Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 25: Three Card Meaty

To say Meat Loaf "fudged" a few facts about Bat Out of Hell during its creation would be akin to calling him a "strapping young man." Meat & Steinman were tromping around NYC trying to get a record deal, performing live for various mukety-mucks and whosey-whats only to be tossed out on their rears.

Then came Todd Rundgren who fell on the floor laughing when exposed to the glory of Bat Beginnings. He was in love with audacity of it. Rundgren signed up to produce the album while Meat and Steinman finagled a contract with RCA (Card #1). In 1976, the threesome cut tracks with members of the E Street Band and Rundgren's band Utopia. Then Rundgren had to go on international tour to promote his own album. He departed with the words no artist likes to hear, "So where's the money?"

Enter Card #2. Random guy who owns a slew of truck stops makes an "investment" and buys out Meat's contract with RCA. (Hey, truckers need good rock and roll too). Tracks keep getting cut, progress continues until...well, where's the distribution avenue? You know, that pesky "label"?

They managed an audience with Warner Brothers (Card #3). The whole gang is there, Meat, Steinman, Ellen, a few backup singers. They're ripping up the performance, but instead of "sign here" they're told "get the eff out." Turns out Steinman, with his infinite ability to attract friends, had auditioned for the Warner execs on a previous project and had so offended them, that no way, no how were they ever going to get behind anything with Steinman's taint on it.

Go Steiny.

Push is coming to shove. They're running out of options. They've been tossed out by pretty much everyone.
But they have an album. Completed. Ready to ship.

Hiding up Meat's sleeve is the Queen of Hearts, Cleveland International Records, a sub of Epic, a label with one artist on its roster. CIR waffles, maybe Bat is right for them, maybe not. Three Card Monte Meaty begins to play. Keep your eye on the cards, ladies and gents. Where has she gone? Is she on the left? Is she on the right? Ho! There she is!

October 21, 1977, Bat Out of Hell is released to such glorious industry fan fare that the head of Epic Marketing ... 
barfed in his hands.

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