Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An open letter to Meat Loaf

Dear Meat,

You were first delivered unto me as I sat blinking in wonder before a new mind-blowing entity called MTV. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Your eyes drilled straight through me as those long sweaty strands of hair whipped around your head, a living weapon. You were the antithesis of a teen dreamboat—a fat guy in a ruffled shirt, yet I swooned at something I was too young and na├»ve to recognize: your unabashed eroticism.

And that chick! Karla DeVito stood like a virgin flame in her white cat suit. Who cared if she was lip synching Ellen Foley's singing? With lips rouged and blue eye shadow gleaming, she was a live-action Betty Boop. But instead of coy giggles and batting eyelashes, DeVito had all the power. It was concentrated at the tip of the inverted V formed by her not-so-subtly parted legs.

When you two started making out, it was miles away from the antiseptic kissing manufactured by Hollywood. Why, you were practically dry zocking on the stage! My breath shortened as epiphany bloomed with sweet orgiastic glee: This was the kind of sex they didn't want me to know about. It had a taste and smell. This sex was alive. It was raw and honest and real.

You owned me, Meat.

The next thirty years unwound as fast as the turning cogs in my portable cassette player. I traded in my shoulder pads and fishnets for the punk look. Then life dissolved from college to a corporate career. The mortgage and husband and baby soon followed.

But you never changed, always with the motorcycles and ruffled shirts and the sublime promise that the rock & roll of my youth was really opera. Bat out of Hell II, Bat out of Hell III. I gave you one pass after another. When you espoused, I'd Do Anything for Love (But I won't Do That), I was baffled. Huh? I wondered, not do what? What did it mean? You'd invite me to your bed and then promise to never break wind therein?

Aw baby, I didn't care. I'd do anything for love too, so I just swallowed it whole. After all, you were Meat Loaf and when you set me atop that silver black phantom bike all those years ago, it earned you hella good will.

Some things just have to be gotten through, so it was with your unfortunate mumbling of that incredibly awkward title phrase. But like we vowed before those dashboard lights so long ago, I would love you forever, Meat. I was ready to suffer anything. Well, almost anything.

October 25, 2012, Defiance, Ohio.

"Meat Loaf endorses Romney," proclaimed the headlines. You talked about the Cold War and it felt like a cold shower despite my advanced fortysomething age. And when you said, "I want you to know, at 65, that Paul Ryan has not pushed me off the cliff in a wheelchair," you couldn't have been more wrong. You were finally speeding into a real abyss and this bat wouldn't be coming out of Hell ever again. And then there was this:

Frankly Meat (or should I call you Marvin?), Romney looked as though he'd just been presented with a plate of eyeballs floating in a mold of lime jello.

Yeah, yeah.

Now it's November 56th and Romney's still losing the election (just ask his eldest son). I hate to break this to you, Marv, but no one cares about your opinion on the matter. Paradise is lost, baby. Your sweat has dried into a crust of salt. All those ruffled shirts have long since gone yellow. In ten years or so when Mitt Romney is reduced to a Trivial Pursuit answer card, I'm afraid you'll be just another old fat white guy alone between your waxy sheets wondering why you ever vowed, but I won't do that or two out of three ain't bad.

Whatever the case, Marv, you took the words right out of my mouth.


*  *  *


twinklysparkles said...

I had a friend who found Meat Loaf very sexy indeed. You nailed it--it was the kind of sex you weren't supposed to know about--real sex with smells and sounds and sweat, not cleaned up. And all that flesh--why not more to love?

I thought Meat Loaf died about 20 years ago, a la Mama Cass choking on a ham sandwich. Imagine my surprise when I saw that video circulating around on Facebook.

Thanks for the great post, Erin.

Kirk said...

Anyone know who Jim Steinman endorsed?

Michael Lawless said...

I won't hold Mitt the Wit against him...unless he wants me to.

Anonymous said...

Erin,does 'An open letter to Meat Loaf' lead to 'An open-faced Meat Loaf sandwich'?

