Having just released his 11th studio album Hang Cool Teddy Bear just last week, Meat Loaf sits down with ArtistDirect.com to wow them with his personability and charisma while discussing his latest offering and much more.
Though a film, television and music star, Meat Loaf is a well-mannered person first and foremost, which is why ArtistDirect.com writes, "This man is one of rock 'n' roll's most legendary figures, and he's got manners that'd impress even the most polite of politicians. Then again, that's probably why Meat Loaf remains a crucial part of the collective pop culture consciousness. He's always thinking about someone else. That selflessness has translated in his music as well. Rather than following the standard of rock star self-indulgence in terms of lyrics and songwriting, Meat Loaf is a storyteller first and foremost."
Read an excerpt of his interview with the site below, go here to read the whole thing, and pick up your copy of Hang Cool Teddy Bear right here!
You've always told stories on your albums, but Hang Cool Teddy Bear really elevates that tradition to a new level. Is storytelling especially important for your songs?
It's always been that way! It's like B.C. and A.D. for me [Laughs]. People only know after JS—which is Jim Steinman [Producer, Composer]. That's my equivalent of A.D. If they knew before JS, the band I had in the '60s was all about storytelling. The songs we wrote weren't that great, but I wrote story songs like "I'm the Seventh Son." I wrote my first song, "Animal," when I was 13. "Animal" was also about a kid on the block. You didn't want to mess with him, if you did this is what was going to happen you. When I was in that band, any cover song we did was also a story song. The first time I ever sang a Jim Steinman song, it was a story song because that's what I do best. There are those out there who believe because Jimmy wrote in that style, that's when that all started for me, but it's not the case. I love Jim Steinman and everything about him [Laughs]. Sometimes, you get put in a box and they won't let you out of it though. You're in there forever. They punch holes in it so you can get air, but that's it. You're right though. I think Hang Cool Teddy Bear went ten steps more. If you look at Bat Out of Hell, it wasn't a concept record, but all of the songs were based on Steinman's musical, Neverland. Hang Cool Teddy Bear is a true concept record to the fact that every song is sung by the same character—24-year-old Patrick. If it were a musical, I wouldn't want to play that person [Laughs]. It'd be a bunch of work..
Is this album particularly connected to Los Angeles?
Yeah, it is connected to L.A. It's funny because the character Patrick is from Los Angeles.There's a song that's not on the record where he talks about the 101 Hollywood Freeway. His back story was definitely L.A. and most of the scenarios on the record when he's flashing forward all take place in L.A. too. "Like a Rose" takes place there. The images I was getting were in and around the Rainbow and the Whisky nowadays in modern times. "If I Can't Have You" was very much L.A. scene. "Losangeloser" was out in The Valley. The girl on the cover is a blonde-haired Sherry Lansing [Laughs]. That's what I called her! I said, "I want Sherry Lansing on the cover," because she was the queen of Hollywood. This story was before her, but I figured, "What the heck?!" The name of that piece of art is "Woman Is God." The Sherry Lansing resemblance is the sunglasses [Laughs].
What speaks to you about Steve Vai's playing? His shredding fits your songs.
Steve Vai was playing all of these little parts in "Love Is Not Real," but I set up a track for Steve to come in and just slash on and that was "Song of Madness." There's a breakdown where we cut the bar so Steve could walk in and go, "Whaaaaaaaerrrrr." [Laughs] He came in, I didn't say a word. We got to that part and he went, "Whaaaaaaaerrrrr." I know how Steve Vai plays. I became a huge fan when he did that movie, Crossroads. I've been on stage jamming with Steve. When I got on stage with him, I was yelling in his ear, "You call yourself a great?! You suck, dude! This is it? I'm leaving! Is this the best you got?" [Laughs] He was laughing. He knew what I meant. I had Steve Vai and Brian May and I'm screaming, "You guys suck!" [Laughs] That's my National Lampoon sense of humor. They didn't get it on QVC the other day. I told them I'm going to go to my "Southern Preacher." I don't think they anticipated what my "Southern Preacher" was. I scared them half to death. I have all of these characters, and I pull them out. I can do a straight, calm interview just fine. If all of a sudden I want to pull out one of my characters, it goes completely over the top and off the wall and I'm there! I have a lot of them. I have the "Metal Maniac," the "Southern Preacher" and "Jason" from Friday the 13th.
How different are the "Metal Maniac" and the "Southern Preacher"?
Oh, very different! The "Metal Maniac" is like, "Dude, dude, dude come on, dude!? What the hell, dude? We're rockin' dude!" The "Southern Preacher" is, "I want you to know that you're watching me right now! I want you to know, you've got grandkids out there. They like rock 'n' roll, they want this record! You like rock 'n' roll, you want this record! In fact, what you want to do is you get it for your kids and hide it for Christmas. Get eleven of them right now—right here on QVC!" I scared them half to death [Laughs].