Meat Loaf is obviously a legendary singer. His operatic vocals were a mainstay in my car as a teenager; you couldn’t go 10 minutes without hearing “Bat Out of Hell,” or “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” or “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” or “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (all from the same album!) on the radio. Not that I minded: his high-brow sleaze was a much-needed break from Foreigner and the Eagles.
But Meat Loaf, who sadly passed away at 74 years old this week, was also a talented actor, appearing in movies as diverse as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spice World, Fight Club, and Focus (which he called his best work), but my personal favorite is Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. It’s a short scene in the 2006 film where he plays young Jack Black’s god-fearing, rock-hating dad during “Kickapoo,” but it rules. He belts out lyrics like, “You’ll become a mindless puppet / Beelzebub will pull the strings,” and it’s not every day you get a song with Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio.
In 2006, Meat Loaf told MTV how his role in the Tenacious D movie came together. “For five years, Jack Black has been saying he wanted me to play his father. In every interview he did he always [said], ‘I’m gonna make the movie Tenacious D, and I want to make Meat Loaf play my father.’ Every interview,” he said. “And my daughters, Pearl and Amanda, they kept reading it and [would] call and say, ‘Jack said it again, Jack said it again.’ I said, ‘When he calls me, I’ll tell him I’ll do it.’ He did call. He called me himself.”
Black was the original choice to play the “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” singer in the VH1 made-for-TV movie Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back, but then there was a scheduling conflict and Black got mega-famous. Meat Loaf wasn’t upset, though:
I just saw him in movies that he had done, and I had heard some stuff from Tenacious D. I said, “This is the guy to play me. He’s got the energy, and he understands it.” He was going to [play me], then his career took off and [this] movie got postponed. He tried, and I said, “Well, the guy’s an idiot if he does it.” I said, “Let me see — a studio picture over the Meat Loaf story? Let me think about that for a minute. Gee, I don’t know, that’s a hard decision.”
The movie can still happen: cast Jack Black as Meat Loaf and Kyle Gass as Jim Steinman. I’d run to the theater to see that like a bat out of hell.
You can watch Meat Loaf’s scene in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny below.