Singer Meat Loaf fears he won't make it to the end of 2021 following the loss of his longtime rock collaborator Jim Steinman, because they "belonged heart and soul" to one another.
The hitmaker and producer passed away from kidney failure on Monday (19Apr21), aged 73, and after initially paying a brief tribute to his "brother Jimmy" online, Meat Loaf has poured out his emotions in a phone interview with Rolling Stone, which spanned two days as the star struggled to come to terms with the loss.
At the end of the first chat, Meat Loaf "broke down and sobbed uncontrollably", exclaiming, "Oh my God! I haven't cried until now. It just hit me. Oh my God! It's horrible!"
During the calls, the musician remembered how they first met on the New York theatre scene in 1973, and forged a lifelong professional partnership which would result in their first collaborative release, the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell - even though every record label executive tried to convince the singer to dump Steinman from his team, including music mogul Clive Davis.
"Clive Davis was the worst. He told us in his office how bad we were," Meat Loaf shared. "He said, 'You don't know how to write a song.' And people just wanted to sign me... I went, 'Stop it! This is not happening! I'm not leaving Jim!' They go, 'Then you'll never make a record.'"
The pair proved the critics wrong, and went on to create another classic with 1993's Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which spawned the smash hit single, I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That).
Meat Loaf reveals they had also planned to work together on 2006's Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose, but Steinman had been too ill to join him in the studio after facing a series of health crises, including a stroke and open heart surgery.
The project would spark a legal battle between the two parties, but Meat Loaf claims it was their managers who went head-to-head in court over the series title's trademark, which was owned by Steinman, insisting, "My heart never sued Jim. And I know Jim's heart never sued me."
They remained in touch until the end, but only grew closer during the final years of Steinman's life as Meat Loaf struggled with his own back problems, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck: "When we got together, I made him happy. I made him laugh," he said. "And his nurse would call and I'd talk to him on the phone via FaceTime during COVID. His brain was there. He was trapped inside a body. For somebody like that, he was very spirited. He held it together. But it was hard because he was so weak."
Calling Steinman "the centrepiece" to his life, Meat Loaf admitted they were two parts of the same person, and without his old pal, he may not survive.
He added, "I don't want to die, but I may die this year because of Jim. I'm always with him and he's right here with me now. I've always been with Jim and Jim has always been with me.
"We belonged heart and soul to each other. We didn't know each other. We were each other."