From the new CD, "Hang Cool Teddy Bear" (I know, weird title ), out May 11, 2010
From the new CD, "Hang Cool Teddy Bear" (I know, weird title ), out May 11, 2010
TORONTO – After his last foray into "Hell," Meat Loaf pretty much felt like his lengthy career had lost its wings.
His 2006 release, "Bat Out of Hell 3," was borne from tumultuous sessions during which the Dallas singer felt that he was being manipulated by his producer and record label. The record was also the subject of a nasty legal dispute between Meat Loaf and his longtime collaborator Jim Steinman.
While it opened in the Top 10 on the charts, the record didn’t stay there long. Even worse, Meat Loaf didn’t necessarily believe in the tunes with the same zeal he applied to much of his catalogue.
He had health issues. He was unhappy. And, in 2007, he famously announced his retirement while onstage in Newcastle.
At the time, he meant it.
"I thought it was over," the 62-year-old told The Canadian Press during a recent interview at a Toronto hotel.
"It was awful, it was awful. It was the worst period in my career."
After three-plus decades and worldwide album sales well into the eight digits, Meat Loaf says he felt ready to leave music behind.
The first idea the despondent singer had for the next phase of his life almost sounds like a punchline now.
"I was getting ready to sell my house and move (to California) so I could open up a Jimmy John’s," he explained, referring to the American fast-food sandwich chain.
"I was going to try to get a whole regional section, but I was going to start with one, and that was going to be what I was going to do: I was going to open up Jimmy John’s.
"But I was so depressed, after a while, even my Jimmy John’s thing, I couldn’t get the energy to do anything with that. And then, all of a sudden, I just got up and went . . . this," said the animated singer, using an explicit four-letter word and repeating the phrase.
"I’ll show ‘em."
Four years after the third "Bat" and Meat Loaf is back with "Hang Cool Teddy Bear," a collection of typically over-the-top theatrical rock tunes.
The nearly seven-minute opening track, "Peace on Earth," introduces all the elements Meat Loaf aimed for this time out: a flurry of pounding guitars, impossibly overblown vocals and thunderous drums.
Fans of Meat’s tender side will have to look elsewhere.
"If you liked (my other albums) because you wanted to hear all the ballads, forget it," he blustered. "If you liked the rockier side of me — which I think most people do — then you’re going to absolutely fall in love with this."
Meat Loaf certainly has. He calls his new record "the most important" of his career. He’s careful not to say it’s the "best," out of respect, he says, for the first megasuccessful "Bat Out of Hell."
But he says the two records are "in the same ballpark."
"Maybe ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’ is in the bullpen and ‘Bat Out of Hell’ is on the pitcher’s mound, waving."
He says "Bat Out of Hell 3" failed largely because the characters he inhabited on the record’s lyrics were undefined ("it was a bad script," he says). He credits producer Rob Cavallo (the Warner executive responsible for signing and producing Green Day) with sharpening his focus this time out.
The record’s central character is a dying soldier whose life flashes forward instead of backwards as he takes his final breaths.
He intentionally didn’t tell the record’s slate of guest writers (including Canadian Raine Maida, Jon Bon Jovi and "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi) about the overarching theme because he didn’t want "a bunch of dead soldier stories."
Perhaps as a result, the high-minded concept isn’t completely obvious in listening to the record’s freewheeling tunes.
First single "Los Angeloser" begins with a DJ scratching a record and Meat Loaf hollering "I’m just a white boy/ I play the guitar" over a strummed acoustic, while the chorus of "California Isn’t Big Enough" finds the singer howling about his groin with an irrepressible conviction.
If the off-colour reference offends his fans? Too bad, he says.
"I read something on Amazon: ‘No Meat Loaf record has ever reverted to swear words before, I can’t believe that he would actually do that,’" he said. "I just went: ‘Lady, I love ya, but you’re stuck in a time warp.’ What we say on this record, compared to what you could find on any movie channel or any movie, we’re in kindergarten over here. We haven’t even got to the fifth grade yet.
"We’re on that cartoon MTV used to have, ‘Beavis and Butthead.’ That’s where we are."
Well, Meat Loaf is certainly animated. Directing a conversation with him is as impossible as predicting which tangential rabbit hole he might venture down next.
