Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkins, Popcorn Balls, and Peter Steele

It’s Halloween. When most people think of Halloween, they think of pumpkins, candy, ghosts, and all sorts of scary shit. I think of those things too. I also think of Peter Steele.  This was usually when he performed with his band Type O Negative. 

I was 12 years old when Bloody Kisses came out. I had no idea who these guys were or what they looked like. I just liked the way they sounded. I was not into Biggie or Tupac like other kids my age.

Type O Negative was unlike any other New York band because they were a Brooklyn band. Peter was unlike any lead singer because he had a blue-collar job. He worked for the New York City Parks Department. Basically, he was real.

I was 16 when I first saw Pete Steele. I was scouring Metal Edge for Marilyn Manson pics and Ozzfest '97 tour dates. "HOLY SHIT! Who the fuck is that guy?", I thought to myself. He looked like he could play for the New York Rangers and he was hot. I couldn't believe that this was the guy that sang Black No. 1

The summer of 1997, sucked. Due to my poor Math and Science skills, I was in summer school…again.  Needless, to say, I missed Ozzfest. That was not the end. My friends and I were going to see Type O Negative. 

We knew someone who knew someone who worked with the band. One of the someone's had a bit of a crush on me. He never had a chance. He was too old and I was too beautiful. I wasn’t interested, although he thought I was.

He would turn out to be a big help in securing backstage passes.  
I went to see Type O Negative on October 29, 1997 at the Roseland Ballroom. I got tickets because I was going to write a review for my music class. I don’t remember much about that show. 

I remember what happened afterwards. I met the band. Johnny had great hair and was very nice. Kenny and Josh gave me autographs. I don’t remember if Peter said anything. I just remember how I looked like Wednesday to his Lurch.

Actually, I am more of a Munsters chick. It looked like a scene from an episode of “The Munsters” when a civilian sees Herman for the first time. They are usually overcome with shock and fascination.  

Pete had the most gigantic hands I had ever seen. He was otherworldly looking. His features were more pronounced in person.

Me & Pete 10/29/97
Pete’s green army cap was the best. Whenever I see Bono sporting one, I want to knock his teeth down his throat. Who the hell is he to rock that hat? That army cap is to Pete Steele what oversized sunglasses are to Jackie O.

Pete’s style left quite an impression on me. To this day, he is in the back of my mind when I shop for clothes. The raw edges on American Apparel’s Fine Jersey T-Dress have Peter Steele written all over them. The color green also made it’s way into my wardrobe.

After meeting Pete that night, I was on a cloud for the rest of my junior year of high school. That night would be the first of many times that I would meet him. Don’t forget, he lived in the same borough as me.

Ten months later, I went out to the Meadowlands to meet him at an autograph signing. Prior to our meeting, I was near death. My family took a road trip up to Buffalo to drop my sister off at grad school. The minute we hit upstate New York, I got sick. Chills and achiness were kicking my ass.

After that long road trip from upstate New York, I begged my Dad to hop in the car for another one to New Jersey. I was just dying to meet Pete again. There were going to be a few pro wrestlers there, so my dad had no choice. My little brother luuuurved wrestling.

I remember waiting in line to meet Pete. A lot of the female fans were big and rough looking. I was definitely the youngest and tiniest one there. Whoever said that women dress for other women has never been in a building with Pete Steele. Those chicks were dressed for Pete that day.

A lot of them took the old adage, “Less is more” a little too seriously. I was wearing a burgundy corset top, a black tulle skirt, ripped fishnets, and black Doc Boots. I was dressed for me. Finally, it was my turn on line.

I barely had any strength or voice. It took every fiber of my being to utter the words, “Hi Pete. How are you? Can I take a picture with you?”  Then I had to climb on a table for the picture. Being 5’0, this was no easy task.

Me & Pete 8/98

Always the gentleman, Pete made sure I didn’t break my ass. He pretty much held me up for that pic. I felt a little bit better afterwards. It was well worth the trip to Jersey.

I would meet Peter two more times after that. Actually, I stumbled upon him. My friend, Cindy and I were on our way to Caravelle on East 19th Street. I was famished and I wanted to get there ASAP. We ended up walking down East 18th Street and saw Pete walking down the block.

I mean how could you miss him. He was not exactly Mr. Inconspicuous.

“Hey Pete”, we yelled in unison. He turned around and stopped to talk to us. “What are you two ladies doing?” he asked. “Nuthin”, Cindy said. “Going to get something to eat”, I said.
He told us we looked very nice, wished us a good night, and went on his merry way.  Don’t ask me what I had at Caravelle because I can’t remember. It is all a green blur.

I saw Pete in 2000 at a Nine Inch Nails concert. It was at Madison Square Garden. Pete stuck out like a sore thumb sitting in the purple seats. I was on a date with some dude from Staten Island. I walked away from him in mid-sentence and went to say hi to Pete.

I ran up to him and we started yapping. I asked him for an autograph. He obliged. It is odd that I didn’t get it the first time I met him.

“Take my numba. Call me. We’ll hang out”, he said. WHAT?!?!
I thanked him for the autograph, told him how great it was to see him, hugged him, and knocked over the wine he had by his Herman Munster feet. Yep. I was mortified. He didn’t think it was a big deal.

I never called Peter. I was 19 and thought I was world's apart from a 38 year old rock musician. Why would he want to hang out with a smart-assed kid from Bay Ridge? I never called him.

Now I am 30 and he is gone. I still can't believe it. There will never be another one like him.

Happy Halloween, Pete.


Ratajczyk Family said...

Thanks Jess for sending me this link. I'm posting it on the blog.

Norah said...

I find great joy in reading this. I was 14 at the time I bought Bloody Kisses and I'm now 19..Born many years too late. Never got to see TON live and meeting the guys, but reading things like this kind of makes up for it.

Your blog looks like good reading and you seem to be one awesome gal.
Best wishes from Norway!

Anonymous said...

Jess, what a great blog post. It is great joy to read your post. What a lucky girl to meet Peter so often - see I'm almost ten years older than you, discovered TypeONegative already with 'Slow, deep & hard' but never made it to see a live performance - this really sucks :)You are so right: There will never be another one like Peter. Love the pics.
Kind regards & best wishes from Austria

amber head said...

i love your story about pete. i shared this to my fb.. amazing story.. i saw him on a poster in my friends room when i was 13. he stood out like a sore thumb. i thought damn he's hot theres something about that i started listening to his music and fell in love. we would always play black no.1 on halloween. its a tradition. i follow his interviews with people and yours is one of my favorites!!