Meat Loaf — Neverland Express Euro 82
The world has seen a lot of rock stars, but never one quite as Meat Loaf. With his operatic voice, his theatrical delivery, his impressive girth, and his unlikely moniker, he hardly seems a typical teen idol. And yet within a year of the release of his debut album, the powerful Bat Out of Hell, he was known as one of the most successful recording artists of the Seventies. Inspired by his passionate, lusty, yet somehow tenderly romantic singing, fans have bought his records by the millions and filled huge sports arenas to see him. Now having sold more than eight million copies of the first album worldwide, Meat Loaf is back with a second LP on Epic/Cleveland International Records, Dead Ringer.
Produced by Meat Loaf and Stephan Galfas (with Jimmy Iovine and songwriter Jim Steinman), Dead Ringer offers a more hard-driving sound than the debut release. In every other respect, however, it is pure Meat Loaf. The partnership with Steinman, whose epic compositions about young love proved so compelling in Bat Out of Hell, has produced seven new songs that range from the explosive "Peel Out" ("I Wanna Run All The Tolls—I Wanna Run All The Signs") to the timely and provocative ballad, "Everything Is Permitted", which explores the dilemmas of growing up in a society with no limits. "I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us" follows in the grand Meat Loaf tradition of the epic ballad, while the hard-rocking "Dead Ringer For Love" features Meat Loaf in a surprise duet with Cher.
Dead Ringer, however did not happen easily. When he went into the studio at the conclusion of the 11-month worldwide "Bat Out of Hell" tour in 1978, Meat Loaf found himself unable to sing. He consulted five different vocal coaches who had him doing everything from standing on his head to running in place yelling like Tarzan—all to do no avail, then he started going to doctors, who told him his right vocal chord was paralyzed.
Two days after receiving doctor’s orders not to sing for six months, Meat Loaf was offered the leading part of the roadie in United Artists’ The Roadie. He took it and a part of Lorimars’ Americanathon as well. Meanwhile it was agreed that Jim Steinman would record the songs originally intended for Meat Loaf’s album on an LP of his own, and would later create another album for Meat Loaf.
The turning point in Meat Loaf’s recovery was reached with the aid of Californian vocal guru Walter Berrigian, a bio matrix specialist who has treated a wide range of vocal problems, and in December 1980, Meat Loaf returned to the recording studio to finish Dead Ringer.
Meat Loaf grew up in Dallas. Ever since he was thirteen, he’s been called Meat Loaf when he had a run-in with his football coach’s foot. He attended Lubbock Christian College, Texas Tech and North Texas State, then left in his junior year and travelled to Los Angeles. In 1969 he landed a part in the Los Angeles production of Hair and followed the Road Company to Washington, Detroit and Broadway. Settling in New York in 1972, Meat Loaf appeared in a variety of theatrical productions, including La Mama E.T.C. on Off Off Broadway, and many shows at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre. It was during an audition that Meat Loaf first met Jim Steinman.
The two started working together when Meat Loaf won a part in the Steinman-authored, Joe Papp production of More Than You Deserve. Meat Loaf went on to get his feet wet in Shakespeare when he appeared in a central part production of As You Like It. (It was this performance that led New York Times drama critic Clive Barnes, to dub him "Mr. Loaf").
At about the same time, Meat Loaf did vocals for Ted Nugent’s Free For All album, and created the character of Eddie, the lobotomized rock star in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Eventually, however, he and Steinman decided to team up professionally. They joined forces in the National Lampoon Road Show, appeared as a duo at Carnegie Hall and then retired to New York’s Ansonia Hotel, an ancient wedding-cake structure that has long been a heaven for musicians, to develop material tailored to attract record company interest.
It was then that they met Todd Rundgren, who was so impressed with their material that they asked him to produce their album. Bat Out of Hell has now earned Triple Platinum status in the United States, staying on the charts for 82 weeks and selling 3.2 million copies in the U.S.!
Through it all—from Hair to the Rocky Horror Picture Show to the astounding success of Bat Out of Hell and to this year’s Dead Ringer—the constant thread in Meat Loaf’s career has been compelling blend of music and theater.
Basically, I’m an actor, he says.
If you ask me who I really am, I probably don’t know, because I’m always working on a character.
Meat Loaf, offstage, is an easygoing person who gives little hint of the person he can unleash when he steps behind a microphone. And yet the Wagnerian spectacle he creates speaks directly to a generation weaned on the epic fantasies of artists like Frank Frazetta, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
I have to let them know that I understand what they’re going through, he says of the audience.
If I’m reliving my own youth onstage, then they’re living theirs.
Euro 82 Tour Dates
1st April — Copenhagen Brondbyhalle
3rd April — Stockholm Ice Stadium
5th April — Gothenburg Scandinavium
7th April — Amsterdam Edenhalle
8th April — Dusseldorf
10th April — Munich Circushalle
11th April — Ludwigshafen
13th April — Frankfort Jundannhalle
14th April — Hamburg Congress Center
16th April — Brussells Forest National
17th April — Paris Palais Des Sport
20th April — Brighton Centre
21th April — Brighton Centre
23rd April — Brimingham N.E.C.
