Peter As A Waxed Dummy? He Would Have LOVED That

You guys totally crack me up. Every time I read your comments about how to remember Peter, I'm actually imagining what Peter would say in my head.

I could go for an authorized estate biography, or even some phone apps. I thought it was great that you wanted to create "The Museum of Steele." But then, someone said Wax Figure of Pete and THATS when I could hear Pete's voice in my head telling me all the bad things he would be doing to and with that wax figure if he was alive. Nettie would be decorating the wax figure with outfits and hats. Peter on the other hand would have set fire to it or put it in places that would scare the heck out of an unsuspecting person. Yeah, I could see him getting miles of laughs from a wax figure of himself !
While going through my photos of Summer memories, here are some photos I'd like to share:

When we were off for Summer, most of the neices hung out at Nettie's house while our parents worked. Nettie kept us on a schedule of going into the pool, waiting for the ice cream man, opening the pump so we can go into  the sprinkler, or going to the movies. In the afternoon, Peter had a few faorites to watch on TV before his father got home from work. We'd watch Green Acres and everyone had to sing the song. We'd sometimes watch Lost In Space, and Batman. But an evening favorite of Nettie's and her son, was Laverne & Shirley show. I think Nettie liked it because the lead characters reminded her of the people she knew growing up in Red Hook - working class people - but Peter loved to watch Lenny & Sqiggy because they were complete idiots and their comedic timing was perfect. Peter could imitate anything that Sqiggy said and would use Sqiggy-isms to greet us or just talk like Sqiggy all day, even through dinner, till no one could stand it anymore.  Here is an episode I'm sure Pete would enjoy:


Peter jamming with his cousins - L to R - Peter on guitar and Roger on drums. Backyard of sister Nan's house in Staten Island.


The Family Historian Has Big Closets

Since we are on a nostalgic bend this week, writing about Carnivore got me, Pete's neice Marie and Pete's sister Pat talking about the early bands -- Hot Ice & Northern Lights. I remember when we got our first t-shirts from Peter. He came into the livingroom with a big box in his arms. Inside were shirts in all our sizes and he handed them out telling us this free shirt required our appearance at their next gig.

Since Pat is the self-proclaimed "family historian," she's the one who keeps the family tree intact, keeps track of lost relatives, and apparently has a huge closet filled with personal items like this shirt:

Pete's sister Pat still has this original t-shirt in her collection of Peter goodies
(I'm laughing while I'm typing this because the iron-on letters are so telling of the era)

This Hot Ice Tshirt seems to be missing a patch or something on the left side of the shirt. Each band member wore the shirt, with the back of the shirt detailing which instrument that person played. So, you can imagine that the back of this shirt had the word "bass" on it. (This design is so mundane, I can't believe Peter had anything to do with it.) It's before he started painting on his jackets and clothing ... It looks like something a little kid would do ...

Pete would wear this shirt often - even when he was older and working around the house, he had it on.

As you can tell the shirts were starting to get better, more creative.

It was sometime between Northern Lights and Fallout that Pete's creativity came out. He started painting jackets, vests, backdrops for shows. He began to dabble in lettering and fonts. Here is a vest that Pete gave to Pat years ago. Pete would wear this vest when he was out with his friends and playing at shows.

While I don't have footage from Peter's early career (too bad right !), here is a memorial video I just saw. Must be recent because the pic I use on this blog is included in the video:


Too Late for Apologies

Pete relaxing on floor next to bar at L'Amours Rock club, Brooklyn 1986

I have a couple of regrets when it comes to Peter.

One: I wish I had taken him up on his countless offers to go on tour with him. Especially when he formed TON, he would be getting ready for a tour. He'd ask me, my cousin Nancy and her daughter Siobhan if we wanted to go with him for a few months to Europe on tour. Because of my career schedule, I was never able to do it. THAT would have been an amazing memory ... traveling with the guys ... seeing the music business up close and personal.

Two: That I didn't get to see Peter the last time he played in NY area. I was on a tour with client and unable to get any free nights to see Pete when he was in town. I heard it was a great tour -- with him sober and the band tight -- and I wish I could have predicted it was the last time seeing him live. PS: I'd love to hear more from people who have seen Peter during this time. Peter's ex GF Summer told me Peter looked fantastic and sounded amazing at the show she saw him. My mom and Cathy said the same.

Pete and I behind Aunt Nancy's Summer house on Clam Island 1975
(which I believe is off-shore of Connecticut)
Peter is 13 yo & I am 7 yo

However, I thought I'd share with you what it was like seeing Peter live -- for those of you who never went to a concert. Probably my favorite venues were Hammerstein Ballroom and Roseland because one of these venues had two stages. One where the band played and the other stage (almost like a balcony) where VIP sat, about a six feet above the crowd.

When Peter knew he was playing at a venue in the city, he would leave the info with his mother and then call the sisters to get a head count of who wanted to come to the show. We were all guaranteed a VIP seat if we wanted and of course, Pete would invite us backstage before and after the show so we could give him well wishes and congrats.

Sitting on the balcony stage was the best. You had superior access to seeing the stage and you were high enough to see the mosh pit -- which always intrigued me. When I asked Peter one time (when I was 16 yo) if girls did the mosh pit, he said yes, but there was an excellent chance I'd get hurt or abused. He also said if he saw me there he'd have to jump off the stage and kill people if they hurt me. He wouldn't allow it and I never asked again.

