Meat Loaf — World Tour 83

Meat Loaf is big — both on records and in real life. The hefty singer, born about three decades ago as Marvin Lee Aday, was raised in Dallas, Texas, and paid many rock ‘n’ roll dues before the 1977 release of Bat Out Of Hell, an album that has become as big as the man himself. Bat Out Of Hell has broken about as many records as it’s sold. With sales to date topping the eight million mark, ‘Bat’ toppled Saturday Night Fever from the top of the charts in Australia. It is the biggest-selling LP ever in Holland, and has rarely been out of the charts in the U.K. since its release…260 weeks in total on the U.K. charts as of April, 1983. In addition, consider these achievements: an incredible twelve times Platinum in Canada; and equally incredible ten times Platinum in Australia; five times Platinum in Holland; three times Platinum in the U.K.; three times Platinum in the U.S.; and enough Gold throughout the world to keep a miner busy for years.

How did such phenomenal success come about? Meat Loaf’s odyssey to the top began in the 1960’s, with touring bands like his own Popcorn Blizzard as support to heavy outfits like Ted Nugent (on whose Epic album Free For All Meat Loaf sang). Later on, he joined the touring company of the theatrical play ‘Hair’ and continued to combine his thespian talents with with music, landing a starring role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie that continues to draw large and rabid audiences wherever it is shown. Shortly thereafter, Meat Loaf met up with songwriter Jim Steinman at an audition for one of dramatist Steinman’s plays. Jim recalls: I had been in this big fight and had my nose badly broken by this 6 foot 2 inch lady biker with a tattoo! I couldn’t sing…so Meat came along and I thought THIS GUY IS MY VOICE! HE SHOULD BE SINGING WAGNERIAN ROCK OPERA!! After much sweat and frustration, the pair found a home for the dynamic Bat Out Of Hell at Epic Records. And, the rest, as they say, is history — rock ‘n’ roll history that is.

The distance between Bat Out Of Hell and Meat Loaf’s new rock blitz, Midnight At The Lost And Found, is a saga that might make a great rock movie one day. While working on various movies (most prominently Roadie, with Debbie Harry of Blondie) Meat Loaf worked on coming up with an worthy successor to his classic debut. But, with the strain of touring all over the world, he ended up in need of voice therapy. During that rehabilitation period, songs which might have been part of the ‘Bat’ follow-up became Jim Steinman’s first solo album, Bad For Good. Eventually, after much press speculation concerning the nature of just what changes Meat Loaf’s voice might have undergone, the album Dead Ringer emerged in 1981 to prove that, if anything, the man-mountain was raunchier than ever. Bat Out Of Hell may have had every track issued as a 45 (not to mention being released in picture-disc and audiophile half-speed pressings to boot), but Dead Ringer had as its title track a fabulous duet with Cher; and the chemistry created on tape and video made it a popular single around the globe. Even more, the album itself, continued the string of Platinum and Gold awards earned from North America, Europe, and Australia that its predecessor had initiated.

Now comes the latest episode in the Meat Loaf saga, Midnight At The Lost And Found, produced by rock veteran/legend Tom Dowd (Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin). It’s the first Meat Loaf album not to feature the songwriting prowess of Jim Steinman, so amid much media buzz about this and other aspects of his career here are the facts behind all those rumours, and they’re straight from the source:

Meat on Jim Steinman: He didn’t return my calls for a long time, so I just went ahead and did this record anyway. But we’re still friends, and he says that he wants to work on the next record after this one, so…

Meat on Midnight At The Lost And Found, his new album: It’s a guitar record, I like guitars! It’s not as operatic, because Jim writes that stuff, that’s what he does…but it has the same emotion as before, it sounds like me, it feels like me! I wound up hitting higher notes than I ever did on the other two. I pushed myself to the limit! Tom Dowd said, Meat, you can really sing, you have a great voice and I want to make people understand that. That’s why I like it!