His salt-and-pepper hair cropped close, he dresses in all black, with jewellery jingling around his neck and each of his wrists. He looks slimmed down but grows concerned when he thinks a photographer has taken his picture while he’s seated in a cushy armchair.
"I look like a lumpy little frog when I’m sitting down," he worries.
Indeed, it doesn’t seem as though he likes to sit still for long. It’s part of why he’s so bothered that labels have tried tirelessly to recreate the success of the first "Bat" record.
"Whenever I’ve tried to turn the corner or change, record companies always come back in going `no, no,’" he said. "They always want to call it ‘Bat Out of Hell.’
"This album would have been ‘Bat Out of Hell 11′ if a record company had their way. I would have more of these than the ‘Police Academy’ (movies)."
But he thinks "Hang Cool Teddy Bear" does, in fact, represent a turning point.
"The record has legs," he said. "That’s the thing about this record. Where other records I’ve made didn’t have legs — in fact, ‘Bat Out of Hell 2′ didn’t have the legs that ‘Bat 1′ did.
"Word of mouth on this record is really unbelievable. I really think this could have longer legs."
The Rolling Stones are preparing to re-release their 1972 classic album "Exile On Main Street." Regarded as one of the greatest albums in rock ‘n’ roll history and one of the most defining of the Stones’ catalogue, "Exile On Main Street" will be re-released on May 18th. Fans will be treated to 10 new tracks, including "Plundered My Soul," "Dancing in the Light," "Following the River" and "Pass the Wine," as well as alternate versions of "Soul Survivor" and "Loving Cup."
To commemorate the release, The Rolling Stones have premiered their first video in years and it is a must see! The band’s rockin’ new single, "Plundered My Soul," off of the upcoming "Exile On Main Street – Deluxe Edition" can now be seen on Yahoo Music.
(I featured it here awhile back. Check my blog index)
The historic album from the English rock band will be available in the following formats:
- CD – Remaster of the original 18-track release.
- 2-LP – Original 18-track album on two 180-gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl LPs in gatefold sleeve.
- 2-CD Deluxe Edition – Original 18-track release and 10 special bonus tracks.
- 2-CD+DVD+2-LP Super Deluxe Package
The incredible "Exile On Main Street" Super Deluxe box set includes the re-released album on CD and with a bonus disc of 10 never-released tracks produced by Jimmy Miller, The Glimmer Twins and Don Was, a 64 page clothbound collector’s hardback book with photos from the Exile era, the double vinyl album in triple gatefold sleeve, a set of 4 postcards in an envelope and a DVD containing excerpts from the documentary Stones In Exile, the legendary "C—sucker Blues" (filmed on the Stones 1972 tour of Exile) and "Ladies and Gentlemen…The Rolling Stones." This limited edition box set is individually numbered and only available while supplies last.
Click for more great Rolling Stones pictures:
My family was against the Nazis and my mother went to jail for it.
VE Day in Germany — What’s to celebrate?
By MIKE STROBELToronto Sun
BERLIN, Germany — Victory in Europe Day! Party time. Break out the brass bands and the balloons.
Nein! Nicht! Dummkopf!
VE Day? What’s to celebrate? These guys lost, big time.
“You don’t see a single flag waving,” says Alex Petersen, 45, from Heidelberg.
We’re at the Brandenberg Gate, an icon of the Berlin Wall. Here Ronald Reagan told the Soviet boss: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Says Petersen: “The day the wall fell, Nov. 9, 1989, is the date we celebrate.”
Not the date they were whipped. Not the dawn of TV buffoons like Sgt. Schultz, goose-stepping movie villains, the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld, and Inglourious Basterds.
Hard to party with a guilty conscience.
“When you are German, you grow up with the stigma,” says Petersen.
“Wherever you go in the world, especially in Europe, people think ‘Nazi.’
“Our collective guilt will never go away. Young students still have it, though a little less.”
“It’s weird. I love my country so much and I cannot believe what we did. But it’s part of my history.”
Same even for Barrie teacher Christa Culhane, 35. Her maiden name is Goebel. Too close for comfort to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi nutbar.
Says Ms Culhane: “My dad was born in 1949 so he had nothing to do with it. I was born in Canada, so I had nothing to do with it.
“Still, a little part of me feels bad.”
