From The Vault Part 8: Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell Part II: Back Into Hell

batoutofhellii

There are very few artists out there that have been a major part of life from my earliest memories, to this very day. But there are some. And the first one to always come to my mind is the great Meat Loaf. One of the greatest showmen of all time, and the man with the voice that has captivated audiences for over 40 years now. And when he was paired up with legendary songwriter Jim Steinman, it was honestly just not fucking fair to others artists. They are an unstoppable force in their solo ventures obviously, but together, as a team, they’re just an unstoppable force of nature.

So what makes Meat Loaf such an important force to me personally? Well, first of all thanks for asking (because I know my reader(s?) would ask)! It all boils down to one lovely person who has always be a driving force behind anything I ever do in this life. A beautiful woman who would be celebrating her 72nd birthday on this very day had she not lost her very quick battle with cancer 3 years ago while I was, once again, boarded up in a small dorm room in South Korea, leaving me with just memories and tears leading to weeks of endless nights listening to these beautiful songs that we shared together for so many years as a youth. If you couldn’t guess, I am talking about my dearly departed grandmother, Mrs. Betty Whittle.

There was something very peculiar about Grandma, that you may not hot have notice in that last paragraph. Grandma loved MEAT LOAF. Most Grandmas only make the food, my Grandma LOVED greatest artist named after a ground meat dish. In fact, she listened to mainly hard rock and heavy metal music. On the surface she was just a lovely & sweet, although sometimes crass, Grandmother. But, she was not afraid to admit that she loved hard rock sounds and frightening as shit horror films and Steven Seagal action films. She wasn’t some sort of ex-hippy turned punk rocker or anything like that, she just loved her music loud, and her films frightening and/or action packed. I can remember endless occasions of going grocery shopping with Grandma listening to several Meat Loaf cassette tapes, as well as being the first time I can remember hearing Nirvana’s Nevermind. Or anything from White Snake or Alice Cooper. And it was blowing my prepubescent mind when I really thought about what I was hearing! Was this insane? I started meeting other kid’s grandmas, and they never quite seemed as cool. And that’s because they simply were not. Nobody’s grandmother was as cool as her. Never were, never will be. Period.

batoutofhellgrandma

So, that is my lead in to this album. While it would be more memorable to cover the first Bat Out of Hell album, which actually holds the fondest memories and really stand the test of time, I decided upon the sequel, which was actually released in my lifetime. I was 8 years old when this album came out. It was actually one of the first Compact Discs I ever received. Christmas 1993, I believe it was. 23 years ago, I was finally having something fresh and new to share with Grandma, and I was so damn excited. And what I couldn’t wrap my 8 year old mind around was the fact that it was the return of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman as a team. I did notice that it sounded so much for like the first Bat Out of Hell than something like Midnight at the Lost and Found, but it was a “sequel” so I just figured it HAD to.

And dammit it all if Grandma didn’t love it as well. I can remember calling her up to see what she thought of it, and when we were finally back to visit her again, we listened to it over and over together. We both knew all of the words, even to the 13 minute long massive hit “I Would Do Anything For Love (But, I Won’t Do That)”. We both believed that ‘Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” was the best song, and we listened to it the most. Fuck, my Grandma was cool.

I mean to take nothing away from the talents of Meat Loaf, but as I grow older I really wonder if it isn’t nostalgia for my wonderful grandmother that truly made me love this man’s music. I honestly like to think it is a little bit of both. My grandmother was a beautiful person. Meat Loaf made beautiful music. And these two elements combined made beautiful memories. In fact, I continued to love Meat Loaf, even when I wasn’t able to share all of his work with my grandmother as I grew older and didn’t see Grandma so much. I still feel like Welcome to the Neighborhood is one of Meat Loaf’s most underrated works, right before Midnight at the Lost and Found. The man has touted out tunes that have always mesmerized me, and I am certain that as long as he has the ability to do so, I will have the will to listen to his music. He’s a fucking madman on the microphone, and if a person as memorable and important to me as my grandmother could adore his work, you better goddamn well believe I always will.

I want to leave this piece on a quick memory I will never forget that involves my grandmother, Meat Loaf, and my dearest heavy metal friend, Metal Mattson. Grandma died 3 months earlier. I made my way back to U.S., and felt lost in my old hometown. I was destined to Spain in just a couple of short weeks, so my time for grieving in my old stomping grounds was limited. But, I had a beautiful tribute to my Grandma that I will never forget. My dear friend Metal (Adam) Mattson had me over to his house for drinks and conversation, as we had done for over a decade in our lives. And you better fucking believe we sat on his couch belting out the lyrics of “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” together in unison over an over abundance of alcohol and a masking of needed tears. This is the way Grandma would have wanted to be eulogized. And I would hope this is the way that Meat Loaf would want people to enjoy his music.

P.S. I know this is less of an album review of Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, and more of a digital Meat Loaf dick-sucking and a 3 year old eulogy to my Grandmother. But, fuck you. I’ll do whatever the hell I feel like doing. It’s what Grandma would have wanted.

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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