There’s a song called ‘Priscilla’ that I love on here. It sounds like a Jim Steinman song, only using Ska!…There’s a great song by the guitar player Dick Wagner called ‘Fallen Angel’. There’s one called ‘Razor’s Edge’ where the band puts in a jazzy, Doors-type part that they wouldn’t let me hear ‘cause they thought I’d hate it, but I loved it! I love guitars…

Meat on his new role as songwriter: Yeah, Midnight At The Lost And Found is the story of all these people in this bar…I worked with all the guys on the songs, most of ‘em anyway, with the exception of the one called ‘Don’t Look At Me Like That’, I dunno who even wrote that one…I didn’t like it, but we changed it and let Gary Rossington (ex Lynyrd Skynyrd/Rossington Collins Band) and Rick Derringer play duelling guitars on it. Now it’s real powerful at the end!

And why Chuck Berry’s "The Promised Land"? Aaaah, because I’d been doing it for so long that everybody said I should cut it…We narrowed the LP down to nine songs but it wasn’t flowing, and somebody said, Hey, we cut it and it’s good and you’ve been doing it so long live that it’s kind of become your trademark. And it’s like this guy sitting in this bar imagining what it’d be like to take this journey.

One thing’s for sure. Midnight At The Lost And Found is not the last journey that Meat Loaf will be taking. That’s what happens when you’re BIG. The journey just gets more interesting. Believe it!

Tour Stops

America

Great Britain

Spain and Portugal

Europe

Scandinavia

Tour dates taken from Adje’s tour date archive.

Lyrics

The Hungry Fighter
by Steve Gett

MEAT LOAF’s recently released ‘Midnight At The Lost And Found’ LP has met with a mixed response from both critics and fans. Many have concluded that a Meat album just ain’t the same without the involvement of Jim Steinman, the man who penned ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ and ‘Deadringer’, and aspersions have also been cast over the quality of Mr. Loaf’s voice.

Meat can’t sing anymore?!? You gotta be kidding…

To these ears, ‘MATL&F’ is an excellent record, far superior to its predecessors. The material is more accessible and the overall direction extremely positive. Cuts like ‘Razor’s Edge’, ‘If You Really Want To’ and ‘Don’t You Look At Me Like That’ (a duet with former Rossington-Collins leading lady Dale Krantz) are all rock-solid proof that Meat can still deliver the goods and when I talked to him in New York recently he seemed over the moon about the record.

I’m really happy with this album, he declared enthusiastically. The only way that it’s different to me is that the songs are shorter and everything’s more concise. All the dramatics are there — that’s the one thing no one can take away from me — and I think this one’s better produced than the other two. But I’m dealing with Tom Dowd, who’s like…phew!

Tom Dowd, who’s previously worked with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton, has indeed done a fine job on Meat’s LP and I was keen to know how he’d come to be selected for the job.

Well, it sort of happened, the same way it did with Rundgren, explained Meat. I heard he was available and interested in talking to me so I went down to meet him. But Tom doesn’t work with everyone he sees — he sort of feels you out to see whether you’re somebody he feels he can actually work with. He says: I go in to make hit records, and if you don’t want to make a hit record, then don’t come here

I told him that I like hit records, but that artistic credibility mustn’t be lost. We had a couple of minor arguments but on the whole things worked out fine and now we’re real good friends. He’s an artist, and so am I, but he doesn’t let his ego run wild. His thing is to make the best record he can for the artiste he’s got.

The thing I liked about making this record is that I don’t remember doing the vocals! People have said that I freeze in the studio, that I get uptight, and Tom was ready for me to do this. But when I did a vocal for the song ‘Midnight At The Lost And Found’ he looked at me and said: There ain’t nothin’ wrong with you! That made me feel a lot better.

In the absence of Jim Steinman, Meat became more involved with the songwriting and actually co-penned siz of the 10 tunes on the record.

I hadn’t written in years because of Jimmy and when I started I wrote 10 songs that I had to throw out because they were dreadful! But as I progressed I went completely nuts and in the end they had to stop me from writing. Really — I’m not kidding! Tom Dowd and everyone said: You gotta stop, you’re driving yourself crazy!

What made you decide to record another duet?

I just like doing them — I’ve always done them. The first records I ever did on Motown were with a girl and I’ve always sung with girls on stage. I like it, I’m used to it adn I think audiences enjoy it too. Whenever you’re playing live, the more people you can involve in an act, the more entertaining it is. There’s more to see — it’s like a Fellini movie!

Do you plan to go back on the road soon?