During Carnivore shows, Pete would throw bloody animal parts into the audience, which in turn, would cause a blood bath between the fans. People would be slipping around in the blood on the floor. They'd be throwing pig and cow organs at each other. After a couple of shows, that end-of-the-show favor ended.

TON shows were mostly about the toilet paper exchange. After a few rounds of fan chants of "YOU SUCK," Pete would pull out the toilet paper rolls and start flinging them into the audience, and the fight would begin. Fans would throw them back - causing the streamer effect - trying to hit Peter or the other guys in the face. They'd do the same back at the fans untill the entire place was filled with unrolled toilet paper. Then the lights would come up and it was over.

Note to readers: If you find a video of the toilet paper roll wars from TON's live performances, please let me know.

A big thanks to Leah E. for suggesting this video. It's a fantastic live version of my favorite song, Too Late/Frozen.


The Fighting Won't Stop ... Till We're All Dead

This photo is from a rock club in Brooklyn called L'Amour, in 1986 with the original members of Carnivore.

We spent many Friday and Saturday nites at this club with Peter -- whether we were seeing his band play or bands that he liked and supported.

Check out the details on the double base drums that Louie played. I tried to enlarge this photo so you can see Peter on stage. Enjoy ...

While I don't actually agree with the "archie bunker" reference below about Carnivore's political statements - you have to remember that this is when Peter's sense of humor was developing in his music.

Race War was a song about how historically different nations have fought about the same things. And if it doesn't end, we all lose. Remember how Peter says in the song:  "This is the United States of America and you have the right to hate who  you want. So let's start busting heads."  It's a song that's supposed to make you think about how ridiculous hate is. What it does to people, countries, the world. 

However, I must add, this song became an anthem for Hard Core lovers -- the mosh pit would explode when this song was played.

Peter was fiercely protective of and proud to be an American. He was outraged about 9/11. His father and uncles fought in wars and he was very sensitive to the devotion that American soldiers give to our country. Whenever he was on tour and a serviceman wanted to take a picture with him, he thanked THEM for their service to keep our country safe. He honored them. He asked them what it was like to fight for a war on enemy soil and then come back here. He wanted to know, learn, feel their stories.


Here is an excerpt from TG Daily that I saw and had to share with you all:

In fact, this is what a friend of mine always loved about Carnivore's "Retaliation," was that it was "anti-everything." Try to imagine Archie Bunker forming a hardcore band and you'll get the picture.

After Carnivore broke up, their leader, Peter Steele, who wrote all the music and lyrics, formed Type O Negative, and you could hear it picked up where Carnivore took off, but Steele also added in a lot more innovative elements like keyboards. 

They stood out like a sore thumb opening for bands like The Exploited and Motley Crue, because there was nothing like Type O at the time, where there are innumerable extreme metal bands use keyboards today.



Immortal He Remains ...

A Special Saturday Devotion To Peter Steele
Courtesy of Jenifer Bracy

Jenifer was nice enough to share that she photo shopped a favorite photo of Peter with a poem she wrote. While Jen (who comments on the blog as Ink for Blood) never met Peter, she has been a fan of TON for 14 years and Pete's music has been a huge part of her life.

Jenifer was also kind enough to suggest this clear video of Pete singing Black #1 in 1995:


Peter Steele Influenced Other Bands

I remember the first show Peter did at Zappa's in Brooklyn. I was too young to go (I must have been around 8 or 10 yo), but I sat on the stoop and watched the band and their friends load up a van and their cars with equiptment. After they drove off, I went back inside to whine to Nettie about not being able to go. I sat with Pete Sr., he put his arm around me and I told him about how I'd be happy to carry in an amp or something but nobody would let me help.

Then Peter called and said he forgot his boots. He asked if someone could drive them to him. Pete Sr. picked up the boots and motioned for me to go with him in the car over to Zappa's. When we got there, a crowd of long-haired, cigarette-smoking barbarians were hanging out in front. Pete's dad  handed me the boots and I ran inside the back door, past this big guy who was guarding it, into where Pete and his friends were dressing for the show. I ran up to Peter with the boots and he smiled broadly, gave me a kiss and thanked me for bringing them in to him. When I just stood there, he said to me, "Wanna see the stage?"  I smiled and he took my hand, brought me over to the curtains where the stage was and I took a step onto the stage. I was so excited. I peeked through the curtains and saw my cousin Nancy in the audience with their friends. I waved at them, but no one really saw me. I knew I couldn't stay, so I kissed Peter and told the guys to have fun. And I ran to the car.

I couldn't wait to tell my friends the next day that I got to go to a club and stand on the stage before Peter performed. It was a great day for me, Peter's little neice.

~ -  ~ - ~


Biohazard, a band I saw quite often in my younger days with Peter, and who remained good friends with Pete for most of his career, just announced they are dedicating their next cd to him. Check out the link and the video that talks about Peter's influence on the band.



Could Have Been An Aging Rocker

Had To Share

Could This Have Been Peter Steele in His 60s?

Actually, I remember the day we took this photo. We were out at  Peter's sister Nancy's house in West Islip, everyone hanging out. Peter was there in his traditional rocker garb standing next to his father - practically the same height. When Pete decided to ask his dad to try on his jacket. Nettie added her own hat to his head and Pete Sr. stood there and posed for us as a tough biker dude (or as I call him: Biker Cowboy). We wished we had another jacket for Pete to wear to stand  next to his dad - because that would be priceless - but we snapped this one before Pete Sr. changed his mind.