Her maternal grandfather had three tanks blown out from under him by the Nazis, enroute to helping liberate Holland. He used to call her dad “that goddamn German.”
For decades, German flag-wavers were scarce at Olympics and other venues of national pride.
That changed when Germany hosted soccer’s World Cup in 2006, and finished third.
German nationalism was reborn. (Oh, no, not again?!)
The Commonwealth war cemetery nestles in the Grunewald Forest, in west Berlin. Here, 527 Canadians lie, mostly flyers downed in bombing raids.
Under the horse chestnut trees and maples, I find Berlin’s only VE Day ceremony — for 800 students from Canada.
Canada’s top soldier and Germany’s second-in-command are there. But first, the kids.
The group I’m shadowing, EF Educational Tours, has brought them here to plant maple leaf flags at the graves.
“You always see Germans as monsters,” says Alex Meisner, 15, of Eastdale Collegiate, Oshawa. “But mostly they’re just people who got hurt by the war, too.”
“I think we’ve forgiven them,” says Viraj Samani, 17, of Maxwell Heights Secondary School in Oshawa.
“You can’t judge them as individuals because of what they did as a country. And they’ve learned from it.”
Quite true. Every German schoolkid has been to a concentration camp. Good thing, to counter the neo-Nazis who pop up like weeds here.
No skinheads at the war cemetery, unless you count my shaved pate.
The kids mob Gen. Walter Natynczyk, 51, Canada’s chief of defence staff. Charismatic son of a gun.
His mom was in the German air force. He’s named after an uncle who died on the Russian front. On the other hand, his Polish dad fought the Nazis in a tank.
“Everyone has their ghosts,” he tells me. “What occurred was awful.
“But it’s a different time.”
Says German Cpl. Paul Muller, 19: “That was a long time ago.”
Now, Germans and Canadians are fighting and dying together in Afghanistan.
“We’ve lost seven in the past few weeks,” Generalleutnant Johann-Georg Dora, 61, tells me. He’s vice-chief of the German forces.
Eons ago, his dad shouted Nazi slogans when his POW ship landed in New York. His dad’s parents died in the bombing of Nuremberg.
“But my father learned democracy from you in North America.”
“History has turned around. What Germany did, especially to the Jews, cannot be forgotten.
“And I can see a time, maybe in five or 10 years, when we will celebrate VE Day, even here.”
But not yet. I’ve put away my party hat.
Meantime, the west has someone else to view with fear and suspicion: Muslims.
Click on link to view video.
YouTube – Rolling Stones – She was Hot !
The most Brilliant video the stones ever produced.
SLAIN CANADIAN SAILOR’S BODY RETURNS HOME
By JEROME LESSARD, QMI Agency
CFB TRENTON, Ont. – Among those saluting the flag-draped casket of Petty Officer Craig Blake, as it was taken from a plane and into a hearse on the runway of CFB Trenton on Thursday, was a former roommate of the young sailor.
Paul Bastiaanssen roomed with Blake on the HMCS Gatineau when they served on it together several years ago.
"When you spend six months on a ship with the same guys you quickly develop meaningful friendships," said Bastiaanssen, standing by the gates of the Ontario military base. "I feel for his family today. It’s very emotional to be standing here and see the casket coming out."
Blake, a 37-year old Simcoe native, was killed by a roadside bomb Monday, about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City.
He had only been in Afghanistan a couple of weeks.
Blake’s death brings to 143 the number of Canadian soldiers who’ve died as part of the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.
His body was repatriated on Thursday, driven down the familiar route of the Highway of Heroes from CFB Trenton to Toronto, where throngs of supporters once again waved flags from overpasses.
Tim Gibbons usually watches the procession from one of those overpasses, but this time the Nova Scotia native wanted to get a little closer, standing with hundreds of others along Repatriation Row, just outside the base’s main gates.
"It’s really special to be here today as Blake was based in Nova Scotia. We just wanted to honour the sacrifices made by our soldiers as we have that connection with the military," Gibbons said.
Copyright © 2010 Toronto Sun All Rights Reserved
Click on link (first line) to view entire story:
Canadian killed by IED in Afghanistan – News – MSN CA
A member of the Canadian navy was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan Monday, the first sailor to die in action since October 2004.
Some truth inside the satire as well. Always good to poke fun at oneself, yes?