Josh Silver - keyboards
Kenny Hickey - guitar
Johnny Kelly - drums
Type O Negative took a provocative approach on October Rust, the highly anticipated follow-up to their gold-certified third album, Bloody Kisses. "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," quips singer/bassist Peter Steele. If anything, it will lead to even more success, accolades and notoriety than the Brooklyn-based lineup received following the August 1993 release of Bloody Kisses, which spawned the hits "Black No.1" and "Christian Woman" and earned the quartet slots on tours ranging from Nine Inch Nails (at the request of Trent Reznor) to Pantera to Queensyrche to Motley Crue to Danzig. "We came into our own with our last album; we found our style," Steele explains of Type O Negative's mesmerizing melding of dense, gothic heaviness and song-oriented 60's-influenced pop tuneage. "Not that we set any limitations on the new record, we simply feel this is the logical continuation from Bloody Kisses, unlike Slow, Deep And Hard  to Bloody Kisses, which was really, really different."
October Rust, produced by Steele and keyboardist Josh Silver, was recorded in early 1996 at Systems Two Studios, with Mike Marciano engineering. October Rust marks drummer Johnny Kelly's recording debut with the band, although he joined in 1993, just following the release of Bloody Kisses. The versatile, hard-hitting drummer gelled within the band instantly, proving a valuable asset on tour with his great playing and good humor. In fact, TON's diverse yet compatible personalities make the Brooklyn boys as compelling and entertaining onstage as off. Guitarist Kenny Hickey, a founding member of TON, has an aggressive playing style and almost intimidating personality that perfectly suits the band's varied textures and appeal. "My gear changes a lot because it blows up every month," he told Guitar School magazine. "There are so many elements in our music we can't really be tagged. Whatever it takes to get the right mood out of the album is how I see it," he says of the band's decided allure. Josh Silver, his hair flying as he pounds the keyboards onstage, is quite a different character offstage. Emphasis on character. A self-proclaimed "paranoid schizophrenic hermit," look for a cloud of cigarette smoke and coffee cup and you'll find the amusingly self-deprecating Silver, as prolific a producer as he is player. Unlike many bands, TON write prolifically on the road, and lyricist/songwriter Steele penned nearly 80 percent of the material that ended up on October Rust on a Yamaha keyboard in the back of a tour bus. However, clarifies the singer, "some parts of the album were written when I was 13 or 14 years old, and there are some parts that were written while the recording light was on and went right to tape." The musical goal was "sonic saturation-as much sonic information as possible," and with the 12 songs on October Rust, intoned in Steele's sensual, resonant voice and realized via the band's tight, unique, heavy and wild musicality, they succeeded. "Each time you listen to the album you're going to hear something else," TON assure. Indeed, "Green Man" begins with the pastoral sounds of chirping birds, followed by the noise of a garbage truck...then into the song itself. And "Green Man" has two meanings for Steele. "When I first wrote the song, I wrote it about the Celtic embodiment of nature... But the thought occurred to me that when I worked for the Parks Department [in NYC], these little kids at the playground used to call me the green man..." Steele won't say whether "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend" is as autobiographical as "Green Man," but it's certainly food for thought. Tongue-in-cheek humor and a retro vibe is also clearly evident on "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend," which Steele describes as sounding like "the Cars if Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy) was in the band. It's about two girls, one guy and one bed. The two's company, three's an orgy type of thing." Of course. Not to be overlooked in the shadow of Steele's 6 foot 6 inch frame is the humor and sarcasm often present in his lyrics and conversation. Steele, who gained initial musical notoriety in NYC cult favorites Carnivore, promises to disturb and incite. And in the "introduction" to the song "Wolf Moon" he does just that. It's a "so-called song" full of marching and screaming sounds, entitled "The Liberation of Vinnland by Pan-European Forces." "I am a firm believer that this country should be overthrown," says Steele about the States. "Vikings christened this land Vinnland. Let's take over this country with the help of the United States of Europe, and re-christen it Vinnland. I even have a flag made up: A black cross, with a white border on a green field." Other, no less intriguing songs on October Rust include a cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," a popular staple in TON's live set, as well as the new tunes "Red Water," "Burnt Flowers" and "Druidess."
For now, touring and other concerns are replacing coups for Type O Negative. In the last several years, TON have conquered many minds with their music, and the man of Steele conquered a few hearts with his well-received layout and cover in the August 1995 issue of Playgirl. It's proven nothing but positive publicity for the band: "Every interview I've done, it's come up...no pun intended," Steele says. nineteen-ninety-five also saw rave reviews of Bloody Kisses ("A brilliant record" -Pulse, "tuneful doom and gloom" -SPIN), while the disc enjoyed heavy airplay, regular MTV rotation for "Black No. 1" and insinuated its way up Billboard's Top 200 chart. In fact, each subsequent record has done better for the band, whose career began with the 1991 Roadrunner release Slow, Deep And Hard, followed by the luridly titled The Origin Of The Feces (complete with the appropriately scatological-and controversial-cover) in 1992. Both records showcase the lush "orchestral metal" musicality and fascinating, hard-to-peg inner workings of Steele's mind, not to mention his oft-misconstrued political leanings and views about the "fairer sex." Ultimately, though, Steele feels it is Bloody Kisses where the band truly came into its own, melding the melody, lyrics and heaviness found in songs like "Blood & Fire" into a uniquely signature sound that has inspired fanatical fans ranging from white-skinned vampire wannabees to prog-rock metal heads, not to mention raves from hard-to-impress critics at Alternative Press, Rolling Stone and Billboard.
But that was just the beginning for TON. Although the work on October Rust took precedence, Type O Negative found time for outside projects, including an instrumental version of their original "Haunted," which is featured in the new video game "Descent II." The majority of 1996 will be devoted to touring, first as a guest on the Ozzy Osbourne arena tour, then as headliners. While Bloody Kisses proved the major breakthrough album for Type O Negative, October Rust will be a follow-through - Steele & Co. are never ones to leave an audience unsatiated. As for any concerns about topping their last effort, Type O Negative feel no pressure, and are fully confident in the textural sounds and memorable moments captured on their third full LP. Earthy, tactile and infused with Pagan influences, fire imagery and salacious sensuality, October Rust is ear candy for a diabetic world. Have a taste.