The Very Best of Meat Loaf — Interview CD
Hi Meat, how are you today? 0:36
—On certain days you feel really good, on certain days you feel really bad, so what you do is you just play the moment and you just go along. That’s like, that’s what’s acting, you know, you play the moment because everything’s real. And it has to be real. So do I feel good about myself? Ehh, you ask me today, today I’m a little tired and today, you know, a tiny thing made me upset so I don’t feel quite as good today as I did yesterday, but that’s just too bad for me, isn’t it? [giggles]
Has compiling this hits album make you feel nostalgic? 1:57
—Me and nostalgia do not get along, that’s for other people. The word nostalgia, I’m getting like, I’ve got these things going up my arm, it’s like [wurbles], it’s like [makes scratching sound], nails on a chalkboard. Oh man. Nobody said that to me. Nostalgia. Whoa, man, what a weird feeling. I guess I didn’t like that word, did I?
When we remastered ‘em, when I sequenced ‘em, when I did anything the songs were no longer 1978, or 1981, 1984 or 1993 or whenever they were, they were now, because it’s in the now. And they had to fit on this record, they had to work on this record, they had to be mastered for this record, because you can’t just take a song from here and a song from there and song from here and put ‘em in one place and expect them all to get along. You have to, you know, it’s like kindergarten, hehe, they’re like children. Jim Steinman calls ‘em his children, but they are, they are like children and they don’t … if you put a bunch of kids that don’t get along in a room you’re in trouble and so these songs needed to, you know, kind of mold ‘emselves into one another to fit because, all this, all the songs on the albums… are always… a world is really created, I mean, we really spend time, whether the audience is aware of it or not, but creating a story line in our head. They’re not, they’re not, the albums aren’t story-albums but we create a story line, ehm, when we’re in the studio, just talking about it, you know, like, ‘Ok, well, let’s put this to here because this could happen to this person at this point in time,’ so we do create worlds for these records, and then when you start pulling things out, you know, it doesn’t fit. You know? It’s like taking the Queen, putting her to South London, I’m sure she’d like too much, you know?
Were you thinking of your fans when you put this album together? 3:10
—I care about the fans to this degree, if I’m gonna do a show for them, I understand they’re my boss. They’ve payed me to do the work. It’s like anybody that pays you to do the work, that’s who you’re working for. So I’m working for the fans in that regard. And when it comes times for them to buy the record, if they’re gonna buy it, I want them to have the best possible thing that they can have to buy. Like, if they’re gonna spend money, I want the packaging to be right, I want it to be mastered right, for this record we’re talking, I want everything to work. So that I feel like they’re getting what they’re paying for, and nobody’s ripping them off. And they have been ripped off by the record companies before. Not by me, but by record companies that I was no longer with, by putting out albums that I have to do with. And so, I don’t think of them when I’m doing it, because I have to like it first. If I don’t love it, I can’t expect anybody else to like it.
So we go back to the songs and sequencing ‘cause that’s … We recorded three new songs so we did the best we could do on that, but then you have to think about the whole package. It was so difficult to sequence this record and figuring out what was going on it and what was going off. I don’t think anybody will ever understand the difficulty that there was in doing that. It took me sixty days to figure out the sequence. And every day we did a different sequence. And sometimes, two sequences in a day. And I wouldn’t be making a sequence, and I would call over to the management office to a poor fellow named Jed, and go, “Jed, you remember when we had ‘I’d Lie for You’ and then we followed that with ‘Heaven Can Wait’, okay, get rid of ‘Heaven Can Wait’, and put ‘Heaven Can Wait’ over here, over here, and you know, and move this one over there and move this …”, and he’d do one and be, I’m doing this one over here, and I’d listen to ‘em and I’d go, “No.” Because it’s like a novel, and I keep going back to that, but it’s like a novel. And a great book is a fast read. And you’ll pick it up and you’ll read it and you won’t get bored with it, you won’t fall asleep, and you know, you have to finish it. So I had to make this, because the songs are long, they’re high-strung emotional pieces, and we had to make it fast. It had to go by fast. It couldn’t ever feel long. And if it doesn’t feel long to me, and I’ve lived with it and after listening to it for sixty days, believe me, there are sequences that got really long, and I’d just doze off in ‘em and I’m like, ‘Oh man, that didn’t work.’ And I love this stuff, so, you know, it was difficult. But I’m a perfectionist who knows that nothing is perfect. Which is really dreadful. Who knows you can never get it perfect. The only thing you can do is do the best you can do. I mean, that’s it. So you have to just be truthful to yourself about what it is and you have to commit to whatever it is, and go forward.
