Yesterday, Unfair Park received a press release from the offices of legendary publicist Ken Sunshine bearing the, well, news that Meat Loaf has filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles. And what's bugging the former Marvin Aday, graduate of good ol' Thomas Jefferson High School? Seems his old pal and songwriting partner Jim Steinman (and former manager David Sonenberg) is laying claim to the title Bat Out of Hell, which Loaf wants to use once more when he releases--or tries to, looks like--Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose in October. There's nothing uglier than when two old friends turn on each other; after all, Steinman is the man about whom Loaf told Rolling Stone in 1993, "Nobody writes like Jim Steinman. All these things--bombastic, over the top, self-indulgent--all these things are positives."
Theories abound as to how their friendship fell apart. Some speculate it has to do with the fact Steinman wasn't asked to work on the new disc, which includes appearances by the likes of original 1977 Bat Out of Hell producer Todd Rundgren, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and Queen's Brian May. But Steinman probably never got that invite because in 1995, Loaf's attorney claims, Steinman filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office an application to trademark for the phrase "Bat Out Of Hell," which, apparently, he received. In the press release, Loaf's attorney, Skip Miller, says, "Meat Loaf will not be bullied by anyone. He will continue to use the title Bat Out of Hell in any way he wants. Meat Loaf has made every effort to bring Steinman into the creation of Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose." Meat wants $50 million too. Who doesn't?
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By the way, to those who have asked when Unfair Park will resume posting about the history of Dallas music--of which Meat Loaf's a slice--we'll begin again some time this week or whenever I get sleep, whichever comes first. --Robert Wilonsky