“This album was done actually quite differently from the last two or three,” Steele says of the process of making Dead Again. “The last album that we did with live drums was Bloody Kisses, and the ones that followed that were done with a drum machine. It makes my job more rigid. I have to write the songs so they can be programmed and then what comes on top of them can be changed, but it’s a fucking hassle to try to change a drum program. It’s not even cut and paste, but it’s tempos and all this other shit.
“I decided, ‘Listen man, it’s been 17 years since we’ve been together, and I know it feels like 17 centuries, but let’s do something different. I have no ideas for this album, so let’s just go into the studio and make shit up on the spot and play it live.’ So I came up with riffs and asked the band, ‘Do you like it?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you like it?’ ‘No.’ And any riff they said no to, that’s the riff I made the song out of.”
“I think it was more of a jam kind of thing than normally,” Silver agrees. “That’s what probably gives it its more rock roots feeling. It has more of a hard rock kind of vibe than the other records, and I think that is partially due to going back a little and writing live and falling back to more of what we did when we were 17. So we have lost any maturity we may have gained. Hard to say whether that’s good or bad.
“It was just a decision. We’ve developed stuff live before, but this one was more of a live thing. The four past albums were a drum machine, and even though they were developed live. This one we just kept as a live thing. Didn’t want to polish it took much this time too much at all. Keep it a little more raw, but I think that’s what also made it—I hate to use this phrase—‘classic rock.’”
“It’s just because we all sat down and I came up with that riff,” Steele adds, talking about the track “An Ode To Locksmiths,” “and how that song begins, it is in four-quarter time, but the pickup to the song, the rest of the band couldn’t get it. I was beating them over the head with mic stands. It’s more riff-oriented. That’s why I feel the album has more of a live attitude. The other band members had more input into the songwriting process, which I completely ignored. They think that they contributed something—yeah right. I just play Beatles albums backwards and steal all the fucking riffs, and it’s not, ‘I buried Paul,’ it’s, ‘I buried Pete.’”
The change in process is clear in the music too. Songs like “Dead Again,” “Some Stupid Tomorrow” and “Halloween In Heaven” are all given a live energy that sounds fresh and revitalized, but still in line with Type O’s career-long progression. “Tripping A Blind Man,” “September Sun”—Steele’s tribute to his mother who he lost last year—and closer “Hail And Farewell To Britain” mesh that new vitality with the band’s trademark lush arrangements and swaying instrumentation.
Perhaps what stands out most about Dead Again is that it moves Type O Negative even further away musically from the gothic imagery they haven’t been able to shake since the video for “Black No. 1,” so many years ago. More straightforward and guitar-heavy, the album is hard rock gone green—and no, that doesn’t mean it runs on solar power. Instead, it means Type O have embraced the power of the almighty riff and they aren’t looking back.
“We never set out to be a gothic band,” Steele argues. “I like European history, and when I think about goths, I think about the Goths. I’m like, ‘why are we called a goth band?’ ‘Hey Pete, you’re like seven fucking feet tall with black hair, fangs, and you write songs about death, women, sex and fire—Pete, come on, you’re in a goth band, asshole!’ I’m like, ‘Okay…’
“What do you call this type of music? I call it gothcore, for lack of a better term. Since I’m pretty much the only songwriter for a band, my songs reflect what’s going on in my life at the time. My life really isn’t too exciting, so I have to exaggerate to make a song interesting. Do people really want to hear what I had for breakfast? Bacon’s boring, man.
“When I look at all the past albums, it actually documents a chapter in my life, where I was psychologically then. I feel that October Rust is my favorite album, simply because I liked where I was at that time. Bloody Kisses was interesting, World Coming Down really was a fucking nightmare because I got into drugs, alcohol, redheaded women and Burger King, and that combination, man, it’s the path to destitution. And that’s exactly where it took me: Life Is Killing Me. That was the follow-up to World Coming Down. And here we are now.”
So where is he now?
“Actually I’m sitting on my futon.”
Good to know.
Dead Again is available now through SPV. Type O Negative hit Starland Ballroom in Sayreville Friday, March 30 and Irving Plaza in NYC with Celtic Frost on May 8. For more info, check out typeonegative.net