Saturday, December 25, 2004

Albums of the Year 2004

Todd Rundgren - Liars
Velvet Revolver - Contraband
Steve Earle - Revolution Starts Now
Brian Wilson - Smile
The Ordinary Boys -
Over the Counter Culture
Morrissey - You are the Quarry
Kings of Convenience - Riot on a Quiet Street
REM - Around the Sun
Jesse Malin - The Heat
Sarah McLachlan -

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Todd Latest

  • MARTY HUGHLEY of The Oregonian (19 December) has Liars as on of his albums of the year: - "Todd Rundgren, "Liars" (Sanctuary): "The truth is like chasing a phantom," Rundgren sings in the opening of this thematic song cycle. But with the veteran pop visionary delivering his most tuneful and cohesive album in years, even phantoms might find themselves drawn to this. Dishonesty -- emotional, political, intellectual, theological -- is his subject here, and he is by turns idealistic, righteously indignant and ruminative. The tracks update his Beatles- esque sound with techno, drum 'n' bass and R&B elements. But he's at his most affecting when he keeps the melodies at the fore and his judgmental eye turned inward".
  • Thad Brown has written a very useful article in Electronic Musician (Volume 20; Number 13) on how to use the internet to promote your music. the article concentrates on telling the reader "how audio is compressed, how to choose an appropriate compression format, and how to write the basic HTML code for adding audio to your Web page". Well worth a read and mentions Todd too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

More Todd in the Press

Tom Cox in Saturday's Times has some interesting things to say about the iPod culture and the 'death' (?) of the album as we know it.

" I've been downsizing my record collection recently. Considering that the aim is to make listening a completely fuss-free pleasure, it's been a rather time consuming task so far, involving the jettisoning of superfluous pap and the transferring of my favourite tracks from CD and LP to the iTunes program on my Apple Mac. It's also a somewhat sobering one, as I plough through several thousand albums, coming to the conclusion that a third of their content is either unloved or plain unlistened to ... Some people say iPod culture is killing the beauty of the album format. I see it differently. The DIY editing potential of iTunes rids us of valuable time taken up by filler tracks and, hopefully, will have the knock-on effect of making bands a bit more discerning in the studio. Still, the pruning process is a difficult one, and, as there's always the sneaking suspicion that a lost classic might be lurking somewhere within a lesser known Todd Rundgren or Pentangle album that I've never quite got round to giving the love it might deserve, I've found myself getting a bit more embroiled in the process than I probably should, separating songs into categories before deciding on their fate. For example: "Might be a Grower", "Would Rather Listen To A Chair Falling Down Stairs But Might Want To Keep For Nostalgia Purposes", "Give It One Last Stay of Execution" and "Bonus Track".

Yes Tom there are a few classic hidden away in those lesser known Todd albums ... go back an check NOW!

The Commercial Appeal ( 10th Dec ) has a review of the new Kevin & Bethany Paige album - "Faith Hope Love Passion", where it says: " the Paiges have also come up with a strong adult contemporary Christian record that sounds destined to top the CCM charts (in a way it already has since tunes here have been covered by Jessica Andrews, Avalon and Point of Grace). Something of a Bluff City Todd Rundgren, Kevin Paige wears nearly every hat on this record, from producing, recording and mixing the indie release at his home studio to playing most of the instruments and co-writing much of the material..."

Sunday Herald Sun (12 Dec) music reviewers gave their top 10 albums of the year. GRAEME HAMMOND had
1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (Mute/EMI)
10. Todd Rundgren
Liars (Sanctuary/BMG)
Biting lyrics and soulful electronica as Rundgren rails against hypocrisy and betrayal.

Two Fine (or 3 if you count the Cave as 2) albums indeed.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Czars - Goodbye

The AGE has a review of the Czars new album - Goodbye (****) Sophie Best says: "From the soap-opera prelude - a melodramatic piano intro to the title track, which lurches from trip-hop poise to drama-charged, Todd Rundgren-esque epic and back again - Goodbye is a strange, surprising and lovely trip. There's something decidedly old-fashioned about this album, for all its modernity. In its grandiosity and passionate romanticism, Goodbye is akin to Rufus Wainwright and Richard Hawley's work, with echoes of Roy Orbison, ELO, the Flaming Lips and Grandaddy"

Monday, October 25, 2004

Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference

Billboard magazine's inaugural Digital Entertainment Awards taked place 5 November. The Awards will serve as the finale of the Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference, at which Todd Rundgren will deliver a keynote address

Monday, October 04, 2004

Jill, Stephen, and Bjork

New York Times had a piece on the wonderful Jill Sobule (25th Sept) mentioning Todd, who produced her excellent debut ''Things Here Are Different,'' who proclaimed her ''a Joni Mitchell for the 90's.'' Lofty and flattering as such comparisons were, the album sold poorly (If you don't have it, shame on you - find a copy and buy it, you wont be disappointed). MCA rejected her follow-up and then released her from her contract.

Former Pavement front-man Stephen Malkmus mentioned Todd on Billboard whilst describing making his latest solo album: "I did more of it myself, a little bit like the old Pavement records," Malkmus reveals. "Because the studio was in my basement, I took the helm. I pretty much engineered it myself; punching in with my toe, Todd Rundgren-style. I think it has come out pretty good, but I'm looking for some extra ears to make sure it's as good as I think it is."

John Soeder of the The Plain Dealer (26th Sept) reviews Bjork's "Medulla" saying "Of course "Medulla" is weird. We're talking about a woman who wears egg-laying swan dresses, remember? There are almost no instruments on Bjork's new album. Instead, her beguiling voice is accompanied primarily by choirs and human beatboxes. The results are magical enough on "Pleasure Is All Mine" and "Who Is It." But Todd Rundgren did this sort of thing first and did it better on his 1985 album "A Cappella."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bjork like an ...

Buffalo News - Jeff Miers - Bjork's new album Medulla has resulted in a few Todd mentions. Jeff Miers in the Buffalo News said

"Medulla is far less eccentric than its surface might suggest. Comprised almost in its entirety of voices -- that's right, no instruments, no guitars, no synths, no sequencers, no insistence of drum-driven rhythm -- the album seems at first a minimalist affair, as if Bjork has reduced her art to its barest essentials"

"There are precedents for what Bjork has done here; Kate Bush and her work with the Trio Bulgarka, as represented on the classic "The Sensual World" record, and Todd Rundgren, who produced the aptly- titled "A Capella" album by layering and multi-tracking his own voice, are useful semaphores in this potentially disorienting little world. But Bjork goes a step beyond both of these artists. In fact, if one is able to hear the voices as instruments free of the text they are delivering, one begins to realize how well-orchestrated and dense this music is. Which is one way of saying that no, you don't miss the instruments here".

Chris Willman in Entertainment weekly (10 Sept) also saw the Todd connection

"Historians among us might wonder if there's a good reason no major rock figure has attempted an all-vocal album since Todd Rundgren's A Cappella in 1985, a moderately amusing if literally long-winded experiment in vocally mimicking real instruments. There's a little of that sort of ear trickery in Medlla; five numbers utilize Rahzel, formerly of the Roots, as a human beat box, and one has frequent Philip Glass vocalist Gregory Purnhagen credited as a "human trombone." But mostly, these voices are meant to sound like voices, whether Bjrk is wailing against the Icelandic Choir's wall of sound or madly multitracking herself like The Matrix's Agent Smith"

Thursday, September 02, 2004


Warner Bros. Records has announced the release of "What Is Hip: Remix Project Volume 1," an innovative musical marriage of hot young remixers with vintage hits from the label's catalog, including classic tracks from Seals & Croft, Rod Stewart, America, Devo, Doobie Brothers, Todd Rundgren and more. Originally scheduled for a late August release, the album now comes out October 19th. Executive Producer Philip Steir (No Doubt, Lillix, Moby, Rob Zombie, Bush) re-mixes Todd Rundgren's 1973 classic "Hello It's Me."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

!2 rods demise

The Star-Tribune (13 August) had an article on the 12 Rods final gig, and the news they are disbanding - No separation anxieties for 12 Rods. " Not only did V2 leave a lot of promises unkept, according to the band, but so did a big-wig manager, and so did a well-known producer..."

