Peter Steele, the legendary frontman of Type O Negative and Carnivore, passed away April 14th, 2010. While his physical presence, morbid creativity and sardonic wit are missed every day, his legacy grows each year due to Type O and Carnivore's unmatched catalogs and the devotion of his fans, many of which are artists themselves.
Take Colin Young, for example. The frontman for Los Angeles's Twitching Tongues — who released their new LP Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred in March — considers Type O Negative to be his favorite band and one that admittedly "consumed his life" rendering him unable to "listen to other music for years." That being the case, we talked to the Twitching Tongues singer about the lasting legacy of Peter Steele and Young's personal history with the iconic artist.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD A PETE STEELE SONG?
COLIN YOUNG Fittingly, the first time I heard anything by Pete Steele, it was the "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" video. I didn't understand what the fuck was going on with it. It was the kind of thing where you would see their shirts everywhere and assume "this must be the hardest, heaviest band ever," and then you see the video and it defies expectations — they're still this dark and heavy entity, but the music doesn't always represent "metal." So as I kid, I thought to myself, "Fuck this." Later on I heard "Gravitational Constant" and it just hit this part of my brain that I had never used before, sort of like, "Here's that thing I've been looking for all this time!" From there, I slowly went through their entire discography and began to realize that, hey, this is my favorite band. And it's been that way for over a decade now. And then you go back and listen to the Carnivore or to get the idea where all this creativity and these brilliant, insane ideas stem from.
Type O Negative consumed my life. I couldn't listen to other music for years because of all of the little nuances of the lyrics and music. Then you become interested in the personal details of that and once you start finding out all the cool things about them and their creative process, they overshadow every other band in the world to me.
THE INTERESTING THING TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE A HARDCORE GUY AT HEART, AND MOST HARDCORE GUYS COME IN VIA CARNIVORE ...
I'd imagine that is the deal. My brother and I didn't have any old heads to look up to or guide our way when we were younger — we just had each other, so we had to do the work ourselves. So some of the ways we came to specific bands were unconventional because that's the way we found them. We had to do our own due diligence and research.
DID YOU EVER GET A CHANCE TO SEE TYPE O NEGATIVE LIVE?
Unfortunately, I was too young. F. Sean, who plays guitar in Twitching Tongues now, toured with Type O Negative several times when he was with Hatebreed. So he's got all these amazing stories about hanging out with the band throughout the years. They became pretty tight and had a lot of fun touring together.
IF YOU HAD TO SUGGEST A SINGLE SONG TO INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO PETER STEELE'S WORK, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I think I would probably suggest two songs, a Carnivore song and a Type O Negative song. For Carnivore, it would be "Male Supremacy" because it's got all of these layers for what Carnivore is and what Type O was going to be with that crazy bridge section.
To me, there are two versions of Type O Negative: the hard and fast one and the slow and painful one. I would say, and this is an unusual pick, but one that I think they liked a lot because they played it live a lot towards the end: "Anesthesia."
CONSIDERING THAT SOME OF YOUR FANS ARE YOUNGER, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FACT THAT SOME OF YOUR FANS ARE DISCOVERING TWITCHING TONGUES AT THE SAME TIME AS TYPE ON NEGATIVE?
I think some, the younger people definitely. I think we've introduced a lot of younger hardcore kids to Type O, to the annoyance of some of the older guys maybe. With the last record, we don't really channel them sonically all the time, but we definitely are some parts where you're like, "Oh, there it is." But in general, aesthetic and in our mindset and the way I kind of approached things sarcastically and try to not take things too seriously is very much — and always will be — inspired by the Type O.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT PETER STEELE AND HIS LEGACY?
He's the only person that I didn't know that truly crushed me on that day that he died. I remember we recorded our first demo and released it a month and one day removed before him dying. Our band was hoping that one day, you know, we could play with [Type O Negative]. A month later he dies. Selfishly, you think, "Wow, I'll never play with them, or see them." It really just ... it just makes me so sad.