In my line of work, I sometimes have the pleasure of working with celebrity artists, actors and musicians. While traveling with them on local tours, I get an opportunity to ask them questions and many times we talk about their home lives. I'm always surprised when a musician will say that he or she never plays for their own family. In fact, I'm saddened when I hear that. The excuse usually is something like this: " I spend so much time playing on the road and working on new songs in my studio, that when I get home, I don't want to touch the instruments." How awful for those people's families that their musician/artist doesn't share that side of themselves.

That's not how it was with Peter Steele. While he did want to decompress after a tour and NOT talk about the stage, he DID share songs, melodies, ideas with his family and friends. In fact, when he was younger it was common to be asked by Pete if we wanted to go to Norm's Music (on the highway) or stop in to Sam Ash music store. It was a great couple of hours of time, with Peter checking out the latest equipment, while catching up with the shop people, many of whom were musicians themselves.

And, we were never bored when we went to these music stores with him. He would pick up instruments, give a little instruction on how to use them, and before you knew it, we had an impromptu jam session going with a couple of the shop guys and Peter trying out different instruments.  I remember being shown how to play the "cow bell" and shown how to tap on it at precisely the right time. (yes, anyone can play it)

Or, back at home, where my family was musically-inclined, there was always an opportunity to play music, sing along or just listen as Peter played the piano or hooted on the Tuba for his mom and the rest of the clan.

If you play an instrument or sing, please remember that playing in front of your family creates memories. So, down the road when one of your kids or cousins is writing a blog (or whatever it will be called years from now), they can conjure up memories of how fantastic it was to be submerged in music all the time. The creative process is a wonderous thing ... include your family and friends in it ... you'd be amazed at the impact it has on their lives.

If I could send a message to the artists I've worked with ... it would be this one thing. I know you are tired from the road. I know you just want to get your normal life back ... but please ... play your guitar for your kids ... they will thank you for it ... if only on their blog.


I remember one time I was meeting with Carlos Santana at the Four Seasons in Manhattan. It was just after TON covered a few Santana songs: Evil Ways, Oye Como Va, and Black Magic Woman. I had just a few minutes to talk over breakfast with him and I asked him what he thought of Type O Negative covering his songs. Surprisingly, he said he remembered the TON version because it had a haunting sound and it was one of the better more interesting covers he had heard. I told Peter about that meeting with Santana. I remember how he smiled, showing his vampire teeth in a boyish way (if it's possible to be a boyish vampire) and he hummed Oye Como Va as he asked me more about my meeting with Santana. (By The Way, Carlos plays for his family when he is home. )



  1. I think it's wonderful/admirable that peter loved to share his music and lyrics with the family. Like i said before as well, peter is a wonderful man not just because he was a genius with his music but because he enjoyed the time and took the time to spend with the family and not because he had to but because he wanted to. I admire peter more an more because he loved being with family and family to me is my core. Without them i would be lost...not just lost but devastated beyond belief. Music and family is ....The divine melody of love and honor.

  2. Music definitely brings people together. I think its a real primal thing for people to be together singing and playing music, we certainly have advanced from sitting around a fire hitting sticks together. Its great that Peter always wanted to share his interests with family and friends and that you all wanted to be involved. Peter did the best covers of songs ever. I have always liked his versions better than the originals. That beautiful deep voice of his will always make a song sound better. You have been lucky to have a family that can sing and play instruments, and I bet the neighbours are glad as well!

  3. What beautiful memories of getting to spend time with Peter as he shared his passion and love for music and instruments. Your family was his grounding, his 'root-ed-ness', and it sounds like he wanted to surround himself with you guys and your lives when he was off the road to mentally decompress and recompose himself. As you girls share more and more it's hard not to love him more for the gentle, loving being he was. Family is who we all are made of, and it's not always (enriching for some), but can be so very enriching for so many others, ad it very much was in the Ratajczyk family. Thank you for sharing and God Bless.

  4. Each of your memories is so full of love and so alive - it's such a wonderful thing that Pete enjoyed the time being with his family & sharing a good time and music - special Blut ;-) What a rare personality - I had that feeling also from his music but with your familiar background stories it gives a complete image - thank you so much for sharing with us. Being in music shops with Pete - I can imagine you never got bored - must have been great. I would really love to have seen him playing Tuba - it seems so unusual to me - because to me as fan of course Pete is always related to the bass ;-) though I know now from your blog that he played various instruments. Darcie - it seems that you have an interesting work & thx for the info on Carlos Santana ;-) I love his music, too. You are so right to say that making music together creates great memories - always remembered as special moments. Windy - I love your statement: Music & family - the divine melody of love and honor - lovely words & so true. I would be also lost without these things - family to me also means not only the one you are bonded by blood or marriage but also the one that I call 'soul family'. It provides a solid ground & music is the best way to lift you on a higher ground ;-) and both family & music may help you thru difficult times ...
    -Take care-
    Much love & respect

  5. Everyday I visit this blog I get to read more examples of what an amazing person Peter was! (but it also makes me miss Peter more & more).

