Jim Steinman On...
on His Songs:
Most people don't like extremes. Extremes scare them. I start at 'extreme' and go from there. My songs are anthems, calls to action, cries against passivity, initiations by fire, doorways flung open, altars uncovered. I spent the first seven years out of school doing nothing but theater. That's what I was trained to do at school and that's what I loved doing. All of the rock 'n' roll and pop music I've done since then has been very theatrical.
Everything I do is dictated by the dramatic, by the fact that it's a character singing in a dramatic situation. I try to be incredibly true to that and I think that gives the songs a real urgency and a precision that ultimately is very powerful. Every song I write, I write with a theatrical or cinematic context in mind. I've never written a song where I don't visualize a character singing it. That's just the way I work. I couldn't write any other way. So in my mind, it's always on a stage or in a film.
on Meat Loaf:
We have such different backgrounds, he and I. Such different lifestyles. We are totally different people, completely. But somehow, within the music, we connect on a level that's pretty strange because we're so different. Meat is a performer serving a song and he'd be the first to say that. That's one of the reasons he's such a great performer. He does put the song, at his best, above his own personality or ego or anything.
on I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That):
What he 'won't do' is said about six times in the song very specifically. It's sort of is a little puzzle and I guess it goes by - but they're all great things. 'I won't stop doing beautiful things and I won't do bad things.' It's very noble. I'm very proud of that song because it's very much like out of the world of Excalibur. To me, it's like Sir Lancelot or something - very noble and chivalrous. That's my favorite song on the record. It's very ambitious.
on Andrew Lloyd Webber:
I'm not really that much the opposite of Andrew. Musically, we have the same roots. We grew up with opera, theater, music and rock 'n' roll: a rare, strange and combustible combination. I set out to do theater and I was amazed I ended up doing records. I always joke with Andrew that we took each other's career. To this day I put a lot of my theatrical impulses into records, and I think Andrew has put a lot of his rock 'n' roll impulses into theater.
on Total Eclipse Of The Heart:
I had a vision of this woman lying on the ground looking at the moon like a sacrifice. I once worked on music for Murnau's famous "Nosferatu" and have always known that vampires would make an ideal subject for an opera or a musical. In fact I wrote Total Eclipse Of The Heart, probably my most successful song ever, as a tribute to "Nosferatu."
on It's All Coming Back To Me Now:
It was my attempt to write the most passionate, romantic song I could ever write. I was writing it while under the influence of Wuthering Heights, which is one of my favorite books. This song is an erotic motorcycle. It's like Heathcliff digging up Cathy's corpse and dancing with it in the cold moonlight. You can't get more extreme, operatic or passionate than that. I was trying to write a song about dead things coming to life. I was trying to write a song about being enslaved and obsessed by love, not just enchanted and happy with it. It was about the dark side of love and about the extraordinary ability to be resurrected by it once dead. It's about obsession, and that can be scary because you're not in control and you don't know where it's going to stop. It says that, at any point in somebody's life, when they loved somebody strongly enough and that person returns, a certain touch, a certain physical gesture can turn them from being defiant and disgusted with this person to being subservient again. And it's not just a pleasurable feeling that comes back, it's the complete terror and loss of control that comes back. And I think that's ultimately a great weapon.
on Bat Out Of Hell's Cover Art:
The sexual richness of Richard Corben's work is overwhelming. This is a world that is endlessly horny for wonder and magic.
The intertwining of light and dark forces here, of love and decay, of unknown altars and inescapable tombs, of unchained gods and insatiable demons, of unending dreams and unyielding nightmares - all this is dazzling. With Corben, not only is anything possible - it is inevitable.
on The Role Of Music:
I disagree that it's only role is pleasure, that's just a by-product. Its main role for me, like all the arts, is to provide heightening and amplification. It should intensify everything. I think music should be like plugging yourself into a Marshall amp, it amplifies people, it amplifies images and allows people to see they can be amplified themselves. I think it allows people to see that there's more volume and feedback and sound inside them than they think, plus it allows them to see more volume and intensity around them.
on Rock & Opera:
I think rock and opera are probably closer to each other than to other musical forms. Rock and opera both make huge gestures, they're both about extremes in content and form. Each puts incredible physical demands on a performer. And each of them has a great mix of the sublime and the ridiculous, heroism and humor. Seems to me that people's barriers to enjoying both have more to do with sociology than actual music and performances.
on Politics & Rock:
To me, all good rock 'n' roll is I think by definition political. Rock 'n' roll at its best is about breaking down barriers, going past limits. If music can make a pulse go faster, make a heart beat stronger, that's in a way a political act. In a world full of cripples, the only pure revolutionary act is to get up and dance!
on Violence & Music:
It's been written that my music's violent, even though it's not a violent as a lot of other music, I think it's 'emotionally' violent. I just always thought that when treating love and sex in songs, it was pretty appropriate to treat them fairly darkly because they're pretty dangerous things. Sex and love are dangerous and good. Sex was never 'safe.' In sex you reveal yourself physically and emotionally, and that's fucking dangerous.
on Children & Adolescents:
They're closer to the things in life that are really important. They're closer to the jugular, the feverish, the primal, the urgent, the intuitive aspects of being human. To me, you can still be a teenager at any age. It's a certain sense of lack of proportion, which I really admire.