Was anyone really yearning for a third installment of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell? (Maybe, since the first two sold 50 million copies.) Mr. Loaf has officially announced the details of the upcoming Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (due in stores, aptly enough, this Halloween). News comes the same day as the convenient announcement that Mr. Loaf and Jim Steinman (the composer behind Mr. Loaf’s mini-rock operas) have settled a longstanding lawsuit over who owns the Bat Out of Hell trademark.
Now, I have fond memories of that first Bat-disc, released almost 30 years ago, but I’m afraid this new one can’t help but disappoint. Not just because it’s likely to be rooted in rock clichés that had whiskers on them even then, but because I’m not 16 anymore, which is about the age where most of us outgrow these teensploitation tropes — most of us, that is, except for Meat Loaf and Steinman, whose utter, unironic seriousness about this project is evident in this unintentionally hilarious promo clip.
Several EW staffers (not including me) attended a listening party for the album last night at a New York club where the temperature was fittlingly hellish because the air conditioning was out. I’m told that the Spinal Tap-esque event was as straight-faced as the promo clip, with Mr. Loaf deigning to answer just one question from the press about the project. Having interviewed Meat Loaf myself a few times, I can just imagine it; he was similarly humorless when promoting Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell half a lifetime ago, insisting that he approached each song as a serious thespian playing a character. (Mind you, this is the same serious thespian who told me, regarding his work in Fight Club, that he was worried he’d be the victim of a Hitchcockian bird attack because the drooping man-breasts he sported for the film were made of dozens of pounds of birdseed.)
So if Marvin Lee Aday continues in this somber, gravely self-important vein over the next few months of promoting this saga (including a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall where he’ll perform all three Bat-cycles), let’s hope someone is there to remind him of one simple truth: Dude, your name is Meat Loaf.