Q - Musically, where did Paradise start?
JS - Paradise definitely started with the (MUSIC) just a boogie woogie bottom. That's all it was. I was, I just remember that before anything (MUSIC) etc, etc. Just felt like it had to be that rhythm at first, and it goes to a lot of other places from that. But I love that, I love (MUSIC), it felt like the world.
Q - Could you, as a singer, have sold Paradise? You have a great singer-songwriter voice.
JS - Yeah but I don't like singer-songwriter voices (laugh), so I was thrilled when Meat Loaf came around. I actually sang much when I was in school, I sang really well and then I had this real accident and had my nose all screwed up and I couldn't sing after that. It was really difficult and I lost like an octave of range. That's why he was like this gift from the gods 'cause he could sing it all, and I'd much rather hear him sing it than me any day. I mean, he's (got) a great voice.
Q - What was the name of your high school band?
JS - Oh (laugh) no, college. It was the college. The year (UNINTELLIGIBLE) The Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy (laugh). Well, it was my second name. The first name was really dirty and everyone objected to it. Said, well this one will sound like a Disney movie, and it still does sound like a Disney movie, doesn't it? You know, The Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy (MUSIC). You know, that's like it's some little cartoon.
JS - That should be a Randy Newman song. (SINGING) The clitoris that thought it was a puppy. What do we say? Bow wow, something like that. But, yeah, The Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy, and in England I found I had to say clitoris (laugh). They pronounce it differently.
Q - Heaven Can Wait was the earliest song from the record. Musically, where did that one start?
JS - As I remember, that started with a very simple piano arpeggiated (MUSIC) It's almost like a lullaby. That was really (SOUNDS LIKE) one of the simpler songs. I remember thinking it should sound like a music box, so it had this very simple (MUSIC) and that's very, it's nothing but piano and voice on the record. There are no other instruments. There was an orchestra way behind, but I just wanted it to be like that. Again, that was for Neverland. That was for my Peter Pan musical, and that was a song that Wendy sang after she married Peter.
Q - People have found it intimidating to cover Meat Loaf songs. Are you happy with the amount of Meat Loaf covers that have been done?
JS - I'd love more covers but, you know, I think they are intimidating. In a way it's a cool compliment when something isn't covered much. I mean, I've had tons more covers of Total Eclipse Of The Heart and some of the other songs I've done, which are pretty difficult too. But the Meat Loaf ones are really scary because there aren't many male singers who can do that. They're vocally really demanding and dramatically challenging.
JS - And some reason there are more divas than there are whatever a male diva is, you know. It's just more people likely to want to sour (SP?) and (SOUNDS LIKE) explore that are female right now than there are male.
Q - What did Phil Rizzuto bring to Paradise?
JS - Phil's wonderful. He, Meat Loaf and I were both fanatic Yankee fans and, when I was writing the song, I sort of had a sense of the structure and I knew it was going to start as a flashback, which it does. I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday. I knew it would have to then go to the actual flashback and I just wanted to write a sex scene. I remember sitting there in this apartment trying to think, how am I going to do a sex scene without being filthy?
JS - The first thought that occurred to me was the baseball code of going to first base, second base, third base and home. I don't know if I suggested it to Meat or we got the idea together, but I just remember saying, it's got to be Phil Rizzuto 'cause he was the guy we saw every night on the Yankees, and he's still my favorite play-by-play guy. Partly because he's a brilliant play-by-play man, and he was, he was a great short-stop but he was also fairly hallucinatory (laugh). You wonder what medication Phil was on.
JS - He would just riff (SP?) off in the most wild subjects and say anything and he just had that, sort of that Yogi Bear, a little bit of the Yogi Bear in him. When we decided to do it, I had to write it out. I wrote it out using all these Phil expressions, you know, using every holy cow that would fit. He's going to slide in. Holy cow, he's gonna, you know, and it was very funny because we went (SOUNDS LIKE) through the session and Todd Rundgren thought it was an idiotic idea.
JS - That was one of Todd's, Todd thought I had a lot of idiotic ideas and that was right at the top of the list. I remember Todd going, Phil who? Why? Why are we doing this? With Phil who? I said, well it''s a really good idea. He's the Yankees' play-by-play man and the short-stop. Yes, and my question again is, why are we doing this? We'd have the session and we had to negotiate with Phil's agent for about a month, and Phil's agent was a guy named Art Chamsky (SP?), who was the outfielder for the New York Mets.
