'What else am I going to do? Run a hotdog stand?'For a long hour, last autumn, Meat Loaf staggered across the stage at the Metro Radio Metro Radio is an Independent Local Radio station broadcasting to North East England. Its output is principally contemporary pop and dance music. It is owned by EMAP and is part of their Big City Network of stations. Arena in Newcastle. Then he stopped the band and haltingly told his audience that after 30 years he just could not continue: it appeared that Meat Loaf had retired.
The breakdown was a sad and messy end for a bombastic performer who prides himself on the length and passion of his theatrical concerts. Fans who had been there logged onto message boards and claimed he was drunk. The promoters refused to offer refunds. The rest of his tour was cancelled. But Meat Loaf's management insisted the singer never said he was retiring.
Not true, declares Meat - as he likes to be addressed - from a plush suite overlooking Hyde Park Hyde Park, park, London, England
Hyde Park, 615 acres (249 hectares) in Westminster borough, London, England. Once the manor of Hyde, a part of the old Westminster Abbey property, it became a deer park under Henry VIII. in London. He did say on stage that it would be his last show. Only now he's unretired himself. And he has some scores to settle.
He is not exactly the angriest man in rock but, today at least, Meat Loaf could be the tetchiest. Fans who said he was drunk are just "stupid" and they are not real fans, anyway. His management? Fired for making "a complete mess of everything". Other recipients of his ire include ageism ageism Geriatrics A bias or belief that may be held by a health care provider that depression, forgetfulness, and other disorders are a normal part of aging and that older individuals will not benefit from treatment of mental disorders. Cf elderly. , a fan from Denmark and people who misspell mis·spell
tr.v. mis·spelled or mis·spelt , mis·spell·ing, mis·spells
To spell incorrectly.
[-spelling, -spelt] or his name "Meatloaf". ("It's real simple. Just look at the albums and it says Meat. Loaf.")
But after a while, the man who sold 34m copies of Bat Out of Hell comes across as more tortured than furious. He frets about what his fans think of him, and whether he will ever be able to sing again. "I have a guilty conscience Noun 1. guilty conscience - remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense
guilt feelings, guilt trip, guilt
compunction, remorse, self-reproach - a feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed) ," he says lugubriously lu·gu·bri·ous
Mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree.
[From Latin l . "Something like Newcastle will eat at me until I die."
Meat's explanation for what went wrong runs to well over 1,000 words. In short, he "totally freaked out" when his voice felt "raspy rasp·y
adj. rasp·i·er, rasp·i·est
Adj. 1. raspy - unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound; "a gravelly voice"
grating, rasping, gravelly, scratchy, rough " during his meticulous pre-show warm-up. He called a doctor, took vitamin B vitamin B
1. Vitamin B complex.
2. A member of the vitamin B complex, especially thiamine.
vitamin B, vitamin B complex
a group of water-soluble substances described separately. 12 and cortisone cortisone (kôr`tĭsōn'), steroid hormone whose main physiological effect is on carbohydrate metabolism. It is synthesized from cholesterol in the outer layer, or cortex, of the adrenal gland under the stimulation of adrenocorticotropic shots, went on stage and focused on getting to his song Paradise by the Dashboard Light because "I can sing Paradise dead". At Paradise, however, nothing came out. He stopped the band, apologised, and in a state of high emotion, told the audience it was "probably the last show I'll ever do". Medical specialists were called, and finally he was diagnosed with a cyst cyst, abnormal sac in the body, filled with a fluid or semisolid and enclosed in a membrane. Cysts can be congenital but are usually acquired, the most common locations being the skin and the ovaries. "like a blister" on his vocal chords. A few weeks later, it popped, so he didn't even require surgery.
As well as a new tour, he would like to do a charity gig to make it up to the north-east (he became a Hartlepool United FC supporter after reading about how the town hanged a monkey during the Napoleonic wars Napoleonic Wars, 1803–15, the wars waged by or against France under Napoleon I. For a discussion of them see under Napoleon I.
(1799–1815) Series of wars that ranged France against shifting alliances of European powers. because they thought it was a French sailor). What about the fans who said you were drunk? "Well, they're just stupid," he says, turning away to glower at the wall-mounted TV. "No, I don't get drunk on stage. That's ridiculous."
A born worrier, he is hardly relieved his voice box was given the all-clear: "The doctor said it looked better than it did 20 years ago. I said, 'How do you know? You've got pictures from 20 years ago?' I'm still really nervous. I'm going to my vocal coach and we're gonna hit it a lot harder. I should've gone before but I was just lazy - well, I was probably scared."