How does the creative partnership work between you and songwriter Jim Steinman? 4:17
—He can’t write from me, but he also doesn’t write about himself. So, it’s like there’s elements of truth and elements of everyone and everything thing they do, no matter what it is. I build a song like I build a scene and you take it and you gotta know, what are you asking for? What is the other person trying to get? What is the give and take inside this scene? What is, you know, the final motivation? What you hope to gain from this? And so we take that and we build, you take a song like ‘Life Is a Lemon and Want My Money Back’. I’ve read it, I’ve looked at the lyrics for a while and I said, “Okay, who is this? Who is this singing? Who is this person?” So I thought for a while and like everybody you pull things out of your own life. I knew that my oldest daughter, who is Pearl, had a boyfriend in high school, and she went with him for quite a while, and we knew the parents, and we still are friends with the parents and she’s still friends with the boy, and his father is nice but he’s grumpy. I mean, he’s a nice guy but he’s really cranky. He’s one of these guys about, “Did you take my screwdriver boy? Did you put my screwdriver back?” You know, he’s really grumpy about his tools and things. You know, that dad thing. I’m not that way. I’ve never been that way. And he’s funny. And him and the boy, especially when the boy was seventeen, would get in these, like, you know, just like screaming matches. And you’d here about ‘em and every once in a while you’d be there when they would happen. So I said, “Well, you know what this is? Life is a lemon and I want my money back.” This is that boy and his father standing in the garage with the father saying, “Where’s my screwdriver?” and the boy’s going “I didn’t take …” you know, it’s like, “Everybody does this to me. Stop doing this,” you know, and he’s arguing with his father but he’s thinking this. So I just stood in their garage, I built in my mind their garage, I became this boy and I could see the father. And so in ‘Life Is a Lemon’ I build that scene and I decided who these people were. Now what Steinman did when he wrote it has absolute no bearing on it. Because it doesn’t make an difference anymore. And when you hear it, it doesn’t make any difference what I was doing, because I don’t want you to know what I was doing. I was just telling you how it happened then. Because I need to you, when you listen to it, to see yourself inside the song. You need to erase me, take a big eraser and go [makes erasing motion] Meat Loaf’s gone, and I’m going in. Because everybody has had those feelings. And I had those feelings. I mean, I’ve had those feeling so all I do is transfer those feelings into this particular situation. And just because I didn’t write it, just because I didn’t write all of it … I mean, I always write pieces, I always change things. Just like … I mean, you don’t change Shakespeare and you don’t change Tennessee Williams, but mst plays that you do, if you’re building a new play in rehearsal, things get changed if you’re the character. Things get changed doing a movie. If you’re doing a script, I mean, it’s the same with the songs. When I finally get into it and I’m starting to sing it, or even just starting to read it and recite it, ‘cause that’s what I do first. The melodies make no difference to me. That’s the argument Steinman and I have. He writes great melodies and you wanna stay there, so in particular moments you wanna go on that melody and you wanna stay on that melody ‘cause they’re important, but sometimes they’re not important but writers are weird. And so, I change thing. I go, look, this doesn’t speak well, this doesn’t sing well. Let’s change this line to this. And I would say that almost every piece I’ve that I’ve ever done I’ve changed lines inside of ‘em. But that doesn’t make me a writer, it makes me a changer. [chuckle]
Can we digress for just a moment because I want to know what sort of father you are? 0:39
—Oh, I’m a tyrant. You just ask ‘em. They’re spoiled rotten, those two. But you know what, why we change the subject, but it all kind of is the same thing. They, Pearl and Amanda, they’re spoiled, yes they are, but they’re well grounded. You know, so that’s a good thing. That’s, that’s good, we spoiled ‘em, but they’re very stable and they’re good kids and they surely don’t know the value of everything, but they’re, I’m trying to give ‘em a hard lesson as much as I can. But anyway, back to the songs.
