When it comes to explaining lust or loss, nothing fits the bill better than a song by Meat Loaf.
The 61-year-old rocker/actor has been wringing his heart into anthems like Paradise by the Dashboard Light and I Would Do Anything for Love since the early '70s.
On Friday, Loaf (born Marvin Aday before his dad saddled him with the famous "Meat" moniker) kicks off a U.S. string of shows at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall.
It's a tour that seemed in jeopardy just a week ago when he was hospitalized for three days in London right after being honored at Britain's Q Awards.
Now back on his feet and ready to start recording an album for a 2010 release, Meat Loaf talks with the Times about his health, the legacy of his Bat Out of Hell album and his acting career.
What happened in England? Are you feeling better?
It was really scary. I thought that I'd had a stroke. I couldn't talk. My left side wasn't working properly. It started with an attack of vertigo the night before, and it progressed. I should have gone right to the hospital. I accepted the award, but nobody could understand what the hell I was saying. I didn't have a stroke, and they kept me (in the hospital) until my vertigo went away.
You've appeared in more than 40 films. Do people sometimes associate you as an actor before singer when they spot you in public?
In California, yes. If you have TiVo, you can search for me, and I can guarantee you'll get six bad movies a week. People didn't like Rocky Horror Picture Show. I mean, it's a classic. But I don't know how good a film it is. I'm too close to it to judge it. It's like Bat Out of Hell. It sold so many copies and if you listen to people, they love the record. When it was finished, I hated You Took the Words Out of My Mouth. I mean hated it.
You appeared in a hilarious TV commercial for the AT&T Go Phone. How did that come about?
They came to me with this offer, and it was sitting on my kitchen counter for three or four days. At first, I said, "Nah I don't want to do that." They didn't have lyrics. So they sent me the lyrics and I said, "Oh, god, these are horrifying." I don't mind making fun of myself for making a parody of it. But it's got to be so far removed from anything I would do.