Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 22: Cracked Loaf -- Nutters and Ego Don't Mix

Meat Loaf has something of a ...
If you read his autobiography, To Hell and Back, it's easy to trace the roots to his drunkard dad who actually tried to kill Meat with a knife. Meat owns up to be a hard-core item thrower during his fits of rage. Tantrums are usually borne of not getting one's way, and for a guy who held tight control over Bat I's creation (sharing control only with Steinman who is more neurotic than Meat), it doesn't require a stretch of imagination to see how sudden fame and success churned the violent nutter-butter. Bat I topped US and international charts within months. Everybody wanted a slice of the Loaf, regardless of time. Mornings and days were consumed by interviews and promos. Nights were all about performances and fans.

Lawzy, lawzy, duck and run. It's Meat Loaf-zilla! 

Early into Bat's rise, Steinman bailed on  the promotions for the album. He loved the success, but not the dearth of recognition that started with his name as a footnote on the album cover, being ignored by fans and press, and then playing third wheel to Meat and Karla on the junkets. Keep in mind, Steinman always wanted the album to be "Jim Steinman presents Bat Out of Hell" just like the soundtrack for a musical. He left Meat to shoulder the stresses of fame alone, some have said in hopes that Meat would implode.

Ego is a wicked bitch when everyone's nutters.

Meat kept running at full tilt. The wild man on stage quickly lost his private times to decompress, to let go of the actor's alternate persona. The guy who threw himself into performances so completely that he fainted and had to be resuscitated multiple times during a show maintained that artificial energy day-in and night-out for a year.

The million sticky fingers of success pulled at Meat until he finally cracked--full on, top of the Empire State Building ready to jump--cracked. Friends talked him down. Soon after, the PtB pulled him off the road. He holed up for a month in a hotel room, never leaving until staff broke down the door. He had to grab hold of an elusive thread of sanity and start work on the next album.

Fans were like puppies that always followed him around. 
Some were as faithful as a puppy. 
Meat couldn't let them down. 'Cause he loved them, my oh my.
River Deep, Mountain High

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