The Green Man
Aka Peter Steele of Type O Negative
Born as Petrus Thomas Ratajczk on Jan 4, 1962–in Red Hook, Brooklyn into a Catholic Family. His mother, whom he held above all women, her name is reported to be Annette C. Pallon Ratajczyk. His Father, Peter P Ratajczk. Both of his parents passed away before he did–his mother only a short two years before. His father was of a Russian and Polish descent & his Mother–Scottish-Irish, Norwegian, and Icelandic descent.
Peter Steele was the youngest of six children, five older sisters. All which of he was very close to. Peter loved his family above all things. He talked about them very frequently. In fact when the accusation came up that he was a misogynist–he would bring up his close relationship with his sisters and mother. He was very offended by this accusation–simply in result of a song that referred to one woman as a “slut, cunt, and whore”. This wasn’t an attack on all women. Which in my opinion should have been a given.
Peter always was a fan of music and began taking guitar lessons at age 12 but it is said that he moved to bass lessons 6 months later.
Peter was/is well known for his love of nature.
So it makes sense that–Steele worked for the New York Department of Parks and Recreation up until he began touring with Type O Negative in the summer of 1994. It is said that he enjoyed this job. The job involved cleaning up the parks-including driving garbage trucks & steamrollers. He was even promoted to the park supervisor.
It wasn’t originally Steele’s goal to become the Peter Steele we know today. His story of becoming a so called “Rockstar” wasn’t his dream. He simply enjoyed music and creating it. He didn’t become who he did until he was faced with the question of making his then hobby into a full time job.
In 1972 Peter formed a metal band called Fallout but reportedly split in 1982.
He then formed Carnivore which was a thrash metal band. Releasing their self-titled album in 1985.
His lyrical content was often very dark–dealing with war, religion, and race. In 1987–Carnivore released Retaliation before splitting up not soon after.
In 1989 Peter formed what we know now as– Type O Negative, with childhood friends; Josh Silver, Kenny Hickey, and Sal Abruscato (whom was later replaced by Johnny Kelly).
The band originally used the name, Repulsion, but then dealt with legal issues with a band with the same name, in 1990. Then the band used the name Subzero–Peter has a tattoo of a minus sign with the number zero that he was going to use as the bands logo. However there was another band by the same name, yet again!! Peter heard requests on a radio that they were looking for donations of Type O Negative blood and that was when he decided on a name.
Slow Deep & Hard was originally reportedly titled “None More Negative” & according to the source material named-Wikipedia-lol-it was released in 1990, under the bands former name Repulsion. However it launched the bands career & became Type O Negatives known-to date- debut album.
The bands line up then was–
Peter Steele – lead vocals, bass guitar
Kenny Hickey – guitar, backing vocals
Josh Silver – keyboards, effects, backing vocals
Sal Abruscato – drums
The style & sound of the band mirrored Steele’s other band named Carnivore with its element of thrash metal but then also had heavy dashes of Doom Metal as well as you could sense the Gothic Metal creeping into the mix! Although Peter nor the other boys had ever truly categorized their sound–to me & many others these are the labels we usually come up with when describing the sound of this band. Very many different elementals, seasons, herbs, and surprises when it comes to Type O Negative. To me ultimately, however, the band has always been a nostalgic band–almost near–60’s sound imo in many songs but we will get to that point later. Though you could hear this creeping up-THEN-as well!
The lyrical content of Slow, Deep, & Hard was centered around the then relationship of Peter Steele–however the black humor wasn’t absent! All lyrics & music written by Peter Steele.
The Origin of the Feces released on May 12th, 1992–however was recorded October 31st, 1991 in Brooklyn, New York. A studio album yet to give the “live sound” by the additional effect of adding noises from a supposed crowd, banter with this “audience”, and even a break in the middle of a song because they had had received a “bomb threat”. This was done to mirror some of the controversy the “Slow, Deep, & Hard” tour.
The Album content was filled with some rewritten tracks from Slow, Deep & Hard. However does have “Hey Pete” & TON’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. Which was one of the first songs by TON I ever heard! Speaking of which that is the song that Drummer, Johnny Kelly, first appears!
The first album cover, of course, features our beloved Mr. Steele’s asshole upon it! lol! But then–was changed a couple years later to the green & black version of the 1493 painting by Michael Wolgemut, The Dance of Death.
The album’s title is an obvious word play & reference to Charles Darwin’s–On the Origin of Species.
Bloody Kisses is the third album from the Brooklyn Band, Type O Negative. It’s also the last album with the original drummer before he was replaced with Johnny Kelly. This song includes the cover of “Summer Breeze”, originally written & performed by Seals and Crofts.
Bloody Kisses was the first album on Roadrunner Records to achieve gold and platinum certification.
Bloody Kisses received decent reviews. The album also featured; the sarcastic ode to Goth Girls titled, “Black NO. 1”, Christian Woman, along with “Kill all the White people”. A personal favorite of mine was also featured on this album, title, “Too Late; Frozen”.
I would say that Bloody Kisses & October Rust are my top two favorite TON albums!
The song, “Black No. 1” is said to be a parody of one Gothic woman in particular that Peter Steele dated in the past. It wasn’t meant to be an insult to the whole Goth community.
Release August 17, 1993, I didn’t hear of it until much later in the year 2000, the first song I heard was “Black No One”.
It is said that the song, “Bloody Kisses (A Death In The Family)” is about the cat named Venus that passed away which was owned by Peter Steele, himself.
Released August 20, 1996, October Rust, is the fourth studio album by Type O Negative. It is also the first album in which drummer, Johnny Kelley is credited as the bands drummer. The sound that Rust provides is much more soft & has many more ballads compared to the bands prior albums. Which I feel the reason for that was Steele’s attempt to show of ‘himself’ to his fans & critics alike! Perhaps to show that he wasn’t such a misogynist afterall! I feel he shows more of the truth of his heart & vulnerability instead of showing his anger or so called “gloom metal” style as before.
October Rust also shows a much more honest example of his influences perhaps the style that began his interest in musicianship to begin with?
I believe Mr. Steele used the opportunity he had with the composition of October Rust as a means to take advantage of it seeing it as an outlet to express his true broke heart he had as the effect from the death of an actual relationship he had with a woman instead of his cats!
This album is by far my most favorite of them all! Not to say I hate any of their albums! But this one seems the most layered, the songs have so many textures to them, and when I’m listening to it after I’ve partaken some Mary Jane, it is as if I can hear the paintbrush Peter Steele uses to paint upon his canvas the stories of the songs themselves.
Rust is where Peter was dubbed with the nick name “Green Man” which is the title of track 5 on the album. It also featured the cover of Neil Youngs, “Cinnamon Girl”.
Over the years Type O Negative produced many Cover songs however Peter Steele, himself stated that he didn’t want to do (most) of them. That it was the labels tactic to bring in more attention which equals money.
The other guys in the band refer to October Rust as Peter’s “pimp” album as it brought in many more female fans! Many fans playfully debate over which album (Bloody Kisses & October Rust) is TON’s best album. Because they are two very different thing however the intention & goals Peter was attempting to accomplish with them both are entirely different & shouldn’t be compared!
More to come!