Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday, left), me and Bat Out of Hell stage star Andrew Polec in London in 2016 proving once again that two out of three ain’t bad

Who doesn’t love Meat Loaf?

I met the Grammy Award-winning singer — a.k.a. Michael Lee Aday — in 2016 in London.

The burly rock star with the booming voice was there to promote the premiere of a West End musical based on his 1977 rock anthem album Bat Out of Hell — one of the best-selling records of all time.

He was 69 at the time and although still a big personality a series of health setbacks had reduced his once wildly electric stage presence. As Mark Beaumont of The Independent aptly describes him, Meat Loaf at his peak was “a force of nature, a walking wind tunnel of a man, rock’s Brian Blessed in a Byron shirt, turned up to 11.”

The Dallas, Texas, rocker died Thursday. He was 74. One source suggests the singer had recently become serious ill with COVID 19.

Aday died a little over a year after Jim Steinman — the writer of all that catchy Bat Out of Hell music — died at 73.


When I interviewed him in 2016, he told me that his wife Deborah was from Edmonton. They married in 2007. (Two children had been raised from an earlier marriage.)

Did he meet Deborah in Canada, I asked.

“Nope — Barbados,” he replied. Meat Loaf told me that he had worked all over Canada, shooting movies from Halifax to Vancouver.

At the time I met him he was carrying a cane and while happy to promote the musical he was not involved as a singer or a performer. He left all that to Buffalo, New York native Andrew Polec, who headlined the London stage troupe. Polec also starred later in the version of “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical” that played Toronto in late 2017-2018. Former Bell Media president Randy Lennox was among the producers.

Aday re-teamed on the stage project with on-again, off-again musical partner Jim Steinman. There had been fights and lawsuits since their late-‘70s collaboration broke big, but there had also been two more bestselling “Bat Out of Hell” musical spin-offs. Aday told me that the two had just collaborated on a brand new album, Braver Than We Are.

“As personalities we’re night and day,” he said.  “Artistically. we’re one. For some reason, the universe put us together.”

Prior to his Bat Out of Hell success, Aday was cast in the original LA stage production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” He made an indelible impression as motorcyclist Eddie in the 1975 “Picture Show” movie version of Rocky Horror.

Among his early TV connections was singing the horny teen anthem “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” with Ellen Foley, who co-starred on the second season of NBC’s Night Court. He was also a musical guest — twice — on Saturday Night Live (1978, 1981).

Aday kept making film and TV appearances. He played “Tiny” in “Wayne’s World” (1992). He’s in David Fincher’s 1999 feature “Fight Club” and can be heard in the “Chef Aid” episode of South Park, where he claims to have started out as the artist “Couscous.” (Chef fixes him up with a plate of meat loaf — leading to his name change.) He appeared as Jack Black’s father in the 2006 movie “Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny.”

Roles on House, Monk, Glee and Elementary followed. He even tangled with Gary Busey and got fired by Donald Trump on The Apprentice (2011).

Still vivid is the memory of seeing him in 2016 as part of a pop-up street performance outside the Coliseum on St. Martin’s Lane in London while promoting “Bat Out of Hell: The Musical.” A gigantic flatbed truck filled with amps, instruments and other concert gear provided the stage and a crowd wandering the West End theatre district provided the audience.

While the stage show cast performed three songs, most in the crowd came to see Meat Loaf. The crafty promoters had alerted a few local British Harley-Davidson clubs that he would be there. More than 60 bikers responded with their Harley’s polished and ready to roar. Aday came out to a loud hail from the Harleys — and a moment of Triumph.

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