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From the ashes of bassist/vocalist Peter Steele's post-apocalyptic, warrior tribe by the name of Carnivore, a seminal hardcore-metal crossover act, Type O Negative rose from Brooklyn, New York to become one of the premiere metal bands of the nineties. The blueprint from Type O's precursor band wasn't thrown in the waste bin; instead, it was stained with gothic black hair dye and covered by an easily identifiable Sabbath-like doom coating. Come 2003, 'Life Is Killing Me' shows the band poised to dominate the metal world in the new millennium without losing any of its self-deprecating, dry sense of humor. With the help of drummer Johnny Kelly, the Metal Update explored Type O Negative's exploits in great detail. To the surprise of many, Johnny and Type O (rounded out by Kenny Hickey on guitars and Josh Silver on keyboards) aren't really vampires, but it's more than obvious that Johnny is a down to earth metalhead who was more than eager to talk metal shop with the Metal Update.

METAL UPDATE: Hey Johnny. This is Jay Gorania. I'm calling about. . .

JOHNNY KELLY: You're retarded!

MU: I'm sorry?

JK: You're absolutely retarded! You know that?

MU: Johnny?

JK: Wait! Is this Bobby?

MU: No. I'm calling about an interview for Metal Update. Were you aware of this?

JK: Yeah, I'm sorry! (laughs) I just thought it was a friend of mine who does stuff like that every time he calls. I thought you were him. What's up?

Type O Negative

MU: (laughs) Not much, my friend. I know it's been quite some time since September 11th, but since you're from New York, so close to the incredible events of that day, I have to ask you about your perspective. You're still in Brooklyn, right?

JK: I live in Staten Island, which is right across the harbor from Manhattan. Kenny lives about ten minutes from me now. I can get to his house faster now than when we were growing up together. But I was getting my daughter dressed. We were going to go to the waterside near the ferry, where you can see the Manhattan skyline, because it really was such a nice day. And my brother calls me and says, "What are you doing?" "Oh I'm getting Sophia dressed. I'm going down to Bay Street to get my car worked on. We're going to go have breakfast." He says, "Put the TV on." So I see that the World Trade Center is the focus, and there's smoke coming out of them! I thought it was one of those good morning shows where they were showing scenes from the new Bruce Willis Die Hard movie or something. Then I realized that it was real. It was terrible. We couldn't get away from the TV for the entire time. I imagine the entire country was like that.

MU: Yeah, pretty much. But unlike myself, way down in Texas, this was almost literally in your backyard. You must have feared for your family and friends.

JK: I was definitely worried about friends, because I have a bunch of friends who are fireman and policeman. And I was fortunate enough only to lose a couple of people that I knew. A guy that actually works for us on and off, his best friend died. It's a guy I'd see every once in a while. He taught me some stuff about computers - gave me software. A really good friend of mine, he's a firefighter in lower Manhattan. He had the day off, and he lost like 12 of his co-workers. His captain died. Had it not been his day off, that would have been a funeral that I would have had to go to.

MU: To get a touch political, what's your view on the Iraq situation?

JK: I just can't understand why the job wasn't finished 12 years ago. How did this guy have this opportunity to rebuild himself? I think it was right that we had to get rid of him, because the regime had to go. And I think now because of September 11th a lot of things have changed in how the United States views foreign policy. The one thing that it did prove is that the UN is a joke, because they don't do anything. They couldn't prevent one guy from making weapons. How could an organization of so many countries let something like that happen? They were afraid to go in there and smack this guy around a little bit. I think that the inspections were initially the right thing to do. And then the minute you don't comply, you get taken out. And this guy kept on screwing around, so finally he got taken out. And now everybody's making an uproar about it. You play by the rules or you don't get to play. I was also thankful that the casualties were so low, and I mean on both sides. That's such a good thing. I don't know how many people in Iraq were killed, but I imagine that it was a lot lower than what it could have been. (The US and allied forces) had a specific agenda, and they were just going in and pinpointing specific targets. But the military still hasn't explained why they haven't got Saddam Hussein yet? Why haven't they got Usama Bin Laden with all this high-tech stuff? I think they should send the mafia in.

MU: (laughs) They'll get the job done right.

JK: They find everybody. When they look for someone they find them, or they'll make sure they never come back.

MU: Forgive me for my ignorance, but how far off is my stereotypical view that for whatever reason the New York area is conducive to a "Saprano's" type of environment? Is it true, to an extent?

JK: Where I grew up and when I grew up, it was like that. Since Gotti got locked up, I think they put a lot of that high profile stuff in the past. You don't see things like that out in the open. It's definitely low-key. There are people around. It's New York. Wherever there's opportunity, the mafia will be there. But now the feds have all those Reichow acts, so it's very easy to lock them up. So they're just being more creative and finding other things to get into. 25 years ago you didn't hear about the mafia in the stock market. Now you get guys getting locked up all the time. They made a mint and now the government's starting to catch on. And guys are getting whacked.

MU: I understand that y'all are in the midst of rehearsing?

JK: Yea, we've been rehearsing, getting ready to go over to Europe for three weeks. We're on a couple of festivals, and we added some club dates in between. Opeth will be doing the German club dates. I originally thought that they were going to do the Scandinavian dates because they're from Sweden.

MU: Opeth are fantastic!

JK: Yea, I saw them when I played with Danzig on the Blackest Of The Black last month. They were one of the bands on the bill and they were really good, really heavy.

MU: I wanted to get into that - you're currently also playing with Danzig.

JK: Yea. I had been playing with Danzig since October. I was doing both.

MU: Was it difficult with your recording schedule?