What is the difference between preparing yourself for a film role and for a song? 0:47
—When you’ve read a script you have a character. You don’t have to invent one. You don’t have to spend that time inventing, you just got to find out who he is, and who that character is in a film. And usually what I do with a film, and I’m not the only actor that does it, I mean there’s other people and some people go to greater heights and some people don’t, but I sit down and I literally write probably two, three pages of information on this particular character in a film that I’m gonna play. Because I really need to know. When you look at yourself on a film or you’re watching yourself and you say, “Oh, I should have done that,” well, it’s real obvious that you didn’t know to do that, or you would have done it.
How do you manage to run different careers? 2:16
—You know, I came from a theatrical background, and then for twenty years, basically, doing the music and I really miss the other side. I missed it. So any time you can take and go do something else, let your mind rest on this one, where you come back fresh to it, and you hope you have new ideas. You hope you’ll have new inspiration, you have new energy for the project. Which is basically true, which is because after we toured on ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ I really never wanted to see a rock and roll band again in my life. And as time progressed when we were doing the film, you know, and we started talking about putting together the band again, you know, I got, “Yeah, that should be fun.” And so I went into rehearsal with the band, and it was, like, fine. So then, we did this live show for VH1, called Storytellers, and it was really fun. I had a great time. The band played great. I was doing well. I felt like doing it. It was there. And so I mean, all this, the film stuff, all it does is gives you a fresh thing on it. It’s like a pressure cooker, and you got this thing sitting on top of your head, or you’re lid’s on, and it allows you to take the lid off and let thing out and get dust of the old stuff and say, “Okay, here we go, get rid of these, let’s paint a new room. It’s time to refurbish the old house.” So that’s what the films have done. And also, you know you can only do so much promotion and so much touring before you just get totally burned. And it’s like, I did so much of it for six years that I was like a crisp little cookie that had been in the oven far too long. Now, what I would love to do, is to be able to both of ‘em. You know, Bette Midler does that, different people do that. It’s a good thing to be able to do. I’d love to go do another play, a stage play. And I’m actually gonna have a meeting in New York about doing one. About doing, not a musical, a play. That’ll be a good thing.
How much of your life is devoted to your acting career these days? 1:04
—I’m in front of a camera for eighteen months. Almost nineteen months, from one film to another. And I have more coming. That I need to find the time to do. I’ve got one with Michael Caine, called ‘Young at Heart’, I mean, he’s the star, but I’m big, you know, a nice … featured, co-starring lead whatever it is part. Great script. And it was written in his cadence, which is really bizarre. Because I read it, and I didn't know Michael Caine was doing it, and I'm reading the script and I'm going, “Man, this is like Michael Caine,” and I went to meet with the director and I said, “Who’s in lead as Michael Caine” and he went “Wow!” and I said “I’m reading this … did you get with Michael Caine and write this,” and he goes “No.” I finished the piece and I read it and said, “This is Michael Caine.” He goes, “I don’t think I had him in my mind, and I sent it to him, and he said ‘Yeah.’”
What films have you been doing recently? 10:10
—The first thing that I did when I went to L.A. was I said I was gonna get a theatrical manager, and change agents. Which I did. I did a small part in a film called ‘The Mighty’. Which was really good to get. I’d been in L.A. for three weeks, and I got this part. You know, and I had to screen test for it, and I had to do this whole thing. So it was fine. The whole process was fine. And it was with Sharon Stone, and I played Gillian Anderson’s husband, and I had, you know, four, five scenes. Well, we lost three of ‘em in the movie, because they changed the movie. So I lost some stuff, but the movie is wonderful. And I’m still there, and you see me up there and I’m fine. My entrance is great. People laugh, and then that’s it. You don’t see me again.
