There must be easier parts to fill than that of 'Strat', the lead role in Jim Steinman's dystopian musical Bat Out Of Hell. After all, you've got to sing those songs. And those songs aren't easy. From All Revved Up with No Place Go to Dead Ringer For Love and I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), they're ambitious, stamina-testing, throat-shredding, near-operatic monsters.
Andrew Polec plays Strat. Born in Philadelphia, he grew up determined to play sport, but a serious bicycle accident forced him away from the playing field. He filled the gap with music, playing for local bands before moving to New York and auditioning for a Bat Out Of Hell workshop.
Now the musical is back for a second London run, playing at the Dominion Theatre (home for Queen's We Will Rock You musical for many years) until October. Tickets are on sale now.
We asked Andrew to offer 10 tips for singing like Meat Loaf without succumbing to serious injury. He's what he had to say...
1. "Before singing a single note - delve into the song’s story. When I first met Meat Loaf, he told me to own the Bat Out Of Hell songs - carve out my version of what they mean. Once it’s bonded to your DNA, take it for a ride and give it to the audience as a gift to make it their own."
2. "Act. Meat told me he considers himself an actor who sings. In order to really capture that “Meat Loaf Sound”, embrace the characters presented in his music. Put yourself in their tales. Create the world and stakes. Be more than just a singer on stage."
3. "Get physically fit. If singing was an Olympic Event, Meat Loaf would be a gold medalist. Jim Steinman songs are epically long - you run to hell and back. I took up long distance running and swimming so I could still breathe at the end of a number."
4. "Do your research. The countless youtube videos of Meat Loaf are gold. Each one teaches you something about his presence, focus, and the way he attacks his legendary tunes. He is a showman as well as a rockstar."
5. "Practice and build vocal stamina. The more you sing something, the more the song works itself into your body and muscle memory. You won’t nail a Meat Loaf song on the first try. It’s a lot of trial and error. After countless performances, I’m still learning."
6. "Warm up and warm down. Your voice is a muscle. Always be sure to stretch before and after you sing those big “meaty” tunes."
7. "Don’t be afraid of high notes. Embrace them. If you approach them with the right mindset, you and your audience will feel like they would do anything for love."
8. "Steam and drink water. A hydrated body is a happy body. Getting a steamer for your throat moisturizes your vocal chords and that is a game changer."
9. "Sleep. You need to recover when you’ve sung for hours and hours. Give your voice time to pull itself back together. There’s always tomorrow to improve."
10. "Trust your sound and love what you do. Realistically, no one can sound exactly like Meat Loaf. Enjoy the songs and focus on the passion that makes your heart beat faster. It’s all about the love of the music and for crying out loud Meat, we love you!"