Meat Loaf & Chicken Noodle Soup

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Our Tour Survival Guide checks in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s Meat Loaf on his beauty rest, soup preferences, and recording obessions. His upcoming tour dates are here.

Pissed Off and Pushing Petty. . .
In the ’70s, I had Tom Petty opening up for me for awhile. I had Dire Straits opening up for me. I had Eddie Money opening up for me. There’s more: I just can’t remember them all. I was warming up my voice one night and Tom Petty told me to shut up. I guess the walls in the dressing rooms were thin. I’m loud. He was like, “Shut up!” I think at the moment, it pissed me off. Back then — that would have been early ’77, we were in Cleveland, at the Agora — I’m surprised I didn’t bust through the wall of the dressing room into [his] room, throw [him] back into mine and say, “Come here, you’re listening anyway!” That was my intensity, then. I’m pretty intense now, but back then — whew!

Beauty Rest
Sleep is the most important thing on the tour  – a key issue for me. [I have to get] eight hours, or we don’t move. The road managers get e-mails from me if I can’t sleep: “Bill, it is now 5:30 in the morning. I am not asleep. We will not leave at 1 p.m. I’m predicting that I’ll be asleep in half an hour, which means we’ll leave at . . . 6, 12, 2 . . . 2:30 p.m.” I’m a night owl on tour.

You Can’t Fool Meat
Someone told me about the Smoking Gun. I went there to see that [they'd posted my tour rider]. I was like, “How can my rider be on there?” They make people look bad. It looks like, you know, that I’ve ordered breakfast for 74. But they don’t use the number [of tour members], they just go, “On his rider, he demands 12 boxes of Corn Flakes.” But then you go, “Well, yeah, but they eat 12 boxes of Corn Flakes.” People forget that [my road crew gets to] the venue at 6 a.m. . . . But thanks to the Smoking Gun, I [noticed] that Jon Bon Jovi had chicken noodle soup [on his rider]. Now I have a ritual. I get [to the venue] about 3:30 p.m. And I eat my chicken noodle soup and spinach before I do anything else. You see what they do, though — they screw with you. Our rider now requests “homemade chicken noodle soup.” I go to a show, and I go to my chicken noodle soup, and they’ve given me Progresso. I go to the production manager and say, “[This is] Progresso soup.” He goes, “How do you know?” I go, “Joe, I eat chicken noodle soup! I know chicken noodle soup! It’s Progresso!” He says, “Wait a minute.” Then he comes back with a can of Progresso soup, and on this can it says “Home Style”! So now we’ve had to add “homemade, no cans” [to the rider].

Perfection Is a Full-Time Gig
We record every show. Every night I go back to my room and I put on the show from the night before. I listen to it. I’ve recorded every show I’ve done since 1985. They’re all in my garage. I have stacks! I need to get them all on hard drive. That ought to take someone 18,000 years. Anyway, I listen to the show, and I change the show . . . I get inside them. Then I go to the band and I say, “Right here where we’re doing eight bars? We’re going to do four, tonight, OK? And this other song where we’re doing twelve bars? We’re doing twenty-four tonight.” I make changes all the time. I listen for two-and-a-half hours. Every night. Every show. I’m an intense human being.

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