JK: No. Actually, all the recording was done. Before I went to Europe with Danzig in November the record was done. And I worked with Josh for a couple of days and crammed in some final stuff before I had to leave. And so all the drums got finished and I was pretty much free to do whatever - and the "Blackest Of The Black" shows came up. Then I came back and I've been rehearsing with Type O. And he said he has some stuff happening in September, which I'm hoping that I'll be able to do, but I don't know what the schedule's going to be like. It's hard for me to commit.

MU: Has he in any way offered you a position, time permitting.

JK: He would prefer to have somebody that was on a more permanent basis. I mean, he's offered me the job because we get along great. He likes the way I play. So in that aspect, he's been dealing with the fact that I have other obligations. But I don't know if he's going to be able to do that for an extended period of time. I think he wants a permanent guy. But as long as he'll have me, I'll always play with him. Type O toured with Danzig in '94 when his '4' record came out. And I was a real big fan. Oh, and not to mention all the Misfits stuff. He's definitely an icon. The guy's been around for a long time, and he's made a lot of contributions.

MU: How did the hook up come about?

JK: It was kind of a mutual thing. I saw that Joey (Castillo) quit to join Queens Of The Stone Age. I knew guys that worked for Danzig that used to work for Type O Negative, so I had just called them to see what was going on. And like an hour later somebody else from Danzig called me. Then Todd Youth was playing phone tag with me. Then I auditioned. We got along and it was really cool, but at the time it seemed that Glen wanted a permanent guy. And they went with another guy, a local guy. But he didn't work out. They had a European tour booked that was leaving in like two weeks. They asked me to do it, and they flew me out to LA. Then, being trapped in a bus for a couple of weeks, you get to know each other. And Glenn and I actually wound up hitting it off pretty well.

MU: So Glenn Danzig isn't the egomaniac many paint him out to be?

JK: No. I think it's just one of those situations where the guy has been around the block. He knows what he wants, and he'll have a certain way of how he wants it to be. And he's in a position (where) he's entitled to that. So as long as you know where you stand, there isn't a problem.

MU: It sounds like people basically don't realize that he has a certain formula of how he and those around him need to work, and they take that out of context and associate certain attributes to his personality.

JK: I think so, yea. Because when I hung out with him, I found that he has a very healthy sense of humor. We were torturing guys out in LA, like the guy who works in his office. We did a joke on him. "How come you didn't pick us up yet? We're over here at Jerry's house (the bass player). We're waiting for you to pick us up." He's like, "What are you talking about? You guys said you were going to get here." I said, "No dude, you said you were coming to get us. We're going on stage in fucking 20 minutes, and you're not here! What's going on? Dude, it's worse, because you know what?" And I put Glenn on the phone. Glenn was like, "Yo, Lou, where are you?" (laughs) And the guy didn't know what to say. We just lost it! But yeah, it was really cool to hang out with him. I'd sit there and pick his brains half the time, like the annoying kid brother.

MU: Type O is notorious for goofing off and messing around, though many still picture you to be some dark, goth overlords in a Scandinavian castle.

JK: You have to have a sense of humor. We've never been able to take ourselves seriously. I think it's healthy. It keeps the band grounded in terms of not letting the ego get ahead of you and that nonsense. But think about it. It's like a Munsters episode come to life! How serious do you take that?!?

MU: I'm a huge fan of Type O, and quite frankly, I can be somewhat fanatical about bands. But have you had experiences with fans that are just too much, to the point where it's almost scary? What's the most bizarre or sick thing that you've encountered when dealing with a fan? When were things just too out of hand?

JK: You get the usual stuff, like people really think we're vampires. One girl was like, "My boyfriend's going to build me a castle and vampire this and that." And she's like, "You guys aren't vampires?" Me and Kenny were like, "No. What the fuck do you think this is?" She started crying. She couldn't believe it. We shattered this whole image of what she had. There are some songs that lend to that atmosphere. But I wouldn't say that the entire catalogue of Type O Negative is about Nosferatu and Morticia Adams. I don't see where the goth is in a song like "White Slavery" or "World Coming Down" or, shit, "Kill All The White People". That's definitely not goth. It's just one thing that people grabbed onto and they identified with it. You have to get categorized, and that's what we got categorized as.

MU: The goth element is definitely there, but you're definitely far from being Sisters Of Mercy.

JK: (laughs) Right! Exactly! I think we're more of a metal / hard rock band than we are a goth band. If we didn't have black hair, then they probably wouldn't be so quick to point it out as goth.

MU: There's an abundance of information out there about Peter, almost exclusively about Peter, but what were you doing before Type O? I understand that you were a postal worker to pay the bills, but what were you doing musically?

JK: I was playing in a hard rock-blues band, more like somewhere between Zeppelin and Skynrd. I was playing lots of rock, speed metal, thrash metal. I was a big Metallica head as a teenager. But I dug all kinds of stuff, and I was playing with just about anybody. Kenny always called me a drummer slut. I really enjoy playing, and I'd rather do that than swing a hammer, be a mailman, an auto mechanic or a carpenter. I was pretty much destined for manual labor, so if I'm going to swing anything, I'd rather it be a drumstick. And I was really taking my chances with that.

MU: Kenny did all the leads for Dust To Dust's latest release. Is Peter or Josh up to anything as far as side projects go?

JK: Right now (Peter's) doing a lot of press. There's a lot more on his plate than there is on mine or Kenny's. But he was describing this thing called "Billycore."

MU: "Billycore?"

JK: Yea, this psycho hillbilly-hardcore stuff where everybody plays banjos. At least that was the way that he was trying to describe it to me. Wow! It sounds fucking insane! (laughs)

MU: (laughs) I'll give him two notches up in the originality department.

