Sales of the music of Meat Loaf, who died on 20 January 2022 aged 74, have surged over the last week. Patti Russo, who Meat Loaf described as “his rock,” remembered her audition in a MetalTalk interview of 2014.
Bat Out Of Hell has re-entered the UK charts at number three, its highest ever placing, and Billboard magazine has reported a 2,583% increase in streams.
Meat Loaf described Patti Russo as “his rock” while Patti, who joined the Neverland Express band in 1993, said her time with Meat Loaf was “life-changing” in a 2014 interview with MetalTalk’s Mark Taylor.
“It was crazy,” she said. “Talk about cutting the queue to the front of the line. Doing a world tour, number one album, number one song, it was insane. Absolutely, life-changing.”
In ’93, Patti was working in a beauty salon and had bought cigarettes and a paper, where she saw an audition advert working with an unnamed singer. “I had just done Dick Clark’s music challenge, which was like your X Factor. I was on ABC television where I got to sing one of my own songs, rocking it out. I called to see who the audition was for, they asked for film footage, so I had a great, great clip.”
Patti had a dramatically short haircut. “The problem was that being in a hair salon, you get bored,” she said. “So I decided, and this was only after the fact that I had all these headshots taken with the long hair looking so smart, that the one day, screw it, let’s whack it off.”
There were a couple of auditions. “I had to go in there with short hair sounding like Joan Rivers or Fran Drescher from The Nanny,” she said, “and the first audition was really cool. Second audition, I didn’t get the memo because I walked in, and there were all these women dressed in white, and I’m walking around…in black and so that was kind of bizarre.”
Patti told how she did not think she had got the gig. “I didn’t think I had it. I think there was someone definitely in contention, and I believe that this person was chosen, but she also had a record deal getting ready to happen. You know, the pen was in hand.”
Did Patti remember which songs she performed during the auditions?
“I think it may have been Oh! Darling,” she said, and of course, I had to do Paradise. Meatloaf was there. I don’t remember if I had to sing it with him.”
I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) was another song in the audition. The song was released in August 1993, with the vocal of Lorraine Crosby, who was credited as “Mrs. Loud” on the album.
“We took a [audition] break,” Patti said, “and I wanted to hear what the song was. Pretty much the whole break, we’re just waiting because the song is like 15 minutes long, for when the female vocal comes in. When I heard the song, I was like man, I’m going for it.”
Patti would work promoting the single with Meat Loaf.
“We could just beat off of each other,” Patti said, describing singing with Meat Loaf. “I mean, especially if it’s the duet, I’m kind of following him, and then eventually I come into my own. I always had a blast with Paradise too.”
Patti performed on Meat Loaf albums from 1995, wrote songs including Bring Me A Bible And A Beer and sang lead vocals with Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) and Queen.
The album Hits Out Of Hell is top five in the UK Chart, with ’93s Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell charting at 24.
Bat Out Of Hell has now spent 523 weeks in the charts. Only three studio albums have surpassed that figure: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, by Oasis.