6.06.2011

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.

23 comments:

  1. Great story! Thank you for sharing :)

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  2. Knowing the beginnings. Thank you for sharing, Ratajczyk family. ;D

    Greetings from the krypt.
    Hugs from Spain.

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  3. thats a great story! the picture of peter is awesome all smiles,good to se him like that. thank you for the story. -erik hernandez-

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  4. Oh how I wish I had lived in the neighborhood and was old enough to experience all this history being made. Love these stories!

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  5. Ooh, the beginnings! Wow! Look at their hair!

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  6. Hahaha, great story, thanks for sharing! I would have SO had a crush on the two of them if they were in my class!

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  7. haha! Already playing for money :) LOVE the retro shirts, esp. Josh's with the flowers!! Seems pretty crazy that this picture shows the beginning (well, half of it) of what was to later be TON. Wow!

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  8. LOVE THE STORY!! I HAD NO IDEA THAT PETE PLAYED IN THE CHURCH, BUT FOR SOME REASON I THOUGHT THAT HE MUST HAVE. ITS ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE A PRIEST CRINGE WITH BLACK METAL MUSIC!! I LOVE THE HAIR BUT MOST OF ALL JOSH AND PETES SHIRTS. LOL. LOVE JOSHs SHIRT.

    THANKS AGAIN FOR ANOTHER FUN READ.

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  9. beautiful story. Knowing each other for so long, Josh and Peter the creative force behind these bands. Fallout, Carnivore, Type O Negative. Nice to know how it all got started so thank you again for these sweet stories. Brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Peter Steele, we miss you so much.

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  10. One more comment. Beloved son, brother, son, bandmate Peter. Your sincerity, your humor, your beyond sexy good looks, your talent will never be forgotten. Seeing how you started out well it's heart warming, it's funny, it's cute. Heart breakers in training. Love these stories.

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  11. Deborah Fischer6:03 PM, June 06, 2011

    thanks so much for this new amazing story !

    i hadn't imagined Pete had played at church !

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  12. Love the story N pic :)I was kinda figuring Peter had "church" roots, ^^ lovin' Mare's comment regarding "its always nice to make a priest cringe with black metal music"!! Thank you for sharing

    Amy W., Newark, Ohio

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  13. Hi, I photographed a few days ago my framed picture of Peter with a green light, I would like you to see them and give me your opinion, would you mind?
    How I can contact you?
    Bloody kisses :) a TON/Peter Steele fan from Argentina :)

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing, these pictures and stories are awsome,brings me back to my younger days, love how they got started.I really love the stories about Peter as the person,as well as the rock persona. thanks.

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  15. The 70's..what a great time for music, tv shows, long hair and bell bottoms. Josh looks the same as he does now! I love the way you talk about your neighborhood. How everyone knew each other and the block parties. What a great (and funny) photo, a very important bit of history. Wonder what the joke was about the money on Peters guitar.

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  16. yes I'd also like to know about the money on Peter's guitar...what's that about? Such sweet stories. LIke he's still with us, and he is. Our hearts will never forget this amazing man. What a talent. Breaks my heart so let's all share like we're doing and help each other heal. We miss you Peter for eternity.

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  17. Who knew that behind that awful shirt and dorky haircut lurked the future Dark King of Hotness?

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  18. thank you so much for sharing. Peter's early musical influences and first steps are a fascinating subject to me, together with his song writing process and criteria as co-producer. Much appreciated and enjoyed, as always. Greetings from Portugal.

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  19. Love the story & the pic - all smiling - it's so nice & so interesting to know how it all started. I love the shirt Josh wears ;-) the 70's were great. LOL - can imagine that priests were not amused about Black Sabbath or Deep Purple songs ;-)
    @Rose R - I suppose you are the same Rose R as on legacy.com - nice to meet you here again ;-)
    & thank you for your heart felt words - so true
    @Ratajczyk family - thank you for sharing & much love
    -Sabine,Austria-

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  20. Love this story and picture! Look at how cute Josh and Peter were. They had such a unique friendship that was so long. Amazing!---Jessica (Black Number 1)

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  21. Hi girls--

    Yep--it's definitely the 70's--love the shirt! ;)
    Did EVERYBODY from that generation go to the folk mass? I know we did. Thanks for another cool story. Love & Gratitude--
    Patty P., Stamford, CT

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  22. Didn't he attend a music school after high school?

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  23. Thanks for posting this great history

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