Tools Meant for Memories

Pete Sr. was a dock worker at Todd's shipyard downtown Brooklyn in an area between Redhook - Brooklyn Heights - Williamsburg. He could walk to work from the small-town neighborhood of Redhook, and he would bring home fascinating (to us) items from the ship yard, and told stories of the ships built at the yard and the ships that came into the marina.  Nettie had barnacles that were scrapped off a ship, sitting in the dining area. I used to love to touch them and ask Pete Sr. how they grew on the ship.

Even though Pete Sr. worked at the docks, he was a fantastic carpenter who would and could make anything from these gorgeous wooden sliding doors to the deck on the back of their house to furniture and toys. Every Summer, Pete and his father would redo the deck together or strengthen the existing structure. If you drew something for him or explained what you wanted in detail, he could make it for you. The best part is if you spent enough time with him, he would teach you who to use his tools and how to make and fix furniture. When I was 10 yo, I proudly fixed Nettie's livingroom table leg by using Pete Sr.'s tools.

Peter 1976 sitting on deck railing

When we cleaned out the last of Pete's items last weekend, we found hundreds of tools that Peter saved from his father's workshop. Rusted and dirty, with a little love they could be brought back to life again. If you had to descibe Pete Sr., you'd say craftsman. Peter kept his father's image alive with him by saving every tool his father owned.

I remember when Peter and I would go swimming for a long time in the beach water, he would pinch at my legs and tell me that the little sea creatures that make barnacles on ships were going to plant themselves on my legs. Then I'd have to spend the rest of my life with ugly hard barnacles growing from my legs. Every summer I believed him and would thoroughly inspect my legs for barnacles after the beach. Peter loved to tell us girls gross things like that to make us freak.

I really miss that about him ...


He Always Shared Things With Us

I don't know where I got this photo but I love it

When Peter and his friends started Northern Lights and Hot Ice, it was a real treat to hang out and listen to the guys rehearse.  Remember, Pete's neices were between a year younger and up to 8 years younger. So, in many cases we were considered a nuisance to Peter Steele (because we were young) but we were built-in fans, because we clapped at everything.

As the administrator of the blog, I am 5 years younger than Pete. So when he was busy playing with his friends and talking about  girls, I was sitting there listening to every word he said. Then, I'd go back and tell my grandmother what they talked about like who was in rehearsal, if they had beer down in the basement, all those secrets. Yes, I was a tattletale. But, that's what kids do with each other -- and my grandmother knew how to ask the right questions.

But, I can tell you, Uncle Pete and cousin Nan brought me everywhere with them and their friends. I was taken to the beach, picnics, walking around in The Village, lunches in Chinatown. Every Wednesday afternoon in the Summer Pete would take us to see Disney movies at The Nostrand movie theater. If the band was playing at Prospect Park Bandshell, we all went to cheer them on.

Things were no different as a young adult. When Pete wasn't on tour, he would gather all of us together and take us to his favorite Italian food place, or when we were almost old enough for bars, ask us to go to Duff's with him (the first location). When he'd have his tour schedule ready, he'd distribute it to his sisters so they knew how to reach him if needed on tour. Then he'd circle the cities near and in NYC to let us know that we would be on the guest list -- just let him know how many people were coming.

To Pete, he enjoyed when we'd travel to other cities to see him. It was a connection to normalcy that he craved after being away for so many months with his bandmates, roadies, managers -- and 100s of 1000s of strangers we know as the fans.

Clip of Carnivore at L'Amour (Brooklyn Rock Club)


Like The Son He Didn't Have

To all you fans who identified "Uncle Lou" in Everything Dies to be the Uncle Louie I wrote about -- you are absolutely right. Everything Dies was a tribute to the family Peter had lost, as well as the worry that eventually, his mom would die too. But, just like the song says, it's to be expected.
Some of the family, 1980s at Sister Nancy's House in Long Island

Warped Sense Of Humor:
Back in the 50s and 60s, for most families, the economy sucked, and if you had kids, it was hard living. Instead of today where everyone has a camera (even kids under 10 yo), back then, it was a rare occasion to have your photo taken. Most people didn't own cameras and if they did, it was a luxury to develop film. If you took photos it was a special occasion or the photo was a group shot. For the most part, when Peter was growing up, Uncle Louie was in few photos, as he was the one behind the camera, taking the photos. (But I promise, when I get my hands on the photo of him & Aunt Dee from July 4,1976 in full costume, I will post it)

Since Uncle Louie and Aunt Dee had a child later in life, they were always the Santa Clauses of the family. They were always bringing necessities to the family and dollar gifts, toys, food, and anything they found that they knew everyone in the family wanted and needed. Christmas was always saved because Aunt Dee and Uncle Louie made it great for everyone (kids, adults, pets).

When Peter was born, Uncle Louie considered him a son. Since Louie had grown up being one of two brothers surrounded by so many sisters, he understood that Peter too was surrounded by too many women. Uncle Louie became the "go to guy" to share Pete's warped sense of humor with.

Every Sunday night, when the family gathered at Aunt Patty and Uncle George's house, Pete would ask Uncle Louie if he could go up to the attic to play. Excitedly, like two naughty little boys, they descend the attic stairs to dig through the goodies. There was always odd items to pick through: A full drum set; bongo drums; guitars; an organ; keyboard; accordian; Christmas decorations; a pile of 78 records featuring Big Crosby, John Wayne; a multitude of records featuring The Who, Donna Summer, Beatles; a harp; homemade spoons; a saw to play; weird wooden fish and other things that would interest a curious boy.  

