The following is a "rough"(close to verbatim) transcription of an interview with Jim Steinman and Andrew Lloyd Webber done by the disc-jockeys at WPLJ Radio in New York. The show aired November 13, 1996. If more than one person was talking, the transcript reflects the statements of the dominant speaker. This discussion has been edited to concern itself primarily with Jim Steinman and Whistle Down The Wind.
JS: Jim Steinman
Intro: Jim Steinman Hit Medley
DJ: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Jim Steinman into The Big Show studios.
JS: Thank you. (Greetings are exchanged.) That's a cool medley, too. I'd forgot half of those.
DJ: Now, we were discussing this earlier - very few people have been involved with as many hit records as you have and now you've got one that's riding the charts and it won't seem to go away. Of course I'm talking about Celine Dion. Meat Loaf by itself sold what, like 25 million copies?
JS: 25 million plus...
DJ: Okay throw a few more million on...
JS: Well, I bought 6 million...
DJ: The weird thing about this Celine Dion record, I was talking to a friend the other night who's in the record business, and he told me the story of how the song's been around for a long time.
JS: I first did the song with a girls group - it was only released in England in 1990 and it didn't do much over there so I decided to hold onto it. I heard Celine Dion's album in 1991, Unison, and I decided this was defiantly the voice to sing this and I just held on until I could get it to her. I do that with my songs, I hold onto them.
DJ: So you don't worry about "oh, this will be a hit" - you just hold on to it until the right person comes along?
JS: I treat them like children - it's like until I find the right foster home...
DJ: What was Celine like to work with when you went into the studio with her?
JS: She's unbelievable. She's actually exactly like she seems on TV, if you've ever seen her on TV. She's just one of those few people who have no public facade that's different from what she's really like. She's incredibly driven but focused and in a sweet way. She knows just what she wants...
DJ: She's been on The Big Show actually and sang - it brought tears to my eyes because she just gets right into it. She's amazing.
JS: She's just immediate emotion. She cares about everything she does unbelievably. Great person.
It's All Coming Back To Me Now is played.
DJ: Celine Dion with It's All Coming Back To Me Now - a monster hit written and produced by the gentleman sitting in our studio this morning, Mr. Jim Steinman. Sitting beside Mr. Steinman, another musical genius. Let us familiarize you just a smidge with his body of work.
Intro: Andrew Lloyd Webber Hit Medley. (Greetings are exchanged.)
DJ: We just sit here in awe of both of you actually - it's overwhelming.
JS: It feels like it's going to be This Is Your Life when you hear that medley..."and this was your nanny"...
DJ: Andrew Lloyd Webber, how did you meet up with this character?
ALW: Well, we met right about the time I was doing Phantom Of The Opera. Actually, we talked about Jim doing the lyrics for that but he was doing the Bonnie Tyler album and it just didn't work out time-wise. Then we met again, we had kept in touch over the years, in Los Angeles when I was doing Sunset Boulevard and we sort of said, "It would be great fun to do something together." And I said "Have you ever seen this old movie called Whistle Down The Wind?" - confident that Jim would not have seen this movie. Jim said, "Well, it's one of my favorite movies. I saw it." It's very English, you see, the original movie, and we had this idea of taking it and setting it in Louisiana in 1959. That's what we've done and that's why we're here.
JS: I only saw it because I had a huge crush on Hayley Mills.
ALW: Everybody had a crush on Hayley Mills!
DJ: You've got to remember guys, it's so strange when you say "We're taking an old movie done by Hayley Mills and we're going to re-write it and bring it to Broadway." I go, "What?!" It's an unusual concept that obviously is working out pretty well.
JS: It's actually working out great. I think.
DJ: What was the theory behind, because it was obviously set in England, moving it to Louisiana? Is there a story there?
