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:


  1. hard to read due to the font, but pretty cool.

  2. Beautiful - brought me to tears.

  3. wow...i really liked this,it seemed to sum up alot of what we all felt (ROCKY/BARBARINO) that is him in a nutshell! this was a great post,and was worded much better than i could have done with my limited vocabulary.i miss him every day,everytime its nice and calm outside and im sitting on the front porch and listening to the trees rustle in the breeze i can almost hear GREENMAN playing off in the distance.
    -erik hernandez-

  4. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

  5. These words touched me so deeply. The gentle, funny, intelligent man you describe to us well I for one am grateful to you for this story to get to know Peter better. The more I read the more I know Peter Steele. The genius, the incredible giant. He was here for a purpose and he left us so much, so much. When someone this big leaves this physical world, what are we left with? LOVE. Keep LOVE alive, love each other that much more, value each other, appreciate each other more. We appreciate and love you Peter Steele still. I look forward to reading more stories and with each story, I fall more deeply in love with this man. Even afterlife, you can still feel that emotion for someone like Peter. I look to the sky and I see you in heaven Peter. With that smile, that beautiful smile. You are missed beyond the stars and moon. Thank you again family for these stories. I'm thinking of you every day. Peace.

  6. That was an amazing tribute to Peter, made me laugh N cry, thank you so much for sharing. Much Love N Respect.....that verse haunts me N always will :(

  7. thank you so much for this Barry, it made for such interesting, insightful and enjoyable reading. Some passages just made me laugh out loud "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. " great stuff, thanks so much for sharing

  8. Nicely written tribute. Really loved the poem at the end, made me sad :(

  9. Very intelligently written tribute.....made me smile.

  10. Such a nice tribute. Your words were so right on Barry. Loved the Rocky Balboa/Vinny Barbarino reference! I can totally see it.
    Pete was the Good nature'd goofball goy from brooklyn!
    Pete...you are so sorely missed by many.

  11. it's not a poem but a part off the lyrics 'I Don't Wanna Be Me'. good song, like most on the album

  12. ahhh, "Life Is Killing Me" is the ONLY Type O album I do not have, so I didn't recognize those lyrics...Good to know and now I gotta get that album and complete my collection!

  13. Wow... found myself smiling alot while reading this.. Amazing!

  14. Barry – thank for putting into brilliant words what many of us feel – great read.
    Especially I love ‘Twisted Sister high on LSD mugged The Sisters of Mercy & stolen from Black Sabbath’ part – how great is that ;-) btw saw a performance by The Sisters of Mercy (incredible after 20 years to finally see them live) two weeks ago @NovaRockFestival – unfortunately not so much audience but for me it was perfect ;-) Also I saw Johnny performing with Danzig at this festival – really great gig – but of course I had to think again about never ever again having the possibility of getting to see a TypeONegative live performance ;-(
    So, thank you Barry for this great writing & all the best to you.