JK: That's what I was going to say. I bet there's nobody doing that right now. So he was talking about doing that with some of his friends. But yea, Kenny did all the leads on Rob (Traynor's) record (he of Dust To Dust - JG). I've known Rob since I was 15-16 years old. We used to be in a band together with my brother playing old Metallica songs, or at least trying to.

Type O Negative

MU: Ah, back to Metallica.

JK: Yea, sure. I've admired what they've done. I'm not going to say I like what they've done on 'Load' and 'Reload'. They're not my 'Master Of Puppets'. But I give them a lot of credit for hanging in there. Because it's not even necessary for them to work for a living. They don't have to do anything. I think it's pure self-indulgence. They're making the kind of music they are because that's what they're into at this point. I admire the fact that they're not trying to do another 'Ride The Lightning' or another 'Black' record. How do you top that? That was one of the biggest selling records of all time. You don't. You go on to something different. People were expecting another 'Black' record, and they didn't want them to get haircuts.

MU: A look is nothing more than surface aesthetic, for the most part. Who cares?

JK: Exactly. But some people take their look very seriously and put a lot of stock into it.

MU: A lot of people put a lot of stock into your goth image. "Black No. 1" was a satirical jab at that.

JK: Yea! And I'm not sure how people would take to it if we cut off all our hair. I'd like to find out. But I don't put a lot of stock into it, personally.

MU: Speaking of appearance, is it true that y'all shaved your eyebrows to attend a friend's wedding once upon a time?

JK: We had a show that we were playing at L'Amours on New Year's Eve, and Peter had the urge to do something different; and it was our manager's wedding a couple of days before or after. So, we didn't have any eyebrows. And they've got pictures of us wearing penguin suits with no eyebrows! God, that was almost ten years ago! That wasn't a good look! Peter looked kind of interesting.

MU: Is there ever going to be a Carnivore reunion, to the best of your knowledge?

JK: As far as I know, at this point, I can pretty much say no. Peter hasn't spoken to any of those guys in a long time. I see Mark once in a while. I haven't seen Louie in a long time. It seemed like they were doing the annual final Carnivore show.

MU: I even heard about Peter handing out communist literature to screw with people's perceptions about him and Carnivore even further. I believe that was at a reunion gig.

JK: Yea, yea. I used to love that old stuff. I thought that stuff was out of control. Their sense of humor was so over the top.

MU: Now that was something that people took far too seriously as well.

JK: Oh yeah. They really read too deep into it, instead of looking at it as a 22-year-old from Brooklyn. Take it for what it is, my friend. (laughs)

MU: It wasn't about a man who was literally trying to take over the world.

JK: Yeah. Here's a man who's probably been as far as Pennsylvania, at the time.

MU: Just like you're saying many took that too seriously, there were a lot of people who didn't take the first Type O album with a grain of salt at all. I know you encountered many problems in Europe. Since that time you've poked fun at critics or fans that perceive you as being a certain way (i.e. "Black No. 1" and "Kill All The White People"). Some people are hell bent on hating Type O, because you don't fit neatly into the P.C. box.

JK: You can't fucking say anything! I'm glad we're not fucking P.C.! P.C. is just too Big Brother - telling me how I should act and feel. We're not really crossing the line (into) bad morals. We're not preaching anything. But in this day and age I think it's going to constrict art and creativity on all fronts. Imagine now pitching to a network a show like All In The Family.

MU: It would just be thrown out the window.

JK: Right. Or The Jeffersons, which had the same creator, Norman Lear. Shows like that could never see the light of day. But at the same time they crashed barriers. They addressed so many subjects at the time, and yet it made you laugh. I think it was critical for pop culture to have that show. I think it did bring awareness to stuff like that. You could never have a show like that now.

MU: I can understand that complete bigotry shouldn't be included in a school's curriculum, but I was watching CNN the other day, and apparently some are advocating that some terms need to be changed to reflect modern day ideals. They brought up that "founding fathers" needs to be "founding framers" and that "snowman" needs to be "snowperson."

JK: It's just a crock of shit. People are spending money fighting this shit in court too. You have nothing else better in your day? There's nothing better for you to do than change "man" to "person?" And it's a total disregard for history. It can't be altered. (It) was written hundreds of years ago. You can't do that!

Type O Negative

MU: What did you do the last few years, besides touring?

JK: We did a cover of "Highway Star" for a compilation for NASCAR. For wrestling we covered Kane's theme, (but) it wound up not getting used. Personally I think it was great to be home for my daughter, to be a part of the really important years. This isn't your usual job. So now we're going to miss out on some stuff, because the whole touring cycle is going to start up. And children change. When I went away with Danzig, I came home a month later and my daughter was a completely different kid. I was glad that she remembered me. (laughs) So, to not be around for periods at a time sucks. But at the same time, it'll be good to get back to work. I've been dying to play. That's why I was playing with Danzig, playing with a Zeppelin cover band and working with Kenny and Rob from Dust to Dust. I just had to keep myself busy and stay productive.

MU: What did you do the last few years, besides touring?

JK: We did a cover of "Highway Star" for a compilation for NASCAR. For wrestling we covered Kane's theme, (but) it wound up not getting used. Personally I think it was great to be home for my daughter, to be a part of the really important years. This isn't your usual job. So now we're going to miss out on some stuff, because the whole touring cycle is going to start up. And children change. When I went away with Danzig, I came home a month later and my daughter was a completely different kid. I was glad that she remembered me. (laughs) So, to not be around for periods at a time sucks. But at the same time, it'll be good to get back to work. I've been dying to play. That's why I was playing with Danzig, playing with a Zeppelin cover band and working with Kenny and Rob from Dust to Dust. I just had to keep myself busy and stay productive.

MU: Peter's obligatory, "I'm leaving this band because everything sucks" hasn't been said with the launch of this album, oddly enough. Is he a little bit happier nowadays?

