An homage to Todd Rundgren: Thanks for more than 4 decades of music TR.
First things first - I have been a fan of Todd Rundgren for at least 40 years. I am not very good at stats and remembering dates, but I have seen him in concert many, many times - I know there was one year when I caught Todd/Utopia seven times in and around Michigan.
Sure, I listened to his radio stuff - "We Gotta Get You a Woman", "Open My Eyes", and "Hello, It's Me" but Todd really grabbed ahold of me with the Utopia album. I have always enjoyed Prog-Rock most when it presents long songs that introduce a musical theme, riff on it, and return to it.
"The Ikon" is over 30 minutes long and used up one side of the vinyl. Never tire of this song - was lucky enough to hear Todd perform it (again) and this whole album a couple years ago in Akron. Blew me away.
"Another Live" never gets old for me. The first song "Another Life" was my theme music during my courting days of Julie Claire DeVoe in the year 2000. I will never tire of "Seven Rays" or "The Wheel."
The fact that TR plays all the instruments on many, make that MOST, of his solo albums has been fascinating to me. I have always enjoyed reading album credits and liner notes. There are many musicians who have done this and who do it today - but I believe Todd was an innovator in this regard. He continues the tradition with the 2013 release of "State".
THREE TODD STORIES
1 - During the Utopia pyramid tour, I borrowed a movie camera from my friend Rick (8mm?) to capture the total coolness of the show - especially when Todd climbed to the top and somersaulted off and was lowered to the ground in the musical journey to retrieve SingRing. I fought my way to the front of the Civic Center in Lansing and used up all of my supply of film. Had the rolls developed (which put a considerable dent in my budget!) and had my friends meet up at Chris's house to see the masterpiece. HA - with the exception of about 2 minutes all of it was out of focus - maybe I should have practiced first. I was NOT stoned at the concert. Really.
2 - After filming the show in Lansing, Rick and I tried something new. We just sat in our seats as the crowd filed out. We ended up being given a brief tour of the set by a sound guy. He showed us how all of the effects for Todd's guitars were in one of the Sphinx's feet and Roger Powell's keyboard stuff was in the other. We were RIGHT NEXT TO AND UNDER THE PYRAMID - we saw the water troughs around Willie's drum set. The guy gave Rick a drum stick and let me have a copy of the set list. The set list came in handy a few days later at the show at Pine Knob (as it was known then). The folks around us thought we were psychic because we would shout out the names of the upcoming songs (as we read the set list) and lo and behold, Utopia would play what we hollered for.
3. I once took a young co-worker to see Todd at the State Theater in Kalamazoo. This kid's parents named him Todd because they were HUGE fans. But Todd had never seen Todd perform. I decided to remedy that - bought him a ticket and off we went. As we walked by the theatre to get a burger who should get off the bus parked in front but Todd the Rundgren. I was so flabbergasted to see him in the flesh just 10 feet away that I didn't even approach him - just looked on in wonder. (This ranked right up there with my filming expertise on the Stupid Stuff I Done Did list.)
Young Todd so enjoyed the concert that he gave me his collection of Todd Rundgren video tapes on VHS - which I have to this day.
Fast forward to 2013 - Todd has just released "State" (see my review here) and Julie and I were crushed to learn his tour included NO MICHIGAN DATES. However, we found a benefit concert he was doing in Chicago with the proceeds going to the Chicago Coalition for The Homeless.
Win-win-win - we paid enough money to gain VIP status and the right to meet our musical hero. What a treat to get a chance to thank Todd for giving me musical happiness for over 40 years. I shook his hand and did just that. We then went on to enjoy the hell out of his show. For someone who is turning 65 this year, Todd has the energy of a teenager. Keep on rockin' for four more decades Todd.
You can find things Todd at Todd Store.com
Rundgren Radio is always up to date with Todd Stuff,
plus he has lots of interviews with TR and his various bandmates, fans, etc. etc.
Here is the Official Todd website (maintained by the man hisself)
So - what is your favorite
Todd Rundgren story or stories?
Caught Todd on his "State" tour when he did a fund raiser in Chicago.
Thanked him mucho for making all the great music.
Cool note about the Chicago concert. I was feeling like a fairly hard core fan. We drove "all the way from Michigan" to catch this show. It was sure humbling to share a table with a couple who came in from California AND a lady from New Mexico. Like I said, we were just a couple of light weight, johnny come lately Todd fans.
Some of the most hardcore fans celebrated Todd's 65th birthday, and his 20th (I think) Anniversary with Michele on a plantation not far from New Orleans along with the Rundgrens and one or two of their kids. Todd mingled with his fans, refereed some volley ball, and generally had a good time.
Check out the Toddstock lanyard.
They also took a trip to New Orleans where they donated $10,000 to the Youth Orchestra of the Lower Ninth Ward.
Orchestra members with their check! (I love their shirts.)
Michelle and Todd listening to the kids play in the 9th Ward.
Todd put on a special concert just for his well wishers.
Here is Todd with Alice St Clair - she was gracious enough to let me have copies of the last five pictures here - she took them all and I noticed them on Facebook. Turns out Alice is a long time Todd fan who lives probably 20 minutes from Julie and I - Utopians unite on the interweb!!