Meat Loaf Was Planning World Tour, New EP, Game Show Before Death: ‘My Voice Is in Incredible Shape’

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Meat Loaf was energized and optimistic about the future and spoke about a number of planned projects — including concerts, recordings and a TV game show — during a wide-ranging interview last fall that proved to be one of the singer/actor’s last.

“My voice is in incredible shape,” he told Billboard shortly before an October appearance at the Motor City Comic Con in suburban Detroit. He had recently let his pipes loose, performing three songs on Mike Huckabee’s TBN program. “Vocally I was really strong, so I don’t sound like my age at all. I can sing ‘Bat Out of Hell,’ no problem — all the same key, all the high notes.”

Meat Loaf — who died Thursday (Jan. 20) at the age of 74 — said the biggest problem was “the moving parts” after four back surgeries in recent years. He was planning to play shows this year and noted that, “I’m figuring out how to do shows without moving, with (props) being brought out and doing weird stuff, creative stuff… I keep calling my agent. I left him a message, ‘Let’s do five weeks, 16 shows in America, take a little break, do 16 shows in Europe, take a break, do another 16, then see how we like it. I’m ready to get out there.”

What he wasn’t planning to do, however, was a Bat Out of Hell show to commemorate the landmark album’s 45th anniversary this year. “I would never do that,” Meat Loaf said. “I mean, I’ll do the album, but not in order. That’s a terrible show order. It’s awful. It doesn’t work for a show. We did it live like that at the beginning with [longtime collaborator Jim] (Steinman), and it didn’t work, so I moved (the songs) around.”

With his health keeping him off the road, however, Meat Loaf was happy to keep doing the occasional comic con appearances, which he said kept him in touch with fans. “I have a responsibility to my fans, and the responsibility is to continue to communicate with them, so I can communicate with them this way, which is a different way,” he explained. “My lines move a little slow, ’cause I talk with them. I get up and periodically walk down the line say, ‘Listen, my lines move faster than a line at Disneyland, so there…’ They talk about everything — Rocky Horror, Bat Out of Hell, Fight Club, the music. Some of them come up and they want to talk about the movie called Roadie. I had somebody come up and talk about A Hole in One, a (2004) movie I did with Michelle Williams. They’ll talk about Dead Ringer, the album Bad Attitude, sometimes Hang Cool Teddy Bear. It’s all over the place.”

In addition to the concerts, Meat Loaf also planned to release a four-song EP that would include a “rock ‘n’ roll version” of the song “What Part of My Body Hurts the Most?,” which his late longtime collaborator Steinman wrote for the Bat Out of Hell: The Musical. He was hoping to be joined on the EP by Shaun “Stoney” Murphy, the veteran of Little Feat and Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band with whom he recorded the Stoney and Meatloaf (sic) album for Motown’s Rare Earth Records label while both were appearing in a Detroit production of Hair.

“I had dinner with Stoney about two months ago and I was telling her all this stuff, and she said, ‘You remember more than I do!’” Meat Loaf said. Their album included a version of “Who is the Leader of the People?,” which was later recorded by Edwin Starr, while Stevie Wonder played piano on the track “She Waits By the Window.” “I was doing Hair at the Vest Pocket Theater and got a message Motown wanted to meet me,” Meat Loaf recalled. “I said, ‘Why don’t we do a duet record?’ and they said, ‘That’s exactly what we were thinking.’ I said, ‘With Stoney’ and they said, ‘That’s exactly what we were thinking.’ So I went with Stoney and said, ‘They want to do a record with us’ and she said ‘OK’ and we did it. It was very cool, all those great people we worked with.”

Outside of music, Meat Loaf said he was working with producers on a TV game show titled after his 1993 hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” which was signed by ABC in the U.S. and ITV in Great Britain and Australia. “It’s really spectacular and really expensive,” he said. “There’s ‘I would do anything for love’ and then there’s ‘I won’t do that’ — things like put a bowl of spiders on your head. It’ll be a bunch of stuff going on at the same time, so it’s like a Barnum and Bailey three-ring circus.” Meat Loaf himself would not be hosting but would serve as “like the color guy on the football games. They want me to be up on some throne on top of the whole thing. I’ll talk and interview people before they go into the game.”

Amidst all the activity, Meat Loaf was also still mourning Jim Steinman’s death last April, at the age of 73 following a series of health issues. The two had repaired any schisms in their relationship and had grown close again, with Meat Loaf last visiting Steinman shortly before pandemic lockdowns began during the spring of 2020 and then staying in touch via phone.

“I would talk to him on the phone and get him to laugh,” Meat Loaf said. “He was incredible, intelligent, one of the smartest people I’ve known. He was a little lazy (laughs), but I told him that. Jimmy and I were brothers, and any time you hear anything negative about us it’s not even close to being true. He got mad but he didn’t get mad at me. He got mad ’cause he wasn’t recognized for ‘Bat’ as much as he wanted. He is (credited) more now than he was then, so that’s good.”

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