JK: He's been saying that for years. At the time, it's just him venting frustration. Now he's pretty cool about things. He wants to see the band reach its full potential. He's actually really enthusiastic, and dare I use the word, he's optimistic. This record isn't (a similar) ugly reminder. He's in a little bit of a better place right now. So the mirror isn't as tough to look into.

MU: I'll go out on a limb and say (that) it's almost a happy Type O album.

JK: At times it is. There are definitely lighter moments. After 'World Coming Down', where do you go? The only way to go is up. 'World Coming Down' really does create an atmosphere. It's maybe not one that you want to be in all the time, but you really can feel like you're in the bottom of the depths of hell. That's what the record was trying to accomplish, and I think the goal was met. But if it was to continue on the way of 'World Coming Down', 'Life Is Killing Me' would've been a collection of songs to describe how it all ended. (laughs) There would have been a song about the funeral procession - here's a song about the reaction of the family. That ultimately would've been the end of that record. That would've been the end of that cycle. So instead of going deeper that way, he wanted to write something that he could laugh with, something that wasn't completely self-pity.

MU: He wanted to write something that wasn't completely doom-laden, then? Not that that's a bad thing.

JK: Right, because doom riffs are always welcome. (laughs) But with the subject matter, he didn't want to address the demons over again, and then have to sing about it every night on stage.

MU: Speaking of that, when playing those tortured songs that filled 'World Coming Down', was it almost a painful experience at times? Because that's not a happy record.

JK: Maybe for him, like doing a song like "Everything Dies". That didn't stay in the set very long. But it's not like that record got completely abandoned. We'll do a couple songs from it for the new tours, which I'm glad about. He wasn't crazy about playing songs from that record. He likes playing songs from 'October Rust' and 'Bloody Kisses' because it's a little bit more lighthearted in nature.

MU: I see elements of the jam vibe of 'World Coming Down' surface yet again, yet the lightheartedness and hardcore-esque approach from the earlier Type O material has been revisited. Where do you personally see that there are parallels with this album and what you've done before?

JK: I think the tongue in cheek approach is really what ties all the records together. With that, what ties it all together is that it's the same guys with the same approach to making a record. With some of the later records you're seeing some of the other influences peeking through - a little bit more of the classic rock stuff that we grew up on, like Zeppelin and Sabbath. And Peter and Josh are big Deep Purple fans. If you listen to their live records, it's all fucking jamming. Like "Dazed And Confused" live is 25 minutes long. It's a four to five minute song on the first record! So some of our influences, instead of just having the goth thing, are starting to surface. I guess a part of that is from having fun, playing and screwing around. Josh gets annoyed at us at rehearsal because it becomes like a Black Sabbath jukebox! Peter will play some riff off some record and then I kick in; then Kenny jumps in and Josh just sits there and gets annoyed at us. Once in a while Josh will screw around with some Deep Purple keyboard riff or something and everyone jumps in! And that's a part of the fun element, instead of it just being work. Then at one point it sounds like Saturday afternoon guitar center where all the kids are trying out new guitars. (laughs)

MU: Did Peter or Josh ever listen to anything outside of Sabbath, Deep Purple and The Beatles? Those bands are almost the only ones that they ever mention.

JK: No. Peter mentions other stuff. Peter really has an eclectic range of music listening. He'll listen to something like Curve or Red House Painters, and then he'll put on something like The Exploited and go from there to Laibach, and then to The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Turtles, Black Sabbath, Agnostic Front. But yeah, it really is that wide and vast. On the bus he'll have Laibach blasting while he's working out, and I'm just waking up thinking that we're being invaded. It's fucking invasion music. It sounds like tanks rolling and marching. I'm like, "Holy shit! What year it is?"

MU: Y'all don't respect each other on the bus?

JK: No, we do. We give each other our space, but there are times like when Josh used to have this thing where he'd vacuum the bus at 8:30 in the morning. He was just doing it to annoy us, because he'd go to sleep early and we'd come in the bus completely shit-faced, and then we'd start torturing him. Everybody would have jokes at his expense. So that was his revenge. But no, everybody gives each other our space. Everybody knows once you've passed that threshold of "don't fuck with me!" We're always making fun of each other. And it's tough because I bring that into my personal relationship with my wife. And the way Type O communicates is through harassment and degradation. Then when I try talking to my wife like that, it doesn't work. She's not responsive to it at all. So even in my thirties, I'm learning everyday.

MU: But you do seem like a pretty tight ship. Referencing the whole band lifestyle, it's like a multi-member marriage, is it not?

JK: It totally is. From what I'm told, as a band we get along good. Like, me and Kenny play together when we're not in Type O Negative. When I play in my cover band, Peter and Kenny come out and hang out. So we do a lot of hanging out as opposed to just being in a working band together. I think that's why the band has been able to exist for that long. We kind of look at it at this point like it's family. And (we've adopted) the philosophy that families use: you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family. You learn to tolerate everyone's idiosyncrasies, like the crazy uncle or the neurotic grandparent. You just learn to deal with it and you shrug it off and just keep going on.

MU: So you accept a bit of the negative to carry on and grow with each other.

JK: Yeah. Hey, the name definitely fits the band as a whole. The name is very appropriate.

MU: How many tracks were used when recording this album?

JK: This record we did with Protools, so I don't really know how many things we used because with Protools you can keep going and going. I think Josh said it was fifty-something.

Type O Negative

MU: That's almost back to the number of tracks that were used on 'October Rust'.

JK: Oh yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on: a lot of guitar tracks, keyboards and secondary instruments like sitars and other percussion. Peter had one of his friends do the sitar: Paul Bento. He has done all the sitar work since 'Bloody Kisses'.

