Volume 90, Issue 69

Tuesday, January 28, 1997



Turning a negative into a positive

Gazette file photo
KISS WITHOUT THE MAKEUP. Type O Negative lounges on the couch and remembers the '80s – when being a long-haired freak was considered cool. The band plays The Embassy tonight.

By Brian McQueen
Gazette Staff


It's a melding of goth rock and '70s funk. It's a term Type O Negative has created for itself. Johnny Kelly, the band's drummer, believes, "If you're going to get categorized, you might as well at least make it what you want."

And categorized this band has been.

Since the release of its first album, Slow, Deep & Hard in 1991, the band has been labeled with misconstrued accusations of being racist, fascist and sexist because of its non-politically correct approach to life.

"I guess being in the atmosphere that we're in constantly, when we're pissed off, it's documented on tape or film or paper" Kelly says.

TON's beliefs are founded in pagan virtues with a heavy respect for nature. Peter Steele, TON's singer/bassist/songwriter, based most of the tracks on the band's latest release, October Rust, on Type O Negative's values and the girl troubles he himself has had.

"You know, boy meets girl. Girl hurts boy. Boy hurts himself after girl hurts him. The standard procedure, at least the one I know," Kelly says. "Although a lot is exaggerated because we do lead dull lives."

Aside from the deep, personal lyrical content of the music, guitarist Kenny Hickey adds his own personal element to each song with his dark and captivating musical prowess. The music is not just music – it's an experience.

Though the musical experience stands for itself, TON's unique marketing strategies are partly responsible for its success. Where most bands would just rely on a cool video or a free concert at Victoria Park to enhance their popularity, Type O Negative choose the path of pornography. Playgirl approached Peter Steele to pose in a hot rock star issue. He was the magazine's centerfold in August of last year.

"We thought it would be a great publicity tool and it worked," Kelly says. "We don't know what image it has created for the band as a whole but it got a lot of people talking."

It also brought a lot more women to TON shows.

The band's audience is diverse. Kelly has met fans in their 40s and 50s who have somewhat of an appreciation for the band. TON has played for a lot of baby boomers too.

In the summer of 1995, TON played in front of 130,000 people at the Dynamo festival in Holland. "The band performed pretty good. One of the few times we didn't crack under pressure," Kelly explains about the band's ability. "Everyone was fighting for the bathroom before we went on. It was petrifying yet exhilarating at the same time. In situations like that you definitely become desperate."

Kelly believes a little desperation is a good personal quality-

that and a hard work ethic.

TON play for the live element and love the intimacy of a small crowd. The band is in town tonight at The Embassy. Whether you're a lover of its gothadelic style or just a lover of Steele's body, to see Type O Negative is a harrowing adventure.

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997