was The Profit of Doom, same title as their third track.
- Final lineup
- Peter Steele – lead vocals, bass, additional keyboards and guitar (1989–2010 (death))
- Kenny Hickey – guitar, backing vocals, additional co-lead vocals (1989–2010)
- Josh Silver – keyboards, piano, effects, synthesizer, programming, backing vocals (1989–2010)
- Johnny Kelly – drums, percussions (1994–2010)
- Former member
- Sal Abruscato – drums, percussions (1989–1994)