24th April — Birmingham N.E.C.
26th April — London Wembley
27th April — London Wembley
29th April — London Wembley
30th April — London Wembley
2nd May — Edingburgh Playhouse
3rd May — Edingburgh Playhouse
5th May Belfast Forum Leisure Centre
6th May Belfast Forum Leisure Centre
8th April — Birmingham N.E.C.
Steve Buslowe — Bass Guitar
Mark Doyle — Guitar
Steve Hunter — Guitar
Paul Jacobs — Piano
George Meyer — Keyboards
Pamela Moore — Vocals
Ted Neeley — Vocals
Eric Troyer — Vocals
Terry Williams — Drums
Let the revels begin
While the night is still young
Let the revels begin
Call the children together
How do you bury
The skull of your country
How do you bury
A nation of fear
Where do you hide
Through the long years of dying
Give me a tombstone
And a wreath of all your tears…
- Bat Out of Hell
- You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
- Dead Ringer for Love
- Read ‘Em and Weep
- All Revved Up With No Place To Go
- I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us
- Peel Out
- Paradise by the Dashboard Light
- Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad
Article reprinted from Record Mirror, Sept. 5, ‘81, by Mike Gardner
We have this scene where a nine year old walks down the street. He finds a suitcase. He opens it. The insides shine bright blinding gold. He reaches inside. He pulls out the contents. It’s a tuxedo. He puts it on and SHAZAM! He becomes … Meatloaf.
That’s film director Allan Nicholls speaking. His pedigree includes working with renowned director Robert Altman and co-writing the popular ‘A Wedding’. Now his sole concern is making a fantasy film around the latest Meatloaf album ‘Dead Ringer’.
As far as the eight million people who possess the staggeringly succesful debut album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ are concerned, Nicholl’s vision of the incarnation of the man mountain could be true.
The facts are sketchy. Dallas born Marvin Lee Aday got the monicker due to his incredible bulk. After stints in bands supporting the likes of Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Iggy Pop, Meatloaf joined the travelling cast of ‘Hair’. He cut a fairly abysmal album with a girl singer called Stoney before returning to the theatre.
He auditioned for a play by a protégé of the respected producer Joseph Papp. The play was called ‘More Than You Deserve’. The author was Jim Steinman.
Meatloaf is sitting in a messy dressing room. He looks tired. His hair flops lankly in front of his face. He is wearing a loosely-buttoned shirt and jeans, he has had a full day filming ‘Deadringer’ and is about to start his first interview since his world tour nearly three years ago.
There could never be another saga like ‘Bat Out Of Hell’. Most record companies turned it down because they’d never heard anything like it and that’s a problem the record business has, he offers as explanation.
It only got released because somebody happened to like the first 10 seconds of ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ and thought it would be a hit.
Some hit! The album sold three million copies in his homeland and seven million abroad. But the surge wasn’t immediate by any means. It was only after the video of the album was shown on British TV, months after its release, the the record of intense passions and heroic painful love sold in vast quantities.
I knew that live I was real good. I knew that I could sell records behind my tours but video was a whole new ball game. I found out that the camera really loves me, there’s some sparkle…I don’t know…It just happens. I only expected to sell 100,000 copies so I could do another one, he confides.
The whole album has been released as singles and each one has been a sizeable hit making the record something of a miracle release even in these days of record breaking sales. So does Meatloaf still have a favourite on the album?
‘For Crying Out Loud’ is the best song. I know it’s not the most popular but that song did exactly what it was supposed to do, he pauses and says in a way that lacks his renowned bravado,
It made the career I have now.
In the CBS convention in New Orleans in 1978 we did ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ and then we did ‘For Crying Out Loud’.
I sang that song better than I had sung any song in my entire life up to that moment. I finished, I’m standing there. They didn’t applaud. They didn’t do anything. That was a moment in time frozen. I had them by the throat, he says malevolently.
Nobody could move My band couldn’t move. I couldn’t move. It was stone silence. Then the place went crazy…
But success meant a taxing time for Meatloaf with such highlights as doing a radio promotion tour which visited San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Eugene and Denver in one day!!!
He then took the album around the world in a show of immense physical strength that had him requiring oxygen as he carried his enormous girth five or more miles each performance for 11 months.
I barely remember going to England. I only remember what food they served for dinner. It’s a way of preserving your sanity.
What about his weight now, he looks as though he’s shed a few pounds since the last reported weight of 25 stone?
I don’t eat hardly anything. I’m always on a diet. I’ve been on a diet my whole life. If I ate what I wanted to I wouldn’t be able to fit into this dressing room, he laughs, tucks into a frozen yoghurt which he claims is full of protein.
I’ve been doing this controversial Beverly Hills diet. If anything is controversial then I go get it… except for cigarettes and drugs.
But what did the tour take out of you?
It took my mind, he states succinctly. It was rumoured that he lost his voice. A rumour which he confirms.
I thought the problem was mental because of the tour being too long and too much and was creating my own mental blocks. Then it became frightening. But then I found out it was physical and I became really angry because of the total incompetence I’d been with for six months. I’d been going to a voice teacher who taught me to sing backwards and da-de-dah-de-dah, and a psychologist and then I worked with Warren Berrigan.