Best of all, the two discs that the band made for V2 (i.e., with a big budget) really don't sound any better than the ones it made on its own. Let that be a lesson to you aspiring rock stars. In fact, if you had to pick a weak one in the discography, it would probably be 2000's ``Separation Anxieties,'' the one Todd Rundgren produced.

Always quite liked it myself, although it was certainly patchy. But is that a dig at Todd as the 'well-known producer'?

Keep the faith

The Observer music magazine (15 August) had a piece by Faithless' Mazi Jazz on just why Todd is God. He waxes lyrical about why we should ALL own 'Something / Anything'.

"I can't believe something so wonderful can be so ignored. It's virtually impossible to pick a stand-out track, but if pushed, I'd choose 'It Wouldn't Have Made any Difference'...This record taught me the importance of backing vocals and how they can change a good song into a memorable one. It also showed me how a song is constructed. He wrote beautifully and in a way no other American songwriter, who wasn't black, had done in years. It remains some of the best songwriting I've heard to this day"

And so say all of us ...

Friday, July 23, 2004

More bad Uk gig reviews

The Scottish Daily Record today reviewed the Glasgow gig calling it "self-indulgent" saying "the music might have taken second stage to the theatrics, but that was no excuse for Rundgren's egotistical showboating. From Eighties-tinged cover versions to electronic shenanigans and lengthy jazz improvisations, some songs lasted longer than a set by the Jesus & Mary Chain" and that Todd " delivered a performance so OTT not even Derren Brown could predict if he was serious or not, though the fans lapped it up"

Glasgow's Evening Times reviewer also felt Todd was "self-indulgent" saying " for all the on-stage theatrics (multiple costume change and choreographed movements) something was missing - good, old-fashioned songs. The songs, taken from his rich back catalogue of 18 solo albums including his latest effort, Liars, ran into each other with little distinction. Even when he swayed between prog rock, rap and metal, it failed to hold any interest" finishing by saying, " For a career in musical innovation that spans 35 years, I would have expected something special. But on this self-indulgent showing, perhaps he'd be better off staying behind the control desk"

Sadly, Todd faired no better from Andy Gill in the Independent, who claimed "while the impact of the opening "Truth" is tremendous, the rest of the set can"t quite live up to it". He particularly felt the songs in the second half on the set were milked to death "Nearly all are extended way beyond their acceptable length, the set eventually collapsing in on itself during seemingly eternal versions of "Born to Synthesize" and "Feel It". It"s as if they can"t find a way to finish these songs, the band just vamping over and over and over as yet another solo is tacked on to the end in a show of preposterous prog-rock posturing. For non-believers - and even a few formerly diehard fans, as well - this was a gruelling service to endure"

'Strange' Liar review

The Miami Herald today has a wonderful short review of 'Liars': "Todd Rundgren, Liars (Silverline). Singer-songwriter plays all the instruments in his attempt to explain the concept of ''truth'' using chilly electro pop instrumentation. Strange. Available as a surround sound DVD-Audio."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

UK Gigs - what the papers say II

Martin Townsend in The Sunday Express could not have been happier about the London gig (Frankly about time someone was). He says "Rundgren is a superb performer. His frenzied but melodic guitar-playing reminds you why you fell in love with electric guitars in the first place and, at 56, his passionate, soulful voice has scarcely sounded better ... Rundgren re-worked arcane tracks such as Born To Synthesize into cheesy lounge jazz, stormed through The Want Of A Nail and performed vocal gymnastics on tracks from Liars, his new CD. He finished with Hello, It's Me and the anthemic Just One Victory. The capacity crowd - including Tom Robinson, Joe Jackson and Tony Banks from Genesis - were on their feet in sheer admiration. So moved was Rundgren that he even, briefly, removed his shades. Awesome"

Meanwhile, Campbell Stevenson in the Observer said of the Bristol Academy gig that things such as the WMGGW cover "break a set that is touched by brilliance"

Monday, July 19, 2004

UK Gigs - what the papers say

Fiona Shepherd in the Scotsman, while giving the Glasgow gig a three out of five star rating commented "Rundgren may be ahead of the game with his hardware, but his music is stuck in a time when rock dinosaurs and bass solos stalked the Earth"
Peter Aspden in the Financial Times meanwhile felt of the London Gig: "There were times during the show's first half hour when his attitude towards his devoted audience seemed to border on contempt: no chat, no smiles, no oldies, just a blitz of material mostly from the latest (very good) album, Liars, played at a pitch and volume that were anything but soothing to the unconverted. It struck me, and much of the restless audience, as perverse. When you have such gems - mostly unknown to today's wider rock audience - as "I Saw the Light" and "Hello It's Me" in your back catalogue, why not hook the crowd in early? Rundgren finally conceded the latter number as an encore, and the delirious reaction showed what an opportunity he had missed". He finishes by saying "It is surprising how few people know of Rundgren's work today, and a further irony that this sharp, subtle songwriter's most widely regarded achievement is as producer of Meat Loaf's clamorousBat Out of Hell album. But perhaps he has to shoulder some of the blame for that" Hmm...
Simon Price in Sunday's Independent, who seems to have enjoyed things a bit more went with "As he chops out the soul licks on his guitar with frightening ease and sings in a sweet falsetto which seems incongruous coming from a man of his towering stature, I can suddenly see just why Prince reveres him so highly"
John L Walters in Saturday's Guardian did not seem overly impressed, and seems to have put most of the fault in his two satr review with the band. " Former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince may rock, but he rarely rolls, and he can't swing. This is the show's tragic flaw, exemplified by a dire version of Green Onions. Rundgren's solo album material - even at his most rocky - has a melodic grace and lightness of touch that this band can't deliver. (Their backing vocals, however, are terrific.)"
The Times too, were not kind. Stephen Dalton  said "On record, Liars sounds pristine, its rhythms fluid and weightless. On stage, however, Rundgren's studio perfectionism proved impossible to replicate, and many of the new tracks suffered from a graceless delivery. Despite decades of forward-thinking eclecticism, the veteran innovator's heart is clearly still firmly grounded in 1970s progressive rock. This dazzling musical future still feels decidedly dated" He goes on " fter a muscular jam through the classic Booker T and the MGs instrumental Green Onions, tracks such as Soul Brother and Sweet sounded as flaccid as a cruise-ship covers band." and accused Todd of being  "unable or unwilling to deliver the simple joys of pop music -visceral, melodic, emotionally engaging"
Thankfully Andy Coleman in the Birmingham Evening Mail gets to the point in his review of the Birmingham gig: "The enthusiastic audience loved it" - We sure did. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Liar - Canada style

Bob Renstrom in yesterday's (13th) Calgary Herald , in the now obligatory 4 star review, describes 'Liars' as "an album of creamy melodiousness that clinches his status as a genius singer-song writer of the Wilson/Wonder/McCartney level. More than a return to form, this effort marks a real breakthrough for Rundgren"

Todd Rundgren: Nothing but the truth

Ahead of Tonight's gig in Birmingham (can't wait!) the Independent has an interview by Anthony Quinn conducted in Amsterdam last week.

Interesting on 'Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect' ... described by the author as "truly the piece of Rundgren that passeth all understanding"... 'Would it be fair to say that he didn't exercise a great measure of quality control? "Well, the quality of what got released was exactly as I intended - and what I intended was to do something nobody else was doing. From that point of view my lack of commercial success was inevitable." So: better to have been a cult pioneer than a rich nonentity who sold out. "It's better to know and fulfil your purpose in life," he says, "whatever that may be. It's somebody else's assumption that I was supposed to be a big pop star. I don't think I've ever done anything to sabotage my career. We did the shows, we made the records, and at one point in the Seventies we were huge."'