MU: Why did you cover "Angry Inch"?

JK: I think the contrast is uncanny. I like the way it came out. We were trying some other covers, but they were just lacking something.

MU: It's a far cry from the classic songs you've covered in the past (i.e. from Seals & Crofts and The Beatles to Neil Young and Black Sabbath). It's good, but it's just not what I had expected.

JK: You have to learn to expect the unexpected with Type O. I saw the play with the original cast when it was playing in New York. And I have the DVD for the movie. It's like Rocky Horror meets Spinal Tap. I think it's hysterical for Type O to cover it. It's the complete opposite of Peter's image of the Playgirl, macho Adonis thing. Here's this guy singing about this scrawny little transvestite that has a sex change that goes bad! I think it's absolutely hysterical.

MU: Pete has that certain look. I don't mean the Adonis one that the ladies love; rather, he has that psychopathic horror movie look. He looks like Lurch (from The Addams Family - for the benefit of some of our younger readers - JG).

JK: He was on an episode of Oz, the HBO show.

MU: So he got to hang out with Evan (Seinfeld - Biohazard's frontman who played the role of Jaz Hoyt on Oz - JG).

JK: Yeah, well him and Evan did a lot of hanging out in their youth.

MU: I never really thought about that, but I should've drawn the parallel. There's the whole Brooklyn connection.

JK: God! I've known Evan longer than I've known anybody in Type O Negative. Me and Evan used to play in a band together as kids. I couldn't have been older than 15. We used to play Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs. That was when we were learning how to play. I've known him for like twenty years now. All those guys are nice. Danny and Billy - I talk to them every once in a while. They were living out here in Staten Island also. So I would see them hanging out at Home Depot or whatever. I'm always doing stuff around the house. I'm always getting Kenny to come over to help. He shows me some carpentry things; and I show him how to work on his car. (laughs) He used to be carpenter/plumber; I used to be a mechanic.

MU: You really are like brothers.

JK: Yeah, because we live so close to each other.

MU: What does the summer and fall hold for touring?

JK: We're going to Europe for three weeks. We'll be (back home) for two in the States. This is all subject to change, but the plan is to go back to Europe in the fall, and do the States after that. But a lot of that stuff gets into statistics. How well is the record doing? Can we afford to stay out there? What's available to us? Package tours are always more cost effective. . . and are more fun.

MU: There's the obvious industry and label politics to deal with.

JK: This record is the end of our contract with Roadrunner. We've fulfilled it. Right now we're waiting to see what happens. On our end, getting the record done has been our goal. But I'm not really sure what's going to take place. We'll see how the record does. I think that's what everyone is waiting on. Some people probably still don't believe that the record is coming out. We were putting together the European run that we're about to do, and promoters didn't believe that we were coming. They thought it was a rumor, because we haven't been there in years. It was weird rehearsing, because we're putting together songs we haven't played in years! We're doing at least three songs off each record. We even managed to fit "Are You Afraid" from 'Origin Of The Feces'. And it's so much of a workout. It just kicks the shit out of me, and I love it! (laughs) Those double bass runs...for years now I haven't really played double bass. Even playing with Danzig, there's a limited amount of double bass. And where there is double bass in those Danzig songs, it's done at a moderate tempo. It wasn't hard work per se, but playing a song like "Pain" or "Fucking Someone Else" kicks the shit out of me! I'm glad that I quit smoking. It's been over a year. Now I feel like I can play for hours and hours, as opposed to coming off stage ready to drop dead. more cost effective. . . and are more fun.

MU: As a fan you stated why Metallica is still going. If you could step outside your shoes and look inside the band from, say, a friend's perspective, why would you say that Type O is still going? What's the motivation?

JK: (pauses) I think with us a part of it is fear.

MU: Fear?

JK: Fear to try something else. Fear to quit. It's like we're afraid to shoot the horse. (laughs) I think that's part of it. And part of it is that if you're going to have to work for a living, I'd rather work with these guys. But I still genuinely enjoy being in Type O Negative. That's at least why I'm here. I enjoy playing and performing with them. I love performing so much more than working in the studio. So if we lived through the last four years together, I think it's a good sign that we're here to stay. (laughs) Maybe the drummer will be replaced. Maybe I'm fired and someone forgot to tell me. (laughs)

MU: (laughs) Metallica might not have to continue playing to survive, but it could be argued that they're in it for the money.

JK: But they got big without MTV or radio play. They just wrote great records and hit the road. 'Ride The Lightning' was gold on Megaforce. (That was) unheard of, especially at the time. I remember that every kid in high school that had hair passed their shoulders and a leather jacket had that record. It was all about Metallica. They hit and everybody forgot everyone else. And it was all through hard work, man. I remember seeing them at L'Amours in 1985 or something. They were touring for 'Ride The Lightning'.

MU: I envy you. What a great show that must have been!

JK: Actually, they were really shitfaced. They were laughing; they'd play around a little bit; they would joke around; they were stumbling. I loved it. That night it was Armored Saint, Metallica and WASP.


JK: At the time, it was their first record and I loved it. I thought that was like a dream bill. And WASP, they were really on top of their game. It was a great show to watch. Blackie Lawless was and still is a great performer! I'm so glad that I got to see Metallica with Cliff Burton.


JK: At the time, it was their first record and I loved it. I thought that was like a dream bill. And WASP, they were really on top of their game. It was a great show to watch. Blackie Lawless was and still is a great performer! I'm so glad that I got to see Metallica with Cliff Burton.

MU: How was it seeing John Bush singing with Armored Saint? He's got some pipes!

JK: I saw Armored Saint a couple of times as a teenager and I always thought he's got a great voice. John Bush is one of those guys who's got a great rock voice.