According to Peter's first cousin, Katie and Uncle Louie's only child:
When Pete first started playing in a band, some of the attic treasures made their way to Pete's hands for the background, costumes or gimmicks. It was amazing what came home from the docks at Todds.  To me,  I always seen my Dad as the BJ Honeycut (from MASH) of the group, very quiet and laid back but the mind was always working on some devious plan or joke (just ask Uncle Robert, as  he was the usual victim). I wish my Dad could have been around to see Pete's full potential and his accomplishments. At the same time, it's scary to think about what it would have been like if Dad and Pete teamed up on some of Pete's visions. 

Would have been amazing !

 Typical photo of the Ratajczyk siblings. L to R, oldest through youngest.
West Islip beach, NY
1980s (look at Pete's shorts !)


For The Love Of Pete's Fans ... Something New

I'm going to dedicate some Saturday posts to fan artwork, poetry, photography, personal stories, memories of Pete and how he has impacted your lives. I welcome reactions and suggestions to making this more enjoyable for all of you.

Our first installment is an excerpt from Barry Von Drabin-Gray, who writes a eulogy to Peter ... apologies to Barry, as I edited it down a bit:

Kristen & Barry
Don’t Wanna Be Me

Petey, Petey, why you do this to me Petey?

Today we say goodbye to one of rock music’s true eccentrics, Brooklyn’s own Peter Steele. Too smart for his own good, too goofy to take it all seriously, Pete was a standup comic at the apocalypse, a suitor serenading you from under a mushroom cloud. Brilliant, self-indulgent, poetic, moronic, majestic, absurd, Pete Steele was a witches’ brew of paradoxes. His music inspired reverence and ridicule, all depending on where you dropped (or stuck) the needle. The lot of the Type O Negative fan was rife with elation, disappointment, joy and frustration. Here was an artist that when playing live would regularly deny fans the music they really wanted to hear him perform, revel in self-abasement by starting chants of “Type O Sucks”, and overall test his fan’s loyalty, whether it be by making us wait years between releases, posing naked (granted, his female fans weren’t objecting) or playing an incredible live set that would be over just as it was warming up, yet the moody, morbid masses kept returning for more of the epic, tragic comedy that was Type O Negative.  

Type O Negative’s first proper album, [was]“Bloody Kisses”. It was a glorious mishmash of styles and moods, the overarching theme being the ridicule and ham-handed, tongue-in-cheek regurgitation of Goth Rock. The album sounded like The Sisters of Mercy getting mugged by Twisted Sister high on LSD stolen from Black Sabbath while The Beatle’s White Album plays in the background. Steele’s great affinity for rock music as an art form to be both pillaged and worshipped was obvious on this album, beautiful Beatles-esque harmonies bumping up against grinding Black Sabbath riffs then contorted and caressed by melodramatic, Bauhaus-like baritone crooning. He was the Goofball that became a God; finding a whole new audience that wasn’t “in on the joke” only to discover (to his joy as well as his horror, I’m sure) that he ended up becoming what he was ironically holding at arm’s length, finding he became the standard-bearer of Goth rock, which at the time was becoming an increasingly bereft art form. This is most obvious, in my opinion, on the album “Life Is Killing Me”; finally unconcerned with throwing the big wink at the listener, Steele reveals a poet’s soul, a raconteur’s sly humor, a kindly misanthrope’s contempt, and the writing of an accomplished, inspired musician. I don’t think he was ever aware, imprisoned in the graffiti-splattered gulag of his mind, of how grand an achievement that record was.

With Steele, you never knew when he was kidding; this is exactly the way he wanted it, I think. If you listened hard enough you could hear past the bombast, the Brooklynese and the grand melodrama, usually slipping through by accident. He liked you in front of him where he could see you, his towering perspective at times impressive, at times monstrous.

He enjoyed playing the part of the Brooklyn meathead; part Rocky Balboa, part Vinnie Barbarino. He would crack jokes with the audience, making us feel like he could be anyone we know and owe money to. Last time I saw him was one dreary winter night in early 2010, hauling out to the wilds of New Jersey. I believe I was aware on some level that this may not be possible for much longer. He seemed in fine spirits, joking “Let’s get done here quickly so I can go home and watch Law and Order” and warning the audience “If you keep throwing change I’m gonna gather it up, go to your house and pay to fuck your grandmothers!”. The set was loud, tight and sounded great but was- surprise!- way too short. Would it be too obvious to say the same of Pete Steele’s life?

Two steps forward, three steps back / Without warning, heart attack
He fell asleep in the snow / Never woke up, died alone

Rest in Peace, Pete, you big, sad, lovely man. We’ll miss you.

With Love, Remembrance and Respect,
Barry Drabin-Gray
A Little Music:


So They Found Us

I noticed the other day that the haters have found this blog.

It's ok, you can stay here. You can read this blog and see all the love that the world has for Peter Steele. Maybe you will find something positive to talk about on your own pages and on Twitter. Maybe you will learn something about him ... some things you never knew ... many things he didn't share.

I'd like to keep this blog as a place to remember the positives about Peter. A place where the fans can connect, share, remember. Let's keep it that way, ok? If you have any shred of love for Peter, you'd show it the right way. Nuff said ...

