Donnie was born on 6th October 1971, and grew up in East Des Moines with his mother living in the city and his father out in the country. He first took an interest in guitar when he was 13 but did not get his first guitar until at the age of 14 and loved it from the first minute.He was open minded with his music playing metal, rock, blues and classical. He initially took lessons, but in 1988 he started working in Ye Olde Guitar Shop in Des Moines and started teaching to others and has been giving lessons ever since.
Donnie was in various metal and cover bands in high school, and did a recording with a Christian metal band. A few years later he got together with Ernie McGinn and Paul Gray and jammed together for a couple of months before Paul invited them into his death metal band called Body Pit.
Slipknot started when Body Pit slowly started to wind down, and in 1994 Paul moved back to LA. When Paul returned, he and Donnie started jamming together. They then both started jamming with Andy and Shawn, Paul and Donnie then went to Sinclair gas station, where Joey worked to ask him to join, as well as Andy and Shawn asking him. When Joey joined he convinced Josh to join, and that was the birth of Slipknot.
When in Slipknot Donnie only played one show which was a benefit show which the band played during the various stages of recording Mate Feed Kill Repeat.
Donnie left Slipknot before the release of the cd, with reasons that were not personal or any conflict with the band, he had a lot on his mind spiritually and other areas of his life needed attention.
After leaving Slipknot, Donnie has been in many bands. Most notably Killpact with Ernie Mcginn. Ernie was one of Donnie’s best friends, who has sadly passed away. He is currently recording a progressive metal, fusion instrumental project with Nick Medina.
Donnie still sees Paul, Andy, Josh and Shawn from time to time, and even though he didn’t know him in the MFKR days has become friends with Corey.
FROM THE MOUTH OF DONNIE STEELE: As far as Killpact is concerned, this is a band that I started with the drummer from Body Pit, Ernie McGinn. We started this band in the summer of 2001 with some songs I’d recorded in my home studio. As far as our sound, this band has more in common with Body Pit. It’s a mixture of death metal, 80’s thrash, and shred with a strong emphasis on hooks. The main difference between this and the original Body Pit are the songs are a bit shorter and the arrangements are much more straight forward. I think most of the technical aspects are still intact but the emphasis is more on strong songs than on technique and flash. I have a lot of great memories working with Slipknot early on. As far as what I might have brought to MFKR is probably a lot of diversity. I’ve studied a lot of different styles of music. From classical, and jazz, straight through to death metal. Classical and Metal being my 2 favorite styles. As far as the original members of Slipknot (and Bodypit). We’re all still great friends. We all bump into each other and hang out on a pretty regular basis. Particularly Paul, Mick, Josh (who I bump into constantly), Craig, and Cory Tarr(Body Pit). I don’t bump into Joey alot but when I do I always enjoy talking with him, and I don’t see Shawn too much at all but it’s been cool talking to him when I do. Maybe we’ll bump into each other a bit more in the future. I don’t disclose much about my involvement with the early SK. Just because I don’t live in the past. As far as rumors…….don’t believe everything you read. 99% of what you read online about SK is false or incomplete. Regardless of the source. Something to think about….., Me and Mick have actually had conversations about this. I don’t spend much time looking back though……I stay busy with what lies ahead. I’m much more concerened with where I’m going then where I’ve been. I’m constantly playing and writing and looking to forward to what lies ahead for myself, my band and any side projects that come up. Killpact’s near future will revolve around more songwriting and live playing. We’ve completed a 3 song demo we’ll be shopping to labels and we’ll probably be back recording more material later this summer. We’re having great regional success at the moment and consistently great turnouts for all of our live shows
Anders - Donnie is a great person. I have tremendous respect for what he does with his guitar. I love playing shows with him.
Full name: Donald S. Steele
Date of Birth: 6th October 1971
Equiptment in Slipknot: USA Jackson guitars , Mesa amp, Marshall cab
Influences: Chuck Schuldiner – Death, Paul Masvidal and Jason Gobel – Cynic, Randy Rhodes, James Murphy, Rush, In Flames, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Shadows Fall, Fear Factory, Allen Holdsworth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Eddie Van Halen, Anthrax, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Andres Segovia, and Christopher Parkening. Also Michael Curry, Paul Wilson, and Greg Brown.
Current Gear: Custom USA BC RICH guitars, Ibanez Guitars and pedals and VHT amps
Mask: Donnie did not wear a mask while he was in the band.
Announcment on Slipknot1.com – March 10, 2011
For their upcoming shows in 2011, Slipknot has asked Donnie Steele to fill in for Paul Gray on bass. Donnie, as some may recall, was the original guitar player in Slipknot and had actually reconnected with Paul in recent years. Said the band on their decision, “Donnie was in the band at the very beginning, and rather than get an outsider, we thought it would be a fitting tribute to Paul to play with someone from within the family. Donnie was great friends with Paul and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate his memory than with someone who was there with us at the very beginning.
Donnie with Killpact
Killpact was assembeled in 2001, as a unit ready to unleash new levels of intensity and insanity. With guitarist Donnie Steele, drummer Ernie McGinn, bassist Kyle Worsfold, and vocalist Rick Funderburk, this four piece death metal unit has been thrashing the Des Moines music scene. Killpacts sound consists of being brutal, with a sound that is also clearly technical.They have played with such national acts such as…. Truth Cell-Goatwhore-Gunshipp 666-Anal Blast-Dave Brodkie Exprience-Bongzilla. They recieve airplay weekly on the local radio station(Lazer 103.3). Their influences include…. Death, Shadows Fall, Cynic, In Flames, Hatebreed, Pantera, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Morbid Angel, Six Feet Under.