Q - What do you remember as the spark musically for Bat Out Of Hell?
JS - Musically or lyrically? Either one? Well it started lyrically. It started with the title and the choruses and the overall idea, and the impulse to write the ultimate slash motorcycle crash song, so that was the lyric inspiration. Musically, I can't even remember specific. I know this, that it started, I know and I just remembered one thing. I was with Meat Loaf when he was doing Rocky Horror Show in LA, writing.
JS - I was out there and one of the songs I was doing was a new version of Jailhouse Rock, and that's where the intro came from. I just actually remembered that this was, you can actually tell it's Jailhouse Rock (MUMBLES) (MUSIC) It's a variation, but (MUSIC) (SINGING) Went up to a party in the county jail, everyone's dancing (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You know what I mean? It's that same (MAKES NOISE) you know, that Jailhouse Rock has.
JS - And that started as the new Jailhouse Rock we were going to do, which is the (SOUNDS LIKE) Wild Jailhouse Rock. (SOUNDS LIKE) We gave up Jailhouse Rock but I kept that 'cause I liked that (MUSIC) and that turned (MUSIC) then I added the fast riff (SP?) which I can't play on this piano 'cause the piano's too retarded and slow. But (MUSIC) I couldn't even fake it on this, not fast enough (MUSIC) I can't do it. It's really got to have fast fingers, but it developed from there. That was the opening. I do remember it started as Jailhouse Rock (MUSIC)
JS - Otherwise I don't remember any particular musical sparks for that. Most of it was lyrical except it was all based around a sort of (SOUNDS LIKE) F with peddle F bass of (MUSIC). All that kind of thing (MUSIC). That sort of pulsing rhythm over (SOUNDS LIKE) S. But no, I can't, that song developed so wildly by the end. I don't even know how I wrote some of that (laugh). I listened to it, I said, how did I come up with that? But most of that was sparked by the story and by the lyrics.
Q - What do you remember of the intro to You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth?
JS - That I remember really well 'cause that was my tribute to Phil Spector. It's funny 'cause it doesn't really sound like a Spector's thing. But I was thinking very basics, so one of the most basic things for rock and roll, which to me was more The Who, was (MUSIC) (SOUNDS LIKE) bass power chords, that's in The Who from My Generation to Won't Get Fooled Again. I just love, not necessarily those particular ones, but that's the basic idea. Power chords.
JS - And somehow that became, with an added melody in the right hand, sort of Spector-ish when you added a (MUSIC) that has a little bell-like feel and Spector was great with chimes and bells. I loved all that, lots of percussion and bells and chimes. So I think I just put them together for the intro (MUSIC) all from that.
Q - Do you remember coming up with the verbal intro to the song?
JS - Oh, the Hot Summer Night? Have no idea. I know it was written, I was writing it for my grandad (WORD?) which I'll get to someday, which is this rock and roll Peter Pan. Neverland. That was the wedding vows of Wendy and Peter. They get married and The Lost Boys are all the, sort of the altar boys at the ceremony. I do remember writing it for that, on a hot summer night (SOUNDS LIKE) which you offer your throat to the wolf at the red rose.
JS - It seemed like a great wedding vow to me (laugh). That's my idea of a cool wedding vow. So that's where the spoken thing was and it wasn't necessarily made for this song. It just was originally Bat Out Of Hell had another big speech in it, but (SOUNDS LIKE) David Sonenberg and Meat Loaf both refused to put two speeches on the record, which I really, that's the only thing I regret, come to think of it. The other speech is a very cool speech and I wish it had been there. Short one but it was cool (SOUNDS LIKE) before Revved Up With No Place To Go.
Q - Did you have characters in mind? Did it have a back story?
JS - For the album? Yeah. It was, well the back story, if anything, was that it was all to me Adventures In Neverland. It all came from that source. I basically have written, you know, 90 per cent of all my songs as that 'cause I love those characters of Peter and Wendy and Captain Hook. But my version is very science fiction and erotic, and Peter is really an 18-year-old kid boy, and Wendy starts off as a 16-year-old girl but ends up as about 35-40-year-old woman.
JS - So they all accept and Paradise By The Dashboard Light was even that. It was like them looking back, a sort of comic version. Every single one of them that I can think of, yeah, that was the one thing I had in mind.
Q - Do you think the album had a more realistic view of sexuality as opposed to disco, which had a more mechanical view of sexuality?
JS - I guess you could say that. It's always hard to say how people will perceive sexuality, you know, in art or music. What I like about it is that it combines very raw and specific erotic sexual imagery with the humor. You know, I'll tell you the line I'm probably proudest of on the whole record. I'm proud of so many lyrics on the record but I'm probably proudest, just 'cause it's the most daring one, 'cause it's my favorite song, For Crying Out Loud, the final song, which I actually did just start with, if I can remember it (MUSIC)
JS - Just that much. Just like a progression which actually became one of my favorite progressions. That started with that motif and then the lyrics came. The line that, I don't have the lyrics in front of me, but (TECHNICAL)
JS - I think in a way, may be perverse of me but, I'm very proud (of) For Crying Out Loud, I love all the lyrics and I love that it's so ecstatic. A lot of letters I've gotten over the years, thousands of them, it's so amazing to me how often this is quoted as the favorite song, even though it in a way got the least exposure. But I love it and I think his performance is astonishing. I love the lyric where is goes: And now the chilly California wind is blowing down our bodies again and we're sinking deeper and deeper in the chilly California sand. And I know you belong inside my aching heart. Can't you see my faded Levis bursting apart?
JS - I love that (laugh) 'cause it's so blatantly a boner line and having the gall to give it to Meat Loaf. I had so many people say, is that 'cause the pants are too tight? Is that 'cause of the weight, or is that a metaphor? I said, actually it's just a boner line. I just want to put it in there, and even to this day almost every song I write had what I call the boner line in it. It's just some line that's so specifically erotically sexual that it doesn't even try to be poetic.
JS - Yet I find that very poetic, you know. You belong inside my aching heart. Can't you see my faded Levis bursting apart? I don't know. That makes no sense to me but that's an example. That's so specific a sexual reference in a song, that's so ecstatic that I just like that kind of incongruity. Just like Paradise By The Dashboard Light is fun and a joke, but it isn't. It's the opposite, it's actually a very serious song.
JS - I mean, if you look at it as an overall piece it's about how two people totally ruin their life because of, I guess you can say this on VH1, a boner (laugh) because of a sexual impulse on night to fulfil a sexual desire, their whole lives are ruined. The whole song is actually, to me, a very despairing song but told with incredible, you know, joie de vivre and just fun. Sometimes I always wonder whether people read the final section, or hear it, you know.
JS - It's, you can't get much more bleaker than, you know, I swore, I promised I'd love you 'til the end of time. You know, I'll keep that promise, I'll keep that vow, I'll love you 'til the end of time. So now I'm praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive (laugh). I just think that's about as true and as bleak a thing as you can say about, you know, the sexes and how they get together. So it's interesting that the last two songs on the record, one of them is a comic song that has a very dark underpinning, and the other is a very romantic (SOUNDS LIKE) soaring, somewhat dark song that actually is very ecstatic, even though it's about crying. Ultimately it's about loving someone 'cause they're not afraid to cry.