* ~ * ~*

Picture is 1979 in Nettie's kitchen

I like to put on hardcore when I have to clean my apartment,
which I hate to do, but it's motivational.
I like old heavy metal when I'm outside working.
Music has definite functions for me -- Peter Steele

This is one of my favorite songs - Summer Breeze. 1994. Nettie liked this song very much. When I hear it, it reminds me of hanging in the backyard playing in the pool. We'd try to make a whirlpool with Peter leading the way, round and round, till Pete Sr. would yell that the sides of the pool could collapse (which made us cheer). Enjoy.

Thanks Louie Montalvo for finding this and posting


The Secret Attic Stash

What we've tried to show you in this blog is the many sides of Peter Steele. The jokester ... the musician ... the friend ... the songwriter ... the son ... the school boy ... the brother ... the genius ... the different parts of every great man.

Originally posted by Louie Montalvo

When we say Peter had a great personality, it's because he had a good foundation and good genes. It's true. But I have to mention Peter admired and loved his Uncle Louie, who was married to Aunt Dee, and lived only a few blocks from his house.

Louie was the jokester of Pete's mother's generation. He had a secret stash of gags and costumes up in his attic that was off-limits to everyone else in the family -- except Peter and Louie's own daughter Katie. Whenever Peter would go to Louie's and Dee's house, his uncle would show him all new tricks and jokes, crazy hats, tell him funny stories and just act goofy.

In fact, when Nettie and Pete Sr. were young adults -- before TV was popular -- their generation got together on Friday and Saturday nite and created their own entertainment. We have home movies of Pete's uncles George and Louie dressed as women, while all the aunts and others are creating skits, singing, dancing and acting like clowns for the camera.

Whenever we see videos of Peter hamming it up for the camera or being the jokester with an interviewer, visions of Uncle Louie come back to us. We know that during those visits to the secret attic stash, Louie was teaching Pete some great material. 

We all have had an "Uncle Louie" or an "Aunt Dee" in our lives ... It's good to remember them every once in a while. Keeps the spirit alive. And if YOU ARE the crazy aunt or uncle, don't forget to share the fun with the kids. We will remember you for it. We might even write a blog about you.


Peter Gave More Than Half The Kingdom

This post is written by the last girlfriend that Peter introduced us to before he died -- Lisa. We credit Lisa as being the lady who helped Peter get to sobriety. We know that if Lisa had been still dating Pete while he was ill days before his death, that Peter would still be alive. We know this because she loved and cared for him -- in every sense. And while it still haunts us ALL about the "what ifs"  ... some things we will just never understand. We may never discover the whole truth about what happened the day he died.

This memorial post is by Lisa: 

I spent a lot of time getting to know Peter.  He was always so interesting because you never knew what to expect. I have to say I was never bored!  My favorite thing about him was probably his generous nature. 

When I was a little girl growing up and attending private school I had a teacher who taught us to watch the men we befriend.  See what they do with the last square of chocolate if you are sharing a candy bar.  The teacher taught us that the good man is the one who will give you the last piece.  Peter was that good man.  I am not sure I am even that good.   Especially not with chocolate.

There is a story about Queen Esther that is read during the holiday of Purim.  When the King falls in love with Esther he promises her “up to half of the kingdom”.  This has traditionally been a sign of true love.   Peter would not only promise but give so much more –of himself and of what he had.  He was so generous with his kindness. 

He would try to offer hope to any young band he met.  He would offer them encouragement and tell them how good they sounded. He would go out of his way to help elderly people.  He was a good neighbor and bragged about being the “Shabbos Goy” for the synagogue on his block.  He was always happy when they came to ask him to help out.  He was very proud of the work he did in the Parks Department and the people he helped like the man who dropped his car keys down a grate and Peter figured out how to get them back. 

He would always try to pick out great gifts from new inventions to things he saw on TV.  My favorite was when he decided he wanted to buy me a Rolex and he went to Walmart and inquired about it.  Just the thought that someone would want to buy me a Rolex was enough of a gift and that he thought Walmart carried everything was just so funny. 

He was a very special person, so generous and so funny,  and he is missed.

Shirt Peter Made To Wear In His Neighborhood
(Given to his sister Pat)


Peter Steele Was A Limbo Rocker?

This weekend, the core family got together to go through the last of Peter's possessions. It was very hard to do and very sad. The good thing was that while we poured over his expansive book collection -- about 25 boxes --and looked through his jewelry box (he saved from his mother), we found that Peter was fiercely sentimental.
He saved mass cards from dead relatives. He had his mother's costume jewelry. He had all of his father's tools - hundreds of them. He saved pictures of his cats. Every card he was ever given for confirmation and graduation. His father's wallet. His mother's hair pins. School books from Catholic School. Pictures of his sisters, their children, their pets. CDs that fans gave him to listen. A lock of his mother's hair. He even saved the first doll his parents gave him --- a cloth doll that was made by his mother when he was just born.
Finding these things led to many stories. Many memories. A little bit of laughter. And of course, sadness.
But I wanted to share this little tidbit that Pat, Pam and Cathy were talking about this weekend. Barbara added in some of the details. While I don't know how many of you have seen Peter dance ... we have a few times ... but back when he could first stand in his crib, Peter loved to dance ... to the LIMBO ROCK.
~ ~ ~
Pete in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Posted By Pat:
It was the early 1960s and Pete was barely able to balance standing in the playpen. The livingroom (Nettie called it the parlor) was lively with music playing in the background. Pete's sisters sitting around, clapping to the beats of the song and singing along. There was Peter, holding onto the side of the crib with both hands, swaying forward & back, doing his own interpretation of dancing. Every time we played that Limbo Rock, Pete would move back and forth shaking his booty to the beat of the song. 
We liked to influence his little brain with music of the moment. So, with Pete still in diapers, we propped him up in the corner of the couch sitting with sisters Pam & Cathy, sporting huge headphones over his ears. His eyes wide as saucers as they introduced his little ears with the sounds of Shout, Heat Wave, Wipeout and Surfer Girl.

