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BACK OUT OF HELL; Exclusive the BIG razz interview Defying all of his doubters, Meat Loaf returns with a third Bat album.

Byline: By John Dingwall, Music Editor

MEAT Loaf tried to get Hollywood beauty Scarlett Johansson to join him on his upcoming Bat Out Of Hell III album but his efforts were lost in translation.

The beauty and the beast pairing could have become one of the most dramatic duets since he teamed up with Cher on 1981's Dead Ringer For Love.

But Meat - real name Marvin Lee Aday - doesn't know whether Johansson passed on the chance to work with him because of filming commitments or because she is secretly planning a record of her own.

The Texan rocker explained: "We were looking for a certain style of voice and I went to Scarlett first. I was looking for an actress and so I went to her and others. But all the movie stars were off doing movies and the scheduling made it difficult.

"I was looking for an actress because I wanted someone to come in and interpret the song. Singing is about the lyrics first and foremost then the notes.

"But I don't know if Scarlett would have done it or not because it is perhaps not really her style.

"She has a record coming out and I hear it is very folk-ish."

Instead, Meat, 58, eventually turned to rock singer Marion Raven for the first single from the album, It's All Coming Back To Me Now.

It is released on October 23 and seven songs were written by Jim Steinman, producer of Bat Out of Hell II and principal songwriter of the first two albums in the trilogy.

Bat Out Of Hell III continues the music franchise that began in 1977. That first release went on to sell 45 million albums worldwide, thanks to the melodramatic title track and epic classics such as Paradise By The Dashboard Light and You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth.

Playing down the recent law suit involving himself and Steinman over the rights to the "living trademark" that is Bat Out Of Hell, Meat Loaf claimed: "It took just three weeks to sort out. It was only a problem in the United States because I own the trademark around the world except for the US and the only reason I didn't own it in the States was a clerical error by some attorney.

"The bottom line is that it's a living trademark and it has been established. We needed to speed up the process and that was what was going on."

Steinman is back on board along with songwriter-producer Desmond Child - known for working with the likes of Kiss, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Cher - at the helm. Also featured are songs by Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson's John 5, while Queen's Brian May and original Bat producer Todd Rundgren contributed guitar parts and vocal arrangements.

But, like as for the original Bat Out Of Hell, Meat Loaf says he had a lot of trouble convincing the major record labels to release his new album.

"Just making a Bat Out Of Hell album happen is a hurdle. Nobody wanted to do the first one," he said.

"The record company didn't want the second one either.

"The hurdles for these records are inbred because you have nothing but sceptics and doubters."

He says that even his own fans didn't think the time was right for a new Bat Out Of Hell album.

"You go to a Meat Loaf fan site and it is the same and you think what's the point of having a fan site when they do this," Meat Loaf moaned.

I had record companies in the States who didn't want to know but I know I'm doing the right thing when I take the record to radio in the States they go: 'Nah, well, it's not like anything we're playing'. That's the whole point."

But Meat Loaf claims he was the hardest of all to convince when it came to delivering Bat Out Of Hell III.

"Other people had planned the title but I wasn't convinced because it has to be different," he said,

"They tried to make Welcome To The Neighbourhood into Bat III. I absolutely refused.

"A Bat Out Of Hell record goes past being Meat Loaf. It's about an event. It has my name on it but it is not about me.

"It is about surprises and is unlike anything else at the time. It's an event record. When you hear a Bat Out Hell record you are surprised.

"There's always a theatrical element to all the albums.

"We were trying to make it different from the others. There needed to be a progression. We wanted to make it edgier and harder.

"When we listened to the masters for the album I was very excited. I thought it was spectacular.

"Desmond Child exceeded my expectations and his own, which is a good thing because otherwise I wouldn't have called it Bat Out Of Hell III."

Meat Loaf, who is also a talented actor, first shot to fame on the big screen in the classic 1975 film Rocky Horror Picture Show, as Eddie.

He also had

roles in The Fight Club and 51st State and is soon to be seen alongsid Tenacious D rocker and film favourite Jack Black in The Pick Of Destiny. The film centres on the search for a legendary guitar pick that's actually a piece of Satan's tooth.

The film's basically the story of how the D became the greatest band of all time.

It was co-written and produced by Liam Lynch and boasts supporting performances from Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller and Meat Loaf, who plays Jack Black's dad, and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl as the devil.

Meanwhile, fans can look forward to Meat Loaf bringing his Bat Out Of Hell show on the road and he insists Scotland will definitely feature in his plans

He'll be here next summer, performing songs selected from the trilogy.

"If you do a tour, you go to Scotland," he insisted. "It wouldn't be a tour without Scotland and I've been there a lot. I remember we did some good shows and some not so good shows and one time it flooded and we didn't do any show.

"The tour starts in the States in March then we'll be in Europe late summer. It will be the three Bat Out Of Hell albums but we won't be doing every song from those three albums because we would be there for four days."

Bat Out of Hell III is released on October 31.

A Bat Out Of Hell record goes past being Meat Loaf. It's about an event It's about surprises'

CAPTION(S):

BIG HITTER: Right from top, Meat Loaf belts out another hit from his bestselling Bat Out Of Hell' in Fight Club with Edward Norton' with Cher, who duetted with him on Dead Ringer For Love' and Scarlett Johansson, who was asked to sing on the new album
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 8, 2006
Words:1154
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