And then I did another seven days on a film called ‘Gunshy’, with Dianne Lane and Billy Peterson. And as I was doing that, Dennis Quaid called me. Now, for years, my best friend is one of Dennis’ best friends, but we never met, and I kept saying, “Dennis Quaid doesn’t exist. He’s a figment of your imagination.” Because we were supposed to play golf. I was supposed to see him. I supposed to see him there. I was supposed to do this, he was supposed to go there, we were supposed to do this. And so, I met him finally. But then I get this phone call from him, saying “I’d like for you to play my best friend in this film I am going to do.” He was directing. And I said, “Yeah.” So he said, “I’ll send you the script.” And it was a really nice part in a movie called ‘Everything That Rises’. So I worked on that for about ten weeks.
And then came over here and Paul Conroy, who is the head of Virgin, he calls me up and he says, “Oh, let's have breakfast.” And I said, “Okay.” And I say, “What you’re doing?” And he says, “Oh, well, they’re ‘Spice World’.” And I said, “They’re doing ‘Spice World’, and you didn’t put me in it?” And I was winding him up, I mean, I was really like pulling his leg. He goes, “Ooh. Well, I’ll probably get you in the film.” And I said, “Well, I’ll be here all afternoon. I’ll be waiting.” So we had the breakfast, I let it go. I was, like, joking. I didn’t let him off the hook. Four o’clock, I get this phone call from him: “Okay, you’re gonna be in the movie!” And I said, “Paul, I’m kidding. It’s okay. No, it’s fine. I gotta go to Germany.” I said, “I’m doing stuff in Germany, I gotta go back, you know?” And he says, “No, no! They really want you to do the film.” I’m going, “Paul, it’s okay, I don’t need to the film.” Well, anyway, I went up doing this, ‘Spice World’, went for three day and did whatever I did with them.
And then immediately went back and an hour’s special for Showtime called ‘Dead Man’s Gun’. I’m allergic to horses too, really allergic to horses. And ‘Everything That Rises’ was all on horses. And then I got this thing, ‘Dead Man’s Gun’, which was a western: all on horses. So for an entire summer I was on this medication to keep my eyes from swelling shut.
And then finished that and immediately got a picture called ‘Black Dog’ for Universal which was the first of the studio pictures. Did that, and that was another long, ooh, months of truck crashes and things. And that hasn’t come out.
And then immediately went to a film ‘Outside Ozona’, which as an independent feature, which now Sony has. With Kevin Pollak and Penelope Ann Miller, Sherilyn Fenn, David Paymer. That’s one of the few scripts where I didn’t change anything. I didn’t change a word on the page. Because it was so … guy named Joe Cardone, big Hollywood writer, and he got just fed up with actors changing his script, probably. And he decided he was gonna write and direct his own films and he’s been doing it now for about five years, and he’s done like twelve independent features, and then he just got his own deal, so he sent me another script to play the lead in, called ‘The [unintelligible, sounds like Cattish] Cycle’. He writes these, like, serial killer thrillers, sort of. So it’s a good thing. And ‘Young at Heart’.
