MTH-V: Type O Negative

With today having been Friday the 13th, I can think of few artists or groups more appropriate than Type O Negative. They’re not for the faint of heart, and it’s one of the things I love most about them. The last few weeks have been quite busy, and I’ve been trying to think of just the right video to break the recent streak of posts featuring blog regulars DMB, Dave Liebman, and Richard Wagner. Type O Negative do just that.

TON hold a special place in my heart. They not only write and play heavy, dark, high quality rock – a powerful mixture of baritone vocals, organs, and metal – but they don’t take themselves too seriously. Many of their songs include very dark humor, which I of course always appreciate. Though there are some that at least appear to be relatively seriously, even if the tongue was planted firmly in cheek upon writing. Regardless of any humor, these self-described “four dicks from Brooklyn” bring it musically. In that sense they fall into a lineage not far removed from Frank Zappa. It’s a subtle subversion: for those fans that may be somewhat literalist with the lyrical content, they’re missing the point. It’s rock and roll – you’re not supposed to take yourself too seriously. But the boys still rock. HARD.

Well, they rocked. Bassist and lead singer Peter Steele died in 2010. That wasn’t without some confusion, however, as, due to a gag in 2005, a number of fans didn’t believe the initial reports. I remember walking through an airport in Colorado around that time of the hoax wearing a Type O Negative t-shirt and being stopped by another fan asking, “Is it true?” Ha! Joking aside, Peter’s death was a musical loss for me. I miss him.

I became an active fan around the time of October Rust‘s release (late ’96/early ’97). I saw the band three times: twice at Grand Rapids’s Orbit Room and once at Detroit’s infamous Harpos. (Unfortunately I didn’t attend that Halloween 2009 show at Harpos, which turned out the be the band’s last show.) They were always solid and the shows were tons of fun. The last time I saw them, which was at Harpos in April 2007, they pulled out a couple nice surprises including a renditions of “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Hey Joe” (which they dubbed “Hey Pete”).

I try to keep this blog safe for work, greatly limiting my choices to feature. But this performance of World Coming Down‘s title track in Germany in 1999 is solid. This song is one of their serious numbers, and its album isn’t nearly as humorous as some others (e.g., Origin of the Feces), but if you’ve ever had a tendency to headbang then this should scratch you where you itch. Dig it:

 

And a nice audience tape of “Magical Mystery Tour” from the April ’07 show at Harpos:

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