April 16, 2010

RIP: Peter Steele

Things have been very metal for me lately, especially with the thrill of being interviewed on the subject yesterday by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times Arts section. I can only fear what will become of the tape of my outrageous utterances on the topics of the catholic imagination of metal and Christianity as the logical answer to the cosmic dread it celebrates, among many other things.

While out on errands today, I learned from WSOU of the death of the one of the great metal singers of our time, Peter Steele of Type O Negative. Last I heard he had rejected atheism and begun to identify himself as a Catholic. This is from an interview he gave to Decibel, as reproduced in his Wikipedia article:

There are no atheists in foxholes, they say, and I was a foxhole atheist for a long time. But after going through a midlife crisis and having many things change very quickly, it made me realize my mortality. And when you start to think about death, you start to think about what’s after it. And then you start hoping there is a God. For me, it’s a frightening thought to go nowhere. I also can’t believe that people like Stalin and Hitler are gonna go to the same place as Mother Teresa.

I think I also remember reading somewhere about how he went to confession after being away from the sacrament for thirty years. I can say that from the priest's perspective, those kind of encounters are precious and honored.

I pray that you had the grace of the sacraments at your passing, brother, and that you were sped by the Lord's mercy to the rest you weren't able to find in this life.

Requiescat in pace.

Type O Negative, covering the Neil Young classic:


Cordovajim said...

Who wooda thunk it, C.
And to think, I've always been reluctant to tell others that I'm the worlds #1 Neil fan.

Qualis Rex said...

Yes, Father, requiescat in pacem.

On another note, and this has NOTHING to do with Peter personally (as I never heard of him until this moment) but everything to do with his quoting "there are no atheists in foxholes". As accurate and true as the sentiment may be, I have always found this a very selfish and opportunistic sentiment. I tend to view it as, "normally, I do and think what I want and treat people however it's convenient for me. But when there's a shadow of a doubt that a higher power might be able to step in and help me, then I figure, why not?"

Once again, NOT making any morality judgement on Peter. Just commenting on the famous quote, as it's something that's always bothered me as I've known many people who have lived their lives like this.

Heath said...

I was a huge fan of Type O Negative and I used to be in the music business and played dark music similar in style to what that band was doing. I sometimes felt guilty for liking Type O because of some of the lyrics. Peter seemed very unhappy and troubled but I always felt like he was a good person who felt very hurt by some of the things that life had thrown at him. When I learned that he had passed I felt sadness, knowing that he had been an atheist and being unaware of any change in that situation. A friend told me that he had denounced atheism and so I had to "google" it. I really hope that Peter has found the happiness that seemed to evade him during most of his lifetime here on earth.

Brother Charles said...

Cool! Are you the Heath mentioned in the song by Sore Throat?

Heath said...

No, that was not me.