melodicrock.com MEATLOAF BAT IN THE STUDIO WORKING ON STEINMAN SONGS FOR BRAVE AND CRAZY: Meat Loaf news! From: Sarah Walters speaks to Meat Loaf as he embarks on his final UK tour - Manchester Evening News. Meat Loaf: he's the towering tough man of hard rock famed for repeatedly cheating death – the self-proclaimed Bat Out Of Hell. And yet, he's currently struggling to hold back the tears. “You'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit emotional,” he says. “I've just been talking to someone about the fans. “There's a notion that people have about entertainers and how we're all spoiled and temperamental, and I'm not saying they're not out there. But the one thing that you'll never see from me is pictures of me walking out of a bar or getting in a fist fight, because my whole thing is about the audience. I'm very conscientious and very professional... Oh god,” he chokes, “my words won't come out.” Given this emotional outpouring, it's even more surprising to find that Meat (as he likes to be called) is about to give it all up. Or at least, give up touring. The 'wear and tear' of taking a massive show around the globe is one he can no longer endure; at 65 he has, after all, reached the age at which most of us are doing the final dash to our pension. His Last At Bat tour, arriving in Manchester on April 17, marks his final live outing in the UK. And to make it memorable for everyone involved, he's shaped the programme around iconic albums and greatest hits. Act one is about the big singles – with a strict rule it has to be post-Bat II, so think Dead Ringer For Love, I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), Objects In The Rear View Mirror – and act two is a never-done-before chronological run through his 1977 breakthrough album Bat Out Of Hell, complete with a video of album co-composer Jim Steinman kicking off the opening title track. “All I have to do is think about (final album song) For Crying Out Loud and I'm crying out loud,” he laughs. “It's my favourite song I've ever recorded. I think it could live forever. “But recording Bat almost killed me. I literally had a nervous breakdown from it. I was seeing a psychologist every day for six months because they wanted to call me a star, and I didn't want to be called a star. I thought I was an actor, I took characters on stage.” For his 11th album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, he shut himself in a studio with The Darkness' frontman Justin Hawkins and Jon Bon Jovi and was rewarded with Top 5 chart positions around the world. And his last album, Hell In A Handbasket, released just days after his 63rd birthday, saw him working with rapper and Beastie Boy Chuck D. The current artists he admires are people who do the same: Florence + The Machine, Foo Fighters and Adele are his tips for the iconic characters of the future, in part because they've been given the same chance to grow by their labels as he was. But also because they're real. Across 12 studio albums, Meat claims he's only ever let an engineer autotune a single note. “It was about four o'clock in the morning and we were working on this ballad and my voice was just giving out,” he confesses. “I was just a hair underneath the note and I said, 'Just push it'. But every other time, I've refused.” He has no plans to let them tweak him on album 13, Brave And Crazy, which sees him recording Jim Steinman tracks again. They're also working on a Las Vegas production, set for a four week residency, called Rocktails and Cocktails, which starts like an 1960s dance revue before Meat busts out from his secret seat in the audience to call a halt to the Broadway feel and get the rock show started. Why make another record? Because making music, he says, is something he can never put down. “Music is like being in jail,” he laughs. “It gets you into a whole lot of trouble and its hard to find a way out."