May 6, 2007

Type O Negative (Johnny) - Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

TYPE-O-NEGATIVE

May 6, 2007

Sonar

Baltimore, MD

Sunday, May 6, 2007...if you get all dorky about it & flip out over numbers, then you’ve probably known that on this date, the calendar read 5/06/07, & not that numerical numbers mean anything, I just thought it was an interesting way to lead off this review/interview. This show was actually one of the shows I’d been looking forward to for a long time, because this was my first time to ever see Type O Negative live..I mean TON are goth rock icons & everyone knows who Peter Steele is..he’s the tall, deep voiced dude who posed for Playgirl & wrote songs like “Christian Woman” & “Black No. 1” to name the bands biggest hits alone.

The crowd was pretty much 21+, they looked like a mix of goth-left-overs & normal metal freaks & I was actually surprised that few people dressed up for the show, I mean you had TON who are goth personified & Celtic Frost, who sports the make-up that is a mix of King Diamond, KISS, & Marilyn Manson! Anywho, the crowd was cool, & the show started off with Brand New Sin opening. I’ve seen Brand New Sin several times, so I knew what to expect..the band played gritty, dirty rock n roll that sounded excellent to me, but I’m not quite sure how well the goth crowd really liked it...I felt like BNS were the odd band on the bill, but I enjoyed their set! Celtic Frost were up next & I had no clue what to expect, because I remember seeing old footage of the band on Much Music a long time ago..the band is actually older now, their singer looks like he belongs on a riverboat somewhere as a captain, & I’m not even sure how many original members are still in the band, BUT, the band kicked ass & I was totally surprised with how good they were! During the bands last song a Type O Negative drummer & guitarist & tour manager could be spotted in make-up & screaming the chorus to their last song...check out the pic I posted with this review if you don’t believe it!

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Type O Negative were up next & I was surprised by something they did to all the photographers for the night..they made us wait till the bands last song before we were allowed to shoot & I later found out this was Peter’s idea, because often, photographer’s stay for the first 3 songs when they are allowed to photograph, then they leave, & this was Peter’s way of making them stay the entire night! It didn’t actually effect me, because I always stay for the entire show anyways, it just kinda made it a little strange, but then again, KISS did the same thing on the Aerosmith tour too, sooo.....

TON’s set consisted of several new tracks off their new “Dead Again” cd, as well as a cover of “Hey Joe”, & for me, the most touching moment of the night was “Love You To Death”..I’ve never been able to explain it, but that song’s got so much power, beauty, darkness, & the vibe of that song live is insane! I think “Christian Woman” actually got the hugest crowd response, but “Black No. 1” was the closer & that probably had just a little more power because all of the opening bands came onstage & sang the final choruses with TON! Peter Steel has this really dark vibe about him, & to see him onstage, he drinks from a wine bottle, stands taller than Frankenstein, & he has this brooding demeanor that no one else in Rock N Roll has..it’s really hard to even sum up the power & essence of a TON show, because on CD they nail what they do well, but live..there’s alot going on & I actually had no idea that the bands guitarist sings quit a bit too! This was my first Type O Negative show ever & I left the show really juiced, pumped, & the band definitely rocked hard!

I actually had the opportunity before the show to have a sit down interview with Johnny Kelly, drummer for Type O Negative, & I have to say straight up that he’s one of the nicest guys ever, this was one of the funniest interviews I’ve EVER done, because Johnny was pleasant, he gave great answers, & he treated me like a person, as opposed to some asshole who’s interviewing him! I definitely had a fun time with this interview, & I won’t ramble on anymore about it..here’s what me & Johnny talked about!:

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Rock N Roll Experience: How has he tour been with Celtic Frost & Brand New Sin?

