We’ll never forget where we were that day.
Six years ago today (April 14th) I was a senior in high school sitting in seventh-period home economics. I don’t remember anything about the lesson. I’m not even entirely sure I was paying attention. But, I remember looking at my phone at some point and seeing a text from my uncle saying that Peter Steele was found dead. My stomach kind of sank, and I remember feeling a peculiar sorrow that I had only felt once before when Chris Farley died. It was a kind of dread that dug deep, even though I “lost” someone I’ve never really known or met. It caused me to question how I’d somehow felt less shitty when attending funerals of people who had a place in my life. I lost something, even if I can’t say exactly what.
The most obvious thing I (and everyone else) lost was the opportunity to hear how Type O would follow Dead Again. It’s no secret that Peter had come to embrace the faith he had formerly mocked, and Dead Again is all the stronger for it. The album is exceptional, and it changed my life. In fact, if I was seen not wearing the bracelet that came with the edition of the album I bought, I was likely having a bad day, pissed off that the bracelet was at home and not around my wrist. Furthermore, there’s a photo of me somewhere out there, drunkenly praising the lyrics of Life is Killing Me to no one remotely interested, CD insert in hand.
I am grateful to say I saw Type O Negative live on the Dead Again tour at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh. I still talk about Peter’s jesting with Kenny, “You’re the spic and I’m the span…,” and I cannot stress how strongly I regret that we didn’t hang around after the show to meet him. That show remains a fond memory nonetheless (it was only the second concert I had ever been to).
I could write on about how Peter’s words and music enriched my life, but it goes without saying. The most ironic thing of all is that the Man of Steele seemed to know what was coming, especially if the lyrics to “I Don’t Wanna Be Me” are considered. There’s a morbid beauty in that thought. It’s perfect.
Peter’s music and lyrics were at times brutal, at times beautiful, and often both simultaneously…and they were always honest. There will never be another like him, and there will certainly never be another musician to affect me on such a personal level. So here’s a glass of red wine to the Green Giant.
No Hope = No Fear
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