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Book Now

Today's Independent plugs the UK Todd dates in its 'Book Now' recommendations today. "The American songwriter/ guitarist/ rock maverick Todd Rundgren (above) performs five concerts, featuring material from his acclaimed new album, Liars. Bristol Academy, Glasgow Academy ( 12 and 17 July; Birmingham Symphony Hall and Bridgwater Hall, Manchester ( 14 and 18 July; Royal Festival Hall, London, SE1 ( 15 July"

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Random Todd mentions

According to DJ Jono Coleman in last Friday's Daily Star there is a very good chance that Liv Tyler will be in the crowd for some of Todd's UK gigs next week...Liv also mentions Todd in an interview in Thursday's Daily Mirror saying: "But even though I discovered that Steve was my real dad and not Todd, I didn"t allow that to grind me down. I still have a great bond with Todd."

An Interview with the band Faithless in Friday's Guardian threw up a suprise mention of Todd, when the bands Rapper, Max "Maxi Jazz" Frazer , said of Todd: "He's wicked," says Frazer of the American singer-songwriter. "He has bass lines that create their own melody, which is how reggae is structured. If you can make the bass line into a melody you are on your way to heaven."

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on Tom Ross, who after a four-year stint in new play development at New York's Public Theater. (including creating the musical Up Against It with Todd Rundgren, adapted from a screenplay Joe Orton) is now is taking the reins at the Aurora Theatre

Another new 'Liars' review

Great review of 'Liars' by Bob Renstrom in 4th of July's The Wichita Eagle.(also carried by The Hartford Courant) He describes the album as a 'an album of creamy melodiousness that clinches his status as a genius singer-song writer of the Wilson/Wonder/McCartney level.', and 'The results are a stunning achievement of, as Nick Lowe once said, pure pop for now people...The greater embarrassment is that we live in a bland corporate media wasteland where this grand magnum opus will not get the least smidgen of the air time it richly deserves'

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Brum, Brum

Both the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Evening Mail covered Todd last week (25th and 23rd June respectively). Once agin the main talk isof the forthcoming shows in the UK, including on in Birmingham ( I will be there!).

In the Post interview he does comment on the last US election and Iraq: "I was in Talahassee a year and a half ago to play a gig. Talahassee is the state capital of Florida. There was one lonely person camping out on the municipal lawn. Now everyone is starting to wake up. They realise that if people were honest we wouldn't be in this state. Most people in Anglo Saxon countries were brought up to believe that other people's religions are inferior. This is a big lie.

The other big lie is that we're fighting this war for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Everyone's changing their stance now but they believed the excuse that we went in there to help. They went along with that. In reality we went in there to hurt them, not to help them. People now have to confront these lies. They have to accept their personal vindictiveness. The war was never stable or tenable. It was built on a falsehood. Instead of liberating the people, we have created the world's largest terrorist training camp and the most depressing part is that it's been done in our name."

Todd down under

The Australian Financial Review has a piece on Todd (26 June). Shane Nicols begins by asking: - Todd Rundgren, ageing pop wunderkind, techno wizard and acid visionary, if they put you in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame what would the citation say?
"If elected, will not serve" comes the reply...

On music today? "It should be about the songs rather than about vocal histrionics. The first thing I do when I hear something is concentrate on the songs, often in spite of the arrangement or how the song has been handled by the performer."

"There's a degree of cynicism that music can be engineered into being a hit. That's always existed. But I can't think of anything that J-Lo's done other than get engaged or un-engaged."

And so say all of us :-)


Acoording to People magazine: Actress Liv Tyler (and Aerosmith lead Steven Tyler's daughter) is expecting a baby. Her publicist confirmed to the magazine that Tyler and her rock singer husband Royston Langdon are overjoyed and look forward to the arrival of their child.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


David Polochanin in the Boston Globe mentioned Todd in realtion to great work / anti-work songs. " Many of us listen to music on the job, but it's surprising that relatively few songs have been written about the subject of work. However, over the years, a few classic antiwork anthems have become part of our culture songs like Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum All Day" or Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend." You're bound to hear one of these songs or perhaps both if you tune into your local pop music station on Friday at 5 p.m. But these become quite outdated. We need new work songs celebrating the places we spend more than half of our waking hours. I'd like to hear musicians get creative with some of these titles: "Who stole my 401(k)?"; "My two-hour lunch break"; "I'm happy over Happy Hour"; "Just expense it!"; and "My boss makes six times my salary." We're talking instant hits, here. Don't get any ideas, though, country artists ...

Happy Birthday Todd

Yes, the man is 56 today. have a good one Todd!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Spin the black circle

I actually haven't managed to listen to much this past week, until the last 3 days, when my listening has been dominated by Velvet Revolver.

Velvet Revolver - 'Contraband'

I must confess the thought of Stone Temple Pilot front man Scott Weiland joining up with various ex Guns n Roses was something that sounded like a good idea (but ONLY on paper!) So , I have to confess to being pleasantly surprised by Contraband. It is, quite frankly, much better than it deserves to be. From the opening chords of 'Sucker Train Blues' right through until album closer 'Loving the alien', this album does exactly what it says on the tin. The sound is exactly as you think it'll be, and it's great. Play 'Spectacle', 'Slither', 'Headspace', 'Do it for the Kids' and just turn that volume up LOUD! Bizarrely on 'Superhuman' they actually remind me of the Dan Reed Network (!) Certainly the best Hard Rock album of the year.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

More 'Liar' reviews

USA Today (1 June) Elysa Garner gives Liars ( * * * ) concluding that "Not every whole track measures up to its parts; several bring to mind an inventive author in need of a good editor. Still, at a time when young artists are encouraged to subscribe to neat formulas, Rundgren continues to prove that the road to longevity can be paved with intriguing twists and turns"

The Age (28 May) Jeff Glorfeld gives Liars (****). He says "His latest record circles back on much of what he's established as his sound, while also turning away from much of his legacy. From one of the great string-benders, there's almost no guitar here. It's mostly an electronic keyboard album yet is full of organic human warmth, all supplied by Rundgren's remarkable voice. It's like he's gone back to his Philadelphia blue-eyed soul roots, liberally sprinkled with funky '70s disco grooves".

Sunday, May 23, 2004

More Album reviews

Shane Nicols in the Australian Financial Review reviews Todd, Morrissey, and Alison Moorer this week. In a 10 star review of 'Liars' he says: "His voice is as compelling as ever, masterfully used in ethereal choirs and in a series of pop/soul vignettes that show off different tonal colours. It's a production, masterpiece, a wall of sound he has approached in the past, a vivid and ecstatic mixture of rhythm, seductive synths and layer upon layer of vocals. In all, a new musical benchmark, a What's Going On for the new century". [must confess alway thought WGO was an over-rated album, as is this review for me]

AS for Morrissey's - 'You are the Quarry' he rightly concludes "Anyway, the whole things sounds great - an album of passion, guts and profound class.", and also rightly gives a thumbs up to the new rockier sounding Alison Moorer: seems as sis Shelby Lynne gets more country Moorer is heading the opposite way.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Moore moves

Mandy Moore has signed a deal with Sire Records, the Warner Bros. imprint after recently parting ways with Sony Music's Epic Records, who seemed unhappy with sales of her last album, 'Coverage'. Glad to see her with a new deal, 'Coverage' which included her faithful (no pun intended) cover of 'Can we still be friends' was a light, but enjoyable record.

