''At the top of the page, can you put a B+ next to the Meat Loaf?'' A what? ''A B+,'' says the theatrical singer behind ''Bat Out of Hell.'' ''Entertainment Weekly has never given me anything higher than a B-, so I would really appreciate a B+.'' Ouch. Will our music reviewers be more charitable toward his latest album, ''Couldn't Have Said It Better?'' Stay tuned. In the meantime, here are some dumb questions.
You were in ''Fight Club,'' which is full of nasty brawls. Before I
start, when's the last time you punched a journalist?
The last time I punched somebody was in England [in 1989]. I looked out the tour-bus window and there's this guy just slapping and slapping this girl. I screamed, ''Stop the bus!'' and I grabbed the guy and punched him. The girl stands up, looks at me, and goes, ''What the f--- do you think you're f---ing doing?'' Then the guy goes, ''Wait! Wait! I'm being punched by Meat Loaf!''
Looking back on it now, do you think taking your stage name from a ground-beef dish might not have been the greatest idea?
This is what people don't understand. Anybody in their right mind would not have chosen that, okay? My father started calling me that when I was a kid. When I went to the first grade, my teacher said, ''Meat, sit down.'' I would go to church and the minister would say, ''Meat, we're glad to see you here.'' I can't win. But I don't think it's any funnier than other people's names. Start saying ''Bruce Springsteen'' over and over again. Everybody's name is weird.
What would a vegetarian Meat Loaf be like?
I was a vegetarian for 10 years. There've been vegetarians who wouldn't speak to me because of my name. I was sitting with Jon Bon Jovi at one of those awards things, and I say, ''Oh, man, I love k.d. lang. I'd really like to meet her.'' They went to find out if it was okay, and she goes, ''No. His name is Meat Loaf.'' I stopped being a k.d. lang fan after that.
Was it the sassy spirit of Ginger Spice or the superior mic
skills of Sporty Spice that enticed you to lend your thespian skills to ''Spice World''?
I'd met [the Spice Girls] previously, and had borrowed £5 from Scary Spice for a cigar. So the first thing she asked when I showed up [on the set] was, ''Do you have my £5?'' I said, ''Do you have change for a twenty?'' I still owe her £5. Just remember, if anyone wants money, ask them if they have change for a twenty.
''Bat Out of Hell'' went 14 times platinum. ''Bat Out of Hell II'' is
quintuple platinum. Otherwise, you've never had a multiplatinum album. Why the hell aren't you on ''Bat Out of Hell XIV: There's More Where Bat Came From''?
''Bat III'' is in the works. I saw [''Bat'' cocreator Jim Steinman] on the street the day before yesterday, and he goes, ''Oh, I've got five songs for you now.''
Your late-'60s band was called Popcorn Blizzard. Was that the
drugs talking, or were you guys really hungry?
Oh, no, we were into popcorn. After Popcorn Blizzard, that band was called the Floating Circus. The organ player dressed like a swan, the bass player dressed like an Indian, the drummer dressed like a clown, and I dressed like a ringmaster in a tuxedo.
So you got the cool costume?
Well, I wasn't going to dress like a swan.