Meat Loaf, best known for his two multi-platinum selling albums, Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II, has become the entertainment industry’s jack of all trades. “I have done everything from hosting ‘Rock & a Hard Place’ to ‘Othello,’” Meat admits.
“Rock & a Hard Place,” Season II, premiered at 9 p.m. ET/Pacific Oct. 21 on Direct TV’s 101 Network; it is commercial free. The game show pits bands against each other in a contest of trivia knowledge. Each band earns money for its favorite charity.
Meat Loaf confesses that preparing to host a game show is much different than taking center stage in a rock concert or staring in a movie.
“You don’t have very much preparation time, actually,” he says. “I don’t find out until that day who is going to be on the show. They send you a list, but then all of a sudden, this band, or that band, has fallen out, and they have replaced them with another band.”
Once the schedules were put together, Meat was surprised to find out he was going to be working with several of his entertainment industry friends on “Rock & a Hard Place.”
“Even though you have been around them before, you really have no idea what they have done in the past,” he says. “I was really good friends with Isaac Hayes, who recently passed away. Even though I had been around him a lot, I had no idea about the stuff that he did. You know people, but you don’t go out to dinner and tell them what you have done in your career. They start listing all the stuff that Ray Parker and Tony Orlando have done and you go, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that. That’s cool.’ You get to talk to them about those things. I found out things about people that I have known for 30 years that I had no clue about.”
Bands compete against each other, answering general knowledge trivia questions. As the show progresses, though, none are prepared for the kazoo.
Meat Loaf explains, “The kazoo is the finale of every show. We give the contestant a song, and I would say that one out of every four songs, they don’t know the song. We have an iPod, and we cue it up and play them the song. A couple of times we have switched songs, but most of the time we make them stay with the song, and they have to find a chorus or a melody line. They start trying to play the song on the kazoo, and their teammates look at them like they have swallowed a whole duck. If they don’t get it, then they have to turn around and play it for the other team.”
Unlike game-show stalwarts Pat Sajak or Bert Convy, Meat Loaf breaks out of traditional roles, even sneaking correct answers to contestants.
“I get to help them out, because this is for charity,” says Meat Loaf. “Once in a while, I will go over to their desk, and I will have the answer on a card. I will put the card down with the answer face up. I have done that two or three times, and they still get the question wrong. They are not thinking that I would do that — I don’t point it out to them. I just go over and leave the card face up on their desk. Sometimes, their teammates will look down and see it. They can’t talk so they try to get their attention to look at the card. I have fun with it, and I get to use my dark sense of humor in a Don Rickles, National Lampoon way where nothing is sacred. I give the contestant a hard time, but they know I am not being serious.”
While “Rock & a Hard Place” allows Meat Loaf to have fun and raise money for charity, he still remains active in both film and music. A year ago, however, his future in the music industry was in jeopardy.
“I had a complete breakdown in front of 16