Philli and Boston reviews

Review of gig at the Tower Theater by Philladelphia Inquirer. The paper said "Forget the imperfect bits: The rocker was as good as he has been in some time...For Rundgren fans, Sunday's epiphanies came early. Hallelujah"

The Boston Globe too found a lot to like in the gig at the Roxy. It described it as Rundgren demonstrating "why he has a reputation as both a polished perfectionist and an innovative eccentric during his slick, tightly choreographed two-hour show

Todd in the Uk

Last Friday's Daily Mirror plugged Todd's up-coming London date saying: "If you love the vocal range of The Darkness, the lyrics of The Streets and the producing of Dr Dre, Todd Rundgren has got the whole lot rolled into one. He recently released his 18th solo album, entitled Liars, and this is a rare chance to see one of the unsung heroes of rock." Quite

Meanwhile Manchester Evening news also mentioned the ever expanding uk tour. Tour now looks like this:
July 12, 2004 – Bristol Carling Academy
July 14, 2004 – Birmingham Symphony Hall
July 15, 2004 – London Royal Festival Hall
July 17, 2004 – Glasgow Carling Academy
July 18, 2004 – Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Florida warms to Todd

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has an article on Todd "THE TRUTH IS, HE'S BACK TODD RUNDGREN EXPLORES DECEIT IN 18TH SOLO ALBUM" . Most interesting parts were answers to a couple of questions. On 'The Wondering' and the 2000 elections. "Yeah, it was something that seemed so ultimately inexplicable -- that more or less a single Supreme Court justice winds up appointing the president of the United States. It seems so antithetical to everything you're brought up to believe about American democracy that you just wake up one day and say, what are we supposed to think now?"
And on will the music industry will embrace Internet music sharing and sales? "I doubt it, based on the industry's behavior so far. They're fully committed, live or die, to the commoditized music model. They like the idea of "iTunes" because you can buy one song at a time for 99 cents, confounding the actual reality that some songs are priceless and some songs are worthless. Few songs are worth exactly 99 cents. What you have to do is completely disconnect that calculation and adopt a subscription model that's like cable television".

Florida Today claims Todd as a un-sung genius and some one who could have been a hit making machine. Todd's reason it never happened? "Some people are less easily bored than I am," Rundgren said. "And I get bored with myself. I get bored if I have to do the same thing over and over, just like anyone would if they were working on a factory floor, just like inspecting donuts or whatever. The repetition for some people is comforting. For me it's discomforting."

The Tallahassee Democrat looks forward to the new tour dates as well as digging back for gems such as Todd saying "My best friend and I loved Gilbert and Sullivan operas. It's something I just grew up with," he said in a 2003 interview with the Democrat.
"We learned all of the parts of all of the songs and would do them even when people didn't want us to. Especially when people didn't want us to. It was our way of entertaining each other. There wasn't much else for smart kids to do. ... We were sort of like those Columbine kids - smart and outcast. Except we found a more creative outlet for our frustrations."

He points to the radio play the album has been picking up in the uk. "I've long since given up on radio," Rundgren said. "It ('Liars') has taken off in Great Britain but nothing here yet."

And finally, in perhaps the funniest moment of the interview reveals "The only problem is that I wrote and recorded a lot of these songs with the intention of never playing them live," Rundgren said. "But the response has been so positive that we've gone back and are teaching ourselves how to play them. 'Stood Up' is the last one we're learning because it's the hardest. There are parts of it where I'm singing at the bottom of my register and then it goes way back into the high register. It's a (expletive) to sing."

Not to be left out the Florida Times Union previews last weekend's Florida gigs too.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Spin the black circle

Had a couple of people ask why I'd stopped doing this, so here we go again. What I've been listening to, this past week or so:

The Smiths: - 'The Queen is Dead'. Ahead of the new Morrissey album out next week (and after hearing the fantastic new single 'Irish Blood, English Heart') I decided to give one of my favourite smith's albums a few spins. Hard to beat songs like 'Cemetry Gates, 'Big Mouth', 'I Know it's Over' and 'The boy with the thorn in his side'. Still a great record.

Hole: - 'Celebrity Skin'.
Not sure what made me give this a spin, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still a pretty decent album. Mad Courtney does write a good tune every now and again, and whilst this album lost the raw power of the excellent 'Live Through This', it was still a lot better than it ever got credit for being.

Nina Simone: - 'Sings the Blues' As they say, don't make 'em like this anymore. Not my favourite Simone album, but it's hard not to enjoy this record, and her great vocals on it, all the same. 'I want a little sugar in my bowl' never failing to raise a smile.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Glands CD waits, but band plays on

The Atlanta Journal - Constitution has an article about the recording of the new Glands CD. The article says that singer Ross Shapiro 'can't exactly put his finger on the direction the new record will take. He can say that the new songs the band is integrating into its live show are, "keyboard-based as opposed to guitar [based]. And, uh, one of them I like has some Todd Rundgren-esque chords in it."

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Todd talks to Richard Allinson -transcript

This is my - very unofficial - transcript of the interview Todd gave to Richard Allinson on his Radio 2 show 20/04/04


RA: ‘Soul Brother’. It’s been a long time coming, but it is, and I didn’t think I’d say this for a long, well, I haven’t said this for a long while – the new single from Todd Rundgen, who we’ve bothered in the wee small hours of lunch-time in Los Angeles. How are you Todd?
TR: I’m pretty good (laughs) I agree with ya, I don’t think I imagined I would hear such a thing either – ‘the new single by…’
RA: Yeah
TR: Yeah
RA: Well, I first, as a young lad, erm, I first heard ‘I saw the Light’ and ‘I (It) wouldn’t have made any difference’ and, or songs like that. Pop Singles. Classic little two and a half minute / three minute pop records. And then I got into your music a lot and suddenly thought – he does much much more than pop records. So where are we now with this album ‘Liars’?
TR: Well some people say it has pop sensibilities, although I wasn’t necessarily consciously applying that I think. What I had in mind was trying to combine the early influences I recalled from when I first got into music; those things that sort of inspired me to seek a musician’s life. And sort of combine them with a, the, more modern approach to production, and maybe a more modern attitude about music, in that, the subject matter could be a little bit deeper than a typical pop song.
RA: Like this album. You pretty much do everything yourself. And you recorded this particular album in your home. Is, is it much more easier to be king of your own castle these days?
TR: Well, I discovered a while ago that I, er, that my particular work meme is, er, is highly dependant on me being isolated from outside influences, and disturbances and stuff like that. I have to turn off the noise of everyday interactions so I can hear what’s actually going on in my head. And for the apst 10 years, I, in some ways I consciously eshued that. I tried to intergrate songwriting into my everyday life more, and I discovered that it, it just wasn’t as intense an experience for me, and … probably not as intense a listening experience,…erm. It’s something that I actually did a little talk about a couple of months ago. The fact that, for me – and maybe for a number of other artists – you can’t really hear what your subconscious is dwelling on until you shut out all that sort of conscious noise and interaction.
RA: That Sounds like hard work then? ‘Cause some people just say- ‘I woke up in the morning and I’m whistling some melody and I put it down and you know … Elton John said he banged out ‘Yellow Brick Road’ in about 20 minutes, and you think , oh, right …
TR: Well I banged out ‘I saw the light’ in about 20 minutes, and …
RA: Touché
TR: Yeah (Laughs) there is something about, you know, things that come about naturally and irresistibly and I have a few songs like that, so that, yeah, I dreamed them, woke up, headed straight for the studio, wrote ‘em down, and in some cases I didn’t even know what they mean, or what the significance of them was. And they find a sort of natural level that the songs that you labour over can never achieve…And still, that isn’t good enough for me (laughs) I have to be the person who, you know, listens too, and examines and criticizes my music more than anybody else does.
RA: Yeah
TR: And if it doesn’t have any staying power for me then I inevitably will do something by the time I get to the next record to raise the bar for myself or challenge myself a little bit more, because I have to be satisfied before anybody else can
RA: Do they ever come back to haunt you then, the old songs?
TR: Well certainly there are songs that you are required to do over and over and over again beyond the point where they retain any of their original meaning and impact for you. And er, in some ways this, they may pose other challenges. A song like ‘Hello It’s Me’, which is literally the first song that I completed in my life, I still have to perform sometimes. And quite obviously it does have, it doesn’t come from the same place in me that it did when I first wrote it, and maybe I didn’t even know where it was coming from when I first wrote it. It was just stumbling around trying to get something completed and just got lucky. As time goes on, I have more of a …, I take more seriously songs that were harder for me to write, and achieve some success on those terms. For me those are the ones I remember, and I more desire to perform I guess
RA: OK, well I desire to play something else from the new album ‘Liars’. We’ve got Todd Rundgren with us in Los Angeles. That sounds good doesn’t it. It’s late night Radio 2. We’ve played this before, going to play this again. From the new album ‘Liars’ this is ‘Past’
RA: ‘Past’. It’s one of 14 new songs on the new album from Todd Rundgren, who is with us at , what must be just after lunch-time in Los Angeles, cause we’re on summertime now
TR: Oh..I don’t believe we’ve gotten to lunch yet
RA: Ah, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle lives (laughs)
TR: (laughs) Yeah, it sure does ..yeah, I’ve been up all night
RA: That’s consistent. Erm, It’s been a while since your last album of new material. So, erm, a couple of questions really in one. Because a) What kept you, and b) on this album you’ve covered a hell of a lot of ground because there’s a track on here called “Mammon’ which reminds me of Sisters of Mercy
TR: Oh yes (Laughs)
RA: ‘Stood up’ is psychedelic pop. So I suppose you’ve got some XTC albums in your collection. Then one we’ve just played I think is a brilliant soul ballad… ‘Future’ is very drum and bass. You’re , erm , playing around again aren’t you – you’re tickling us.
TR: Well, I am only reflecting my influences such as they are. Erm, and oddly enough they aren’t necessarily directly derived. ER, one advantageous thing that’s happened to television advertising – at least in this country – is they’ve taken a radical turn away from the sort of traditional way which they would approach music, and have gotten aggressive about adopting avant music styles and applying then to their product placement. I think Moby had a big hand in that one, when he gave everyone really favourable terms in using music from his record if they wanted to put it behind a car advertisement or something. So when I reflected on it, I discovered that a lot of the visceral influences that I was experiencing were coming out of the television as opposed to the radio , ironically enough. I , er, the television was playing more avant music than the radio seemed capable of, so I wanted to definitely recognize those influences and incorporate them, but at the same time, I wanted it, I wanted the music itself to come from a place that had definite roots for me … er going back to the 60’s. So I wanted to create a bit of a détente between the two
RA: ‘Cause you say honesty and truth are the overriding themes of this 14 song collection. But do you think we know too much now, and is it not necessarily honesty and truth that we’re being subjected’s more revelations and discovering that a lot of people – I’m not talking about anyone in particular but – a lot of people in positions of power and influence seem to be abusing those.
TR: Well, I have maintained that people in power and influence were actually people before they were in power and influence, and that lying just comes naturally to everyone and politicians just are able to tell lies on a much grander scale than the rest of us can (laughs) and our everyday lives. And do it in a way that affects so many more people.
RA: Hey Todd, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show tonight
TR: It’s been my distinct pleasure
RA: And we’re going to see you over here on tour soon…in the new high-tech Todd Rundgren roadshow
TR: Very soon. And it’s bound to be a certain …will be a big homecoming for me. I haven’t had a chance to be with, you know, the old fans for a long time and the old fans have been stalwart enough to bring a batch of new fans along that have never seen me, us play in England, so that’ll be great.
RA: Looking forward to it Todd, thanks a lot
TR: My pleasure
RA: Talking of old favourites, here’s one of the old songs …

