» Type O' Negative Biography
by Marion Phillips - December 5, 2003
Type O' Negative is one of the few goth bands that there are, which got popular outside the scene and this mostly by accident.
Their success started in a time when the goth scene was renewing itself, with more daring and bold bands.
Starting From The Bottom
After the ending of the band Carnivore, the bassist and vocalist Peter Steele formed the Type O' Negative in New York City in 1988, with the guitarist Ken Hickey, the keyboardist Josh Silver and the drummer Sal Abruscato.
At first, the band's sound was more hardcore than goth and the lyrics expressed more a feeling of disdain of society's common values than any kind of dark poetry, as it would become later on.
But since the times of the Carnivore, Steele was known for his controversial opinions that he always expressed in his lyrics, and which gave him the bad fame of being neo-nazist, racist, anti-religion, sexist, etc. The truth behind those lyrics may be that Steele doesn't bother to mince with his words and he has a great scorn for society in general (no critic here).
His former band Carnivore had recorded a few independent LPs, but it took some years for the Type O' Negative to make a deal with Roadrunner Records and release their first album "Slow, Deep And Hard" in 1991.
Another album was released in 1992 with the name "The Origin Of The Feces", which certainly made many puritains in the US want to burn them at the stake. The first cover of this album, showed a close-up of a sphincter and soon it had to be changed.
No matter how big the controversy was, and as in the Rock world things are always better when people talk badly about someone, they started to get known in the underground scene and opened the shows of important bands like Nine Inch Nails, Danzig and Mötley Crüe.
In 1993, the drummer Sal left the band and was replaced by Johnny Kelly, who was their drums technician. Sal joined the Life Of Agony band.
In that same year they released their breakthrough album "Bloody Kisses", which had among its songs, their greatest hits "Black Nº1" and "Christian Woman". This album shows a change in their style, with more melodic and elaborated tunes and more complex lyrics. Still, there were reminants of their hardcore past, as in the song "We Hate Everyone".
The success of this album made them "the band of the moment" throughout the year, making them the "darlings" of MTV and making "Black Nº1" be one of the most played songs in the Rock radios throughout the world.
"We Don't Care What You Think!"
The year of 1994 was spent on tour and when mid-1995 came, more precisely in August, Mr. Steele shook the goth rock world when he posed nude for Playgirl magazine.
The pictures inside the magazine show him in sensuous and lewd poses, either accompanied by a beautiful goth girl or alone and has one of those "playboy-like" interviews in which he describes one of his "fantasies".
Most people twisted their noses at this, others dismissed it, but also many people who showed indignation at it, quietly did everything to acquire the magazine. That issue was a great success, of course, and nowadays it's a classic.
Back to what matters... The band's next release was in 1996 and was called "October Rust". It showed another evolution in the band's sound, but the song that was most talked about, was another "polemic" song called "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend". Steele again was accused of sexism, etc, and the qualities of the album were almost forgotten by the media.
After this release, the Type O' Negative slowly got out from the mainstream and started to have a more healthy attention from the public and the media.
Due to touring and problems with the record label, their next album "World Coming Down" was only released in 1999. And due to personal problems, Steele couldn't take careof the production, so the result of it not only disappointed many fans, but also the band members.
In 2000, their released the compilation "The Least Worst Of", to keep fans busy while they prepared new material.
Their next album would come only in 2002, called "Life Is Killing Me". This time, the Type O' Negative guys tried to make it an album as good as "Blood Kisses" and "October Rust". It has the best elements of the band's style: irony, sarcasm, good lyrics and great music.
They are currently touring.
Copyright © 2003 Marion Phillips