Hang Cool Teddy Bear
, whose title was taken from a line in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
, is 13 tracks of classic Meat Loaf
, primed and ready for the 21st century. More than four decades into his career, the man and his voice are as big, bold and relevant as ever. Meat Loaf
's creativity was sparked by working with a new collaborator, producer Rob Cavallo
, My Chemical Romance
, Fleetwood Mac
), a lifelong Meat Loaf
fan who has worked with some of the most explosive names in rock music and who helped to foster a modern and contemporary vibe for the album. Of their relationship, Meat Loaf
said, "Rob is the number one rock producer in the world because he leaves his ego out of the equation and gives an artist his voice, making it sound better than the artist could even imagine."
Thematically, like most Meat Loaf albums, Hang Cool Teddy Bear has a larger concept and was inspired by a short story written by Los Angeles screenwriter, director and longtime Meat Loaf friend Kilian Kerwin.
"It's the story of a soldier," revealed Meat Loaf. "He's been in battle and he's lying face down on the ground. He can't move, but he turns his head and starts to see blood run across the ground, and so he thinks he's going to die. They always say you see your life flash backward when you're about to die. But his life flashes forward - into what possibly could happen. He sees what his life could be: the good and the bad. The songs are the different scenarios he finds himself in. It's not always the same time or the same place, but it's always the same woman. But I don't want to give too much away. I want people to work it out for themselves."
Hang Cool Teddy Bear also features a stellar array of big-name guests, including Steve Vai (who appears on "Love is Not Real"), former Queen guitarist Brian May (who appears on "Song of Madness" and "Love is Not Real"), American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi (who co-wrote and sings on "If I Can't Have You") and Hollywood star Jack Black, who duets with Meat Loaf on "Like a Rose". Additionally, English actor Hugh Laurie of TV's House fame has a cameo on the album, playing piano on "If I Can't Have You". The pair met after Meat Loaf guested on Laurie's hit series and discovered the star was a classically trained pianist.
For Hang Cool Teddy Bear, the singer enlisted elite musicians, including Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, who co-wrote two songs for the album, guitarists Tim Pierce, Paul Crook and Randy Flowers, legendary bass players Chris Chaney and Kasim Sulton, genius keyboardist Jamie Mulhoberac and the world's greatest rock drummer, John Micelli.