Pete was born to the fading era of DooWop and Dick Clark’s Bandstand, and raised during the emergence of Rock & Roll as it progressed to next level of expression.

Over the years, all of the sisters had a hand in influencing Peter with music of the day, but it was his closest siblings, Pam & Cathy, that kept Pete’s ears busy with a progressive flow of music of the generation. They turned him onto the Beatles, Animals, Kinks; Rolling Stones, Momma & Pappas, Jefferson Airplane, Doors, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Who, Moody Blues, Cream, Iron Butterfly, Fleetwood Mac, Zombies, Blood Sweat & Tears, Led Zeppelin, Chicago, Deep Purple, Santana, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, Elton John, Grateful Dead, Blind Faith, & Janice Joplin.  

By the time he was 6 or 7, Peter started to carve out his own music choices. But he always shared new things with his sisters. It was all part of the family's pleasure.


I Am The Reaper ... The Prophet of Doom

We thought we'd share a good article by Marc Voger of the Star Ledger (NJ) who wrote about an interview he had with Peter, whom he compared with comedian great George Carlin.
Peter with Marilu. Notice how Pete is ALMOST smiling !
Some of our NJ friends  may have already read this article, but for the masses, I think you will understand how writer Marc really "got" Peter.
Thank you to Marc Voger and the Star Ledger for this great interview with Pete.

To say that Peter Steele, the frontman for goth-rockers Type O Negative, was death-obsessed is putting it mildly. This was the guy who wrote "Everything Dies" and "Everyone I Love is Dead." ... So maybe I was expecting to speak with a morose soul when I got Steele on the phone in 2007, to talk about Type O's then-new album titled - wait for it - "Dead Again." But there was a pleasant surprise in store. Steele had me in stitches throughout the interview. (In fact, I laughed harder and more often during the Steele Q&A than I had with any other interview subject, and that includes George Carlin, Don Rickles, Pat Cooper, Bob Newhart, Tommy Chong, Lily Tomlin, Eric Idle, Joan Rivers, Charlie Callas, Tim Conway and Howard Stern.)

To remember Steele, here are some excerpts from that interview that is, those that can be shared in polite company.

On what Steele aimed to accomplish with "Dead Again":
"To alleviate poverty, primarily. I just played 'Sgt. Pepper' backwards at double-speed and stole all the riffs. ... If you play the album backwards, it actually says, 'I buried Pete,' not Paul."

On whether there was a "Normal Peter" and "Stage Peter":
"When I go onstage, I do have to access that part of my personality. But it's really funny, like, going foodshopping and being recognized by fans. And of course, I’m taking toilet paper off the rack when they come over. I’m like, 'I’m sorry. I (defecate), too.' I love to see people’s reactions. We’re just 'humanzees.' When people see something different, they’re stunned. You know, like a stunned George Bush staring with his mouth open? And then people will laugh at things that are different. You know why you’re laughing? Because I’m a threat to you. That’s why you’re laughing. Because every time you laugh, you kick the reaper in the (scrotum). So keep laughing. Because I am the reaper. I am the prophet of doom."

To read the entire article, go to:


So You Want To Contact Us

Ok. first off, thanks to all the techies out there ... I really appreciated the help you gave me.

Since Saturday posts seem to be all about the music and photography, I think we should also include Fan Artwork, Video Dedications, Poetry, Peter Dolls, etc that you'd like to share with the family and the faithful readers of this blog. I thought it could be a gift we give to each other.

Please email me at 4theloveofpetesteele  at   g  mail.   Send me your artwork and I'll include it in this blog (if it's not too lame or graphic). Plus, tell me how you'd like to be credited.

Also, if you have any amazing stories you'd like to share (with photos), we may be open to adding this component  to the blog. We'll see what kind of responses we get from you all.

Another Nice Memorial Video To Share: Turn that music  UP



Peter Steele Was So Much More ...

When we write on this blog that Peter Steele was much more than a musician ... much more than a song writer ... we are trying to convey that really, he was a composer. After studying the compositions of the great masters of classical music, he took that same route when he created his songs. Did you ever wonder why his songs were sometimes 8 minutes and that he enjoyed songs streaming into one another. He had the ability to hear and imagine each part of the orchestra in his mind, then he put it down into a song.

Here on the blog, we are always proud of what Peter's colleagues and bandmates are doing with their careers -- we don't expect their lives to stop because Peter's life did. So, I thought you'd like to read what's going on with Sal Abruscato, early bandmate in Type O Negative's history.

Excerpted from Metal Insider, Sal Abruscato talks about his new ventures, his friendship with Peter and what it was like being a part of TON:

How much songwriting did you contribute to in Type O and Life of Agony?

Well Life of Agony I wrote music here or there for them. I wrote one song on the last record, a song called “Junk Sick” that I did with Keith. Again, with not being disappointed with getting the vision out, I wouldn’t even turn stuff in. The situation in Type O was more like what I modeled this after. Peter pretty much wrote all the music, and he would play it for you, and he would allow me to write my drums. Sometimes I’d have to argue with him, but I’d get the freedom to write the most appropriate beats and stuff like that. As far as musical writing, musical modes, none of us really had anything to do with that. The only person who came close to that here and there was maybe Josh. But Peter, he would walk in with everyone’s parts done, what the guitar was doing, what the keyboards were doing, what he’s doing, how fast or slow he wanted it. And at times he would kind of be like a dictator about it, but I’ll tell you one thing, I learned how to play guitar and bass because of that guy, and I also learned how to compose music and tune my ear because of that guy. I did nothing but analyze him.

