After his disastrous AFL Grand Final performance, you’d think that Meat Loaf would do anything for some notoriety. But a tribute act? – He won’t do that.
Dean Torkington, a UK tribute act who’s been impersonating the burly singer for over a decade, is being sued by Meat Loaf to the tune of $US 100,000 for ‘capitalising’ on his fame.
Classic Rock reports that Torkington began his career in mimicry in 1996 but only first faced legal problems after meeting Meat Loaf backstage in 2003, who ordered Torkington to remove custom artwork from his painted van.
“I paid £400 for VIP tickets to see Meat Loaf at Liverpool Docks,” says Torkington, “he came in his big tour bus and I came in my van with Bat Out of Hell artwork on the side.I got a tap on my shoulder and this guy tells me Meat Loaf wanted to see me after the show. I went backstage and I had him and his manager having a go at me,” says the impersonator.
“He said he wanted all the pictures off the side of my van, and also he wanted my web address, meatloaf.org.” Meat Loaf and his legal team are accusing Torkington’s website of ‘cyber-squatting’, labelling him an ‘impostor’ for his ‘To Hell And Back’ tribute act in a legal writ, but Torkington reckons they’re all revved up with no place to go.
“My webpage has always said I am a tribute act. I have never tried to say I am Meat Loaf himself,” says Torkington, calling the legal action a case of “bullying” that refuses to bow to. He says it won’t lead to court action unless he’s served with papers in person, planning to use the fact that he’s already been touring as a tribute act for years as a defence.
“I will protect my good name and I will not be bullied in this way,” he insists. “I don’t see where he’s coming from. I’m not guilty of cyber-squatting or passing myself off as him.” Torkington even conceded to sell the domain name for £8000 (approx $AU 12,000), but was only offered £1300 ($AU1,960) when the deal came through.
Torkington, a devout Meat Loaf fan, says that the legal interference has already called into question his fandom for the Texan singer. “He’s never made it easy for me. I have taken this show all over the country and promoted him well in all these years. I have done charity gigs too. But when the person you’re portraying is making your life hell, it makes you question whether you still want to be like them,” says the tribute singer.
“I’ve gone back to doing Elton John tribute acts as a result of all this,” Torkington says. “It’s less hassle than being a Meat Loaf tribute act any day.” He took the words right out of our mouths…
In related news, a local Collingwood supporter has started an online petition to urge AFL Chief Executive, Andrew Demetriou, to avoid another Meat Loaf debacle. Calling him to use one of the many “talented musicians and bands in this country who would make a great warm-up act,” calling Meat, “over the hill and over paid.” still, two out of three ain’t bad…
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