Original TYPE O NEGATIVE Drummer SAL ABRUSCATO Remembers PETER STEELE: 'He Was A Prophetic Artist'

May 5, 2024

In a new interview with Drew Stone of The New York Hardcore Chronicles Live!, original TYPE O NEGATIVE drummer Sal Abruscato remembered the band's late frontman Peter Steele, who passed away in April 2010 from heart failure at the age of 48. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, [Pete] was a good guy. He was a sweet guy. He had a good heart. At the end of the day, he had a good heart, but he was also very vulnerable. He was vulnerable. He knew deep down inside becoming successful was gonna be his demise, because I'll tell you, one thing I did see from being on the outside of TYPE O NEGATIVE, watching the deterioration that happened over the years. People used him. He was a nice guy, he was generous — fucking used him. And everybody was using him. Even his own bandmembers were using him, because he was a workhorse. And everybody tried the best they could. He had a very bad problem, and I know everybody tried the best they could, but it was too little too late."

He continued: "I remember talking to him literally two weeks before he passed, and he told me that all he had left was 3,500 bucks to his name. So he died basically in Pennsylvania alone, in a way. Yeah, he had his girlfriend — yeah, whatever — but all the way out there. Everybody dissipated when the good times were over. Everybody dissipated when the drugs were over, 'cause he had to be sober and clean. He was clean for nine months when he died. And when he told me that, it was, like… And he told me people that I'll never name. He told me that he lent money to people that people never paid him back because he had a good heart. Friends took advantage of him. And it's a shame that it ended like that for him. Had he maybe went to doctor's on a regular basis too, maybe he could have… But again, the damage was done. But that was the side of Pete was that he was a good guy and a prophetic artist, a prophetic lyricist. He had a vision that went three steps ahead of everyone else. A brilliant guy — very smart, very smart guy in a lot of different ways. Not like, 'doctor book smart,' but smart in other ways, artistically and the way he saw things and interpreted. He was very intelligent."

Abruscato was a co-founder of TYPE O NEGATIVE, along with Steele. After leaving TYPE O NEGATIVE in 1993, following the release of the band's third album, "Bloody Kisses", he became LIFE OF AGONY's drummer, a position he held, on and off, until 2017. He was also the frontman of his side project called A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH.

After Abruscato left TYPE O NEGATIVE, he was replaced by Johnny Kelly, who remained with the band until Steele died. After Steele's death, TYPE O NEGATIVE formally broke up, with members stating that the band could not continue without Peter, who had served as the TYPE O NEGATIVE leader and main songwriter since the group's formation over two decades earlier.

Steele was born Petrus T. Ratajczyk on January 4, 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. He stood 6' 7" (201 cm) tall, and had a low, bass-heavy voice, which was one of the most recognizable features in TYPE O NEGATIVE's music.

Before forming TYPE O NEGATIVE, Steele played for the metal group FALLOUT and the thrash band CARNIVORE.

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