Student Has Best Halloween Ever

I Want to Thank Kent State University Photojournalism Student Nikolas Kolenich for Sharing This Story & Photo From the Concert With the Love Of Pete Community:

I love this shot !  Gorgeous !

I may not have been the last person to speak to Peter Steele, but I was his last interview at a show.  I was attending Kent State University in the fall of '09 as a photojournalism student when I contacted Johnny for a media pass.  As a huge fan of the band for over 6 years at the time, I was stoked to be in a position to finally meet the group... or so I thought.  I emailed their record label and was issued two passes, one for the Cleveland show and one more for the Detroit show.  I was using the group for my final news writing story
as well as my visual storytelling final.  Both classes were requirements to graduate, so this was much more than capitalizing on meeting the group, this was also a grade.

The Cleveland show went off without a hitch.  The venue, House of Blues, is rather small and not easy to photograph in.  I wasn’t allowed backstage, but luckily my friend Karen McBride got me a VIP pass at the end of the show.  I was trying to stay calm, compose myself and stay out of the way while I was in the dressing rooms. Kenny passed me and gave me a guitar pick, I was given a set list from a lighting guy and then I finally walked into Type Os room.  Having followed the group for a few years with tours, I already had signatures – just not Peter’s.  That night was the first time I met the man.  He was upbeat, witty and very pleasant.  I barely had enough room in my camera bag before leaving home to stuff anything extra in it, but I managed to get my Life is Killing Me t-shirt in there.  All the faces were signed, but Pete’s and that night he autographed it for me.  I left the room in a hurry, as it was late and I had class in the morning.  Peter was walking out of the dressing room on his way to sign merchandise when  he realized he didn’t have a marker.  I overheard him and threw him mine.  He said “thank you, brother” and walked into a sea of fans.

A couple weeks later I’m in Detroit, MI, for the final show.  At the time no one knew it, but I was seeing it just as important.  Again, my news writing grade was riding on an interview and so I came prepared
with a small slip of paper in my bagged packed with questions and my cell phone for audio.  I managed to work up the courage to follow Peter into the dressing room in Detroit.  Harpo’s is a mess and with security being lax, it wasn’t too tough.  I was polite, confident and professional, but once we sat down – I was giddy and uncontrollably goofy.  The man gave me a solid 10 minutes plus of his time.  He was nothing as I suspected.  Loving the group since high school and having been denied his autograph in 2007, I wasn’t sure I’d like him.  Low and behold, he turned out to be one of the most humble individuals I have ever met. He asked me more questions about my life than I got to ask him. We chewed the fat for quite some time after the recorder was off and I left feeling amazing.  I interviewed Johnny directly after Peter and was officially in for the night.  I watched my favorite musicians [but no Josh] through the lens for an hour and a half, all while remembering I had a golden nugget of Peter and I talking on my phone for when I got home.

The story I wrote for my final was the best grade I’d gotten for the class all year.  I poured countless hours and lots of emotion into the 1,500 word article.  It covered the bands rich history as well as the hopeful future.  I can say with all sincerity, the paper was positive and focused on Peter trying his hardest on rebuilding his promise to the fans.  He was dedicated to getting back on track.  He loved what he did [making music] and wanted nothing more than play on forever. Type O Negative’s music will live on in my heart forever.  I listen to them weekly and constantly use the songs and lyrics to get through bad times.  I cannot begin to type the proper thank you that I feel.  All I can say is that I am absolutely amazed at how much one person can do with his songs to shape another person’s life. 

I’m grateful to have met Peter and will never forget Halloween 2009.


  1. Love this post! The photo is amazing!
    It must have been heart stopping to talk to Peter and the band!

  2. Thanks Nikolas for your story and picture! He was amazing and is sorely missed for sure.

  3. Id love to hear that interview. I know most of us would. Thank you for that!

  4. The Ratajczyk Family2:44 PM, September 17, 2011

    Nikolas - I think I speak for everyone when saying this: "We want to see the article you wrote for your class" Please email it to me and I'll post it.