I started at a very young age. I knew him from when I was 14, when I was hanging out with them when they were Carnivore. When I was 14, I was taking lessons from Louie [Beato] , the drummer. As far back as then, I thought this guy was a monster musician. He was theoretically trained also. It was very informative and a learning experience a lot of times, just to sit there and watch him do shit. It would be mind-blowing. He would tell you the key signature of anything, and working with him made me a better drummer. But he’s one of my biggest influences when it comes to the current state that I’m in mentally as a musician. Writing and orchestrating and blending 5 or 6 different melodies at once to make it in to this big thing, it was all influenced by him.



Seance At Dusk

This little story is from one Pete's neices, Marie (with some help from her sister, me):

Although my grandparents were religious and would sprinkle us with holy water, or have the house blessed, or take us to a healing priest, they also had an interest in the afterlife and ghosts. 

Every couple of years we'd witness the family get together with a psychic who would come and "read" the house and it's dwellers. To us, it was fun and scary at the same time. But, mostly fun because it was explained to us that this was just entertainment. We'd watch through the windows from the stoop as the lights would be dimmed and candles lit. We'd hear the psychics talk about a Captain that lived in the basement or about these spirits that roamed through the house.

We'd mimic this with our friends by bringing out the Ouiji Board and play around a little. But then, Peter got a great idea to make our "seances" a little more exciting.

He told us to invite our friends from the block (Tuggy, Heather, John, Christine, Janet, Howie, Brian, Linda, Joseph) to the basement one Wednesday evening when our grandparents went out and left Peter in care of us. (Marie was about 8 yo, Peter about 17 yo) Sitting on the stoop one evening, told our friends tales about how the basement was haunted (and it was ... sort of).

That afternoon, Peter showed us how to "rig" the basement. We got fishing wire (clear) wrapped it around the cross that was hanging on the wall and down to the door handle. We painted glow in the dark footprints on the ceiling. Filled a spray bottle with hot water with a little red coloring in it. He set up the Ouiji board and instructed us on how to prepare for our seance.

We piled our friends into the basement, lit the candles, turned out the lights and everyone put their hands on the Ouiji board. We asked the board to give us a sign that the spirit we called "The Captain" was in the room with us. From behind a doorway, Peter pulled on the wires and the Cross moved back and forth.

While our friends were all screaming and running for the front exit door, it suddenly SLAMMED. Everyone screamed again, and ran in the other direction to get up the stairs. In the confusion, no one noticed (except us) that Peter came out of the doorway and sprayed the hot red water on  the neck of one of our friends. He screamed and said that something had bitten him and when he looked at his fingers, they appeared to have reddish liquid on them.

We couldn't contain our laughter as our friends went running to their homes screaming about the ghost in our basement. Of course, our GHOST was Peter, but we never told anyone.

This was one of my best memories with Pete. He loved to scare the shit out of people, and now I learned from the best !

Sorry this is only audio. But enjoy:


It Was In His Blood

Pete playing Guitar in sister Nan's kitchen in West Islip, Long Island
As you can see from many photos and stories, all the time growing up, Peter, his sisters, his parents, aunts, uncles and friends spent time together enjoying each other's talents. There wasn't a gathering without the piano playing or a guitar session.

Many of you have told stories about being in a musical family too. Keep it going. Share your talents with your siblings. Sing, Dance, Clap. Enjoy.

Written by Peter's sister Pat:
My Dad’s brother, Uncle Joey, and his father played accordion. These Polish immigrants loved to party, dance, eat & play music. 

My Mom’s brother Lou played every instrument you handed him, and was a magnificent jokester (just like Peter).  Her sister Tory sang opera, her brother Tommy taught Mom all the newest steps and songs he learned at the Cotton Club, Aunt Helen played piano, Aunts Patty & Pinky played guitar.  All Nettie & Pete’s kids either played instruments or sang. 
Can you imagine being a young boy, sitting in his high-chair, being immersed in culture, art, song, and love. It's little wonder that Peter grew up loving culture, laughter, art and song. He had no choice ... it was a part of his everyday living.
Good Video from Penn 1999 (thanks Louie Montalvo for posting)


He Had Good Musical Genes

Many of you have asked about Peter Steele's relationship with his father, Pete Sr. 

Many rock musicians can tell you that their fathers didn't always approve of the career path they had chosen (especially for hard-working immigrants who wanted their sons to have a trade), sometimes fathers and sons don't see eye to eye about everything. Even though Pete's dad didn't always understand the music -- he understood the musical gene that ran in the family -- especially since Pete got his voice from his father.

Peter Ratajczyk Sr. with a very young Peter Steele

Written by Peter's sister Pat:

Music Generations
Momma tolerated the words and volume of Pete's creations in order to be proud of her son’s accomplishments.  Dad, well that was a different story … this music was not like Bing Crosby and Big Band music he was used to.  Pete got his baritone voice from Dad who sang the “... many brave hearts are asleep in the deep ...” sailor song as a lullaby to baby Pete.  An amazing singer in his own right, there were also the ba-ba-ba-boom Bing Crosby croons, and the “When I’m calling You -ou-ou-ou” of opera singer Nelson Eddy & Jeanette McDonald.  