And then after that, ‘Outside Ozona’, they call me up, send me a script called ‘Crazy in Alabama’. And Antonio Banderas was directing. And I said, “Oh, that’s great, I like him.” And so, I went up to see Antonio, and we’ve become good friends. Antonio is probably, I would say, the nicest person on the face of the earth. Bar none. I mean, I have never met anybody that is kinder or gentler or sweeter than Antonio Banderas. And I read the script, and I said, “Oh man, I wanna play this part so bad. This is a great role. This is really a great role.” So, I have an acting coach, that I go to. That was the other thing. I’ve gone to classes before. I’ve taken classes, and to do classes you really have to be there all time. I got so much other stuff. Peripheral stuff going on, that is … I can’t even do it. So I have coach, and I get scripts, and we work thing. Whether I like the script or not, and whether I’m gonna do it. We just set times and we go. So I went to her and we worked the whole script. I set the whole character. Like, usually, they give you a side, which is maybe a scene, maybe two. Well, I went in, with Antonio, and I did the whole script for him. I did the whole piece. Just to show him. And I had it all. I mean, I memorized, I had the whole thing. And he just, they basically hired me on the spot. They didn’t even see anybody else. They had ‘em set up for the day. I was the first one, and that was it. And he just goes, “You are him.” And I said, “I knew that.” And so I was doing that picture, and we stopped, we spent nine weeks in Louisiana, and there was a two week hiatus, because he went to do promotion for ‘Zorro’, and we were picking it back up for a month in L.A.
So I came to England, to work on the Greatest Hits, with Steinman, to record a song. And while I’m here, I get a phone call that David Fincher, who directed ‘Se7en’ and ‘The Game’ and ‘Aliens III’ and Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and ‘Respect Yourself’ for … whatever, I don’t know, and Aerosmith ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’ and did a lot of commercials and he wanted to call me. He was directing a movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. So I said, “Great.” So I get the script, he calls me on the phone, and he says, “What do you think of the script?” And I’d literally … the phone was ringing, and I’m on the last page, going, “Okay, whaah, got it.” And he says, “What do you think of the script?” And I didn’t even, I just started laughing. ‘Cuz it’s the most bizarre script you’ve ever read in your entire life. I mean, the thing is so bizarre. And I said to him, “Well, David, I think it’s per …” ‘Cause if you’d seen ‘Se7en’, I said, “It’s perfect for you, David.” And he said, “So did I!” Said, “See, great minds think alike, David.” And so he started going on, “What do you think about the character?” I said, “Well, I haven’t had time to do it, but …” So we started talking about him anyway, so I got ‘Fight Club’ next with Brad Pitt, and I had to go in and do some stuff with Brad, but David wanted me to do it, and you know, when you get a franchise like Brad Pitt, who gets twenty million per film, he probably has cast approval, you know, so that’s fine. And he’s a good kid. I like him a lot. For someone who makes twenty million dollars a go, he’s very much down to earth. I mean, I walked in the room, he stood up, “Meat! How are you?” You know, “Brad!” It was like one of the guys down at the pub, hanging out on the corner. And that’s really what he’s like. And I play in that. I’m wearing a suit that makes me weigh five hundred pounds. And enormous breasts. ‘Cause I play a guy, an ex-bodybuilder, who’s got testicular cancer and takes female hormones. And I can’t tell you about the movie. There’s no way to tell you about the movie without totally giving it away. I can sort of tell you the story: it’s about two guys who meet, and they live in such an odd world. The world that they live in, and that you visualize they live in, is very strange. It’s today, but it’s very ‘Blade Runner’-esque, I think. In their minds, it’s creative in their minds, really. And they get in a fight out in the street, and it releases all this tension from them. And they decide that this is the perfect thing for the world, that if you can get into a fight, — and when if you don’t wanna fight anymore, just yell uncle — then you’ve released all this tension and you can laugh after. So they start this fight club in the basement of this bar. And it’s a few guys go down there at first, but pretty soon, it’s spread all over the world. But there’s a big, huge twist to this movie, which is very bizarre. And it comes about page one hundred and four. And that’s where I was … well, I’d just gotten there and had to go back and read the script again, because the twist, I’m going, “That’s impossible.” The twist is gonna feel almost impossible. But as you watch the film, the clues are there. But, it’s like, impossible. It was like a truly impossible feat. And I’m like going, “No.” And I’m going back, and I’m going, “Wow. Wow!” So I had to read it again. And it’s really great.
