Meat Loaf still find­ing par­adise

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By DAVID J. CRIBLEZ

WHETHER you are a fan of rock, coun­try, hip- hop or pop, at some point in your life you most likely sang a por­tion of Meat Loaf’s Par­adise By The Dash­board Light out loud. His leg­endary 1977 al­bum, Bat Out Of Hell, is very of­ten part of al­most any al­bum col­lec­tion.

Now on tour at age 68, he speaks about his live per­for­mance strat­egy, com­pet­ing with his younger self, and the state of his re­la­tion­ship with Bat Out Of Hell song­writer Jim Stein­man.

Peo­ple are emo­tion­ally bonded to your mu­sic. How do you think that oc­curred?

I never tell the au­di­ence what the songs are about. I’ve al­ways said once some­one buys one of our records, it no longer be­longs to me, it be­longs to them. The songs be­come their vi­sion and their in­ter­pre­ta­tion. It has noth­ing to do with me. I’ve never asked Jim Stein­man why he wrote a song and he’s never asked me, “What are you singing about?”

You tend to throw your­self into your live per­for­mances. How do you pre­pare and re­cover from them?

I don’t know. It’s the same as when I played foot­ball – you just go into the zone, play through and don’t deal with the pain. I be­lieve that an au­di­ence works hard for their money; there­fore, I’m go­ing to work hard for mine.

What’s your re­la­tion­ship like with Jim Stein­man?

Well ... for ex­am­ple I was try­ing to sleep at 1am the other night and he sent me 14 emails. We were talk­ing back and forth.

What kind of im­pact does the crowd’s en­ergy have on your per­for­mance?

I don’t pay at­ten­tion to the au­di­ence. My shows don’t rely on au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion. The only time I no­tice an au­di­ence is if they are dead. At that point I’m scream­ing at the band and I come at the crowd like a freight train. By the end of the night, I make sure they are on their feet.

What song from your cat­a­log is clos­est to your heart?

I’d say, For Cry­ing Out Loud, but it’s also the most dif­fi­cult to sing, and I’m not 26 any­more.

Does that seem to bother peo­ple?

You get th­ese peo­ple who bought Bat Out Of Hell and they’ve never bought an­other Meat Loaf record af­ter that. They come to the show ex­pect­ing me to sound like I did when I was 26. But, they seem to give me a harder time than some­one like El­ton John. If you put on Rocket Man, then lis­ten to him now, there’s a huge dif­fer­ence. I’ve had three si­nus surg­eries and three vo­cal surg­eries. But th­ese peo­ple made Bat Out Of Hell their own record, there­fore any­thing that dis­turbs that ... they get up­set and say, “You can’t sing any­more.” Yeah, I can! I just don’t sound the same. – News­day/ Tribune News Ser­vice

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