Monday, April 19, 2004


Saturday's Jonathan Ross radio show (BBC Radio 2) played 'Soul Brother' from Liars.


Jeff Spevak at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle interviewed Jesse Gress about the tour. Again the fun begins when they chat about playing through notebook computers. ``You can mix-and-match speaker-cabinet combinations, various microphones set in front of the speaker cabinet, microphones moved various distances from the speaker cabinet,'' Gress says. But is this honest musicianship? ``Why is it a lie?'' Gress asks. ``As soon as you plug into an amp, you're simulating an acoustic guitar. It's not for technology's sake. Todd uses it to make his artistic vision a reality.'' And on the lack of big album sales since the 70's.``It's never one's choice to peak commercially,'' Gress says. ``It happens. The new record's doing really well in England; it's getting five-star reviews. They booked us in the Royal Albert Hall.[actually the Royal Festival Hall Jesse, but we'll let you off] Maybe this is gonna be a British thing."


Interesting article in the The Post Standard/Herald-Journal on Adam Lyons Schlesinger from the Fountains of Wayne [and Welcome Interstate Managers is another CD that you should own if you don't already!] It seems Adam's grandfather got him into the business fromm day one. He was "bringing a show by rockers Jefferson Airplane to the Landmark Theatre (Syracuse).on Dec. 6, 1967, five weeks after his grandson's birth. As was his fashion, he had printed posters advertising the concert, with one small change. Instead of "Murray Bernthal Presents," he had the printer replace that with "Adam Lyons Presents." - Genius. But not only that Adam got the see some cool bands too: "I used to work in the box office at the Landmark when I came up to visit as a kid," Schlesinger says. "I have clear memories of the rock concerts I saw there. Todd Rundgren and Utopia. The Little River Band. The Jerry Garcia Band".


Jeff Miers from the Buffalo News is the latest to heap praise on 'Liars' with yes, yet another 4 star rating 'Liars', he says is "one of his absolute best...marrying some of his most gorgeous melodies, elegant harmonic platforms, and soulful singing to electronic musical beds that avoid being clinical on the strength of Rundgren's impossible- to-miss human touch". He saves most of his praise for the albums title track, where "Rundgren marries an Eastern modality to a two-verse slab of dark electronica that stealthily equates Islamic fundamentalism with Western dogma. Understated but brimming with emotional investment, it's simply one of the most powerful songs he's ever written"


The Columbus Dispatch had a review of last weeks gig at the PromoWest Pavilion "When Todd Rundgren hit the stage at ...he and his band, the Liars, appeared to have a few demons to exorcise. Beginning with Truth From Liars, his latest record, the veteran songwriter, technology guru and guitar hero performed with a vengeance. He attacked several songs like a hard-rock legend, pitching his duotone hair and ratcheting his blue-eyed-soul voice into screams."


Tom Moon of the Philadelphia Inquirer (also in Pittsburgh Post Gazette). A lot of the same stuff that's been in other interviews, and again he talks of realising he is an album, not a singles's artist and the tour. Rundgren says that the shows, with the band that backed him on the With a Twist Tour, will have its share of surprises. The musicians will plug their keyboards and guitars into tablet PCs to access sounds and effects, and the lighting will come from LED arrays, not traditional spotlights... He refuses to draw up a set list, and says he is in the process of rehearsing all of "Liars" and much of his catalog with the intention of playing a 2 1/2-hour show. "I have a lot more fun if we're trying something grandly conceptual, something that makes all of us think. ... When you play the same thing in the same order every night, you can look up after one song and realize the whole evening's already scripted, that you could do the whole thing on autopilot. That can take the wind out of your sails. It's much more fun to react to whatever's going on."

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ohio gig review

The Akron Beackon Journal published a review yesterday of Todd's Ohio date at the Ohio Theatre. Malcolm X Abram seemed to like what he saw. The band he said played "smoking versions of the humorous I Hate My Frickin' ISP, and the anti-child abuse song Unloved Children" and that "the energy level of the appreciative but reserved crowd raised exponentially after security allowed fans to crowd the front of the stage and sing along to two more oldies, Hello, It's Me, and Just One Victory."

Something about fair Oceanside inspires cartwheels in street

Picked up an interesting piece in the The Oregonian about the town of Oceanside. It seems Todd's mother in law, and Michelle's mom - Pat Gray - is a resident of said town. Pat, a retired schoolteacher, has apparently always been known for her cartwheeeling ability. The article says " As a grade-school teacher, she would occasionally oblige students when they would beg her to turn cartwheels in the halls. Now, on her birthday, she turns cartwheels on Pacific Avenue. "I just wanted to see if I could do it," she said. "I'm a character." Jan. 14 was her 76th birthday, and she turned 11 cartwheels. Brilliant.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Sounds like ...

The Times Union has a three star review of The Pernice Brothers appearance at Valentine's, with reviewer MICHAEL ECK commenting that "Pernice is often compared to pop enigmas like Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and Colin Blunstone, but at Valentine's he reveled in phrasing that leaned more toward Elvis Costello, albeit a less melodically rambunctious Costello"


DJ, Jono Coleman writing in today's Daily Star has also given Todd a mention: "I can also recommend the brand new Todd Rundgren live DVDs. He's another music legend of the 70s and 80s who's about to tour the UK and his classic concert recordings are great"

Live daily

Live Daily has a plug for the Todd tour and yet more on the look of the tour: "The Tablet PCs that we are taking essentially replace all the backline equipment," he said. "We run two pieces of emulation software to recreate the sound of amplifiers. There are no amps, racks or floor monitors anywhere on stage."