You left off part of the Meat Loaf headline. The complete text was "Meat Loaf endorses Romney; Mashed Potatoes, Gravy still uncommited."


Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for dropping in, Twinks. Nope, ol' Loafer ain't dead, although that Rearview song (linked in the post) might have you think he's been close to it for some time. I mean COME ON.

Kirk, Jim Steinman?

ML and MR: it is just sort of a sad leftover fizzle, is it not?

Joe said...

yeah, yeah...but Karla DeVito makes up for everything Meat Loaf has done or said before and since.


I hated MTV with a pssion, but I could not get enough of that video (and any video by Peter Gabriel).

Kirk said...

Jim Steinman wrote all the songs on BAT OUT OF HELL and BAT OUT OF HELL II: RETURN TO HELL. He also wrote "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for Bonnie Tyler.

Some wag once described Meat Loaf as being Charlie McCarthy to Jim Steinman's Edgar Bergan.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

What's interesting to me is that Steinman, DeVito, Foley and Meatloaf all had backgrounds in Broadway musical type stuff. Foley later went on to play a Lawyer on "Night Court" too. If you as me, she had a stronger, better voice than DeVito.


philbilly said...

Wow. What a train wreck.

Real Recovery needed, indeed.

Do cars today still have dashboard lights?

If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

And what the hell is that song they're "singin'"?

Romney looks like he would trade that moment for breakfast with Pelosi.

When I get offa work I'm gonna have to googletube some Fontella Bass, Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck so as to purge that mess from my ears. Criminy.

Anonymous said...

@Al-I don't even know if I have heard DeVito's voice. Ellen Foley had other obligations after the recording of the LP and wasn't availailable for the video. She was dating Mick Jones of the Clash, who produced her 'Spirit of St Louis' LP.
Todd Rundgren produced "Bat" at his Bearsville studio in Woodstock. He had a great deal to do creatively with the finished product. (I threw in Rundgren catering to Erin's crush on him.)


Anonymous said...

Trivial pursuits, in 10 years? Heck, you'll be lucky if you're able to feed and defend yourself.

And health care? Get in line baby.

And, also, you are SO gross.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hi Al, Phil, Joe. Thanks to Kirk for the 411 and to MR for the sweet Todd.

As for you, Anon, Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

@Twinkly-The poetic justice would be in Marvin choking on a Meatloaf sandwich, wouldn't it? After all, Ms Elliot didn't really choke on a sandwich.

@Joe, y'know, oddly enough I never really cared for the Gabriel videos, and I love everything about Gabriel. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing him live in '78 or '79 at the Palace Theater in Cleveland, and he didn't need the stop motion...he hardly needed the microphones that night, he owned the stage so well...

And Erin, my dear, "Let us off this wheel of karma, let us stop the hands of time..."


philbilly said...

Erin, for the record, I'm the first anonymous post above, I fumbled the name thing while trying to prove I am not a robot.

"Yea, though I walk through the
Valley of the Digital Divide, I shall fear no malware, for Google is with me, thy Wikipedia and thy Youtube, they comfort me."

As for the second anonymous, I laugh my ass off (LMAO) when I hear the dire predictions of Malthusian dysotpia to come..."lucky to feed and defend yourself." Read some history, endtimers, then grow a sack and charge ahead. Candyasses.

Erin O'Brien said...

No worries, Phil, pretty much pegged the previous "anon" as a regular anyway.

Norrin2 said...

Erin, I am a big Meat Loaf fan (is there any other kind?) and I am sorry to see you resort to that tired old late night comic's joke about how Meat never never says exactly what it is he won't do in the song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't do That)" because if you're tough enough to make it all the way through the song he does make it clear that "screwing around" is the one thing he won't do for love.

Erin O'Brien said...

Well, Norrin2, If I've stepped along a cliched path, so be it. To be honest, I don't watch late night talk and probably wouldn't remember what they were saying about Meat Loaf's 1993 effort even if I did, but you must admit that your own description of the ballad (if you're tough enough to make it all the way through the song) sort of vindicates me.