Monday, April 22, 2013

Lost Man in Time; Was His Name Peter?

I know what I'll be reading this fall:

Noted metal journalist Jeff Wagner to author biography of the late leader of Type O Negative, Peter Steele. Jeff Wagner (Mean Deviation book, former Metal Maniacs editor) is currently assembling his next book, Soul On Fire – The Life and Music of Peter Steele. The book will be, in Wagner’s words, “a thorough telling of Peter’s life, from his ‘diaper days’ to his death. It will not only include analysis of the music he created in Type O Negative and Carnivore -- and the many triumphs and personal tribulations that came along with it -- but also let fans in on the details of his early days. The book will also feature numerous images from throughout his life, on stage and off. Peter’s fans miss him, and as a follower of his music since 1986, I’m proud to put together this tribute for them. While warring factions within the story have already been heard, my mission is simple: cut through the crap and tell one of the most extraordinary stories in modern music, with great respect to the subject himself.”

Culled from a variety of sources, including recollections from band mates, family, close friends and record label reps, Soul On Fire is an accurate account of Steele’s creative genius and incredibly complex personality. Steele was a visionary and a provocateur; a generous friend and a self-deprecating hedonist; a band mate and a brother. His struggles with addiction and his acceptance of the Catholic faith he grew up with and then grew out of…all of this is surveyed and detailed within Soul On Fire.

I am bouncing up and down in my seat, grinning from ear to ear, and clapping my hands like a toy monkey with cymbals. Well, maybe not literally, but I was thinking about Steele last week on the anniversary of his death. As much as I've enjoyed the blog his sisters have kept in his honor, I'd always vaguely wished someone would write a definitive biography. In some strange way, Type O always felt like a best-kept musical secret to me as a fan, always just slightly in the shadows. Never belonging truly and completely to any specific musical genre or any cultural moment, partially hidden behind cryptic humor and the symphonic majesty of their music. Usually I'm content to just enjoy the results of an artist's labors and pay no mind to the person behind the curtain, but I always have been curious to know a little more about the personal life of the man behind some of the greatest music I've ever heard.