Meat Loaf is remembering his late collaborator and friend, Jim Steinman. The songwriter, known for his long creative partnership with Meat Loaf that spawned hit albums like Bat Out of Hell, died from kidney failure on April 19 at age 73. Meat Loaf, the singer and actor a.k.a. Michael Aday, reflected on Steinman in an emotional, two-day interview with Rolling Stone. “We belonged heart and soul to each other,” he said. “We didn’t know each other. We were each other.” The performer told the magazine he got closer to Steinman in the songwriter’s final years, with the friends staying in touch over FaceTime during the COVID-19 pandemic. “After he died, his nurse, Mary Beth, left me a message saying how much he loved me. She said I was the one person he needed more than anyone else in his life,” Meat Loaf said. “I don’t want to die, but I may die this year because of Jim. I’m always with him and he’s right here with me now. I’ve always been with Jim and Jim has always been with me.”
The rocker also dispelled rumors of his arguments with Steinman over their partnership. “We only ever had one argument,” he told Rolling Stone. The actor André De Shields had performed Steinman’s song “For Crying Out Loud” before Meat Loaf, and without him knowing. When Steinman told Meat Loaf at a rehearsal, “I didn’t say anything at first,” Meat Loaf remembered. “But then I took the piano and turned it on its side. His feet were still on the pedals. He said, ‘What do we do now?’ I said, ‘I got chewing gum.’ And we put the piano back down, put the pedalboard back in, and held it in place with my chewing gum, and left.”
Meat Loaf went on to address his legal battles with Steinman over rights to their music. “We also never sued each other, no matter what people write. It’s a fuckin’ lie to say otherwise,” he said. “I never sued Jim. Jim never sued me. Our managers sued each other. But my heart never sued Jim. And I know Jim’s heart never sued me.” One of their lawsuits involved Bat Out of Hell III, the 2006 album Meat Loaf recorded without Steinman; the two resolved their dispute over Steinman’s trademarking of the phrase. Meat Loaf told Rolling Stone Steinman was slated to be involved in Bat Out of Hell III before his 2004 stroke.
As for the theatrical rock songs like “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” that made the pair famous? “I sang every song we ever did in character,” Meat Loaf said. “I left me. I was not method. I didn’t have to find something in my past life to be able to sing his songs. I became the song and he saw the ability for me to become the song.”