Do you regard your pop videos as mini-films? 1:52
—When I do the videos, first, I walk on to the set of the video and I always say to the crew, I get everybody around, and I go, “Thanks, I’m glad you’re here. I just want you to understand something: you’re not shooting a video. You’re shooting a film.” And that process alone, the attitude of the set changes immediately. Because if we’re shooting some of these things that, conceptually I come up with, and that we’re gonna do, they’re very very difficult shoots for a four day, a five day, six day shoot. I mean, they’re literally three week shoots, and you pull ‘em of in four or five days. And so, I kind of work by example, like, I don’t run off to the trailer. I don’t have anybody come knock on my door to come and get me. I’m always sitting there. I’m always ready. When they say they’re ready, I’m ready. I’m very serious about it, and they see that. That’s how I tend to work with anything. If you want a record company to do things for you, you have to do things for them. You know, blaze the trail. I set the example and hope that they will follow. And it’s the same with the band and the same with anything I do. You can’t expect everybody else to work harder than you, unless you’re willing to work harder they are. And that’s kinda my attitude towards everything. That’s the way I am on a film set, too. I mean, I do go to my trailer on film sets, but they’ll be late because of me. Cameras will never be ready when I’m not.
What are you like to work with in the recording studio? 1:24
—Recording studio, I mean, I really despise it. It’s like if they say, when you die, you can create your own hell. Well, if I had to go to hell, that’s where I would wind up. It makes me crazy. Certain days, certain things going, I love when guitars are playing. I like that. I can focus in on that. Mixes, I hate mixes. I like to show up after they’re basically done, and go, “Change that, change that, change that. Let’s add this, do this.” You know? I like to do that. Because you get the mixer, you know what the guy does, if you knew more then he did, then you’d be doing it. That’s the kind of people that I wanna hire. If I can play guitar better than the guitar player, then why is he playing? If I can engineer better than the engineer, then why am I not doing it? If I can run lights better than the light guy, then why am I not doing it? So you go find the people that definitely know more than you do about it, and you let them go. And then you come in, and you just do little things to it. Say, “Okay, that is really great. Can we do this? Can we do that?” And never say, “Let’s do …” You know, I always go, “Or let’s do this.” I never say, “Don’t change.” I always wanna know if we can. Because I think that’s important.
So if the studio is akin to hell for you, is live performance closer to heaven? 3:33
—I’ll do the same show in front of four trees, that I will do in front forty thousand people. Because I do not, ever, rely on an audience. Because it’s not their job. They bough the ticket. That’s all they did. That’s all they were supposed to do. And I don’t even, in a show, most of the time, give them time to applaud after a song. And I never go the mike and say thank you. Because the show, the sequence to the show and the segues to the show, they don’t work that. It’ like, this, [explosion noise], and it goes. And it’s not that I’m not grateful. ‘Cause I am. In the end I say thank you and goodnight and God bless you and thanks for coming and that kind of thing, but during the hour and twenty minutes before we get there, it’s like non-stop. So I don’t rely on them. Because audiences change. Some nights they’re extraordinary, screaming and yelling and won’t stop, and I don’t know, did they put something in the water or something? And other nights they’ve all taken sleeping pills and they sit there. I’ve been to too many shows where I’ve been disappointed because I could sense that the audience, probably for that particular artist, was little down, so he wasn’t giving it to them. And it really, and I’ve gone to people that I really respected, and like their records and music, and then for them not to deliver when they’re capable. When I know they’re capable, for them not to deliver was very sad. It was very unprofessional, to me. That’s that rock elitist, egotistical attitude. Very selfish. That I don’t buy into. I just don’t buy into it. It’s not right. I never take the assumption that the audience is there to see me. I take it the other way, that I’m there for the audience. I’m bound and determined that they’re gonna enjoy themselves despite themselves. And I will turn around and I will, like, get in the guitar player’s face and I’l look at him and I’ll go, “Let’s go, we’re gonna take these mothers, we’re gonna take ‘em down. They’re mine!” And I’ll go up to them and I’ll just start dancing around Muhammad Ali without them hearing what I’m saying, and going, “You’re mine! You’re mine, sucker. You’re mine. You’re going down. I’m taking you …” And it’s like, that’s the energy, right there. I’m a man possessed when I hit the stage. And so, a great for me, is not a great audience response. That’s not a great show. A great show is when that thing has taken off and is absolutely effortless. And it’s like, you can feel … the world on the stage, it’s like planets revolving around the sun, in perfect order. And when you hear the word magic, and sometimes people use it, “Oh, it’s magic…” Well, that’s what it is. Stage is great. I mean, I hate packing. I hate suitcases. I didn’t, but I do now. I mean, in the last ten years, I hate them. I really despise them. I would love to have a packer. I would love to never have to touch the damn thing. Just show up; there’s clothes in my closet. Or else, just have people buy clothes in every city, and just hang ‘em there, I’ll pick one out and wear it, and go away. But that’s not very feasible. And very wasteful.