MU: Did you know that Metallica asked him to be their singer twice?

JK: Really?

MU: Yeah. He turned down the offer both times.

JK: I don't think John Bush would be the right guy to sing in Metallica. 'Ride The Lightning' and 'Kill 'Em All' - I can't see John Bush singing on those records.

Type O Negative

MU: I think it may have actually been before each of those albums when they asked him to join.

JK: Really? But those first two records obviously had a very strong Dave Mustaine influence in the writing. When Hetfield started writing more on 'Master Of Puppets', I could see that being more John Bush. I thought when John Bush joined Anthrax that it was a good match up.

MU: 'The Sound Of White Noise' - what a killer album!

JK: On tour it was great too! And he did some really good stuff with the older material. I used to go see Anthrax all the time. They're from New York! (laughs) They used to play L'Amours all the time. They were playing a bunch when 'Spreading The Disease' first came out. And then it just exploded and they couldn't play the small venues anymore.

MU: Regardless of whether Bush fit the 'Master Of Puppets' album or not, as it stands, it's one of the best albums of all time, and a well rounded one at that.

JK: I would have to agree. There is not one weak song on that record. I saw them twice on that tour. I saw them open up for Ozzy, and they just annihilated Ozzy! I saw the 'Bark At The Moon' tour, but wait, it was 'The Ultimate Sin' tour, and Metallica was the opening band. That was like seeing god! And then Cliff Burton died. And they came back (with) Jason Newsted and played the Capitol Theatre. It was cool, and Jason did a great job. They were untouchable. I think I was like 18 years old. I bought the record the day that it came out!

MU: How was it seeing Newsted after seeing the band with Burton?

JK: Technically, it seemed like Jason was more of a player, like he had more chops. I had Flotsam and Jetsam's record at the time, so I knew who he was and I was kind of familiar with the bass player that he was. But Cliff was Cliff! You saw him on stage and thought, "What's wrong with this picture?" Here he was: this real tall guy who always had a Misfits shirt on, and he had these super huge bell-bottoms, which nobody was wearing! It seemed like he was a throw back of a hippie!

MU: How could someone headbang like that? It was almost literally neck snapping!

JK: Exactly! He was just this. . . enigma! His whole attitude was just, "Fuck all of it!" And he would just go up on stage, pummel everybody and he'd leave. He was an amazing, monster bass player and everybody knew it. He was just Cliff! Everybody would be like, "All hail Cliff!" He had this legion of followers.

MU: He was there to take care of business.

JK: It just seemed like he gave the impression that he had no time for anything except for the hour on stage. He didn't care about anything! Glenn (Danzig) would tell me the stories, because there's that whole Metallica connection. He'd be like, "Cliff would be all fucked up and he would call me up at four in the morning and go, 'Glenn, we're going to cover 'Green Hell'. I need the lyrics.'" Things like that! (laughs) The image that he portrayed, that was him.

MU: On a smaller scale, everything you just described about Metallica describes yourselves. You have that diehard legion of fans, and you've paid your dues on the road.

JK: I think we've had to play the game a little bit more than Metallica, though. They've made a lot of their own rules. They're able to play the game that they want. We've had to learn to play within some of it. We're still learning how to pick and choose our battles. Metallica fought Electra and they won! They're two for two in court.

MU: A lot of that just has to do with their financial standing.

JK: No, I think part of it is that they know when to pick and choose their battles. They had grounds to stand on in both cases. Everybody singles out Metallica as being bad guys but they shook up the whole industry. They saved a lot of people. They did a lot for me by taking on Napster and winning.

MU: Obviously you're definitely against. . .

JK: No. I'm not definitely against it, because I do it too. But for me, it's hard to find Hellacopters on CD here.

MU: You enjoy the Hellacopters? They're great! Have you ever listened to Entombed? Because you definitely need to check them out if you like the Hellacopters, whose frontman (Nicke Anderson) used to be the drummer for Entombed. Both those bands write amazing songs.

JK: We toured with Entombed on the 'October Rust' tour. They came out with us and Stuck Mojo, and we did a run in the UK for a few weeks. But as for the Hellacopters, love 'em! But I can't find their CDs anywhere here, so I downloaded everything I could off of 'Grande Rock' and more. And then when I was in LA I bought their stuff. So if it's used in that kind of capacity, then yeah, I don't have a problem with it. People are going to do it. But there has to be a way where a company like Napster can't make a profit off of it. Give something back to the thing that you're selling! Some of it has got to make its way back to the bands. Because, honestly, you can't make music if everybody's trading it for free. Because it costs money to make music; it costs money to buy the gear; it costs money to rehearse. Even if you have a day job, it costs money to make music. We're not talking about cassettes or eight tracks here. When I was a kid and I wanted to tape a record, I at least had to go to somebody's house to get the record first. Now, I just sit on my ass and click with a mouse. If I'm wireless, I don't even have to leave my bathroom. (laughs) And that's the part that hurts. Now it's completely effortless. A Type O Negative couldn't even challenge that system.

MU: The Britney Spears fan would say, "Who the hell is Type O Negative?"

JK: Right! Who the fuck are you? Get out of here. Metallica takes somebody to court. . . BANG! Everybody knows about it. It becomes news. It's not about them being greedy. I just thought it was about what's right and wrong. They shook the system. A band like Metallica has the political and financial clout to take on something like that. But they got portrayed like bad guys. Meanwhile, they were fighting for guys like me. I've got a daughter, a family I need to feed, and this is how I feed them. And then it gets into a matter of who's right and who's wrong here? People think that it's their sovereign right to download music and not have to pay for it. How do you figure? (laughs) Any product that's out there, you've got to pay for. I mean, shit, you've got to pay for gasoline. Should I get my gasoline for free? Sure, Metallica may not be the Alcohollica that I once knew them as, but it's just like the whole thing with Ozzy. It's so disappointing to see him now as a mere mortal. He's a dad and he has his own TV show. He's so normal. (laughs)

MU: The Osbournes definitely demystified Ozzy as being that raging maniac of Sabbath who would always do a copious amount of drugs and behave like an animal.

