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.



  1. I believe 100% that Peter was a genius.. I briefly met him back in 1998 and told him he was a genius and that OR was the most beautiful masterpiece I ever heard. He was so humble <3

    1. Voce não sabe a sorte que teve carrie, queria ter conhecido ele, eu ia fazer de tudo só para conhecê ele, eu amo demais ele ❤peter vc vai estar para sempre em meu coração ❤❤❤❤❤❤

  2. deborah Fischer9:13 AM, June 10, 2011

    What a very interesting interview from Sal ! So much talent in one man ! i would have loved to talk about his music writing process with him and that's a great idea of how it was

  3. Awesome!! Great read..Peter is so talented and is such an inspiration to so many and as sal said peter was one of the biggest influences! Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Peter definetly had a talent inside him, so sad we will never hear NE more of his creations :(
    As for Sal, so happy for you N your new bandmates, the music is great, I wish you all the luck....now you can be the "dictator" per se ;)

    Amy Wigle, Newark, Ohio

  5. i always considered peter nothing less than genius,his compositions were just mind blowing! i have been a bass player for 20+ years and taught myself,ive always had an ear for music,but it came at a price,i had to spend so much time breaking things down and learning them slowly.everytime i would listen to TON i could tell it was so much more than just guys making noise,they were true musicians.TYPE O NEGATIVES' music changed me in that i began to buy books on music and read more about the theory of music...now...im still a self taught musician but peters playing did teach me to break away from the mainstream and be adventerous when writing.i love his style,and to me he will always be the greatest there ever was.thank you for the story,and thanks to peter...we have a great new band with sal.
    -erik hernandez-

  6. awesome post. i especially liked when Sal said "I did nothing but analyze him." wouldn't we all be so lucky?!! Peter definitely was a composer, all you have to do is REALLY listen to one of his songs and you can hear all those different layers going on. we're so fortunate to still have his music!!

  7. A Pale Horse Named Death is a great band, and I'm so glad a part of Type O Negative, and Peter, are living on in the musical venue.

  8. I remember an interview with Kenny and Peter (the interviewer was asian and didnt speak english) and Peter was talking about how many backing tracks there were on October Rust. When you listen to TON songs there are so many "background things" going on. Peter was the master of adding extra bits to songs and it always worked. Everything from the pigeon/dove calls in Black No 1 to the trucks in Green Man, he could use anything and make it sound good and fit into a song.He deserves way more recognition than he has got. Whether people liked him or not they would have to admit he was a genius. I could image him being a dictator when it came to the songs but it was because he had a vision about what the song was going to be.
    Fu#k Mozart we have Peter Steele :)

  9. This interview is refreshing to read. Glad Sal mentioned having learned so much from Pete. It must've been quite an experience.
    The woman who introduced me to Type O years ago is an orchestra instructor and accomplished classical violinist, and I play classical piano at a reasonable level. Breaking the news about Pete to her in was so, so hard.
    We used to travel to one another's cities to attend shows each Type O tour to hear it all twice. Two of many thousands blending in with our pale skin & black boots, we were seated toward the back intently raising an eyebrow or nodding when we picked up flatted descending 6ths and shifts between Lochrian and Midlothian scales. We were no less thankful for the experience than the rest of the crowd. It was consistently amazing.

  10. I always hated school, good memories are rare. One good memory from back then - school subject music.
    One day, when I was 13 or 14, our teacher allowed us to bring our favorite music. I brought the short version of "Black No. 1".
    After that song my music teacher said that was the best song someone brought in his class ever. He was nothing but absolutely amazed.

  11. It's nice to hear how Peter's bandmates interacted with him musically. I can understand how Peter would be a 'dictator.' Sometimes when you get that vision in your head of how you want something to be/look/sound it can be annoying to have someone try to change that. Peter's composing was a lot more involved than people give him credit for; it was genius. And if there were no Mozart (or Bach, or any other classical composer) Peter might not have been
    the composer HE was.
    Thanks again for another insightful and interesting post.
    Love & Gratitude--Patty P., Stamford, CT

  12. You can definitely hear Peter's influence on Sal in his new band A Pale Horse Named Death. As a long time die-hard Type O Negative and Peter Steele fan, I am thrilled with what Sal has done with A Pale Horse Named Death and their first album And Hell Will Follow Me.

    - Paul, Connecticut

  13. I have always admired him for his great composition and I was sorry to read so little about how he composed his magnificent songs. His music was more than just simple songs, they were so complex and thats why his music was unique and left deep marks in my soul. I`m shure there will be no substitute for the music of Type O for me. Thank you so much for posting so many stuff about him - it keeps him alive. Thank you!

  14. i love reading about peter's musical roots and I've always found a truly symphonic quality to his compositions, which develop and unravel in a way that has always reminded me of classical music. He was so gifted. thanks for sharing

  15. Mr. Steele was a large part of my life. I not only identified with the music of Type O Negative, I felt like I also identified with Mr. Steele as someone who is also bipolar. When Peter died I could not bear to hear anything by Type O Negative for at least 3 months. Sometimes it still breaks my heart to hear their music. Farewell to an artist who was true to himself and what he believed in. My heart goes to the rest of the band who still mourn him.