‘A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste’ comes from the musical ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ — tell me about this song and how your involvement with Andrew Lloyd Webber came about? 4:36
—Andrew LLoyd Webber was a fan of Steinman, and the style, and me, and I think he’d been to a show on Wembley and he liked that style. I mean, Tim Rice is a very good lyricist, but I think that Steinman is probably the best lyricist he’s ever worked with. ‘Cause I just think Steinman is extraordinary. He’s really gifted at that. So Webber wanted that style that we do, and ‘A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing To Waste’ was the first one. And he always had pictured me singing it. So, really, I know it’s in that musical, but it’s really my piece, and always has been, and always will be.
I wasn’t involved in the track, as I was doing these films. When I got the track, man, the thing was, like, really over the top. And so I said, “Okay, how do I approach this? How do I approach a track that’s already, basically, been built without me?” Which is a difficult thing to do for me. I’m usually very involved in … it’s like when people say, “You didn’t write it,” in a sense I don’t write them but I do write them. Because I build tracks … I mean I’m there when that track’s built, and it doesn’t get build … ‘cept it gets build around me. The lyrics get build around me, they get changed around me, so everything comes and fits into my world. Well, this one wasn’t. So I said, “Okay,” and this really into some kind of scope that we haven’t dealt with, even though it’s like us, so I said, “Okay, this has to be the most emotional thing that you possibly can be, so what is that?” And I thought and thought and thought and it took me a while, and I wouldn’t sing it once, out in California. We didn’t get it, didn’t really get close to it, actually. It was alright, but it didn’t get close. And I said, “Okay, I gotta find out what this is.” So I figured it out that it was a guy, who was … for me, I have to go here, because it’s very morbid. But to make it that emotional and that telling … it was a guy in a car crash, who was in his car, and his life was flashing before his eyes. It was the moment of death, and that’s what he was seeing. So I had to go there and do that, and in the words of Sally Field, who studied with Strasberg, and this is true in a lot of things, to deliver the emotions that you have to deliver sometimes, you have to mentally slice yourself with razor blades. To go there. ‘Cause there’s pain in that. And any great performance, be it happy or sad, there’s pain. And that’s why I hate studio, it is painful. Going into a studio and singing is painful because of how you have to get to the the song. So that’s why you hate it. And there’s no relief. When you do a film, there’s relief. You can get to this moment. You don’t shoot very long in a sequence, and you pull out and it gives you a moment to like, “Okay.” And they’ll re-light and you got 45 minutes or an hour, and you go, “Okay, I don’t have to be there anymore.” And then you gotta come back, which is okay, it gives you this thing. But in the studio, you stay there. You’re there for eight, nine hours, sitting there in that room in front of that microphone, and you’re, like, “Oh, man.” And this one was incredibly difficult. I mean, really difficult, to pull off. And it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And it’s that difficult a song, ‘cause singing it live is nothing. It’s not like ‘Anything for Love’. ‘Anything for Love’ is most difficult live. This is not that hard live. This kind of flows along real well live, it really [snaps fingers] pops. And it works much better live than I ever thought it would. But in the studio it was really difficult. And I really had to go to that place, and that made it difficult as well. You're in this torturous … you know, my brain is upside down in a car. That was the video I was gonna shoot, but I think it was too much money. I had the whole thing. I was gonna shoot the video and it was all, that’s what it was, it was all very spooky.