3 Star Liar

Just 3 Stars for 'Liars' from the Lexington Herald Leader: "Rundgren has created another one-man-band pastiche of keyboard orchestrations that are often disarmingly calm. But when the beasts in these songs break free, Liars becomes anything but pretty."

Thursday, April 15, 2004

With 'Liars,' Rundgren returns to his old honest sound

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review also has a Todd interview The importance of being a muscician is stressed in this one: "One of the things I try to preach to other musicians ... is that your job has always been to perform," he says. "It wasn't to go into the studio to make records and go home and collect royalty checks, it was always to go out and prove what you can do night after night. B.B. King still goes out 300 days a year. Tony Bennett is still knocking people out night after night after night. And that's what being a musician is all about. People get too fixated on records, that records will either make your life easier or it's your only reasonable musical outlet. I think it's time for players to get back to the playing."

Hello, it's Todd, with first new disc in 10 years

The Chicago Sun-Times has an interview with Todd. Has a lot of the same stuff as a lot of other interviews but has an interesting comment on the tour production: ""We're trying to demonstrate live that you can put together a decent production and have it be affordable and up the the ante in terms of your show," he says. "I want musicians to start thinking more in terms that they're performers. In that sense I think we have a lot to recover. For so long now, it's been all the lip syncing and dancing stuff."

DVD Review

The Independent on Sunday kept up the Todd mentions with a review of the Live in Japan DVD. Laurie Staff wrote "Pop genius to some, pretentious geek to others, Rundgren continues to plough his own wildly unfashionable furrow with an eclecticism that guarantees cult status, never stardom. For those that belong to the "Todd Is God" camp, Christmas has come early with the UK release of The Desktop Collection/2nd Wind Live Recording Session, Live In San Francisco and this live performance from 1990. Songs from the then-current Nearly Human album sit alongside classics to joyous effect, showcasing one of the most important songwriters of our time" [Yes Indeed]

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


'Liars' debuts at number 15 on the UK Chart's Indie albums listing for this week

Rundgrens are here, there and everywhere

Bob Underwood's Seen & Overheard from the Dayton Daily News on 9th April announced that "Todd Rundgren's wife, Michele Rundgren, will bring her stand-up act to Jokers Comedy Cafe in Miami Twp. on April 28. But you probably shouldn't go there looking to see her classic-rocking hubby in the crowd. That same day he will be in New York to perform on The Late Show With David Letterman"

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Show is the Rainbow

The Omaha World-Herald had a brief piece on the band The Show is the Rainbow last Thursday. "I'm kind of like the heavy-metal Tom Jones," the group's sole member, Darren Keen told the paper. The new album "Correcting Dog Behavior Problems Using Dog Radartron" is apparently influenced by Todd Rundgren, David Bowie, Gary Numan, and Kraftwerk ...

Super Model

Saturday's Times had an interview with the wonderful Jill Sobule. Why now? Well after 3 years her last album 'Pink Pearl' has finally got an official release in the UK (Long overdue). Sobule says that a new album should be out in the autumn (in the US at least). She talks wonderfully about how a lot of (US) radio stations refused to play her single 'I Kissed a Girl' . "Back then, girls weren't supposed to sing about kissing other girls, but I could see how hip it was about to become. I have to say, I loved being bad. When I sang I Kissed a Girl, I felt like Ice T doing Cop Killer." It's also funny to hear her talk og her time playing with lloyd Cole's band (and for the record, they were great Live). -"I offered to join as a joke, then he called me up with rehearsal dates". Obviously Todd gets a passing mention as the producer of Sobule's fantastic debut 'Things here are Different' (If you don't already own it - shame on you)

Still more reviews

Mark Edwards in the Sunday Times gives 'Liars' a two out of three star rating and compairs Todd to Bowie as an artist who "get a bit lost in their late thirties and forties (often getting sidetracked by shiny new technology and ultimately uninteresting interactive projects) [but] find a new relevance when they hit their fifties". Edwards adds himself to a growing list of reviewers that are not keen on 'Truth' or 'Mammon', but feels Todd gets "pretty damn close to his sublime early 1970s heyday." with Flaw, Afterlife and, especially, Past. The Daily Express meanwhile is happy to say, whilst 'jumping between styles could be annoying, Rundgren's solid songwriting allows him to pull it off".

Plain dealing

The Plain Dealer's Friday! magazine has a song spotlight on "The Wondering" from 'Liars' with Todd commenting on how the song was inspired by the 2000 presidential election. "I think a lot of people just couldn't believe the way it all unfolded," Rundgren says, "and we all woke up one day realizing we had been fed a line about how this country works and that we had just been shown how it really works. It's one of those things where now you realized you've been living in a deluded state, so you don't know what to believe yet."

Thursday, April 08, 2004

More Liars

Yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives 'Liars' a mention in it's new CD releases section " Todd Rundgren contemplates a world based in deceit -- in love, politics, religion and show business -- on "Liars" (Sanctuary)". Meanwhile the Glasgow Evening Times chipped in wth "His solo career has encompassed the truly awesome masterpiece Something/Anything, the ambitious concept album A Wizard, A True Star and the brilliant Initiation. Opening with the trance-like Truth, followed by tracks such as the sublime Sweet, this is proof there's still life in the old genius"

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Thanks to Roger

Quick thanks to Roger over at TRConnection for kindly giving me a mention today. Nice to know it's not just me reading my own postings!

Passing the Acid Test

Gavin Martin of the Times on saturday hailed the return of rock’s maverick maestro stating that "If the recent comebacks by the 1960s acid heads Brian Wilson and Arthur Lee warranted a cheer, then Todd Rundgren's return to top form deserves a roof-top fanfare" He heralds 'Liars' as his most compelling album since Hermit of Mink Hollow. It "combines the full breadth of his talents, from the soulful symphony of Past to the blunderbuss pomp of the fundamentalist baiting Mammon, with a gleeful cutting-edge sensibility...[and] ... confirms what many of us have long suspected -the prodigal genius of 1970s acid rock has most definitely not left the building".

Johathan Takiff in yesterday's Philadelphia Daily News gave 'Liars' an A- saying "The sarcastic "Happy Anniversary," Philly Soul-flavored "Soul Brother," amusing tale of premature evolution "Stood Up" and metal rock/religious zealot parodying "Mammon" are just some of the pointed pleasures" available to the listener.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Observer & Daily Telegraph not as impressed with 'Liars'

Three Cheers for Kitty Empire in the Observer who dares to be the first to take a few light swings at 'Liars'. She feels Todd "suffers from a surfeit of ability and equipment" and that whilst Todd has a lot of interesting stuff to say the music is "overweening", and in the end Todd "can't relieve his music of its bloatedness". I have to say whilst I am revising my own views of the album (to more positive, now I have a real copy of it), I can still see where she's coming from.

Over at the Daily Telegraph, David Cheal calls it an "ambitious collection" that lives up to its ambition "to a degree". At worst - again pointing at 'truth' he calls the album "hectoring", "cliched" , and " not terribly tuneful". However, he says at its best "as on the relentless, churning 'Living' its irresistable". The album he says is a mixture of "extremes of brilliance and browbeating".

The Independent on Sunday proclaims "the original king of eclectica is back" in yet another 4 star review, which the reviewer justifies on the album's soul smoothness (he's less a fan of tracks such as 'Truth'). Elsewhere, the Leicester Mercury review calls Liars "a work of art"; and the Newcastle Journal suggests that any reader "looking for an alternative take on rock" to check out the album.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

London date venue

The London date on 15th July will be at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. Tickets are already on sale (just got mine) and going fast. Seats in the Stalls already sold out. Tickets 22-27.50 GBP.

