Happy Birthday to Meat Loaf, who turns 73 on Sunday (September 27th)!!! It looks as though Meat might be done touring following a spate of health issues over the past few years. During a recent chat with Rolling Stone, he admitted that despite his setbacks, he's still a fighter at heart, explaining, “Because it hurts my back, I haven't been able to sing in a year. You use everything to sing, and I just cannot do it. From how I grew up, that's where I learned to be tough and to never stop. I mean, I'm tough as nails. Once I was hit in the head with a pool cue and just turned to the guy and said, 'You just made a big mistake.' Got hit in the head with a whiskey bottle. Had my head slammed into a locker. I've had 18 concussions. And nothing, nothing has ever put me down. Yeah, man — I never go down. . . (but) my back is driving me crazy. But then I'm probably a little crazy anyway, because of all the concussions.”
On August 20th, 2019, Meat Loaf made his first live performance in over three years in Manhattan during an encore cameo with the cast of the Bat Out Of Hell musical. Meat was on hand at the New York City Center to help tackle the album's classic “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth.” Playbill.com reported “Jim Steinman, who wrote the songs on the original 1977 album, wrote the book for the stage adaptation, which has already played London and Toronto. The story follows Strat, a rebellious gang leader who falls in love with the daughter of a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic world.”
Back on June 16th, 2016, during a concert in Edmonton's Northern Jubilee Auditorium, while performing his 1993 chart-topper, “I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That),” Meat fell, after which the band stopped playing and he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The previous April, he postponed shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania because of the flu.
In 2016, Meat and composer Jim Steinman returned with their fourth full album together, Braver Than We Are — with some of the material on the album actually pre-dating Steinman's songs for 1977's Bat Out Of Hell. The collection — which peaked at Number Four in the UK — paired the composer and singer for the first time since 2006’s Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. Braver Than We Are also featured original Bat Out Of Hell backing singer Ellen Foley, and her tour replacement Karla DeVito.
Throughout the years, Meat Loaf has given conflicting reports as to the actual date of his birth — not out of vanity, but as a general payback to an at times harsh rock press. When we asked him what year he was born in, he said: “Anywhere from '46 to '54, take your pick. When I'm doing press, I make up stories, 'cause what's the difference in me making up stories, or their making up stories? So I figure, if they can do it, why can't I?”
Despite some well-received work over the years, Meat Loaf will always be best remembered for his 1977 blockbuster, Bat Out Of Hell. He told us that the album has grown beyond a successful '70s album into a full-blown cultural phenomenon: “It's no longer about me. It belongs to you, and you create your own stories, and you create your own place in time for that record. Everything is geared so that when you hear it, you're funneled right into that speaker, and it becomes a visual of your life as opposed to a visual of my life.”
Over the years, Meat Loaf has recorded for a number of record labels — namely Rare Earth/Motown, Epic, MCA, Arista, Virgin, Sanctuary, and Hip-O — to name but a few. He says that he's actually shocked at how much Meat Loaf product is actually out on the market: “I've been on every record company known to man. And what happens when you leave a record company, you have no control over what they're going to do next. Like, y'know (Bruce) Springsteen has been lucky enough to have been on CBS his entire career, so y'know, you feel like a whore. And they put out records you know nothing about, and you see (album) covers and you go 'What is that?' I mean, I got a gold record in the mail from something I never even saw before.”
Meat Loaf told us that whether it was Jim Steinman's songs on the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy or the new Braver Than We Are, his music resonates with Meat in a way no other writer has or ever will: “It's about Jim's songs. And they become my songs because I read them like scripts and I back-story every character, and every character on Bat was back-storied. Every character on everything is back-storied. This record was back-storied more than any other record, ever. Jimmy's never told me why he's wrote a song — and I've never asked him. And he's never asked me about my characters. The only thing he ever says to me is: 'You're singing the wrong melody' (laughs).”
Although Meat's work is considered legendary, and still filling up the airwaves as well as concert arenas, the critics have never warmed to Meat Loaf — and he's betting that they never do: “It's because in '75, '76, when we were trying to get Bat Out Of Hell done as a record. So, when it finally took off and it has sold almost 44 million copies, the only person to come up and say he was wrong was Clive Davis. Everyone else will not admit they're wrong. And so, they're going to make sure that I'm never in the 'boys club' when it comes to music. In film — I'm fine. I'm always seeing me and Jim as little kids at Christmastime, sitting in, like, a window (looking) at the train that Santa Claus. . . and never being able to get inside this door.”
AUDIO: MEAT LOAF ON HIS DETRACTORS
AUDIO: MEAT LOAF ON BACKSTORYING JIM STENMANS SONGS
AUDIO: MEAT LOAF ON HAVING NO CONTROL OVER HIS CATALOGUE
AUDIO: MEAT LOAF EXPLAINS THE ENDURING SUCCESS OF ‘BAT OUT OF HELL’
AUDIO: MEAT LOAF EXPLAINS WHY HE LIES ABOUT HIS AGE