So Meat Loaf keeps going and going, he sang Hang Cool Teddy Bear in 2009, and is working on Hell in a Handbasket, proving that if you mix the word “hell” with “meatloaf” listeners are going to open their wallets and buy buy buy.  Who else is buying music now anyway?

Once upon a time, Meat had a great set of pipes.  They were tremendous powerful, resonant.  Hot Patootie Bless my Soul this Eddy in the Rocky Horror Show could sing.

Then he met Jim Steinman and created “Bat out of Hell”.    I remember back in 1977 I really didn’t like this album.  I thought it was basically trick after trick with such horrible overblown melodrama.  You know at the time Lester Bangs wrote a fawning review of Bat saying that it was this stuff, not the imaginary teens of Bruce Springsteen that was the real america, and I think Lester was right.  I think I have a bit more appreciation of Bat out of Hell now.  Overblown, yes, over dramatic, yes, full of stupid lyrical tricks, going full on M Night Shyamalan, “Will you love me foreeeever” and then at the end of paradise, he’s praying for the end of time so I can “end my time with you.”  It’s overly clever, but the whole world fell in love with Meat.

Oh, and I understand why.  You see Meat is the Ron Jeremy of the rock world, a guy so ugly so awful looking, but with a voice that was 10 inches long, a guy that you thought couldn’t possibly get it on with 18 year old sexy things, but there he was night after night deep throating the microphone while gazing on in hot anticipation at the girl, perspiration flowing off him.  And each year it seemed like the girls singing across him in “Paradise” got younger and younger, while the audience was able to identify with this ugly fat guy with a set of miraculous pipes.  I can’t carry this metaphor with Ron Jeremy too far, because there is no viagra for the voice.

But there is a strange thing about Meat Loaf.  People don’t care if he hits a note or not.  A few months ago at the AFL grand final in Australia, the audience couldn’t figure out what the tune was until the backup singers came in.

It was as if he were an old, old man, with two or three teeth in his mouth, and he would work the food around in his mouth, trying first one tooth then another, nope that’s bad too, finally he found a tooth that was strong enough to bite down on and he would hold it.  Meat would just find a note that worked, maybe it was an A, maybe a B, and just sing that note, trying to find other notes that would come out and he knew that if he just perspired enough, if he just emoted hard enough, the crowd would love him.

Actually this has worked great for Meat for the past 20 years.  He hasn’t had a voice since Bat out of Hell 2, but his voice has left slowly, slowly gone out like the tide, every year, less and less, so I don’t think he noticed he couldn’t sing, and his audiences, they still love him no matter what.  Every concert meat has given you see the same reviews, happy participants of the extravaganza, at which not one bit of singing was done.  The AFL tho were captive, they didn’t buy a ticket for Meat, they were there for football, and the reception was decidedly chilly.

He was savaged.  But it’s not like Meat has been able to sing.  He is full of excuses tho.  You know what he reminds me the most of, it is Muhammad Ali at the end of his career when he faced Larry Holmes, and Holmes battered Ali post to post, and you could see Holmes was pulling his punches, it was a terrible thing to have to destroy your idol.

But there is nobody around to knock Meat Loaf the hell out.  When Whitney Houston lost her voice to crack, her fans booed her, they sent her a message, they knocked her the hell out.  But Meat is like any other superstar, like an aged athlete that doesn’t understand father time has caught up with him, that there is nothing left in the tank that too much drugs and rock and roll has left him a shell of himself.  And the reason is his fans still love him no matter how bad Meat sings.

So he will continue on.  But the Meat is rotten to the core.  Hot Patootie bless my soul, no voice left in Meat’s pie hole.