Friday, April 02, 2004

And Let Live

Good interview with Todd by Gavin martine in the Daily Mirror today, chating about Liv, Rex, the new album and Beatles. On Liv Todd say's: "She's my gal!" We have a really terrific relationship...About this time a year ago, Liv and I and my eldest son (Rex) went to New Orleans to stay with friends. It's a place that's designed to have a good time. You want to get drunk in the afternoon? Just go ahead! And we did."

The Move to Hawaii Todd says was prompted by a fear that Rex was getting "sucked into San Francisco gang culture". And as for Macca? Seems Todd and linda were almost an Item before Paul came on the scene. "Some years later - after a show in New York - I got to meet Linda with Paul for the first time. It was strange. For someone so happy-go-lucky onstage, Paul had no sense of humour or irony."

The 4 Star reviews keep on coming

Yet another 4 Star review, as Andy Gill in the Independent calls 'Liars' Todd's " best since his Seventies heyday" . He praises the line "It's easy to be smart, but it's a struggle to be wise," as possibly the wisest lyric of the year. He does have a minor quibble, that the "lush retro-nuevo pop-soul arrangements are sometimes a bit too top-heavy with keyboards for their own good, but Todd's vocal harmonies are faultless, and his way with a melody as winning as ever".

Meanwhile the Guardian - again with 4 Stars - calls the album "an album that dares to be of its time, out of time and in the nick of time" They say "Rundgren manages to survey almost the entire pop universe, while weaving his myriad inspirations and derivations into a single, seamless tapestry with fiendish ingenuity" Like most people they too find a flaw. This time that " Rundgren's identity tends to get lost in his own infinite landscape. But who else is capable of such a feat?" Amen.

Rundgren Going Back to His Roots with 'Liars'

The Hollywood Reporter / Reuters has a piece on Todd . In it he say's of the concept behind the album: "(Liars) is a great topic that is nearly inexhaustible," Rundgren says. "If you want to do a concept record, there is probably no better (subject), particularly in these times. I realized I had truly rich bodhi for this record, I probably could have done a double album; there is so much dishonesty in the world."

It also mentions Todd's deal with Sanctuary, which includes a licensing deal with Todd for more than 300 hours of solo and Utopia live audio and video material. A live DVD, of the forthcoming tour will be among these.

Liar's Times review

Lisa Verrico reviews 'Liars' in today's Times. She describes the album as being 'packed with accessible tracks that switch from sleek electronica to smoooth soul and technorock ... an unexpected eturn to form" ****/*****

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Lawnmower Man

The Independent on Sunday had an interview with Todd this week. "THIS CULTURAL LIFE - Mowing the lawn, and other holy sacraments" gave us a more fun insight into Todd. We learn that Todd would want Daryl Hannah to play him in the Hollywood version of his imaginary life; that he'd like to see the White House torn down ... or at least he'd like to see certain people homeless; that he throws a mean party; and that he covets his lawnmower " I consider mowing the lawn as part of my religious liturgy; lawnmowing as meditation". Rock 'n Roll

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Observer 'Liars' review

Well it took me until yesterday to get around to reading the sunday papers, so it's only then I came across Campbell Stevenson's review of 'Liars' in the Observer. Stevenson - a self confessed fan says "I assure you that he's the missing link between Brian Wilson and Prince, between white pop and black soul, boys and girls, cold techno-freakery and warm romance. And that this is his best album for 25 years" [er HELLO A Cappella came out in 1985 ...]
Giving the album four out of Five, he says what "denies this album a five-star review is the standard set of duffers" [ in which he includes the marvelous 'Soul Brother', a song I currently can't stop singing]. He ends the review by saying "to find out whether you need this album, just go along to a small but proper record shop and ask them to play track five, 'Stood Up'. Its massed baroque keyboards, call and response vocals, psychedelic production and insidious tune should bring you to your knees. [Found this track to be more of a grower than a grabber to be honest] If you like it, then buy it, followed by Something/Anything? . . . then everything. Well, almost everything; steer clear of those later Utopia albums. [ He surely CAN'T mean to pop/rock genius of POV and Oblivion?]

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Todd in Music Week

This week's Music Week spotlights the release of the Todd DVD's - The Desktop Collection/2nd Wind Sessions; Live in Japan, and Live in SanFrancisco in the UK at long last on 3 May. Article features a mini interview with Todd who concludes that with the release of the Liars CD on 5 April "You could say it's raining Todd at the moment"

Monday, March 22, 2004

Album reviews

The Sunday Age has a review of Kate Markowitz's album 'Map of the World' with reviewer Warwick McFadyen describing it as "as close to perfection as the West Coast adult soft/rock style can attain". According to McFadyen, the standout track is her covering of Todd Rundgren's Can We Still Be Friends?

The Allentown Morning Call meanwhile has reviewed Owsley - "The Hard Way" but complains that Will Owsley music merely mimics his influences. "Be With You," "Rise," "Matriarch" and "Undone" owe (too) much to Big Star, Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty and Paul McCartney and Wings.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Guardian talks to Todd

The Guardian online has a short interview with Todd, talking about Apple, software, the fate of the CD "The CD is still the preferred format for portable music. It may eventually lose its dominance but most portable listening devices don't allow you to get sound out. You can only put sound into them", and the RIAA "I don't like them persecuting my audience in my name".

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Spymob on SNL

Spymob are on this week's Saturday Night Live. Why do we care? because their eagerly awaited debut album, "Sitting Around Keeping Score," is influenced by the sounds of Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Jellyfish and Split Enz. The album also is the first rock album released on Star Trek, the new Arista subsidiary founded by the Neptunes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Todd BBC's album of week

The BBC (God bless 'em) have the whole of the Todd album up on their website for us to listen too, after naming the record their Album of the Week. So ... the question is does it sounds any good? Err..Hmmm... for me yes and no. Whilst I'm glad its already getting noticed (see also interview and review on Play Louder....) I can't help thinking after first listen that too much on here sounds like '2nd Wind', and 'Nearly Human' outtakes, and whilst online is not the best listening environment, it sounds a bit tinny too, like i just recorded this on my PC at home. Some initial thoughts on a selection of the tracks.

Truth - Todd goes a bit techno, with hints of Initiation, but a disappointing lead of track.
Sweet - Nearly Human-esk sounding typical Todd soul, but heard it before and better.
Soul Brother - Certainly one of the album's highlights, as Todd goes after modern R&B music, NOT before time ..." as you dry hump the crowd" . Asking, not so much where is the love, but where is the SOUL
Mammon - Another great song, this time about people trying to force their religion on you.
Future - Almost a drum and bass beat going on in the background here. Like it.
Past - Typical Todd ballard - again too early to say whether this is a classic or just a heard it all before track like 'Sweet'.
Wondering - And we take a step up again.
Afterlife - Can't place this but again very reminisant of a previous Todd track, and 2nd Wind in general. I like it, but it goes back to my argument that we've all been here before.
Living - Another 2nd Wind like track. See above. Best guitar work on the album though.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Powder - Mean Fiddler - 10th march 2004

It's taken me 'til March to get my first gig of the year under my belt, and at eight quid, this seemed too good to miss. And if value for money is a good indicator of a good gig, this was it. 3 bands for your cash.

First up were Johnny Panic, a London punk-pop band with a host of good - if formulaic - tunes. They were followed by a 9 piece outfit who's name sadly I did not catch, but who were sort of meatloaf meets the darkness, covering jamiriqai, doing the blues brothers. Crazy stuff, 4 different vocalists - one wanna be robbie williams (and destined to be a star) and a great female singer among them. Need to find out who they were.