ALW: There's a great atmosphere in Louisiana, as you know, and somehow we wanted to find a location where you could believe the story. [It is] quite simply, that a bunch of kids find a convict in a barn and believe him to be Jesus Christ. And it's a very moving tale because it's about, really, the faith of children and about adults who kind of want to try and track this man down. And they try [the children] to protect him. So it's one of those primal tales, really. It works in Louisiana because you can really believe that these kids might well have believe this man to be [Jesus Christ].
DJ: And what a base of music out of Louisiana, too. It's really going to be powerful.
JS: What's cool about it too is that it's a thriller - which you don't usually find in a musical. It's a musical but it's really a thriller at the same time.
DJ: You know if you go back through the history of the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber - Phantom, Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita - and all the other great productions, they were always met with a great amount of publicity. There was always a lot of under-ground swell and talk about them. This one, Whistle Down The Wind, is a little bit different. It's like you're keeping this under-wraps, you don't talk about it - there's not that much publicity.
ALW: It's not that. We're opening in Washington - that's the first time any of my musicals have opened in the United States first. So, obviously, before there's been a lot of talk about them. In the case of Superstar, that did actually open here, but it was a big hit record [first]. In this case, we're opening cold. That's why we wanted to go to Washington, because we wanted to try it out. We may never stagger out of Washington!
DJ: You're hoping though!
ALW: We hope. In fact, we have a theater here in New York. We're going to wait and see what happens...
JS: We could be indicted! This could be one of those Whitewater things!
(A discussion takes place regarding Webber's nervousness before opening a show, his various productions around the country, and how both men are still very passionate about their work.)
DJ: We have a special treat this morning. I think for the first time ever, they are going to present some of the music from Whistle Down The Wind. You'll have the opportunity to hear a song from that particular production. Is this the first time you've ever allowed it to be played in public?
JS: Ever, yeah. And it's actually just a demo, and we've never done that but, we wanted people to hear it.
Commercial break. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth is played.
DJ: Meat Loaf with You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth written and produced by one of our guests today a gentleman by the name of Jim Steinman. A "rock and roll dog" as they like to call him - now paired up with a Broadway producer, writer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is also with us this morning. They have a new project called Whistle Down The Wind that will open in Washington DC December 6th and they're very excited about it. Are there any new stars on the horizon? People who we don't know their names now but we will soon in the show?
ALW: Davis Gaines who plays "The Man" who is this Jesus Christ figure we were talking about earlier, this convict, he was "the phantom" for a long time. In fact, he was our longest-serving phantom in New York. Because the show is about children, they're all kids. So they are, in fact, basically "unknown".
DJ: They're in rehearsal right now in the city?
ALW: Yes, in New York.
JS: There's an amazing girl, the girl who plays the girl lead, who's just a teenager . A girl named Irene Molloy. I think [she] is going to be a huge star. Kind of like a new Elizabeth Taylor.
DJ: Now the soundtrack you're putting together, obviously an effort between the two of you. With Jim's background in rock and roll, does this mean it's going to be a little harder, a little more rocking than stuff you've done before?
ALW: Well recently, possibly, yeah. This little thing we're going to play now was very much a first collaboration between Jim and I to see what would happen when we went into the studio together.
DJ: And you are happy with it?
ALW: We're very pleased with it. This is, in fact, a demo. This isn't the final thing at all. We really wanted to play it to see what people thought.
JS: It's a big demo. It's a demo but it probably won't sound like that to people. What's cool about it is that we did it on two continents. The rock and roll band part in New York and then we went over to London and added orchestra to it...As I was saying to you, one of our ambitions after this is to do a rock and roll group called "Metal Philharmonic" which would be like an ELO for the 90's. Mixing orchestra, really heavy orchestra, with rock and roll - which I kind of miss and love that style.
DJ: Now, for the first time ever in public, the collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman. This is called A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.
A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste is played. Everyone in the studio, callers to the station, and quite likely everyone who has just heard it is left in an ecstatic state of mind.
DJ: There you have it!! For the first time ever!! That's the demo, huh? Yeah right, they still have a few holes to fill in!! I guess that guy [Kyle Gordan, the singer] is not a smoker! Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman a song from Whistle Down The Wind...holy Jesus...Kiss...beautiful...What do you think of it?...[call in]...If you like it - tell them. If you don't like it - tell them.