Nettie & Pete always threw the family parties, always had a piano (and/or piano rolls) in the house, were always singing & dancing through the house, and they loved to perform their versions of the songs from “ShowBoat” .. Dad doing his baritone “Old Man River” rendition, while Mom would twist a hanky while she cried out “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”.  Or they were Fanny Brice and Allan Jones.  Or doing a Fred & Ginger two-step (Mom definely had the advantage). They were 39 and 40 yrs old when Pete was born.  All Pete’s friends’ parents were of the Korean or Vietnam Wars days; Dad was from WWII.  Life in the 30’s and 40’s was soooo different than the 60’s & 70”s. 

A true romantic, Dad - although sincerely proud of his son’s musical & vocal talents- had a hard time relating to heavy metal.  And even though he shook his head at the raunchy words, we would catch Dad numerous times standing by the (rehearsal) basement door, head poking into the doorway,  tapping his foot, listening attentively to the chords and changes, and sporting a vicarious grin.  

Peter Ratajczyk working at Todd Shipyards in Downtown Brooklyn


Folk Mass Started It All

The Early Days
(L-R) Josh Silver, Dennis Rizzo, Peter Ratajczyk, John Campos

Since people keep asking about Pete Steele's beginnings, I thought I'd share how Catholic school and friends had an early impact on Pete's creativity. Peter always drew this bandmates from his friend pool -- it started as a progression of artistic expression and turned into the beginnings of a metal star's legacy.

Pete's niece, Nancy recalls that her mom  hired got a guitar teacher for her and Peter so he could learn to play. It was an East 15th Street friend (Susan Penta) who inspired Pete and her to get lessons. She says that lessons were at 7pm once a week - the same time as Barney Miller tv show - and she and Peter would fight over who would get to watch the show while the other took a lesson. With John Campos and Peter being friends since 3rd grade, it was only natural that when Peter took lessons, his friend followed suit. John credits Pete for getting him interested in playing and composing music.

From lessons to Folk Mass, Peter, Nancy, Susan and John played guitar for church hymns for Our Lady of Refuge Church. In between practicing for mass, they'd strum through some Black Sabbath and Deep Purple songs (which weren't a favorite of the priests). Not only did they go to school together, played at Mass and practice together, but they were all friends.

Then, when Josh moved onto East 18th Street when he was a teen, it was only a matter of time before these musicians found each other and bonded. (More on Josh soon). Plus, hanging out with groups of teens from the neighborhood (East 15th Street) was the perfect inspiration for three guys to get the girls' attention by playing popular rock songs with their friends. Josh's next door neighbor, Dennis Rizzo completed the Northern Lights group as the drummer, as they played cover songs of Rock favorites for their friends, area block parties and the annual Mardi Gras on Avenue M.

It wasn't until Dennis left the band, when John, Josh and Peter decided they wanted to start creating their own music. After an audition, they bonded with Louie Beato and Fallout was born.

A BIG thank you to Lauren Chuisano, our cousin Nancy & John Campos for
their help with this story.


With A Little Help From Our Friends

Sister Pat has this painting in her hallway. Please tell me who the artist is so I can credit her/him.
Peter valued the artwork that people did for him. Even if he made fun of it when he saw you - he brought the artwork home to his mother and father because they would appreciate seeing how the fans were connected with him. Now, through Peter, the family is connected to you. Thank you. You all are amazing. 

I thought this was an interesting piece from "HyperLaceAlchemists" because Nettie and Pete Sr. would have loved the water theme. Nettie would draw and paint mermaids all the time. Pete Sr. was a swimmer and was drawn to the water. Thank you for this beautiful talent.

I love the way this blog has become a place to share information. Isa from Germany (I wish you lived in NYC - we'd get into tons of trouble) ... Mare from U.S.(you are so caring to us) ... The "Tree Girls" ... Ink for Blood with video suggestions ... so many others ... keep those suggestions coming ...

We'd like to take your suggestion of adding a location on the blog for fans to upload their artwork and pictures. I have to figure out which widget does that ... Any ideas?  Come on Techies - Comment here ... Thanks

I have to thank Annie Riordan from California for two beautiful gifts she sent the family - amazing artwork - you are so talented ... thanks for taking the time to ship to us. wow. I hope to photograph them and post to this blog.

Ink for Blood was gracious enough to share this video in the comment section. It's a clear video of World Coming Down. Enjoy ... we certainly did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN_BlF9Vtvw


I'm The Old Man That Scares All The Kids

* Photo taken outside Pete's home on East 18th Street *

Last Halloween, sister Cathy wrote this poem & posted it outside her house (along with a bowl of candy) as a reminder of what Pete & the holiday meant for the family. Enjoy:


All you children,
You’ve been told before,
Take one bite,
One only, not more.

The wolf man is,
Behind that door,
Now don’t take two,
Because he’ll roar!

He’ll wait for you,
To turn your back,
And chase you down,
For a snack.

Yes, yes my dear
You! Are not coming back!

So kiss your parents,
Now say goodbye,
And wipe that fear,
From your eye.

For now you are
His meal tonight,
I warned you child,
To take one bite.

Now don’t be scared
Behold that door,
It closed behind you,
Told you children…take one, not more.

Written for Peter "Steele" Thomas Ratajczyk
1st Halloween without Peter
By Cathy on 10.31.10
Tricks or Treats Note When Not Home