Happy Halloween...ha ha ha ha, ha...
Type O Negative coagulated in 1990. Peter Steele's venerable abettor and drummer, Sal Abruscato asked him if he wanted to start a band. Steele had played bass for "thrash-core" band Carnivore but was picking up trash for the New York City Parks Dept. Abruscato ambuscaded Kenny Hickey into joining on guitar while Steele brought in Josh Silver on keyboards. Later while Steele was relaxing with a read through the phone book he came to an ad for a blood bank. They were offering "top dollar" for the rare blood type, O Negative.
The band's first album Slow, Deep and Hard debuted in 1991. One of the songs, "Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity", redressed Steele's umbrage of a failed relationship. Critics viewed him as cynical toward women. Other songs had a similar theme along with the suggestion of eradicating society of useless people. Steele was written off as a "Nazi bastard".
The band's second album was a fake live set (as suggested by their record company) that they intentionally did poorly and mixed in crowd noises. The Origin Of The Feces also contained a couple of cover songs. They did Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and "Hey Pete" which was their version of Hey Joe. They changed the lyrics to reflect Pete's continuing grudge toward that woman. The band would continue the practice of including at least one cover song on following albums.
In 1993, they released their third album, Bloody Kisses which contained what would become their signature song, Black No. 1. The first time I saw Type O Negative was on M-TV's Headbanger's Ball. The video of "Black No. 1" was featured and in it was this giant playing an upright bass like a regular guitar with a chain for the strap. I was mesmerized by the presentation and loved the song. The album also contained "Christian Woman", a serious sounding song that exhibited the dark humor of the band. The song is about a woman who struggles with staying chaste as her religion implores but giving in to her carnal desires.
"For her lust she'll burn in hell,
her soul done medium-well."
Although the band came across as being quite serious, they were actually just the opposite. They delivered their violence in art with "tongue in cheek". Their sound could be compared to Black Sabbath on Valium or Pink Floyd on steroids with a splash of testosterone. They included a heavy version of Seals and Croft's "Summer Breeze" on Bloody Kisses. It would become their first gold album.
Peter Steele's ambivalence about staying with the band and his indecision about touring upset Abruscato to the point that he left the band. He was replaced with Johnny Kelly who was a drum tech and a "roadie" with the band.
October Rust was released in 1996 and included the song My Girlfriend's Girlfriend which was musically suitable for air play on the radio. They did a cover of Cinnamon Girl which some fans thought was TON's own. Imagine that! October Rust would eventually go gold too. When the band was on tour Steele would talk to the crowd between songs. Sometimes he would throw his half empty bottle of red wine into the throng. They would play "Light My Fire" and The Beatles' "Back In The U.S.S.R." in concert. After they were done with a show, Steele would tear the strings off of his bass and throw them into the crowd. Occasionally Kenny Hickey would smash his guitar and Josh Silver would trash his keyboard.
In 1999 they released World Coming Down which contained another Beatles song, "Day Tripper". Although the album was as good as anything the band has done, Steele felt that the band fell short of its standards. Of course, that was his typical self-deprecating self. A year later they did a compilation album titled The Least Worst Of. It contained different versions and edits of previously released material. I would recommend it as a starter album for any TON initiates.
Their most recent work is Life Is Killing Me which came out in 2003. The band did a live concert at CBGB's in the summer of 2003 but only played one song from the new album. Steele said he hates to play stuff the audience isn't familiar with. Although the band has probably made them financially comfortable, Steele says still drives the same old car and lives in the same old basement apartment and eats TV dinners. His favorite gigs are the ones he can come home from and crap in his own toilet, shower in his own bathroom and sleep in his own bed.