If you come away from this Monday's episode of House without recognizing the actor who played the central patient, Meat Loaf will consider his guest-star turn a job well done.
"I started as an actor," not a musician, he points out. "People don't realize it, but I did the Rocky Horror movie before [the album] Bat Out of Hell." And when he tells people he was in Fight Club, some tend to doubt him. (He played Bob.)
Relishing his ability to vanish into a role, he says, "My ideal situation is for people to watch House ... and not even know it's me."
Meat Loaf checks into the hit Fox drama as a long-ailing man whose caretaker wife has suddenly collapsed. (To play sick, the actor-rocker cops to taking pointers from Ted Danson on Damages.) Mysteriously, the husband gets better as his Mrs. gets sicker. It all makes for a good case for Dr. House, as well as a perfect fit for House and one of its biggest fans.
"I love House," Meat Loaf says. "I mean, the storylines are amazing. They're very intriguing. And I love [Hugh Laurie's] character."
He also loves Laurie's piano-playing, so much that during his guest gig he invited the Brit to tickle the ivories for his next album, which is now in the works.
"I have a song that is just piano, so I wrote [Hugh] a little note saying, 'This is a demo and I'd love for you to play on it.' I wasn't going to [pester] him and go, 'Did you hear the demo?' And the next day on the set, he said, 'Are you kidding me? Yes, I'll play.' So I'm hoping that happens."
As for what happens during his House stay that has Fox's promo department touting the episode as "The One that Changes Everything," Meat Loaf says that's "a hard one to answer without giving anything away." He can reveal, though, that he worked with Laurie, Jennifer Morrison and two other main characters, and that "the whole storyline is about redemption."
And what would Meat Loaf do if he ever was tended to in real life by a doc as demeaning as House? "I'd take him out," he admits. "But I'm ornery!"