JS - Phil needed a better agent 'cause Phil got $1000 to do that whole thing and he could've made a lot of money if he had asked (SOUNDS LIKE) for some participation, but he didn't. When he came to do the session he arrived at the studio in New York, and he's a great guy. Todd arrived very reluctantly 'cause he didn't think it was necessary, but Todd forgot to bring the tapes. So we had no tapes at all and Phil hadn't heard the song, which actually we thought was a blessing 'cause we never told Phil it was, like, sexual stuff.
JS - We just said, you're going to do a play-by-play. It'll be fun. When Todd didn't have the tapes he said, well how am I going to hear what's going on? They said, well we'll just wild track it. We'll just put you on a tape and we'll make it fit. He says, well okay. I remember him saying, this isn't anything dirty is it? No, no, it's about going from first base to home plate, and it actually, one of the great things to this day, Phil has a great attitude about it.
JS - We went to Yankee Stadium in '78 or '79 to present the Yankees for the platinum record, and George Steinbrenner, and we presented some specific ones to Phil Rizzuto. I remember we're in the dugout. It was a great day for me to be in the dugout of Yankee Stadium, which still thrills me more than any concert experience. It was just magnificent. Phil Rizzuto comes running into the dugout from off field, yelling at us. He goes, Steinman, Meat Loaf, you huckleberries. Why didn't you tell me this was dirty?
JS - The nuns are never going to forgive me. I take more, oh they won't leave me alone at the church about this. He's really religious. He says, everyone is telling me, didn't you know that's a, the kids are having sex in the car, oh holy cow. I'll never get over it. I'll never get over it. My kids love it though. My kids, they're favorite, they like it more than my baseball sports-cast (laugh). I always remember that. You huckleberries, you didn't warn me about this.
JS - And him ranting about the nuns. I wasn't that surprised though because before we met Phil, some station somewhere in the country, St Louis or something, was clever. They had gone out to spring training for the Yankees in Florida and they had taped Phil's reactions, so I heard it first on tape. They said, we want to play you something. Then, so Mr Rizzuto, what did you think of that Meat Loaf (song) Paradise By The Dashboard Light? Holy cow, that's a dirty thing. I didn't have any idea. You should hear the nuns. They just are so upset (laugh)
JS - You know, any song you can upset nuns with, you're halfway there with rock and roll (laugh). Though I do have this image of all these nuns dancing wildly to it, you know. But he was great, and the funny thing was he couldn't do it himself. It was one of these guys where someone can't be themselves. He had to go out there and do it without any music, just say it, which should make it easier 'cause he doesn't have to, you know, time it to the music.
JS - He had the dialogue written out that I had written out, and he was going, he was like a method actor. He couldn't get in character. So Phil's out in the studio going, okay I'm ready let's go, and Todd would go, okay take one. Holy cow, we've got a real pressure cooker going here. I go, okay Phil hold on, hold on one second. What's wrong? I'm reading what you wrote. No, no, it's doesn't feel right. Well what's wrong?
JS - It's not exciting enough, you're too laid back. Oh well, how excited should I be? (I) said, well very excited. Well what game is this? Who are we playing? He was like Robert De Niro (MUMBLES). I said, who are you playing? He says, yeah I mean what time of the year is it and who are we playing? I said, okay you're playing at the end of the year. It's going to the play-offs. This is going to decide the play-offs.
JS - Oh it's like a play-off decider? All right. Okay let me try it again. Then he tries it again and he goes, okay, we've got a real pressure cooker going here. Two down, nobody on, bottom of the, and drifts off again (MUMBLES). Phil, you started good. He says, well you didn't tell me the team. You gotta tell me the team. I said, it's the Red Sox. I'm sorry. I meant the, well, if the Red Sox, and this went on like about nine takes 'til we had it down to the specific pitcher, the catcher, who was on base, who was trying to get on base, the manager, everything was like specific.
JS - We finally got that (SOUNDS LIKE) like the ninth time. He says, okay, and he wrote everything down. He says, the Red Sox (SOUNDS LIKE) and such-and-such is pitching (MUMBLES). Holy cow, we've got a real pressure cooker going here. And it was perfect. It was great. It was Phil Rizzuto as Al Pacino (laugh). You know, all that he needed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Holy cow, Attica, Attica, Attica (laugh). It's just Phil became a method actor. It was very cool to see.