In the media: Patti Russo on turning 50 and going it alone (from The Argus)

By April 18, 2014 Media, News, Patti Solo No Comments

Brighton news website The Argus has published a great article about Patti and her current UK tour.

Former Meat Loaf collaborator Patti Russo on turning 50 and going it alone
Friday 18th April 2014
By Dominic Smith

Patti Russo’s blue-collar roar has been kept in check ahead of her first solo tour of the UK. But the Italian-American New Yorker can keep a lid on it only so long.

The former yin to Meat Loaf’s yang – a husky-voiced brunette who made 1980s teenagers dream of being the Bat Out Of Hell so they could duet with her on raunchy Paradise By The Dashboard Light – is not out for blood or blame.

She does, however, reveal it was a spat with her former boss which prompted her to take on a solo career aged 50.

“All I can say is it was like the ending of The Sopranos. You are like, ‘What? What just happened?’”

There is something seemingly tragic about the fact she’s eating pizza on a park bench in Marylebone when we chat. It’s as if she’s walked on to a Woody Allen set.

Not a jot of it, she says, sprinkling superlatives like olives on a 12-inch Neapolitan.

“I thought starting at 50 was crazy but let me tell you, it’s the human spirit. It is magical. Everything is lining up. It’s un-be-liev-able. I can’t make it up. It’s what fairytales are made of. I’ve looked at it and thought this is insane – in a good way.”

Meat fans have already come to England from Germany and Holland to hear the trademark Russo purrs backed by the SAS band (Queen keyboard player Spike Edney’s All Star Band sans Spike).

She’s tackling her own stuff – Meat fans’ faves such as Bring Me A Bible And A Beer – tracks by her heroes she’s worked with, including Cher and Queen (Brian May picked Russo to star in the Las Vegas run of We Will Rock You), and her own loves such as River Deep Mountain High (“It’s a rocking track. It moves great. And it’s Tina and she rules”).

Russo, the daughter of a hard-working single mother waitress, raves about the fans.

“They really stick by you. A lot of them have become like family and some of them I’ve known since I started with Meat Loaf. I’ve seen their children grow up. It’s amazing. There has always been a family vibe within the Meat Loaf camp, as well as with the fans. It’s heartwarming.”

Yet Russo and Meat had already parted company once before in their 20-year “professional marriage”.

She admits she’s been married to her career – and, like most relationships, it’s had its ups and downs.

“I walked away in 2006 and stayed very quiet about it. He publicly apologised when I came back in 2008 and justified my reasoning for leaving.”

She stayed quiet because she’s “not one to sit there wave the flag”.

Currently things with the ghost-hunting rocker are “unusual”. She quotes the title of the Jim Steinman-penned number from Bat Out Of Hell III – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be.

That Loaf ended things again last July by email irked the singer.

“It doesn’t make any sense. It was no reason to tell somebody that the time has come to part ways, and not in an email.”

So what did Meat say?

“For a moment, I thought it was a joke. And it wasn’t. It was horrible, that’s all I can say. It was absolutely horrible.”

Russo believes in fate. The last time Meat and Russo split she knew he was going to call the morning he did – even though they’d not spoken for two years.

“The Italian side of me that picked that up. I woke up and I knew he was going to call.”

She’s no longer religious. A rude priest ended the Catholicism after making her mother and aunt feel guilty for not going to church when they called him round after the death of Russo’s grandmother.

“I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I said, ‘How dare you come into my home and judge my family.’”

She prefers to believe in the paranormal nowadays. “Yeah, I feel it,” she says.

When her father died, shooting stars were signs he was listening. At one point, hanging out with a former tour manager at a hotel in Finland, leaning from the window puffing on cigarettes, they saw signs for both their fathers.

“For a long time I was like, ‘Dad, is everything OK?’, and a shooting star would go across the sky and it was very comforting. One day Cheryl mentioned her father. Looking straight out the window that night I went, ‘Dad, is everything OK with us?’ and this star went by. We just looked at each other and couldn’t believe it”.

If life is written in the stars then the message is that Russo is moving on.

She woke up one morning, bags packed ready for a run of Las Vegas Meat shows, only to find out her life was changed for ever by one email.

But after grieving, she’s back and aiming to inspire.

“For women, turning five-oh is a big step. Turning middle-aged, it’s like you’re done, it’s over, boom, it’s all downhill from there. I say bulls***. It was like the perfect storm of everything that was happening and I just faced it with a sword. Or like an Italian with a wooden spoon.”

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