Towering Type O Negative singer and bassist Peter Steele may be remembered as a brazenly sexual libertine, but just under his horny, brooding exterior was a sensitive lover who fell hard and suffered harder when it all fell apart. Steele's lyrics were often deeply personal and, even with his signature sense of sarcastic humor, acted as a window into what plagued the frontman: death, love, addiction and betrayal.
Born in Brooklyn to a Roman Catholic family, Steele was the youngest of six children and the only boy, which gave him a special perspective on the lives of women. "It felt like I had five extra mothers," he said in one of his final interviews, and that unique immersion into the feminine mystique left him with a special knack for approaching, talking to and relating to women. This trait is clear when watching clips of Steele and female interviewers, whom he couldn't resist throwing tempting looks and bold innuendo toward. It's a rare charm one must possess to prevent that brand of flirtatious behavior from crossing into creepy territory, but the raven-haired crooner worked this dark magic on nearly every female he came across.
The latter days of Steele's life saw him open up about his depression and struggles with mental illness even more, especially as he fought his tendencies toward addiction to cocaine and alcohol. He spoke of his return to faith in his final years, saying once, "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." Tragically, he stepped into the hereafter in 2010 at the age of 48, dying of heart failure. His wry genius lives on, however — read on for some of his best quotes from throughout the years.
On being banned from a Netherlands show: "I don't like the idea of being branded a Nazi, and it's funny because back in the States, they call us Communists because we have long hair." - Dutch interview, 1991
"I don't base my life upon fear about what might happen tomorrow. I live for the day. I seize the day." - Jerry Springer 1995
"Ultimately, I would like to have sex with someone I love, but that doesn't always have to be the case." - Headbanger's Ball, 1995
"My goal is isolation. I really don't like people too much." - MTV, 1996
On the wine he liked to drink onstage: "Something red and dry. It doesn't really matter what brand or where it's from, so long as it's tasty ... gets me a little buzzed and makes me forget how many people I'm attempting to entertain." - Waldrock interview, 1996
"Reverb drowns out all the errors. What people think is Goth and genius and depth is just layers of mistakes." - Interview, 1996
"I don't try to look mean. I think that comes naturally." - Interview in Denmark, 1997
"Success is defined by two things: One is how many people hate you. The second is if you had sex with Madonna. I'm only halfway there, but a lot of people hate me." - Interview, 1997
"There's a lot of temptation out there on the road, and being human, sometimes I fall into the passions of the flesh." - Interview
"We were trying to get away from that, you know, sexual thing because now we're old, fat, and impotent, so it doesn't really work too well anymore. So now we have to talk about the other things in life, which are drugs, depression and Halloween." - Much Music, 2000
"Every band that I've been in has never been in tune." - Interview, 2003
"We're known more for being four dicks from Brooklyn than actually being able to, ya know, play instruments, which is great because we've never really learned to play." - Full Metal Jackie, 2007
On drug and alcohol dependency: "I'm no angel, and from time to time I do fall off. Anytime I do, I feel like it's slow suicide." - Toazted, 2007
"People ask me about how I used to fuck around on the road and abusing my body and writing songs like 'Christian Woman.' I turn around and say, 'God loves his lost little lambs the most. Especially those that return to the flock. So flock you.'" - Leo Weekly, 2007
"I love Southern girls, ya know, [in a southern accent] "Hi Peter, Hi Peter." Oh my god. Ya know, I mean doesn't your dick get hard with even me sayin' it?" - Interview with Jimmy Duff, 2007
"People ask me, 'Are you a born-again Christian?' and I say, 'No, I am a dead-again Christian." - MK Ultra (via Blabbermouth) 2007
"I was born 23 and a half inches long. My mother said it was like giving birth to a pumpkin." - Metal Hammer, 2008
"I would love to have kids. But it would have to be with a tall woman. I don't want to have to put her on a milk crate to fuck her from behind." - Metal Hammer, 2008
"The older I get and the older my friends get ... it seems like I'm going to a funeral like once every three months. That's why I'm always dressed for it." - Interview, 2008