The ‘Celebrating Meat Loaf’ tour starts on Sat 20th May at Oxford’s New Theatre and culminates in London at Indigo at The O2 on Sat 27th May. Created & produced by Meat Loaf’s long-time record producer/music director/guitarist Paul Crook, this is the only band that was officially endorsed by Meat Loaf. For tickets you can visit here: https://myticket.co.uk/artists/BAT
Paul Crook (long time Meat Loaf guitarist and producer) tells Music Crowns all about the new UK tour.
Hi Paul, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Paul.
I am a strict vegan. Love my family, friends, animals (especially dogs) & guitars.
When did you come up with the concept for the ‘Celebrating Meat Loaf’ tour?
Thank you for this question.
It’s important that anyone reading this knows that we (Neverland Express) are not trying to capitalize off of the passing of our beloved Boss.
This venture began 4 yrs ago… with the full blessing of Meat Loaf.
In June, 2016, Meat Loaf collapsed on stage in Edmonton. From there we had to cancel the entire BRAVER THAN WE ARE tour that was set to begin that August. It’s now, May 2017… we still haven’t gotten back to work. Me, being the music director, started to panic… we were losing the band. I had to get us working. I made it a mission to get us on the road. I called Meat with the idea of hitting the road with another frontman. The thought was to keep the machine moving so that when he was ready, he could simply fly out and join us (unannounced). There would be no pressure… if at 8pm he is in some type of discomfort, he wouldn’t have to perform. No one would know he was even in the building. The opposite… Meat would simply walk out without any introduction. It would be a surprise Meat Loaf show. This unfortunately never happened. He was a BIG guy for most of his life. He put himself through a lot. He simply couldn’t get himself road-ready to the point where he felt he could deliver his show. Meat loved the stage. He gave it everything he had every time he stepped on it. Anyway…. after a supportive conversation with my Boss, I began the search for a singer.
Cut to the chase… Caleb and I connect. We immediately record the entire BAT OUT OF HELL album with the thought of using it as a soundtrack for the show, but most importantly, we needed music to create video adverts. This was 2018. We lost our Boss, Jan 20, 2022. We decided to take a good look at the recordings. Re-do somethings, re-mix and re-master. We also decided to spend a good amount of time, money on the artwork. Meat loved his album covers. We wanted to create something that we thought would make him smile. The Neverland Express teamed with Deko Records and we released:
PARADISE FOUND: Bat Out Of Hell Reignited. It is a loving rerecord of Meat and Jim’s BAT OUT OF HELL album. Which is still in the top 5 greatest selling albums list of all-time.
The Neverland Express + Caleb
Johnson NEVER STOP ROCKIN’ TOUR hits the UK in May, 2023.
Head to: www.celebratingmeatloaf.com for your dates
American Idol winner, Caleb Johnson is bringing his own unique vocals to Meat Loaf’s hits; can you tell us a little bit about Caleb?
Caleb, simply put, is incredible. He is very much like Meat… he is a true Southern gentleman with a big voice. Meat loved Caleb’s vibe & voice. So much so, that Meat invited Caleb to perform on TV with him (us). Besides a small house party at John Rich’s place (Country Music Star)… This TV show ended up being Meat Loaf’s last performance. You can find it on YouTube. Search MEAT LOAF ON HUCKABEE.
When was the first time you played in the UK? Do you have a particular area that you have a special connection with?
I first performed in the UK with the band ANTHRAX in ‘94. I’m not sure of the date… but, I did spent a bit of time in Buckinghamshire in the late 80’s working with my good friend, Blues guitar great, Bernie Marsden. I feel a connection there. I also feel connected in Manchester and London. Probably because I’ve spent so much time in both of those cities.
We saw that Brian May recently posted about the tour, tell us a little bit about that, have you ever played with Brian May?
Sir Bri is part of the Meat Loaf family. There is a strong bond here… he has played on a few Meat Loaf albums as well. I started working with Queen in 2004. They hired me to play guitar for the Las Vegas version of their WE WILL ROCK YOU musical. Bri and I have been tight friends since then. Meat Loaf & Bri go way back, obviously. John Miceli (drummer) who you will see at all of the UK shows, was also hired to perform in the WE WILL ROCK YOU musical. Bri loves Miceli… John plays on most of Bri’s solo releases these days.
Do you have any other projects at the moment you would like to tell us about?
Thank you for this question.
I’ve been developing a young artist named KILEY BAXTER.
We began working together 4 yrs ago. She is now 18yrs old.
Meat saw Kiley’s potential…. This was obvious because you can see her on the Huckabee show as well.
She had a small feature vocal on the song, LOS ANGELOSER
Kiley is a phenomenal talent. You will see her at all of our UK shows in May.
She has gathered a huge following on both TikTok and Instagram.
Kiley will be releasing original music in a few months. You can follow her here: https://kileybaxter.com
Thank you for the questions.