Johnny: On one level I think it has been pretty successful..ha ha, I mean I’m f**kin glad to be going home tomorrow ha ha...we have 2 shows in New York & originally we were only doing one (show in New York)..we were going to have a day off & then finish the tour in New York & then the show sold out pretty quickly, so they added another one. When we were putting the tour together, we got an email from our manager through our booking agent & he was like, here’s a list of bands that wanna do the tour with us & I’m looking through the list of bands & some of them are cool, some I’d never heard of, & some were just crap & like in the middle of the list I saw Celtic Frost & I just stopped reading the list & Brand New Sin was on the list & I knew that Peter did a guest track on one of their songs & I knew that they did their record at Joey Z’s studio, from Life of Agony in Brooklyn & stuff, but I didn’t really know anything about them & I was like, you know, whatever, it’s cool for the first band, I have no problem with them being on there or whatever, I was sure they were a good rock band & it works for me & I’m glad, because they are...it worked out, but when I saw Celtic Frost, I wrote back to my manager & I was like, Is this for real? I was like..they really wanna ..they submitted for this tour? I was like, why would they do that? They don’t need us..Peter Kenny & I went to go see them in New York City like around Christmas..the place was pretty packed, they had played there like 3 nights in a row down at BB King’s & when we were watching them, we were like, dude, how awesome would it be to f**king tour with Celtic Frost? We were all like, yeah, that would be great, that would be awesome, blah, blah, blah, & we were like, it’ll never happen...why would they do it? They don’t need us. So when my manager confirmed that they want to do the tour, I didn’t even care what other bands were interested in doing the tour, I said, if you can make Celtic Frost happen, I will be like a kid..I’ll be as happy as a kid & it worked out & it’s f**kin great, I mean Celtic Frost had a huge influence on all of us..especially you can hear alot of it on the first Type O record & stuff...it just worked out because they are great guys, so we hang out with them all the time, we torture them. Me & Kenny..we always run up onstage & sing with them a little bit & every night we go up there & Tom gives us the devil horns & stuff & Martin is great..he’s a funny, funny guy & their new record is f**king awesome...they gave me a copy of it..I had heard some stuff on Sirius & it was great & then they gave me a copy of the record & I listen to the whole thing & it really is phenomenal.

Rock N Roll Experience: Is it hard to play after Celtic Frost on this bill?

Johnny: I never looked at it as like, it’s hard to go on after somebody or before somebody..I got over that a long time ago, like as a drummer, the first real big tour I did was opening for Motley Crue & I had to open up for Tommy Lee & then I had to open up for Vinnie Paul & even Scott Rockenfield from Queensryche & so along time ago I had gotten that our of my system & I just look at it as whoever is going on first, like whatever time we go onstage, that’s our time to do our thing & it’s pretty unique in it’s own way so it’s just like no big deal..I don’t feel competitive...I know what we do & this is our time during the night to do it.

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you still a member of Danzig & will you be playing with Danzig anytime soon?

Johnny: Yes..I was actually on the phone with Steve Zing yesterday & he mentioned that he spoke to Glenn & he wants you to call & find out when the schedule is & he wants to put some stuff together...I don’t think we’ll be going on the road for like 6 weeks or anything like that, but he’s got a couple of offers from like a couple of things, so he wants to find out if it’s possible to do them all & I wanna try to get Glenn to work on another record...that’s the next thing I wanna do, but we’ll probably do some shows like in the Fall & we’re talking about going out again with the “Blackest” so...

Rock N Roll Experience: I wish he’d get Tommy Victor back in the band..Tommy is a great guitar player

Johnny: Yeah...playing with Tommy was cool..I definitely like playing with Kenny better, but I also think that Kenny’s style of guitar playing lends itself better to like Danzig’s whole catalog...Kenny did a great job. At first I was kinda like..it was one of those things where you just don’t know, so it was like, is he going to work out because when Kenny did get the gig, there wasn’t any auditions, it was just like, well, see if Kenny wants to do it, ha ha ha, because like, Glenn has known us for a long time from when Type O toured with Danzig years ago & so anytime he came to New York, Kenny always came to the shows, hung out so Glenn always liked Kenny & Glenn liked him as a guitar player, he liked him as a performer, so when the time came around, like after Joe wasn’t in the band anymore, Glenn was like, see if Kenny wants to....

Rock N Roll Experience: How was it doing the Misfits with Danzig?

