Every Autumn* I shift back into the state of mind I have for most of my life. A lot of the darker stuff comes out – with film I’m a horror fan through-and-through, however in October I make a concentrated effort to fill as many movie nights as possible with Horror. With music it’s the same thing, except of course any music that purports to being ‘Horror’ is usually suspect. Take horror rap? Yeah, I wouldn’t take it either.
Autumn in music is all about the darker tones in the atmospheric pallet. Shortly after I began writing this blog in 2008 I posted what basically amounts to my list of top groups/albums to accompany the Autumnal atmosphere here - Type O Negative is at the top of that list with their Bloody Kisses album (digipak version). However, every Autumn when I snap into Type O mode I play around that big gun with all of the band’s other wonderful albums, one of which is the magnificent “Live” album The Origin of the Feces.
Type O’s first album, Slow, Deep and Hard is amazing, and yet it is SO very different than all of their other pieces of work. Why? Originally released as seven tracks and weighing in at ~54 minutes Slow, Deep and Hard – of which The Origin of the Feces is the accompanying live version of – consisted of a considerable amount of pain, anger and violence. Now, those are all traits that pretty much continued through the group’s career to one degree or another, but nowhere as plainly and perhaps alarmingly stated as on these early albums. Essentially Peter Steele’s reaction to a woman who tore his heart out and wolfed it down in front of him, three of the seven tracks are about her cheating on him (hence the chorus, “I know you’re fucking someone else’ on one of the songs) and him having is revenge by killing her and her new mate. Then another song is about suicide as self expression.
You get the picture.
Some find these topics and delivery adolescent, however I always found that although much more raw than the band’s other work, their trademark sense of humor is still intact and the music is still unique and interesting. Not to mention catchy and intriguing as all hell. Even moreso on both counts with the ‘live’ versions on Feces, where Steele is heckled by the crowd and insults them back, has to ask everyone to leave the building at one point because of a bomb threat and steps up to the mic to open the show with, “Soundman, Soundman! Wake up stupid! Turn this shit off”. The funny thing about The Origin of the Feces though is that it isn’t really a live album at all.
As the story goes Roadrunner Records threw the band some dough to record a live album and they spent all the money on booze, recording it instead in either A) one of their homes in Brighton Beach, B) a friend’s studio, C) a local bar they frequented, depending on who you ask/read an account by. Now, where this would have shattered an illusion and cost another band my respect, in Type O’s case it is just so in character that it makes me love the album even more.
The disturbing picture above is the original cover, which was of course banned, as it is a close-up photo of Peter Steele’s anus.
Yeah, you read that right.
Again, disgusting as the image is, it is so in keeping with the group (and the record’s title!) that it is just one of those things that makes me smile as I roll down the windows, on a cool October night (not lately – 97 degrees in LALA land folks!) and blast a record that, although being almost twenty years old, still feels as fresh and fantastic as it did the first time I listened to it.
* Is there even such a thing anymore? Obviously since I moved to LALA LAND I’ve known not to expect much of an Autumn, a tough but worthwhile tradeoff for no longer having to deal with winter. But even over the last decade I lived in the Midwest I increasingly noticed the diminishing presence of my favorite season, so that what used to be a coherent block of Autumn weather slowly became sporadic bursts of the dying time intermittant with frankly rather annoying** revivals of summer heat or early winter flurries/painful temperatures. Out here on the coast we do get some rolling periods of overcast and cooler temperatures, so my body now reacts to that the way it used to react to actual falling leaves and that certain electric feel to the air.
** And I say this tempering my annoyance with the gracious and appreciative knowledge that Mother Nature does, neigh should do what she wants to inconvenience our self-important and egotistical species. Despite any preferences to the weather I hold it is good that She lets us tiny ants know She is, in fact, still in charge.