Yeah, in fact I can’t wait. We’re planning to go to Europe at the end of August/September and we’ll be playing a lot more dates in Great Britain. On the last tour we basically did the big halls like Wembley and I guess we’ll still be doing those, but I’m also hoping to go into venues like Hammersmith Odeon. I really enjoy playing in smaller houses.

How did you enjoy last year’s British dates?

Oh, they were fine except for a couple of shows. Like I had asthma in Brighton and I was running off-stage and getting shots from a doctor because I couldn’t breathe. Nobody in the audience knew, but I thought I was gonna pass out about 17 times! Also the last night in Birmingham I felt we just drifted through — but I think everyone was just exhausted.

You seem to be looking pretty healthy these days?

I feel it too. In fact, I’ve lost weight — can you tell? I’m gearing up for the next tour and I’ve lost about 40 pounds. I do it out of boredom — it gives me something to do!

What are your plans before you go back on tour?

Well, I’m actually coming to Britain soon to do some videos — I’ve even thought about going to live there. One of the reasons is because of the films, to tell you the truth. I’m a real film buff and all of my favourite movies eem to come from over there. I thought that ‘Chariots Of Fire’ was great amd something like ‘Excalibur’ I could watch six times in a row!

This video diversion aside, however, Meat is concentrating on his music and, although ‘Midnight At The Lost And Found’ hasn’t been out long, he’s already started preparing for his next studio venture. According to Mr. Loaf:

The next album’s gonna be called ‘Innocence, Dreams, Success or Failure’ and it’s real thematic. The way I’m planning to do it is in the form of stories of people who are born into success or whatever and the places that surround them. I’ve been into the whole thing for about four months now and it’s real exciting.

Will Tom Dowd be at the production helm once again?

As far as bot he and I are concerned, yes — unless some enormous catastrophe arises. We get on real well and he’s very good for me. On this one he worked very hard at the vocals and I think he got me singing better than ever.

There’s also the distinct possibility that Jimmy (Steinman) might be coming back to the scene…it’s definitely in the wind. And that could be good because I do think we’re capable of working well together.

Neverland Express

Steve Buslowe — Bass
Mark Doyle — Guitar
Paul Jacobs — Keyboards
Bob Kulick — Guitar
Kati Mac — Vocals

Meat Loaf and the Neverland Express

Management: Beverly Hills Bob Productions, Ltd. — Robert Ellis
Sound Engineer: Tom Edmonds
Merchandising: Bravado — Barry Drinkwater, Mark Stracey
Business Manager: Padell, Nadell, Fine & Weinberg
Costume Design: Kris Nicholson
Public Relations: Public I — Ida Landsgram
Secretary: Rosella Olson
Publishing: Earl Shuman
Photography: Geoffrey Thomas, Leslie Aday & Pearl, Ken Regan, Melinda Wickman, Lynn Goldsmith
Programme Design: The Design Box

Buses: U.S. Qonexions
American Tour:
Tour Manager: Leslie Aday
Monitor Mixer: Tim Daily
Stage Manager: Dave Stern
Drums: Jack Vestali
Guitars: Larry Toscano
Guitars: Bob Werner
Trucking: Europe — Trans Am
Buses: Europe — Len Wright
European Crew:
Stage Manager: R. Johnson
Tour Manager: M. Scopino
Monitor Mixer: M. Shepard
Guitars: George Borowski
Keyboards: Dave Stern
Sound & Lighting: Tasco
Sound: J. Glinos, M. Ormiston, M. Shepard
Lighting: R. Flury, C. Robertshaw, B. Adir
Drivers: D. Flatt, N. Hudson, G. Lucas
Special Thanks to: Steve Popovitch, Beth Waint, Stephen Galfis, Sarah Hickson, Suzin Ellis, Mackie Moini, Dick Wingate, Lisa Kramer, Susan Blond, Dan Beck, Johnnu Bienstock, Freddie Bienstock, Andy Gold, Fred Muntz, Jim Steinman, Sam Ellis, David Strumwasser, Arthur Indursky, Allen Gurbman, Robert Flax, Greg Geller, Diane Baldessari, Carriage House (Cubby & Johnny)

Many thanks to our friends in the United States and Europe who helped to make this tour a success.

Fan Mail & Information
Meat Loaf P.O. Box 5036
FDR — Station
New York, NY 10150