Meat Loaf  is hoping that "Hang Loose, Teddy Bear" will have a life beyond its musical incarnation.
The 13 songs on the new album, which comes out May 11 in North America, are companion pieces to a short story written by screenwriter director Kilian Kerwin about a wounded soldier whose thoughts are flashing forward to a future that may never be. "It's the synopsis for a screenplay," Meat Loaf tells Billboard.com, and there have already been discussions about taking the project to a cinematic level.
"We've had meetings about it," says Meat Loaf, which debuted at No. 4 on the U.K. charts after its April release there. "Without beating us over the head, basically what they've said is, 'Let's see what kind of reception you get with your record and then we'll talk from there.' They didn't say that, but all you've got to do is read between the lines, and that's what it is. So we'll see."
Meanwhile, Meat Loaf is anxious for fans on this side of the pond to get an earful of "...Teddy Bear," which was produced by Rob Cavallo and features songs by Jon Bon Jovi , Justin Hawkins (the Darkness, Hot Leg), Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida, Switchfoot 's Jon Foreman, Desmond Child , "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi , James Michael and newcomer Rick Brantley. Guests include DioGuardi, Jack Black, Patti Russo, guitarists Brian May of Queen  and Steve Vai , actor Hugh Laurie and Meat Loaf's daughter Pearl Aday.
"Sonically, this record is so far removed from any album I've ever done before, and I wanted it that way," explains Meat Loaf, dismissing some comparisons that have been made to his "Bat Out of Hell" series. "I wanted it to be more organic. I wanted the songs to be about a human condition as opposed to always attempting to get laid, 'cause that's basically what ('Bat' partner Jim) Steinman writes about. Every song with him is about the anticipation of getting laid or wanting to get laid, which is not a bad thing, but everythig is about sex. This one is not. This is about the human condition. The lyrical structures, the character structures, are completely different on this. It's an emotional wave that rides a different side of the brain. It really is a departure."
Meat Loaf, who recorded "...Teddy Bear's" basic tracks live in the studio, says he and his band have already worked up seven of the new songs for a tour that begins July 3 in Gilford, N.H., including the first single, "Los Angeloser." But he also promises that the show will "also cover every record I've ever done," including the "Stoney & Meatloaf" album he and Shaun Murphy (Bob Seger, Little Feat) released in 1971 on Motown. "It's very ambitious," he notes. "I'm not gonna tell you how we're doing that, but I am hitting every (album) we've ever recorded." He also promises "one big surprise (song) that I've sworn over and over again I would never do live, but my guitar player and Patti Russocame up with an arrangement of the song I cannot resist, so we're finally doing it."
Meat Loaf will perform "Los Angeloser" and "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights" when he hawks a special edition of "Hang Cool, Teddy Bear" at noon Tuesday on QVC.
- News