Johnny: Great. When I was younger I have to admit, I was not that big of a Misfits fan..Me & Kenny had this one friend, Tommy, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago..he was huge into the Misfits & he got Kenny into it, but I kinda wasn’t that into it & when I met Glenn I was like, look, I’ll be honest with you, I said, if it wasn’t for Cliff Burton, I had no idea who the Misfits were! Glenn laughed about it & I told him, but I bought Lucifuge when it came out ha ha..Danzig’s solo stuff I was aware of

Rock N Roll Experience: Who do you think can lift more weight...Glenn Danzig, Peter Steele or Zakk Wylde?

Johnny: I would say...Peter’s lost alot of weight & he’s not all buffed out like he used to be, I’d put my money on Zakk..I would, I’d put my money on Zakk easy.

Rock N Roll Experience: What’s your favorite Type O Negative song to play every night?

Johnny: “These Three Things” off the new record..it’s not like whatever, like you know where we’re like pushing our new record, it’s just one of those songs, since the minute it got written, it was like, to me, this is a great f**king Type O song & it has alot of dynamics & alot of changes & that’s what I like about it...I think it comes across well live & it’s like ultra heavy..it’s our version of “War Pigs”

Rock N Roll Experience: Did Peter Steele really go to jail or was that a fabricated story?

Johnny: Nah, he went to jail ha ha..yeah, he went to jail

Rock N Roll Experience: When that happened, did you ever think that the band was over with?

Johnny: Every day that Type O is still together is like a surprise to me, because since I joined the band in ‘93 it always felt like, “this is it” & like with Peter getting locked up it was just like another one of those things & it’s like, you always expect it, alright, this is what’s going to happen...is he going to go to jail for a long time or is this just something..because it was like he got picked up for a parole violation, so, it was like, nobody was really for sure what was going to happen, like because he violated his parole, does that mean his other charges now..like whatever, if he’s going to jail for 2 years that’s definitely a major set back ha ha

Rock N Roll Experience: There’s been a rumor going around for a while that Glenn Danzig has a grown son in New Jersey..is that true?

Johnny: No. Actually, it’s funny that you mention that, because one day at a show, not when I was on tour with him, but I heard the story, like right before I joined the band, on the last tour that they were on, somebody showed up at the show saying that they were Glenn’s son & Glenn doesn’t have any children, he’s never been married, none of that stuff..his Mom lives in Jersey ha ha, & his brothers are in that area somewhere

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you feel like the band H.I.M. copied off Type O Negative or stole some elements from TON?

Johnny: I don’t think that they stole from us because it doesn’t sound like they are trying to be Type O Negative. Like, they’ve put it out there that Type O has been a big influence on them so, it’s like there are certain elements in some of their songs where I can hear a little bit of the Type O influence on it, but I wouldn’t just come flat out & say they are a Type O wanna be band & anybody in their right mind would know that is like the worst career move you can make ha ha. Look at Type O Negative...for me, I can see it as plain as day who our influences are, it’s like Black Sabbath & The Beatles & you sprinkle a little bit of like 80’s pop on it on one record & a little bit of psychedelic stuff here & there & that’s what I hear.

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Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of the pairing of Marilyn Manson & Slayer touring this summer together?>

Johnny: I think it’s going to be a pretty cool bill, like Manson really needs to make a great record. Manson needs to put the old band back together ha ha. Just something about the band (marilyn manson)..it kinda lost something...Pogo’s still there, right? He was always weird, like when we did Ozzfest together, that guy is a guy of few words...I spent a whole summer with him & I think I spoke to him like once & like Manson & we would have to share dressing rooms alot of times & things like that or whatever & Manson was always cool & I hung out with Ginger alot, hung out with Zim Zum a bunch too..Twiggy or Jeordie..actually I saw him when we were out with Danzig..he’s in NIN now & NIN are great now...I saw them about a year go in New Jersey & they were phenomenal..it was the House of Blues in Atlantic City...there’s a perfectionist..that guy..Trent Reznor is the real deal! We toured with NIN..we only did 10 shows with them & that was the first big thing we’d ever done, like they had a band, it was right when Downward Spiral came out, they were getting ready to do just 10 shows so it was all like small places & it was multiple days, like 2 days in Seattle, 2 in San Francisco, 3 in LA & San Diego & Phoenix & like 4 days before the tour, the main support act broke up so we got a call & I was at work turning wrenches & I was working at a speed shop & my manager calls me up & said, “Do you think you can get some time off?” & I was like, for what? & he goes, I just got a call from NIN to do 10 shows on the West Coast & I was like, I probably can..when? & he goes, you have to leave in the morning! We had to drive from New York & we had to be in Seattle in like 3 days or something like that, so we drove out in a mini-van & a little U-haul & then Peter flew out & met up with us, & when we got to the venue that day for unloading, Trent Reznor was up in the truss focusing lights.