JS: We were saying before, just for some background on that, in the show it's actually like five people singing. It's a big ensemble piece but, most of it takes place on a motorcycle. Mostly [by] this guy, this James Dean kind of 18 year old rebel, who wants to get this girl, this 15 year old girl, to go away with him. The whole second half of the song is on a motorcycle which is pretty neat.
DJ: So tell the truth - how many times has Meat Loaf called for that song? He'd love to get his hands on that one. You can't have it Loaf!
JS: He's had a lot of songs. I've given him a lot of good songs.
DJ: You certainly have. I can't imagine the energy it's going to take to try and duplicate that on stage while you're running around dancing and doing the song too.
ALW: They're not really dancing, you see. It's fairly static apart from being on the motorcycle and, of course, the motorcycle will be an illusion.
DJ: Thank goodness! I'd like to see somebody from Rochester try this one. How long does it take you to do something like that, that particular piece?
JS: Write it or record it?
ALW: The writing didn't take very long. The actual production of that, I guess we did the track here in an evening.
JS: It was one day.
ALW: And then we put the orchestra on top.
DJ: Completely drug-free, right?
JS: What? The drugs weren't free! They cost a damn fortune!
DJ: For so many people, they work a lifetime on a piece of music like that one. You're like, "Oh, we tossed it together in an evening..."
ALW: I guess it was an evening because after that we went to [dinner].
The DJ answers calls from people responding to the song. The dialog on these calls has been edited to capture the essence of their reaction.
Caller #1: It was really awesome...I liked the way it picked up toward the end...and if you guys are gonna put that on an album, you've got one sale right here.
ALW: Thank you.
JS: Oh, wow. Maybe you'd like to order a bulk sale. Got a large family? Let's make this a big order!
Caller #2: Classic Andrew Lloyd Webber. Absolutely classic.
DJ: That's a goose-bumper isn't it?
Caller #3: I thought it was magnificent...I was in the shower...I stopped the shower and I was standing there in a towel listening...I thought it was really, really great...
JS: I wish we had remote TV here!
DJ: Classic Steinman! This is the first production that you've had in some time where you didn't have the music available on CD by the time the play hit the theater.
ALW: Yeah, I guess. Well, you know, Sunset Boulevard came out afterward. It depends, it opened in London first, you see, so by the time it got here...
DJ: I see.
JS: This is actually the first show of Andrew's since Superstar way back in the 70's to open in America. Which is neat because it's a real American story.
Caller #4: I loved it...I can't wait until it comes out on CD...
Caller #5: I pulled into the parking lot...I couldn't get out of the car until the song was over...it's incredible...I'm so impressed...it's phenomenal...everybody who hears it will just be in love with it...
DJ: That's just the demo - they're not finished with it yet.
JS: It's cool that you couldn't get out of the car. This could replace "The Club". We could license this!
DJ: By the way, did we identify the gentleman whose voice is on that?
JS: He's an amazing singer who's from New York who goes by the name now of "Scarpia." Scarpia is a villain in an Italian opera and he picked that name out. He's one of the most evil people. I'm not going to tell you his real name, though his first name is Kyle. It's been changed, now he just wants to be known as Scarpia.
DJ: Do you have a Rolodex of these "Scarpia" people that you call every time you need somebody to lay down a track for you?
JS: No, we just call the local mental hospital - get an outpatient.
Caller #6: I thought it was really powerful...it was great.
(Caller #6 asked Webber about current musicals, specifically Rent. During the conversation Jim notes: "People have to remember Andrew brought rock and roll into the theater, way back. Before Rent." The DJ's and Webber discuss the past success of Jesus Christ Superstar.)
DJ: Fellas, I'll go out on a limb here and say I think you have a hit...it's incredible...A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste from Whistle Down The Wind.
The interview wraps up with well-wishes in anticipation of the Broadway debut and thanks.