Let’s talk about another of the new songs on this compilation, ‘No Matter What’ … 1:31
—‘No Matter What,’ on this record, well, they were playing me songs from ‘Whistle Down the Wind’. Well, he’s just playing me songs, not all … not everything … And then he played me the song called ‘No Matter What’, and Jimmy’s going “You wanna hear this one.” So I listen to it, and I said, “Jimmy, that’s amazing.” He said, “You like that, don’t you?” I said “I love that.” He goes, “I knew you’re gonna like that.” I turn to me and say, “I wanna cut that.” And he goes, “I knew you’d want to.” And to me, that was the most emotional lyric that Jim Steinman had ever written.
And then they said, “Well, they’re putting together this Andrew Lloyd Webber record, and this group called BoyZone is gonna do it.” And I said, “Oh, that's too bad.” And they go, “Yeah, but it’s just gonna be on this record and it’s not gonna do anything else.” I said, “Well, then I don’t mind,” and they played me what their track is, and I went “Oh, well, I would never do it that way. That doesn’t sound like that I … I’m not gonna ever do it that way.” It didn’t feel like it captured the emotion of the song for me. Which is fine for them, but for me it didn’t capture it. Just like, “No, it doesn’t there.” So we cut it, and then BoyZone put it out, and I have to admit I probably threw a few things, because I was promised that it wasn’t. But that’s beside the point.
How do you relate this new material to what you were doing two decades ago? 2:11
—The great thing is, as somebody said the other day, ‘A Kiss Is a Terrible To Waste’ doesn’t feel that much different than ‘Bat Out of Hell’, and then I said, “Well, that’s good then.’ And they looked at me funny, and I said, “No, if you can hear ‘A Kiss Is a Terrible To Waste’ and hear ‘Bat Out of Hell’ and they’re tied together, that means that ‘Bat Out of Hell’ is as new as ‘A Kiss Is a Terrible To Waste’.” You know what, it’s more edgy, and more dangerous in the world of rock, and much more rebellious, I think, to continue doing the same thing and trying to make that happen than it is to go out and try to some record, that, like, all of sudden you get some band that does a sudden thing. All of a sudden they’re gonna do a techno record, because techno is in. They think they’re gonna keep up with the times, that they’re gonna be edgy, that they’re gonna be cutting edge. “We did this, but now we’re techno, which is cutting edge.” Well, it’s not cutting edge, ‘cause everybody and their mother is doing techno. Everybody and their mother is doing rap. If you wanna be like everybody else, then fine, go do that. But if you wanna continue to be different and be in your world, you do what you do. And don’t waver from it. And I’ve always said that anybody, and not just us, I mean anybody who does what they do that is different than everybody else, and there’s people out there, that they’re true alternative. ‘Cause we’re not a herd. We are a flock unto ourselves. We’re not a herd of cows, we’re not a herd of sheep. Be yourself, and be true to yourself. And don’t try to be the flavor of the month. And I think when we do ‘A Kiss Is a Terrible To Waste’ we’re much edgier and much more … it’s a much more dangerous ground you live on when you continue to do what you do. And basically, you’re saying, “I dare you. C’mon. C’mon. Take me on.” You know? Let’s see.
ID — ‘A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste’ 0:07
—Hi, Meat Loaf. This is ‘A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste’. And it is.
ID — Christmas/1999 0:09
—Hi, this is Meat Loaf wishing everybody out there a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, and may 1999 be your best year yet and be careful for 2000.
Produced by Sally Stratton
|Label||Virgin / Sony||Cat.No.||CDIVDJ 2828||Format||CD||Year||1998||Country||EU||Notes||For promo use only|