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ABOUT

"The Toxic Void's second album is a masterclass in progressive black metal. Be sure not to miss their live show - there's a whole different sound to it"

 

- The MetaMag -

My real name is Peter Lopeno. I was born on late in the summer of 1979.

Right from the very beginning… my life was a struggle to defy the odds.

I was small and a few weeks premature. I was born a hair bigger than two pounds. That, was only the beginning. I was very ill, due to the fact that my body was rejecting my blood type because of my mother’s chromosomes. My parents, who’d already lost my sister Lori at the age of three months back in 1970 due to an illness the doctors knew nothing about at the time (later to be known as SIDS, or Sudden Infancy Death Syndrome), were afraid I was going to share in my sister’s fate. The doctors were uncertain, and told my parents that I might not have that long to live.

Over the next few weeks, I went through a series of blood transfusions. The doctors tried every blood type… A, B, AB, and then finally my body accepted O- as a suitable blood type with no complications. But, I will always be left with a reminder of my first few days on this planet.

During the transfusions, the doctors had me placed on an operating table. Above the table was a series of bright lights. The doctors put gauze over my eyes to protect my new eyes from the lights. But, during the transfusions I would reach up and pull them off, and aimlessly stair into the lights. Well, they later found out down the road that it permanently impaired my vision, and made my eyes very sensitive to light. It’s a little reminder for myself that even before I learned how to walk or even speak my first word… I learned how to survive and to defy the odds... 

My childhood, I would have to say, was a fairly good one. I lived most of my life in the country side of the small town of Milton, WI. My father Leroy, was hired at the General Motors plant in Janesville after working for years in a small shoe factory in a town called Edgerton. My father wanted to make sure that I had all the things that he did not have, nor was he able to provide for my older half-brother Shawn when they were younger. I was very spoiled as a child. I got pretty much anything I wanted or desired. But, along with that… my parents were very protective of me. I was very sheltered as a young boy. My parents controlled and overseen every aspect of my life. From how I was dressed to who I was allowed to hang out with. I did not have much access to the world outside of the country and Saturday morning cartoons, so I did not know that my appearance was not ’cool.’ I looked like a child that had walked right out of a seventies sitcom and into the school yard during my elementary years. I wore a lot of old hand me downs and seventies style clothing. I had big, bulky glasses, and my teeth were bucked really bad. It never bothered me. All I needed was my bike and my best friend Andy. I met Andy when I was four years old. For the better part of my childhood, we did everything together. For a better part of three decades now I’ve known the man and back then I would’ve died for him. It didn’t bother me at all. It didn’t bother him either.


My early years in school were all good, until my age group started getting to that age where the innocence, tolerance, and indifference of our youth is corrupted by the consumer-culture of America. When we got to the age where for the first time in our lives, we are judged, as well as judge each other, on how we look, on what, and how much do we possess as opposed to who we are as people. The stereotypical cliques that we all know and grew up with started to form. The kids whose families have a lot more money. The kids who really excel in sports. The kids who were really exceptional at school, and then of course… the outcasts. I fell in line with the outcasts because of the way I dressed and my overall physical appearance. I was very small as a child so I was constantly getting into fights because everyone thought that I’d be a push over. Up until that point in my life, I was always good in school. I was a straight A-B student through the early grades, but the stress of constantly getting picked on and constantly getting into trouble for defending myself was wearing on me. My grades were starting to slip a little. I got an F on my report card for the first time at the end of my fourth grade year. Then, during my fifth grade, I failed over fifty percent of my classes, and I was in dire need of a release. At the end of the fifth grade. I found my release in playing football.

At the end of the sixth grade I physically was starting to catch up with the rest of the kids. At the end of the fourth grade, I weighed a mere 57lbs. At the end of the fifth grade though, I weighed in at almost 130 lbs. I was still short, but I was now big enough to ‘hang with the big boys.’ So, that summer I signed up to play Youth League Football. I played on ‘The Rams’ squad. It was very therapeutic for me, because we were all in uniform. The only kids I had to interact with were my teammates, and the only thing we were judged by was how good we were… and with my added motivation, I was GOOD. I played defensive end and linebacker for the next two years. I loved it because of the fact that I was to get out my built up tension and aggression out on the field and not get into trouble for it. I was playing against mostly the kids who picked on me in school. So, when I seen them out on the field I would play that much harder. I would push myself mentally and physically to the limit because I wanted them to know what it was like to feel inferior. I wanted them to know for once in there lives to feel what they made me feel every day. Even though we finished second and third the next two years (I was the sack leader both years), I felt I succeeded at doing that when I was on the field. The other kids left the field with a new found respect for me. But, with the coming of my success, came a new found animosity towards me from the new kids that came from the cross town Elementary School, Milton East. I would join them at Milton Middle School after that first summer. It was the beginning of my downward spiral. One that would take many turns and not end for many, many years.

I was making new friends at school because of what I could accomplish out on the football field. But, with every new friend that I made, I felt like I was making twice as many enemies, because jealousy took the harassment to a whole new level. Even though I was starting to get a clue on what was considered ‘cool’ by the other students, they would still badger me relentlessly about anything and everything that they could find that was flawed about me. From my braces, to my glasses, to the way I dressed, to how long my hair was. Anything and everything was a target. It got bad, to the point where I was physically attacked from behind. One day, I was wearing my football jersey to school one day. It was during lunch hour, so we were in the gymnasium. We were playing basketball. I was passed the ball down low in the post by one of my teammates. I was covered, so I turned and passed the ball out. Then, immediately afterward one of the students, (A student who would intentionally remained a thorn in my side throughout the rest of my school years) who was one of the quarterbacks I sacked on one of the rival teams in football, struck me from behind… blindsided by a student who apparently was so overcome by envy and rage, decided to be cute and take the opportunity and stick his knee into the small of my back while running at full speed, sending me flying into the bleachers face first, slamming my face into the corner of the bleachers. My face was all cut up, my eye was bruised and swollen shut, and my vision in my right eye was further impared. To this day, I still cannot see out of that eye as well as I can out of my left eye.
 

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