That Michael Aday dude has been all over the media lately, promoting his new album and commenting on the ludicrous “suck it up with a straw” statement by Barack Hussein Obama.
What, you don’t know who Michael Aday is?
Sorry, perhaps you’ll recognise his professional name: Meat Loaf.
I’ll admit that since the first time I heard the incredible guitar work, cerebral lyrics, and bombastic voice all woven together in the masterpiece hit “Bat Out of Hell” I’ve been a Meat Loaf fan. And when I saw Meat Loaf, a big, long haired, sweaty, obese lunatic working himself into a frenzy in concert footage, I was instantly impressed with the obvious fact that this guy had beaten the odds. Despite being the antithesis of what society dictates as the definition of a rock star, this guy through moderate talent and an immense amount of will power turned himself into the most unlikely rock and roll success, failure, and career resurrection story of all time.
The guy was originally named Marvin Lee Aday. Marvin, for heaven’s sake! And then he ends up with a nick name of Meat Loaf. Which is worse? Not long ago he legally changed his first name to Michael. A little, late, don’t you think? The time to switch your name from Marvin to Michael is at age 17 or 18… not in your fifth or sixth decade on planet earth. But he’s a grown up. He can change it to Mohammed now if he wants, and he’ll still have the same army of rabid fans, including me.
I remember my dad seeing the original “Bat Out of Hell” album on the desk in my room. He said the art was demonic and the name was stupid. He threw it away. Little did he know the LP in the jacket was the sound track for “Fiddler on the Roof” because I knew he had a habit of tossing out my “devil music” any time he ran across it. Pink Floydd, Lynyrd Skynrd, Molly Hatchet, and Meat Loaf were all safely ensconced in jackets from his LP collection that he never listened to any more, under the disguises of “Sons of the Pioneers”, “The Norman Luboff Choir”, and even “Jerry Clower’s ‘Clower Power'”.
It’s so many years later now. My dad passed away in 1988, taken from this mortal plane after a car accident. I’m hoping that if he is watching from heaven now he’s thinking, “I guess all that rock and roll didn’t turn the boy into a Satanist after all.” and doesn’t mind too much that I slipped those few albums by him. He was tolerant enough to let me keep my Petra albums, even though he had doubts about the seeming oxymoron of “Christian Rock”.
Meat Loaf and I continued on. Much of the rest of the United States forgot about both of us, but I and large portions of Europe continued to buy every Meat Loaf album that hit the market. I was listening to “Dead Ringer” and “Midnight at the Lost and Found” while my friends moved through various stages of strange noise like Flock of Seagulls, Metalica, The Eurythmics, B52s, Megadeth and all manner of insane rackets.
My “Bat Out of Hell” LP finally became too scratched to play without constant skipping and was replaced with an eight track. When that was inevitably truly and well eaten by the player I installed a top of the line cassette player from Radio Shack in my ’63 Ford pick-up and “Bat Out of Hell” was the very first cassette I bought at the local “TG&Y” department store to blast through the Craig 6x9s in the steel door panels of my little truck.
When CD’s arrived along with the bright future I bought and subsequently lost or wore out multiple copies of “Bat Out of Hell”, “Dead Ringer”, “Bad Attitude”, “Midnight at the Lost and Found”, “Blind Before I Stop”, and anything and everything Meat Loaf related. I watched “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, a film I considered to be practically obscene and one of the most bizarre works of stupidity to ever hit the silver screen; I watched it anyway because Meat Loaf was in it. I couldn’t understand why this guy wasn’t selling albums in the U.S, with or without the support of brilliant song writer Jim Steinman.
Then one night in 1993 I was driving the back alleys of down town Greenville in my squad car looking for burglars when I heard “I Would Do Anything For Love” playing over the speakers. I’d lost track and had no idea Meat Loaf had just released the album I’d been waiting for, a sequel to “Bat Out of Hell” with the stars falling into perfect alignment, complete with the reunion of Jim Steinman’s genious song writing. It was 2 in the morning, and I immediately committed dereliction of duty by leaving my assigned district to hit Walmart on the south side of town to buy “Bat Out of Hell II” with money that should have been spent on rent.
I was blown away. And for the second time, finally, so was the rest of America. Meat Loaf was back!
Over the next couple of years things gradually declined. I picked up my copies of “Welcome to the Neighborhood”, “Couldn’t Have Said It Better”, and “The Monster is Loose”, and again wondered why the entire world wasn’t as enthralled with the Baron of Bombast as I.
Okay, “The Monster is Loose” didn’t really live up to it’s billing as the third “Bat”, but it was still Meat Loaf, and it still rocked.
Now, after all this time, lightening strikes a third time. “Hang Cool Teddy Bear” came into my possession on the day of its U.S. release, and it gets better every time I listen to it, as all Meat Loaf albums do.
Meat Loaf is what, 61 years old or so now? The guy is on tour again, cranking out over-the top performances and reportedly throwing classic fits of rage after a hard day’s work here and there because he’s never satisfied with how good it is. The king of angst, I think his friend Dennis Quaid calls him.
I have tickets (they went on pre-sale today and I burned Google’s servers up finding a code to get in on that) to see the rock legend at the Dallas House of Blues on August 26, 2010.
You won’t find me going this kind of nuts over any other celebrity, show, or event. I’m not a maniac over sports, and it doesn’t ruin my life when the Cowboys don’t make the play-offs.
There’s just something about this guy who had all the cards stacked against him from the get-go in life yet steam-rolled into fame and fortune MULTIPLE times despite modern America’s rules and regulations for stardom. I think that’s what makes me a fan even more than the blatant ferocity of his music and unique voice.
Meat Loaf is the master of perfecting non-perfection. For those of us that “get” him, it doesn’t matter that he sometimes wails out of key or blurs syllables and notes together in a seemingly incoherent discordant moment on stage. The sheer presence and emotion of Meat Loaf overpowers any lack of harmony in the performance.
The guy may kick himself around behind the stage afterwards, but he does so unnecessarily, because he has worked for and achieved a fan base that gets so much entertainment from him there is a limitless supply of forgiveness for any imperfection that may manifest in concert.
Rock on, Meat Loaf. See you in Dallas.
I’ll be the crazy 44 year old biker playing air guitar in the the center balcony.