Tina Cederberg of Sweden's GetMetal.com recently conducted an interview with TYPE O NEGATIVE members Peter Steele (vocals, bass) and Johnny Kelly (drums). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
GetMetal.com: The new album has been a long time in the making, tell us why?
Johnny: We were traveling through space! Haha…
Peter: Last album was released in June 2003. After that we did a couple of tours and at the same time we were switching record labels. Which is not a good thing to do for a band while writing songs. So we didn’t sign with Roadrunner Records again, they were not giving us any tour support or anything else. So we kind of fell off the face of the earth for awhile. At the same time we were working on the "Sympathy for the Devil" DVD. That took a lot of time. In the meantime I was writing songs for this forthcoming album. After we finished the DVD we finally went into the studio and started to rehearse for the album and that brings us to March 19th... (release date for new album)
GetMetal.com: The cover of the album is of Russian mystic Rasputin. Tell us why?
Peter: Me being the songwriter and art coordinator for the band I thought the visual would go with the title "Dead Again". And being Slavic and having quite a bit in common with Rasputin — he was an alcoholic, a drug addict, a womanizer, he had a big penis. It's also the whole blood thing; he could cure the Romanov prince of hemophilia just by looking at the kid. And the communists couldn't kill him, just like they could not kill me. And he looks like a TYPE O NEGATIVE member! But a very good-looking one, haha.
GetMetal.com: There is a song on the album called "Halloween in Heaven". The lyrics deal with dead rock stars. Elaborate.
Peter: It actually has a very somber meaning. Dimebag Darrell [late PANTERA guitarist] was a very close friend and it kind of inspired me to write that song because I know that Dimebag is in a much better place right now and I'm sure he's out there with Bonham, Entwistle and Lennon and all the other famous dead rock 'n' roll musicians. I miss him very much — we all miss him very much. I'm still in shock about what happened. I left his name off the list of the deceased, [because] I didn't want people to think that I was exploiting his death. It is one of my favorite songs. Hopefully we will be playing that live. We'll also play "Dead Again", "Profits Of Doom" as well. We have the videos lined up to do once we get back to New York.
GetMetal.com: The song "Dead Again" touches on drug abuse. Peter, how is your drug situation today?
Peter: Well, I'm not 100%, since alcohol is a liquid drug. I was pretty lost in the cocaine thing for a couple of years. I'm not gonna say I'm an angel or fully recovered; at times I do find myself indulging. When I wake up the next day, or next week, however long the binge lasts, I feel this great sense of shame. I feel like I've killed part of myself, so hence "Dead Again". There is an old saying it's better to learn from the mistakes of others than from your own... So I hope I can give something to the fans by saying, If you haven't tried drugs — DON'T. Run away. It's only gonna get worse. I was 35 years old when I started using cocaine and how fucking stupid is that? I am ashamed of myself. Over the course of 10 years I've been up and down. It's hurt me, it's hurt my friends and family and it's hurting the band, my reputation. Fortunately, I feel like I have a second chance, and maybe I can make amends by saying to the fans, don't try it!
GetMetal.com: Peter, you have given given the impression of being a depressed and gloomy person... Are you really like that in private? What makes you happy?
Peter: Food? Actually, I've always been a very depressed person, but that’s only one side of me, you know. It makes me feel better when I can express my depression, my anger, my frustration through music. Sonic therapy. What makes me happy... is really making the people I care about happy. That's true happiness. So TYPE O NEGATIVE is just one of Peter Steele's many faces, 'cos everyone has many faces. But on a side note, I believe that this forthcoming album, "Dead Again", is probably the most positive TYPE O album. It's not as melancholic, like "Fuck life, kill yourself." etc.
Johnny: After "Life Is Killing Me", it can only go up... Every record creates a mood and atmosphere. When you're at the bottom the only way to go is up. This record, most of it seems to me is a straight-up rock record. Stuff that we grew up on and is a positive influence on us. A few drinks in us and we’re still screaming BLACK SABBATH songs, ya know, at the top of our lungs! And that kind of feeling got onto this record.
Read the entire interview at GetMetal.com.