Who better than Grammy winner Meat Loaf (aka Marvin Lee Aday) to serve up a dish of career advice to the singing stars of tomorrow, like American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katharine McPhee?
"If you want to do this, you're going to have to know that you're going to [be] up and down and up and down, and that people are going to hate you and love you and hate you," the husky howler shared with reporters shortly after performing a duet of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" with McPhee on the Idol finale last week.
"Stay with it and keep doing it," he advised, adding, "It's all I know. I don't know how to do anything else!"
Of course, having a "just in case" back-up career isn't an entirely bad idea, says the 58-year-old singer. "If I'd had another life, I'd have been a [high-school] history teacher and football coach," he reflects.
Meat Loaf almost got a chance to live half of that dream about a decade ago when he was coaching a high-school girls' softball team. "The athletic director said to me, 'We're changing head football coaches. Would you like to put in your résumé?' I said, 'No, but if you'd asked me before I [went into music] I would have said yes!'"
When queried how "marketable" Hicks and McPhee each will be to the music-buying public, Meat Loaf initially drew a blank. "Let's call in a marketing person," he quipped.
One thing's for sure: The rocker has a severe case of "McPheever." "I kept calling in and voting for Katharine just so you know that," he went on the record saying. "She's gorgeous and beautiful. You know what they say: Sex sells!"
What about Hicks? "I'm not sure how sexy he is," Meat Loaf muses. "But he's got gray hair, and that's cool."
Speaking of advice, Meat Loaf would be happy to be on the receiving end, specifically about how to conquer his stage fright. Just moments after their duet, he admitted to being so fearful that he couldn't exactly recall their performance and not just because he was blinded by her beauty.
"I swear to god I've been trying to remember what we did," he shared. "I remember thinking, 'How much longer do I have [before we go on]?' They said one minute and 45 seconds. And that's the last thing I remember until I was walking off the stage. I thought I was going to pass out. I'm not kidding. I cried like a baby. I'm surprised I didn't have a heart attack."
Meat Loaf, ever the gentleman, gave McPhee a heads-up as to his particular style. As the songstress herself told reporters, "We were doing a music rehearsal, and he was there in my face [imitating Meat Loaf], 'It's! All! Coming! Back! To! Me! Now!' I was like, 'Ah, they warned me he'd be like that really out there but I didn't know [until it happened]."
Both singers were pleased with the end result. "I'd never sung that song live before," Meat Loaf says. "It was [almost] more than I could take. I felt like I had an alien busting out of my chest!"
How was it decided that Meat Loaf and McPhee would perform his song, made famous by Celine Dion, as opposed to one of his other hits, say, "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights?" "The problem would be coming up with a two minute and 40 second version of that song," he notes. "On the radio, ["Paradise"] is eight minutes; live, it's 22 minutes. That's the way it goes."
Next up for Meat Loaf is promoting his new album Bat out of Hell III. "I'm an emotional guy," he says. "I cry a lot. And I was listening to the new record on a Sunday afternoon in my house, and it was so good, I cried." Meat Loaf compares the CD to its predecessor. "To mention it in the same ballpark [as the first one] is astounding," he says. "[But] I will mention it. Bat III is better than Bat II."
Meat Loaf for a time, at least was rather displeased that one of the new tracks "The Monster's Loose" was leaked out on the Internet. "But then people started to like it, so I went, 'Oh, OK. I'm not angry anymore.'"
One last bit of advice the rocker has for the Idol singers for finding longevity in the business is to keep a sense of humor. Although he didn't have any food-related nicknames to suggest for either Hicks or McPhee, he did say that he's going to be changing his own handle very shortly.
"I'm going to be named an honorary knight by the Queen [of England]," he says. "I'm changing my name to 'Loin.' So I'm going to be 'Sir Loin.'"
Comedy like that is rare, folks.