    Even though he gave us (his fans & his family/friends) so much (& I know we should be happy with that), The thought is always in the back of my mind that he still had some much more to give. I know he had more wonderful music in him & this blog really shows us he would have been the BEST father! That he didn't get to be a father, really bothers me...

    Listening to the Santana cover just reaffirms my previous blog comment that TYPE O (Peter)is THE BEST hands down at doing covers! I bet every artist (not just Santana) remembers his cover versions, because he makes them his songs when he's done with them!

  6. This was a great post. I envy your family so much by having such musical talent that was shared. And like other said above, how can you not love Peter more and more when you hear stories like this? they are just so heart warming and look forward to them daily. I hope wherever Peter is, he is listening to us and making that boyish grin with those fangs. ( i know exactly what you mean! LOL) Despite being tired from the road he still shared; such a selfless act for his friends/family.
    Take care everyone, and I hope I get to meet some of you at his memorial tribute in Philly 10/28.

  7. When I started reading this blog I already was a TON fan. I would listen to their music daily and saw them when I could, now I know it wasn't enough :*( . Since then I have come to understand so much more and it has given me such a greater understanding about Peter that I feel so lucky to have received. I always knew he was a genius but now I know he was also an angel! The stories about his committment to his family are so endearing. Sometimes knowing this makes the ache so much worse but it is worth it. I thank you for them from the bottom of my heart. Peace to you always.

  8. I knew Pete on a personal level. We weren't best friends, but cordial enough to engage in random banter from time to time. What impressed me most was his eclectic taste in music. With no hint of irony he would wax poetic on artists such as Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Portished, the Bee Gee's, Republica, Goldfrapp, etc. Here he was, this lurking goth-metal icon, enthusiastically discussing his love for disco, new wave, synth pop, electronic dance music/techno, and Motown. I would love to see a Blog Post from Pete's family confirming all this. Perhaps an alternative window into Pete's inner workings, his influences and inspirations. Miss ya, buddy.

  9. I think it is always important to remember that music of all sorts (genres if you rather would call it that) tend to inspire anyone who love music. Different kinds of music are good for different kinds of daily (or not so daily) situations. I remember reading interwievs with Peter telling his FANS to go back to music being played years, decades and sometimes hudreds of years ago and really listen because that is how he got inspired. In my opinion this was great, I have always loved listening to Jimmie Hendrix, Black sabbath, classical music, jazz, well almost anything..I grew up in a home where my parents listened to ABBA, Beegees, Michael Jackson, Prince, Europe, Sabbath, classical music and lot´s of mainstream music. There was always something being played on the stereo. But I fell in love with the music TON gave the to the world.
    After my now 6 years old daughter was born I made it my quest to introduce my children to all sorts of music. My daughter, she love TON because of their melodic music but also love listening to Schumann and Grieg as well as music for children and mainstream music. My 4 year old son love all kinds of music, and on kindergarden the other children has to put up with him arranging them in little choirs making them sing in different tunes. He himself didn´t sing anything at all until about 6 months ago.
    My youngest one (1,5 year old) seem to love music too, we have caught him head banging to TON, Metallica and Dream Theater and even Mozart ;). And he sings, all the time. And dance. Often he rather sing than talk. And when he doesn´t sing, then you know there is something funny going on and that he will try to scare the hell out of us, and when he manage to scare us: well then he laughs a lot. He is going to be a funny one, and probably very interested in music as it seem today.
    And music is so important. Where ever you go in the world, there is music. All the time. There are even scientific studies showing that music help childrens brains to develop in a possitiv way, if you let your cows listen to mozart while milking then you will have cows producing more milk than cows not listening to music, and so on...
    So to all the musicians out there, we all appreciate your work. Teach your young loved ones the value of music and you truly have changed the world.
    Thank you for this post. Love it.

  10. Good advice... Can't imagine living in a family that doesn't play musical instruments to stay entertained, pro-status or not. Pete's musical diversity and willingness to share must've been wonderful to be around. :)