JK: Yeah! There were all those stories that you heard, and I was like, "This guy is the shit!" Now I'm like, "He's just a guy." It's like finding out your dad isn't superman. (laughs)

MU: (laughs) Regardless, though, I'll always love Ozzy.

JK: I know. Man, I used to bring the Ozzy records home, and my mom was like, "What is that crap?" But my parents were both young, so I was raised on The Beatles, The Stones, Zeppelin. And getting into Ozzy and Sabbath, it was just one record they didn't get into. It was really hard to rebel. Nothing was really too shocking - even Merciful Fate. My mother was just like, "Just lower it. It's crap." (laughs)

MU: They weren't even offended by the imagery?

JK: No. Not really. I had the Black Sabbath posters up on the wall - the whole 666. My mother got kind of tweaked out when I brought a satanic bible home once. "Don't bring this into my house. If you want to read it - whatever. Just don't read it in my house." But that's the weirdest it got with my parents. They saw it like some kind of phase. They saw that I didn't have a problem with drugs or alcohol, so they liked that.

MU: I take it they've always been supportive of your music, then.

JK: Yes and no. By playing, it did keep me out of a lot of trouble because I'd rather play than go hang out. But at the same time, my mother didn't want me to make a career out of it because I come from a family of a lot of musicians. My mother saw the whole dream happen and fall apart for a bunch of her cousins. I was in a band with her younger brother for years.

MU: I imagine that was one of those blues bands.

JK: Yeah, actually the last band before Type O Negative. We played together for four years or so.

MU: Did you ever record?

JK: I have demo tapes of it, yeah. Actually, the band had released an independent record and my uncle played regular guitar. And the album that they put out had Sid Falk playing drums, John Gallagher playing bass, and another guy from Blue Cheer played on the record. Do you know who John Gallagher is?

MU: No idea. But I sure as hell know who Blue Cheer is!

JK: The bass player from Raven! And it had the drummer from Overkill, who before Overkill, he was playing for Paul Di'anno. All these metal guys playing blues on this one project. When they wanted to go out to support it, my uncles got into the picture. They rehearsed at a studio that I worked at and the drummer couldn't make it, so my uncle asked me to fill in. And then I wound up joining the band. I was doing that, and I was playing speed metal with Kenny. (laughs) Kenny and I used to play in a band together as teenagers, and it was all thrash metal!

MU: You can definitely hear that he has it in him to break out with those ripping solos!

JK: Yeah! That's where we came from. It started from the classics like Sabbath and Zeppelin and AC/DC, but there was a lot of Judas Priest and Maiden. Me and Kenny used to go to L'Amours like every weekend. (laughs) We used to go see Carnivore, Overkill, Anthrax. . . we saw so many bands at that place.

MU: Were you ever into any of the hardcore stuff other than Carnivore?

JK: Carnivore. . . and The Crumbsuckers. That was pretty much my trip into that.

MU: How about any of the early death metal bands?

JK: Venom was great. I love Celtic Frost! 'Morbid Tales' - I used to listen to that all the time! (laughs)

MU: That's one of the darkest, gloomiest albums ever!

JK: It's so great! (laughs) But it was all kinds of metal. Where I came from, the kids in my neighborhood were all into classic rock, which I love, but they never really went past The Who. They liked Bruce Springsteen, but I can't stand Bruce Springsteen. I met a couple of guys in high school when I was a sophomore, and they turned me onto a lot of stuff. I was a huge, huge, huge Motley Crue fan. 'Shout At The Devil' is up there with 'Master Of Puppets'.

MU: I agree. No matter what anyone says, they had good songs.

JK: Exactly. 'Theatre Of Pain' - I couldn't hang with it. (laughs) 'Shout at the Devil' - I loved. 'Girls, Girls, Girls' - I couldn't really care for. 'Dr. Feelgood' - I went back. I remember seeing that video. The opening riff. . . great song. The chorus I'm not too crazy about. But that opening riff - that was really heavy. They dropped all that glam shit. But I liked a lot of hair bands.

MU: I'm a bit surprised.

JK: I really dug Tesla.

MU: They were more on the rock side.

JK: Well, yeah. But their hair was big. (laughs) So they got instantly categorized. I didn't like Poison or any of that stuff. I was afraid that I'd try to pick up one of them at a bar if I had too many drinks. (laughs) Well, Crue was a hair band, and in the late eighties and 1990, Skid Row was a hair band. But a lot of it was just rock. Rock that chicks dug! (laughs)

MU: As far as I'm concerned, Crue's musical contribution is encapsulated primarily in their first two albums.

JK: I thought that when Type O toured with Motley Crue, in '94 with John Corabi singing, that that record is fucking great! It's Crue at their heaviest. I mean, the lyrics are a little dorky. They're still Motley Crue lyrics, but Corabi coming into the band made the band step up as a band - best playing - best record Tommy ever did. And the music was really heavy. They were trying to do something different. They were trying to be a little more current, I think. And I think that they got scared of it because it didn't necessarily click. And then they got pushed around by their label to get Vince back into the band. And then they went back to trying to do bubblegum party rock. But that '94 record was really good. Sonically amazing! The best drum sounds I've ever heard on a CD. Tommy's playing is just unreal on the record. It's phenomenal.

MU: I'll take your word for it. I'll definitely have to give that a spin at some point.

