The closing shot of 1980 rock & roll fable Roadie, Meat Loaf gazing out of the cab of his pickup truck toward some celestial spotlight, seared my cerebral cortex at an Austin Film Society screening of the locally lensed film just ahead of South by Southwest 2012. The Dallas-born icon’s liquid blue irises were indeed that window into the heart and soul of his star power.
Days later, quite by a somewhat offhanded circuitousness, I sat upstairs on the third floor of the Moody Theater staring into those same blue eyes. In person, they were devastatingly vulnerable and sincere. As he waited ever so patiently next to his spouse for an on-camera interview at AFS’ Texas Film Hall of Fame awards, which honored the former Michael Lee Aday in grand style, he confirmed that the couple had bought a house here in Austin. His wife threw in the caveat that their time here depended on how much film work was coming out of Hollywood.
Film, after all, had brought Meat Loaf to the Moody. The singer pointedly noted that, although invited, he hadn’t attended the Grammys the year he won Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” on 1993’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell. Being honored for his cinematic CV, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Fight Club – that was worth showing for. And what a tale he had about his life in pictures.
Opening his tour for the new Hell in a Handbasket, Meat’s sure to lace his immortal FM hits among new fare “All of Me,” “The Giving Tree,” and perhaps his cover of “California Dreamin’,” but whatever the set list, be sure of one thing: The singer’s a bonafide star beginning at those baby blues. – Raoul Hernandez