The Twisted Bell

Mike'N'Meat Rare Trax

Date: Thu, 28 Apr 1994 14:32:35 +1000
Subject: Bells Out of Hell (Was Re: Golden Walrus Awards)

Paul & Rory present your worst nightmare...

>8. Islands (title track)
>Look, I just hate Bonnie Tyler, okay? (What's next - a guest vocal
>by Meat Loaf?)

VIRGIN CDV2877 BELLS OUT OF HELL Meatloaf and Mike Oldfield

You're sure that's not a J&B release, Paul?

track list unavailable, but rumored to contain:

"You took the Incantations right out of my Mouth" "Bells out of Hell" (Tubular Harley mix)

and also the track Mike wrote in 1987, when he was going through the heavy masochistic stage:

"Tubular Balls"

Now available on bootleg CD (Oh Boy! Records, Luxembourg): "Mike'N'Meat Rare Trax Volume 3" (produced by Jim Steinman, 1994 remixes by The Orb) - studio outtakes from 1986 (you always wondered what Mike was up to between "Pictures in the Dark" and "Islands"? Here's your answer):

1. I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)

An early version. Meat's voice was still shot to hell, so Mike sampled his grating vocal chords, fed them through a vocoder, and layered over 68 guitars and African drumming by Jabula. Number 1 in Burkina Faso.

2. The weird bit in the middle of side two of "Hergest Ridge"

Meat tries his hand at "scat" singing as back-up to Maddy Prior, but halfway through the track gets bored and eats David Bedford (the real reason why the Orchestral HR was never released).

3. Hiawatha (Two Out of Three Ain't Bad)

A great video on this one - selected scenes from "The Space Movie", with Meat in a space-suit launching a Harley into geostationary orbit.

4. In High Places

Mike wasn't quite happy with Jon Anderson's version, and tried a remake with Meat on vocals. Three takes given on the CD, the first two breaking down when Meat's voice cracks on the word "exultation", the third almost complete until Meat sits on the Fairlight.

5. Etude (from "The Killing Fields")

An instrumental in the final film, this originally featured a scorching Meat vocal (and the title "You're a bitch and I hate you, but hey, that's rock'n'roll"). Dropped when David Puttnam insisted he didn't want Meat doing a cameo in the touching scene where Sam Waterston is reunited with Hang S. Ngoir. The cut scenes eventually made it into "The Rocky Horror Picture Show 3: Holiday in Cambodia" (1989, released straight to video).

6. Arrival

Features not only Meat but Agnetha and Frida from Abba on vocal chants. Amusing studio patter at the fade-out when Meat says "Hey, I hear you Swedish babes make really great videos, heh heh heh".

7. Amarok (final section)

As with "The Bell" (TB2), Mike tried a few different voiceovers on this one before settling on the Maggie-impersonator. This boot features not only Meat's version but also Bobcat Goldthwait's.

8. Pictures in the Dark (Are Closer Than They Appear)

The video for this was a first: raw footage of Meat eating Aled Jones during the recording session was run backwards so that it looks like he's actually regurgitating him. The video cost a record five billion trillion pounds (all but thirty thousand of which were damages awarded to Aled's Mum and Dad).

The planned album (tentative title "Five Meals Out") was shelved when Mike suffered a temporary nervous breakdown. These recording sessions also go some way towards explaining Mike's religious phase of 1987-onwards...


Date: Tue May 27 11:06:47 1997
Subject: Mike'n'Meat Rare Trax

Paul wrote:

And not forgetting the artistic collaboration Mike'n'Meat: "Rare Trax Vol. 3" (Well, Rory, you were talking about revisiting old successes :)

Ahh, yes. Now there's a thread that could stand a revival... just rereading it in my personal archives brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat (probably a bit of hamburger going down the wrong way).

Good grief, do you realise it's been three years since that thread? Time flies when you're having fun...

Of course you realise it's now up to vol. 4. That's right, Mike Oldfield and Meat Loaf headed back into the studio recently for old times' sake. And what a corker of a bootleg has resulted!

Mike 'n' Meat "Rare Trax Vol. 4" (Eat to the Beat Records, Tumbarumba NSW) CD-EATMEAT2.

1. 'Wild Goose de Foie Gras' (Oldfield/Loaf). Mike's soulful guitar blends nicely with the sound of Meat Loaf force-feeding the eponymous bird. Mike commented, "I recently started doing Tai Chi and this is actually a warm-up exercise." "Yeah," added Meat Loaf, "it's what we in the biz refer to as a canape. A taster for the rest of the album."

2. 'Let There Be Loaf (BT's Stuffin' Mix)' (Oldfield/Loaf/Transeau). "Here I am reaching totally new levels," Mike says. "I wanted to make a record which all generations like, up to the kids in the clubs." An accident during recording, with Meat Loaf mistaking Brian Transeau for a four-seasons pizza, fortunately did not affect the final track. "Brian had left his drum machine running," Mike noted, "so we were able to finish without him."

3. 'She Moves Through the Fair' (Traditional arr. Oldfield/Loaf). Mike says, "This is a traditional Irish tune which my Dad would always sing every Christmas after a few glasses of wine. So I gave Meat Loaf a few glasses of wine and sat back to see what resulted." Meat's singing is a flabbergasting blend of half-remembered lines from old 'Bat Out of Hell' favourites, the traditional tune 'Why Was He Born So Beautiful', and insults shouted at the bagpipe player in the next recording booth.

4. 'The Songs of Roger Whittaker' (Whittaker arr. Oldfield). Mike says, "It was the title of this particular album which attracted me. It's intrinsically musical, a natural starting point. I have avoided trying to tell its story in step-by-step fashion though. This track follows the album loosely, is based around it, but is actually a thematic piece inspired by Whittaker's work in general. And Meat does a great job on the whistling solos."

5. 'Sibelius's 5th Symphony' (Sibelius arr. Oldfield). Mike fulfils a childhood dream by recording his version of the final movement of Sibelius's classic.

"When I was 16 there was one particular piece of music I liked, by Sibelius - his 5th Symphony. The last movement starts off as a very fast stream, bubbly and tumbling. It's like a child running to get its birthday present - it has that sense of excitement... Then there's this fantastic tune which reminds me of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time... It grows and grows until it's virtually bursting - then there are these 10 big notes from the whole orchestra and a final thunderclap."

Meat spoke of the challenges of providing a vocal accompaniment: "The child-running bit was tricky - it took me about ten minutes to get up to speed - but the rest was easy. The first time he met me, Mike said I reminded him of the Grand Canyon. And of course I have no trouble growing and growing until I'm virtually bursting. As for the final thunderclap - well, I'll leave that to your imagination. Heh."

6. 'Meat St. Michel' (Oldfield). Mike considers this the central piece of the album. "I wanted to try to use this piece to tell the story of Mont St. Michel, a medieval castle in Brittany. I was fascinated by the new Burger King they've set up in the east wing. In this piece I've tried to convey a sense of food and eating, with an emphasis on quantity, to show the amount consumed by the castle's inhabitants over the years. To do that I recorded Meat's rumbling stomach and mixed it with a sample from the latest Chemical Brothers album, layering the whole thing over an orchestral backing by the LSO. The result is, I hope, an overwhelming gustatory experience." Meat Loaf added: "I really dig the way it sounds like an enormous burp."

The Twisted Bell

©2001 Rory Ewins