JK: Yeah, you'll probably find it in the used bin for really cheap. (laughs) It's worth it. Mick Mars did a good job on that record, and Corabi played too. It was a good record. Had they changed the name of the band, who knows? They still tried to maintain that level of Motley Crue as four years earlier with 'Dr. Feelgood' and it didn't work. If they would've done it more low-key, like starting out in clubs to allow the band to develop as a live band, and let Corabi come into his own as the frontman for the band, it could've been a really good band.

MU: How were they as guys to hang out with?

JK: The coolest guys ever! It was the greatest experience! They broke us in. They were the first band to take us out for a long time. We did ten shows with Nine Inch Nails before that, but it was the first time doing Amphitheatres and sheds and playing big rooms. Their business managers told them not to take us out because we weren't worth anything. They said, "We like the band. Get them out." It was us, King's X and Motley Crue.

MU: How did their fans react to you?

JK: They dug it! They were open-minded. It was crazy, man! It was such a great time. We were younger, we didn't care about anything and it didn't matter. It was the launch pad. Here I was on tour with a guy that I worship as a drummer. And King's X was one of my favorite bands and Jerry Gaskill is a favorite drummer of mine. I was like, "Jesus Christ! I've got to open up for these fucking guys every night! They're going to be hanging out. They're going to be watching the show. This is not good!" (laughs)

MU: You were all nerves.

JK: But both bands were so cool to hang out with. We were hanging out with Mick Mars all the time. Me and Kenny would drink all of our beer, then we'd go into their dressing room and Mick Mars would open up the beers and hand them to us. (laughs) They treated us really good and they didn't have to. The tour wound up getting scaled down a bunch of times, but even at its lowest point, it was still a step up for us. 3000 people for them is a dud. But 3000 people for us, you can't ask for more. Really, they helped start the whole thing. Because when we were on tour with them, radio stations started picking up on the song. People were calling in and starting to check out the record. The tour ended and we went right back out in the States again on our own playing clubs. It was sold out almost every night. After that, we got called by other bands. Danzig took us out. Then we went out with Pantera. Then we went out with Queensryche. And Pantera. . .

MU: You bonded well with those guys, didn't you? (laughs)

JK: (laughs) Oh, that was just pure insanity! Those guys are like family to us. I think that they consider us to be the same. It was just one of those points in time where the planets aligned and we all bonded. We all had the most insane time that we could ever imagine.

MU: They're absolute hedonists! They're crazy! (laughs)

JK: They totally are. And we were running with them! (laughs) We were the linemen, and they were running with the ball. It was a great time and their audience was so cool to us. Those were great shows. They were always pulling pranks on us while we were playing (and vice versa Johnny. Your 'After Dark' DVD is evidence - JG). It wasn't a concert. It was just a free for all, and there was background music to all of it. Then after that we went on tour with Queensryche. They were really nice guys and they treated us well, but it was just so. . . what a crash! (laughs) In terms of after the show and before the show, it paled in comparison. It was so tough (going) from Pantera to Queensryche. Anybody's low-key after hanging out with Pantera.

MU: The Ozzfest probably staged your largest crowds, I would assume.

JK: The Ozzfest was definitely a little bit more successful in terms of the numbers of people that they were bringing. That was also pretty crazy too because now we were on tour with Pantera and Marilyn Manson.

MU: Did you have a chance to hang out with Manson?

JK: We would hang out a little bit. I hung out with Ginger more. We'd bullshit and talk shop about drums. But yeah, Manson would always hang out. Him and Peter were pretty funny together. They were not like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, but something pretty close. (laughs) They were constantly making fun of each other. Manson has the same maturity level as we have. I mean, he saw the same cartoons and TV shows we did. (laughs)

MU: A lot of it was just good 'ol fashion locker room humor, I take it.

JK: Yeah! You'd see somebody walk by in their underwear and everybody would just lay into them. That kind of stuff. And of course everybody would get all fucked up at the end of the night. (laughs) And then Manson and Pantera were having contests about who could cause the most damage in their dressing rooms. Yeah, that was always a good time, until Sharon (Osbourne) and the security guards came in. You'd see everybody, "Uh oh. I didn't do that."

MU: So she was like everyone's metal momma!

JK: Yeah! Sharon would come in and start crackin' heads! But it was a great time. I'd love to do it again. We also toured with Ozzy a little bit before that. That was with Sepultura. We did that quick run right before 'October Rust' came out. Ozzfest is a huge machine. It started out as being three shows: one in LA, one in Phoenix and one somewhere else. Danzig, Alice in Chains (and) Ozzy played. And then in '97, that's when we did it. We did the first traveling Ozzfest tour and it was a pretty cool lineup. Roadrunner had a pretty large stake in it: Fear Factory, Machine Head, Karma to Burn, VOD.

MU: That was actually the best Ozzfest lineup thus far.

JK:Not to be biased, but I can't help but agree with you. (laughs)

MU: (laughs) But really, Neurosis is a phenomenal band, and they were there in '97 as well!

JK: That's right! The second stage was rockin' that year! Actually the best second stage that I saw was the one with Motorhead and The Melvins. And I had never seen The Melvins before.

MU: They're freaks! And I mean that in a good way.

JK: It was pure daylight, man, and they kicked my fucking ass! I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. It was so heavy! It was so awesome! The stuff that they were playing at that particular show kind of reminded me of Clutch, but better.

MU: Well, I better quit while I'm far behind. Thanks so much for your time.

JK: Excellent man, I had a good time. Alright, I'll see you and everyone very soon.


review of Type O Negative 'Life Is Killing Me'

review of Type O Negative 'World Coming Down'

review of Type O Negative 'Bloody Kisses'





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