T-Shirt of the Week: WEEK 18

tsotw-button-3b.jpgSome people believe you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I believe you can tell more about a person by the t-shirts they have worn. This is the story of my life, as told by the t-shirts I have worn.

WEEK 18: People that know me fairly well know that I love Meat Loaf. I was a kid when he first became popular back in 1977 with his two hits, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” both from the album Bat Out of Hell. Back in those days, Meat Loaf kind of freaked me out. But by the time I got to college, I was no longer freaked out by this fat, sweaty monstrosity. One of my housemates, a cat from Pennsylvania named Tom Tobey, was really into Meat Loaf, and it was through him that I developed my appreciation.


Bat Out of Hell remains one of my favorite albums of all time—a fact that surprises many people—and I still listen to it regularly. Few albums spoke to me the way that one did when I was in my late teens, and that would probably be because nearly every one of Jim Steinman’s epic songs was about being a horny, teenage boy trying to get laid. So, of course I related, because I was the horniest of horny teenage boys. My continued love for the album speaks to either my state of arrested development, or my evolution from horny teenager to horny middle-age bastard, or both.

I bought this shirt at a Meat Loaf concert in New York City at the old Ritz (which, if I recall, was on 13th Street). I was going to the School of Visual Arts at the time, and living in this horrible apartment on 34th Street. The building was an old 14-story YMCA that was a combination of student housing, international hostel, and rooms for psychiatric out-patients. I lived on the 9th floor, in a room so small that if I stood in the middle with my arms stretched out, I could touch the walls on either side of me.

If my memory serves me correctly, the Meat Loaf concert was on either a Friday or a Saturday night. Ted Pirro, who has been one of my best friends since we were in fifth grade, took the train in from Connecticut so we could go to the show together. I honestly don’t remember where Ted slept, as there was not enough room in my space for two people (seriously).

The concert was amazing. Meat Loaf performed a set that was over two hours long, really giving it his all. The thing to keep in mind is that this was before the big comeback of Bat Out of Hell II, which thrust him back on to the scene. No, this was still when he was pretty much on the where-are-they-now list of faded stars. But that didn’t stop the show from being completely sold out, with one of the most rowdy, eclectic crowds I’ve ever been in. I swear I saw the guys from Anthrax and S.O.D. in the crowd. It was definitely an event.

I wore the shirt a few times, but it is a 50/50 cotton-polyester blend, and I hate those. Even when I was much thinner, it never fit that well (because a 50/50 XL is more like Large cotton). I always thought it was weird that at a Meat Loaf show there would only be shirts for small people. Mr. Loaf was the patron saint of fat rocker guys, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at his merchandising table.


A funny aside note: About a year before Ted and I went to see Meat Loaf at the Ritz in New York City, I met him at a movie theater in Westport, Connecticut. I was visiting my family in the summer of 1988, and me and my cousins went to go see Who Framed Roger Rabbit? on opening night. This is one of those things I remember vividly. The film was showing at the Fine Arts Cinema #3, and Meat Loaf and his family showed up just a few minutes before the movie started. I remember thinking, “Holy crap, that guy looks just like Meat Loaf.” After the movie I saw him outside the theater, and I walked up to him and said, “Are you who I think you are?”

He said, “Well, that depends, who do you think I am?”

I said, “It is you! I’m a huge fan.”

What’s you name?” he asked me.

“I’m David.”

“David, good to meet you. I’m Meat Loaf.”

And then I said the most retarded thing I’ve ever said to anyone famous; I looked at Meat Loaf and said, “Good to meet you. Keep on rockin’.”


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