The Cover of a Beloved Type O Negative Album Was Actually a Joke about Peter Steele’s, Er, Manhood

Peter Steele photo by Niels van Iperen/Getty Images
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When it comes to the draw behind a band like Type O Negative, their visual aesthetic was just as important as their incredible music.

Though some Type O Negative album covers may be a little bit more disturbing than others, there was always a haunting sense of beauty to some of their best records, like the cold shot of two women on the cover of Bloody Kisses.

Before you even got to Peter Steele’s rich baritone voice though, the cover for Dead Again was actually a little bit more tongue-in-cheek than most fans probably realized. 

On a recent podcast, former guitarist Kenny Hickey talked about the origins of the now iconic cover image, featuring a still frame shot of controversial Russian mystic Rasputin.

This could have easily just been a way to stir up a bit of shock amongst the straights, but Kenny talked about how Rasputin was the nickname for late band leader Peter Steele at the time, saying “I used to call him Rasputin.” He elaborates:

“Because he’d get drunk and you couldn’t kill him. He had a foot-long penis and he was dancing on the table. That was Peter. So I just called him Rasputin. That’s how it ended up becoming the cover.”


Seeing how rumors imply that Rasputin sported a very similar-sized appendage in his day, the whole meaning behind the cover almost seems like a bit of a humble brag in retrospect.

You have to remember that Steele knew exactly what he was doing, even appearing in an issue of Playgirl back in the day, before reeling everything back when he figured out the intended audience, saying:

“I thought, “Oh my God, what did I do?” It was more than upsetting that so many guys had it. Girls, OK, but there just seemed to be at least as many guys. Not that I’m homophobic, but it was certainly irritating.”

Things may have seemed indestructible at the time, but Kenny was also quick to say that the good times were almost too good to last in retrospect, saying “that starts feeding into this mythology, and then suddenly, reality check, then you realize we’re all mortal and everyone can die, and everyone will. So it’s a shock.”

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At the time though, no one could have imagined that Peter was going down that dark path, passing away only a few years later because of how much damage he had done to his organs after years of alcohol and drug abuse.

While it’s easy to remember Peter Steele as this metal warlord, it’s also important to remember the more playful side of him as well. This guy wasn’t always meant to be taken seriously, and it’s nice to know that their last album still had a little bit of levity to it.