Rock N Roll Experience: Type O Negative has always had the BEST looking groupies...is it still like that & do you have any good stories?

Johnny: I’m gonna tell you a story & this just happened last night & it really puts a perspective on the whole thing. We have this club through the label, like a fan club thing & it’s called TYPE O NEGATIVE STALKERS & from what I understand, like in each city or whatever, there’s a contest & whoever puts up the most fliers or whatever it is to promote the show when it comes to their town, they win things & like last night we were in Charlotte (North Carolina) & the Stalkers got to meet the band & so there were these 3 girls & this is f**king insane...one was just completely out of her mind & she was like a total schizophrenic & into role playing & all of this stuff & then this other girl was like..she had this hair that went like up & sideways ha ha, it was like this big like bee hive & it was like the bee’s jumped out of the hive! The other one was a paraplegic, but she was like nice, she was like somewhat normal, but still out of her f**king mind & like she was big..she was heavy, so..ha ha ha, at the end of the night, the girls had been waiting there & Peter hadn’t been around or whatever..he was sleeping on the bus all day & then we did the show & then they had met everyone else in the band earlier in the day & then later that night they were waiting outside the bus & like there was alot of people out there, so Peter was feeling weird about going out so Peter was like, have them come on the bus & they were like, well, one of them is in a wheel chair, & he was like, bring it on the bus! ha ha, so a bunch of the crew guys pick up this f**king wheelchair with her in it & they are carrying it into the bus ha ha (at the point Johnny is seriously laughing & I’m almost in tears!) & I don’t know what happened, but all i saw was she was setting in the front seat of the bus & leaning back & I saw her starting to pull up her shirt ha ha, & I was like, I’m out of here, I’m leaving & I literally ran off the bus & I heard that she was pulling up her shirt & flashing her tits & they were going like 2 different directions & the other girl starts role playing..she was pretending that she was a kid & then she wants to be Peter Steele, then she’s her parent & then she’s like I wanna go to Marilyn Manson’s house, & all this weird shit & the she had like metal studded underwear & so like after they got off the bus, I’m outside & I’m watching them, watching the crew guys trying to get the wheelchair out of the bus (the laughing is overtaking the story at this point..we were both laughing hard!) & the dropped her..not really like, she didn’t fall, but they kinda dropped it (at this point we are both laughing hard!)

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you get this on video?

Johnny: yeah....it was just so wrong though o on so many levels ha ha, so, I come back on the bus & everyone was like, wow! Everybody was all freaked out by the whole thing & I turn around to Peter & I was like, wow..alot’s happened over the years on this bus & Peter goes, “yeah..we went from heels to wheels!” ha ha (we both started laughing hysterically at this point) & when everyone woke up today, all the crew & stuff, everyone was just looking at each other & going what the hell happened last night? Me & Kenny were just doing an interview before this on video & so the interview was like, do you have any crazy tour stories? Me & Kenny just looked at each other & we were like, how about last night? ha ha, & the interviewer said, oh, the bands only tell some stories, & this & that & I looked at the camera & said, top that one! That was it..from Heels to Wheels. That was how the last interview ended & all of us were crying from laughing, even the camera guys were all laughing. That is what it has come to, & I know that there was atleast 2 hot girls looking at all of this happening & going, What are these guys into? ha ha...what does it take to get onto their bus? ha ha...that is so bad, I’m going to hell for that!

And with that last question, there’s no way in hell I could EVER top that..Johnny was the best to interview,