    Much thanks !

  5. Yes, please! I would love to read the article.

    Once more thanks to The Ratajczyk’s for share these great and fond stories.

    Besos and hugs from the krypt.


  6. Any chance that we can hear the interview or see the final project for class?

    I love all the stories - what a great tribute to a very talented human being. Thank you Ratajczyk family for graciously creating this page and sharing with the fans.


  7. Hi guys--

    This is a fantastic shot--LOVE it! And you can add my name to the list of those who would love to see Nikolas' journalism article.
    Love & Gratitude--Patty P

  8. I too would love to hear the interview! If you are willing, I would also like to read your final paper. Sadly, I was at the Detroit show as well. Detroit is my hometown, and I always saw the band whenever they played Harpos (what a horrible place though!) That night, I got to meet Johnny and Kenny and it was very cool. Of course. . .all I wanted was to meet Peter. I never did . .It is good to hear you talking about Pete saying he was trying to get his life back together. That's impressive. It's never too late to try to change. I too am so happy for all the music and memories that Type O gave me over the past 11 years of my life.

  9. Rose from NY now in CA8:35 PM, September 17, 2011

    I have been away from this family message spot for a few weeks because I've recently become one of the statistics of this planet, a laid off employee. My last job decided to eliminate my job and piece it out to other depts within my company...so after almost 20 yrs of dedicated service, I'm now collecting unemployment but at same time working 2 other parttime wonderful jobs. I mention this because starting 8/1/11 I have curiously become more close to the spirit of Peter Steele..why you ask? Well because he has become my muse. I admired him beyond the stars and moon. His image on this family message center (and I've printed many in my own memorial at home) has now become my spirit guide to a better future. This is very powerful stuff. I apologize for not responding to the story above and past weeks, and I will catch up in the next day or so...but I had to share this with the Ratajczyk Family. Your Peter is even helping me by being in life the amazing soul he was and carrying onto the after life that same energy I can draw from. I have so much respect for this man, he truly was a genius. I was just talking to a friend today who is studying the brain (long story) for her work..I told her about Peter and how he studied science, this brilliant man, this gift from above we had him for only a short time. These kinds of men come along rarely and they touch us for eternity with their beauty...Peter you were that beautiful soul...thank you for guiding me onto my next phase of employment. I will be eternally grateful for your light, your life has touched me deeply. All my love to the Ratajczyk Family. I understand how much you miss your brother, I miss him too. Much Love and Peace to you all.

  10. You are a very lucky man Nikolas. You met Peter so many times and have so many memories of different experiences with him. You even saved the night with your marker! I would love to read your story also. We are all doing our little bit to help keep Peter with us so he will never be forgotten and if you are willing to share your story .. we would love to read it. Do you still have the recorded interview? I love that you loved Type O Negative enough to write your story on them. I will say it again. you are a very very lucky man. I am jealous!!

  11. I would also love to read your final paper, and also hear your conversation with Peter if it is possible.
    Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  12. Thought I would echo what everyone else is saying, would love to read the actual article myself as well. (-)

  13. I'll echo the rest. I'd love to hear the footage and/or read the final results.

  14. Nikolas!

    I loved this story! I understand what it was like to meet and how sweet and humble he was, and that, my friend, is something that will truly live in our hearts forever.

    I'd also loved to read your story on it. I was in a newspaper in college as well and I would constantly write about bands, but when it was one that was near and dear to me, I poured all my emotions and truth about them more thoroughly than with others.

    Great, great story!Thanks for sharing!

  15. This is a wonderful post and a wonderful picture!! Thank you for sharing :)

  16. I will email my final story to the person whom I emailed this posting to. As for the photos and video from that tour... I will do my best to upload them asap to my Flickr page and email the link to again, the contact email I have. Thank you all for the positive feedback and, as always, stay negative.


  17. I love this picture...really, new favorite!