Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meatloaf and Advertising

Around 1995, after the Holiday festivities at my folks' house had wrapped for the day and the relatives were headed off to bed, Jason and I headed to a longtime Kuykendahl-based watering hole, Molly Maguire's. The place is dark, smelly, has a few pool tables, etc... and the sort of local color one would expect so close to the edge of 1960 and Kuykendahl. Plus a barkeep who I believe may have actually been Irish (I didn't press the point).

It being Spring by Houston, at the end of the 1990's, the scene in Houston was very cheap-beer-rock-centric. Houston loved its ACDC and ZZ Top, to the point where every time I would re-enter Houston from 1993-1997, I was literally able to find ACDC playing somewhere, on some station. And this bar's jukebox was littered with 70's and early 80's rock classics, a fact I was entirely unable to appreciate at the time (but, seriously, they should have enshrined that @#$%ing jukebox as a time capsule representing a time and place).

In that Jukebox, they also had Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell". I had never shown Meatloaf any respect, honestly. As a child born of the 1970's, I knew the name. By middle-school, Meat Loaf had disappeared. I would learn later (via VHI's "Behind the Music") that he was battling the usual set of addictions one associates with superstardom when, somehow, he became associated with the following Marvel comics ad:

click on the pic for a better size of Mr. Loaf's advertisement

You can read Dave's(of Dave's Longbox) review of the ad here.

I didn't think this looked a darn bit like Meat Loaf. And I didn't remember Meat Loaf playing much guitar or giving two flips for Special Olympians. And I wasn't going to cut up my X-Men or Cap comics on Meat Loaf's say-so. Especially with the creepy finger of Mr. Loaf still attached to the coupon.

In high school I finally rented "Rocky Horror Picture Show", and was surprised to find that Meat Loaf was featured as Eddie (what a guy!). And I dug the song he played. Plus, you know, Little Nell as Columbia rocked my socks (perhaps a future DITMTLOD?).

Hot patootie, bless my soul!

As I entered college, Meat Loaf released "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell". An album I decided I would have to be too hip for, and for that I apologize. Especially to Peabo, who defended the single "I'd Do Anything for Love (but I Won't Do That)". The video was the sort of high-budget, mini-movie that Aerosmith had developed with "Janie's Got a Gun", and Guns'n'Roses had perfected with "Use Your Illusion". And because I was trying to be awesome and punk rock, I wasn't about to be into a middle-aged dude's rock opera nonsense (even if I kinda liked Queen).

The video also featured the lovely Dana Patrick (lip-synching to Lorraine Crosby), who I never heard of or saw in anything else. Which is a shame.

It was during that dark night, on what was turning into a lengthy Christmas break that Jason headed back to the table from the jukebox and announced "I just put in money. We're going to listen to all of 'Bat out of Hell'".
"Oh, hell, no."
"You don't like Meat Loaf?"
"You got to give Meat Loaf his respect."
Steanso was pretty keen on teaching his younger brother to show respect for all sorts of stuff. This was not new.
Anyway, we had our cheap beer, and they hadn't carded me, so I wasn't going to put up a fight.

I didn't become a Meatloaf nut on that night, and I never really have gone completely crazy for Meat Loaf. But I do, now, as they say, respect the man. I respect the hell out of Meat Loaf, and I have "Bat Out of Hell" on my iPod. And as much as I like big, overblown songwriting that delves deep into the melodramatic without blinking (I own, like, six Roxy Music albums), how could I not be a sucker for "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"? I love that song. I love how absolutely HUGE Meat Loaf knows a rock song can and should be. It doesn't always work, but when it does, man... that's not just a rock power ballad, you've got yourself an anthem.

The man at the height of his powers

Meat Loaf has a crazy expansive career, including acting. If you didn't love him in Fight Club, well, more's the pity.

Most recently "Paradise" was adapted for a commercial for something called a Go-Phone. Johanna did a bit on it over at "Comics Worth Reading".

I'd seen a shortened version of the video with Jamie, and saluted Mr. Loaf for being a sport. I still think its hard to forget the context of the original song when watching the commercial, which makes it... odd... to say the least.

But, anyway, here's the commercial:

Apparently the Mom in that commercial? That'd be Tiffany, who is better looking than I remember as she's aging (although I sort of thought the Debbie Gibson/ Tiffany battle was a fight in which we all were losing, at the time), and certainly a much more entertaining performer.

So, a salute to Meat Loaf. He's a hell of a performer, and apparently he's got a pretty good sense of humor about himself.


Michael Corley said...

I never once, ONCE considered cutting up my comics, and I remember Meatloaf's admonition well.

Erica said...

I saw the commercial the other day and chuckled with delight! Thanks for posting it.

J.S. said...

I just have to dig Meatloaf cause he by no means fits the heroine-addict, skinny rock star stereotype, and yet he's still totally unafraid to rock like crazy. (and he's got a voice that can blow you over)