Meat is also anxious about his fans. He had to shut down his website chatroom after Newcastle because of "hateful" comments posted there. "I couldn't deal with it. It was killing me," he says. A Danish girl emailed him saying she'd heard from her friend he no longer performed "full" shows. He emailed back asking what constituted a full show and she replied that her friend said he no longer did a two-hour-plus performance. "It made me mad. I said, 'Will you tell your FRIEND to stop telling everybody that I'm not doing a full show?' I found that really insulting." What other multimillion-selling artist would bother with the views of one fan in Denmark?
Meat Loaf was diagnosed with a heart problem called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome Definition
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is an abnormality in the electrical functioning of the heart which may cause rapid heart rates. The abnormality affects the electrical signal between the atria and ventricles. after an earlier on-stage breakdown at Wembley arena in 2003. It led to his insurance company forbidding him from performing for more than 1hr 45m. "Shhh," he whispers. "That didn't last long." He still plays on. Anyhow, "an hour and 45 minutes - that's pretty much a full show!"
He has always been an emotional performer. The first child of an alcoholic policeman father and teacher mother (who died when he was a teenager), Meat Loaf was an obese kid whose talent for singing and dramatics dra·mat·ics
n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. The art or practice of acting and stagecraft.
2. Dramatic or stagy behavior: Cut the dramatics and get to the point. took him into Broadway musicals, where he met his songwriting partner, Jim Steinman. They put together a unique gothic-rock hybrid, Bat Out of Hell, which made him a global star, despite being mercilessly mocked by the music press. Melody Maker dubbed him the worst rock 'n' roll rock 'n' roll: see rock music. act in the world. It helped a lot, he reckons.
Meat has also always been accident-prone. During his first bout of fame he tore his knee falling off stage in Ottawa. He has also been hit on the head by a shot put, fallen three storeys backwards and has been concussed "tons" of times. Despite past trouble with alcohol and 16 years in the pop wilderness, he returned in 1993 with Bat Out of Hell II - complete with characteristic epics such as I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) - and, in 2006, Bat Out of Hell III.
His life is made up of strange-but-true and strange-but-totally-false stories. In the latter column comes the tale of how he threw his butler ("I've never had a butler") through a plate-glass window because he'd put a padlock on the fridge, and a tabloid claim last year that Meat had banned photographers from his concerts because he weighed 22st. (He bet his accusers £5m that he weighed less; they didn't take up his challenge. Today he's positively svelte.) His favourite fictional story is how he "got in a fist fight with Gene Simmons [of Kiss] and Billy Joel at the same time. There was a picture in one of those rock magazines with me and Billy Joel with a black eye."
In the true column is the time Meat gave a lift to a hitchhiker who turned out to be Charles Manson and, as a teenager, going to see John F Kennedy speak on the day of his assassination Assassination
See also Murder.
Fanatical Moslem sect that smoked hashish and murdered Crusaders (11th—12th centuries). [Islamic Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 52]
conspirator and assassin of Julius Caesar. [Br. , having his car commandeered by an FBI officer and being driven to the hospital before the presidential limousine arrived. "That's a pretty strange thing."
He has also had a bizarre love-hate relationship love-hate relationship Ambivalence Psychiatry A clinical complex characterized by Freudian impulses; love-hate is normal for children passing through the 'anal-sadistic' phase of development, in which there is often simultaneous love and 'murderous' hatred toward with Steinman. Decades have passed in a haze of the pair suing and countersuing each other over finances, followed by reunions and more bestselling albums. Is Steinman crazy? Meat Loaf may not have seen him for a couple of years but his answer is vehement: "Well, if he's crazy, he's crazy like a fox. I will always consider Jim to be one of my best friends in my life. His mother told me before she passed away that I knew her son better than she did." Would he make another record with him? "Absolutely. In a heartbeat immediately.
See also: heartbeat ."
With all his health woes and the hassles of performing, I wonder why Meat is returning for another epic, 18-date tour. "It's like the old joke about the guy in the circus, right? He always wanted to be in showbusiness so finally he got in the circus, and his job was walking behind the elephants cleaning up after them. He kept complaining and somebody finally said, 'Just stop, you don't need to keep doing this,' and he said, 'What? And give up showbusiness?' What am I gonna do, run a hotdog stand? Be a real estate agent? I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. anything else."
· The Casa De Carne tour (Spanish for "House Of Meat") starts in Plymouth on Friday. Details: meatloaf.net