Did you ever feel like you might never sing again?
Even as I sit now, his face hardens as he confronts his fear,
I think from day to day I’ll never be able to sing again. I used to think that nothing could ever stop me but now I’m so in touch with it and so careful. It’s an obsession. There’s never a lighted cigarette within 100 yards of me and if I walk into a dusty room I leave. I worry about the next rehearsal. I’m on guard.
In between his vocal problems he made a few film appearances including one as Travis Redfish in ‘Roadie’, the film which had Meatloaf as the ace humper to Blondie among others. The film got panned.
I thought the film we made was great but the producer got scared and forced the director to make changes. The film wasn’t meant to be about a rock ‘n’ roll band. It was meant to be about Travis Redfish and he ended up on the cutting room floor and they lost the soul. They were trying to do ‘Saturday Night Fever’ but that film was about the guy and the music was around it. When people do things for money they always get into trouble.
He also played a minor role wrestling and killing a car in the disasterous ‘Americathon’ and as the leader of the Hell’s Angels in ‘Scavenger Hunt’. But these were all fun things while he and Steinman plotted the next move. The first was the excellent Steinman solo album ‘Bad For Good’ which was going to be the follow up to ‘Bat Out Of Hell’. Hadn’t Meatloaf any regrets about letting material of that quality slip through the fingers?
Steinman can do no wrong. Steinman is one of the best rock ‘n’ roll writers in the world. I told him to do the songs. I don’t feel any remorse as I’ll probably end up doing the songs anyway.
‘Dead Ringer’ is much tougher, he says after I remark taht the theme of the album seems to be more entrenched in reality with a streak of unfulfilled love running through it.
Well that’s Steinman, and the way I put it together.
This is the way it goes down, he takes his best baseball commentator voice and starts,
Boy and girl in a car. Friend sees them and doesn’t like what the boy is doing. The friend gets the girl and falls in love. This girl turns out—wholly mollyzz—what’s she doing there. There’s a big fight. She leaves. [The] guy picks up a girl in a bar and finally Everything Is Permitted.
That song ‘Everything Is Permitted’ is [gut] level. It’s tougher than ‘Bat’. It’s the [ultimate] teenage anthem. That is a 16 year old speaking. That’s how they think and [that’s] how they feel.It’s the closest to me, he continues.
I don’t think it’s as perfect as ‘Bat’ but it’s more human and I like that.
Like ‘Dead Ringer’, the upcoming tour is [buttr]essed by a supporting cast of rock ‘n’ roll all stars — female vocalist Pam Moore (Bob Seeger), keyboardist George Meyer (Ian Hunter), drummer Terry Williams (Rockpile, The Motors), guitarist Mark Doyle (Andy Pratt, Hall & Oates, Leo Sayer), pianist Paul Jacobs (Edgar Winters, Roy Buchanan), mainstay bassist Steve Buslowe (‘bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Dead Ringer’), vocalist Eric Troyer (‘Double Fantasy’, ‘Bad For Good’, Gene Simmons), vocalist Ted Neeley (‘Jesus Christ Superstar’), and newly recruited guitarist Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel).
The film that will eventually accompany the album and tour will be the ultimate fantasy for years, accoring to Meatloaf. The movie concerns two characters: Meatloaf and Marvin. Meatloaf plays both.
Meatloaf is a killer. The Meatloaf that goes on stage and makes records should be serving time. He’s a tough, tense character. He’s similar to a character in that Joanne Woodward film ‘The Three Faces Of Eve’. Marvin…well, I don’t know where he comes from. I put on his glasses and he takes over. He’s the type of guy that has a telephone answering machine and never gets any messages. He’s frightening. He never speaks except through his brother Russell.
All the rock ‘n’ roll movies you see has the audience feeling out of it. It’s like
I wish I could be backstage with those guys. Now there’s these two twerpy guys that people can identify with, they go backstage and get to do everything they’ve always wanted to do and Marvin ends up on stage in place of Meatloaf. It’s the ultimate in audience fulfilment. Like in ‘Rocky’ when you walk out of the theatre feeling I COULD DO ANYTHING I WANT.
Marvin goes back home to being an accountant and he still doesn’t get any messages. But he has his dream and that is all he needs. Meatloaf can go back to his psychologist.
[PLEASE NOTE: Some words were barely readable due to printing smudges. The spelling of Meat Loaf as Meatloaf is consistent with the original article.]
Meat Loaf Euro 82
Assistant to Management
Derek Wilkinson (Wilko)
Peter Williams (Drums & Keyboards)
Tim Daley (Monitor Mix)
Barry Newman (House Mix)
Ken Reagan, Melinda Wickman, Chuck Pullen, Bill King, Leslie Aday, Janet Macoska, Karen Epstein, A.J., Pantsios
Earl Shuman & Lena Leonasdsson
Words & Music
Many thanks to our friends in Europe who helped to make this tour a success
This tour programme has been designed & authorised by Meat Loaf
Printed by Bradmore Press, England.