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.