And Powder. what can you say? Ninette doing he ditsy blonde routine; Phil with his mad spiky hair; a monster on stilts (suddenly teenage Iron Maiden gigs came flooding back to me); Dance routines with 2 look-a-likes (apparently not uncommon for their to be 4 on stage in some Powder gigs - and it seems we missed out on the pole dancing routine this time too); a skipping display - the likes of which you've never seen (certainly not in the middle of a Rock gig, at least) ; a flip chart to sing along to 'Go'; and goodies galore thrown to the audience. This was fun! You could argue that Powder's bubble gum rock needs these touches as many of the tunes are not good enough for the band to carry it off on music alone, but that would probably be unfair on the band. Whilst you could not argue that some of their material could be stronger, there is no denying the pop brilliance of current single 'Up Here', 'Go' and a couple of other tunes. I can certainly see why they have gone down a storm on the LA club circuit. When Robbie Williams sings " Let me Entertain You", I can only think he must have been referring to Powder. This was the bands first uk visit, I doubt it will be their last. I had a good happy feeling all over on leaving the venue, and let's be honest you can't ask much more than that. One thing's for certain, I'll be there again next time around.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Like a rollin' stone

Today's Miami Herald reviewed Mark Coleman's book - 'Playback: From the Victrola to Mp3, 100 years of music, machine, and Money', which mentions along the way that "observers such a writer Bob Lefsetz and musicain Todd Rundgren advocate embracing the opportunities created by file-sharing and digital downloads, but industry executives resist". The Herald also links to Todd's commentary from Rolling Stone from october last year

Top Dog

Article on Randy - American Idol 'Dog' - Jackson in latest issue of the Bass player, mentions the fact the Randy has once recorded with Todd.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Spin the black circle

Two weeks worth of listening to cover today. Stuck with the Avril wanna-bees.

Fefe Dobson: Fefe Dobson - This is certainly one of the better pop records of the year so far. Fun record.

Kathryn Tickell: The Gathering - Ok, so with the music above, how do we explain an album of Northumbrian pipe music? As genius perhaps. This album, which came out in 1997, is still a favourite of mine. Wonderful folk music, and featuring 'Mr Nelson's Birthday Waltz', which is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. Beautiful.

Katy Rose: Because I can - Whilst Fefe's album is good, Rose's is a much better and more mature record. Sure it does its Avril bits, 'Overdrive' and 'I Like ' for instance, but it also hints at much more with tracks such as 'Snowflakes' and 'Lemon ' reminding me much more of someone like Heather Nova. Apparently Liz Phair - and I'll skip the sell out, or good pop record discussion on Liz's last album for another time - thought she was good enough to take the support slot on her last tour. If she can channel here enery down the Heather Nova sound route, there is a lot to like here, and some great music to look forward to from this 16 year old.

Speedway: Save Yourself - Had a hit here with their "genie in a bottle' cover and now deliver a debut album that is pleasing and competant without being anything out of the ordinary. Still, with a sound leaning towards the rocky side of Texas (the band, NOT the US State!) there should be very healthy album sales and several more hits to come from this Glasgow bunch. The potential to big a very big band. Highlights include: 'Talk to Me', 'Thinking about you lately', and 'Last Surprise'

Transplants: Transplants - More rap-rock, but quite entertaining in a loud party kind of way.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Artist's work with Todd

Ireland's Sunday Independent had a feature this week on artist Jessica Roth, which mentioned that through her first husband, rock photographer Bruce McAuley, "Jessica began working with Todd Rundgren, rock star and then boyfriend of Bebe Buell, the inspiration for Kate Hudson's character in AlmostFamous ... Jessica was involved in making costumes for Rundgren."

Friday, February 27, 2004

Bearsville Sale

According to the New York Times Albert Grossman's widow, Sally, has put Bearsville studio's up for sale at $725,000. Bearsville was where Dylan, Joplin, and of course Todd recorded many a fine album. Hope someone buys it and keeps it going. Albert Grossman - who also manged Todd - died in 1986.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Todd in the press

George Lang in the The Daily Oklahoman (20 February ) finished his review ofthe new Norah jones CD, with a little aside: "I have seen the future of rock 'n' roll, and its name is Butterfly Boucher. This Australian singer-songwriter's debut combines Todd Rundgren-style hooks and Aimee Mann's world-weary inflections to create accessible and smart pop music" - Sounds interesting...

On the same day, Adam Walton of the Liverpool Daily Post tackled the joys of parenting, and of young childrens musical taste, when decrying his daughters liking for Will Young It is he says "misplaced,anal music snobbery" but more the fact that no matter how many expertly compiled CDs - "featuring the cream of the finest music ever made" he makes "resplendent in tunes fromThe Beach Boys,Todd Rundgren ,XTC etc.etc., Ava still sits down for breakfast and asks for "Will! Yes please!"

Finally, the Daily Mirror's Gavin Martin was telling us to buy JOSH ROUSE's new CD - 1972, which "celebrates the musical paradise of the period (Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, Philly and Motown) and this gorgeous offering includes a cheeky nod to the Stones' disco classic Miss You in its irresistible bouquet of finger-clicking bop and lovesick longing"

Monday, February 23, 2004

Spin the black circle

This week's been a bit of a strange one, with Avril wanna-bees getting a spin.

Fefe Dobson: Fefe Dobson - Was feeling quite scornful of this just on principle. Cynical black Avril marketing ploy, but ... WAIT. Actually this isn't that bad. In fact there is some finely crafted little pop ditties on this. Added to which Tone Loc has been dragged back out from wherever he's been hiding to add that bit of extra class to 'Rock it til you drop it'. Several other high points include: 'Revolution'; 'Take Me Away' and 'Give it up'. One to watch.

Lillix: Falling Uphill - This one from a young girl band is an easier sell to me, but is not as compelling musically, although 'Lost and Confused' and 'Sick' certainly shine through.

The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving - Not a teen girl in sight (at least I don't think so?) but this is what a great album SHOULD sound like. I could play 'Aside' all night if need be..

Just bought the Speedway CD, so that will be leading the charge for next week.

Monday, February 16, 2004


According to the TR Connection there will be a major announcement this week from the UK promoting the new Todd CD (UK tour dates? PLEASE!) - which comes out 5 April. The Album is apparently " Very spiritual, electronic and is kind of like a full circle to Initiation/Real Man and Todd era ". Sounds interesting.

Spin the black circle

This week's listening was kicked off by watching 'Lost in Translation' and hearing both 'Just Like Honey' by The Jesus & Mary Chain and 'Sometimes' by My Bloody Valentine , and thinking, I own those albums!

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless. I still really love this record, and 'When You Sleep' remains one of my all-time favourite tracks fromthe period.
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy. You know, they sound a bit like the BRMC ...LOL. The kings of low-fi feedback indie rock. Still a classic.
Joss Stone - The Soul Sessions. Came back to Joss this week as a balance to the feedback driven rock of JMC and MBV

And the Single:

Powder - Up Here. Big on the live scene in LA by all accounts, the video for this is mad, and the lead singer looks like drew barrymore in drag. Actually the song sounds better without the video distraction. I love it.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Gary Husband - Aspire (JazzIzIt)

Both today's Times and Guardian review the new CD by Gary Husband. A very gifted pianist, he is still probably better know - at least in the rock world as the drummer with Level 42. This album is an acoustic jazz leaning record, which features vocalist Christine Tobin on what the Times describe as "an overwrought adaptation" and the Guardian "a rather monochromatic take" on Todd Rundgren's Tiny Demons.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Todd's new CD "Liars" is now set for a US release on Sancuary on April 6, 2004.

Track Listing as follows:

1 Truth
2 Sweet
3 Happy Anniversary
4 Soul Brother
5 Stood Up
6 Mammon
7 Future
8 Past
9 Wondering
10 Flaw
11 Afterlife
12 Living
13 God Said
14 Liar

Monday, February 09, 2004

Spin the black circle

Another week and more great listening!

Orbital - In Sides: This has been the big listen of the week. Triggered off by hearing "the Box" on TV. Orbital have never been better in my opinion.

Kings of Convenience - Quiet is The New Loud: keeping it mellow with the modern day simon and garfunkle sound.

FannyPack - So Stylistic: I have no shame, I love this record. Feel good music by daphne and celeste mark II.

Johnny Cash - American IV: Hurt still just blows me away and The man comes around isn't far behind. He went out with his head held high. RIP JC.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Five for Fighting

Wednesday's USA today features a review of a new album by Five for Fighting - The Battle for Everything, by Elysa Gardner. Giving the record 2 stars Gardner, who describes the band as "purveyors of heavy-handed, maudlin guitar-pop" comments that frontman John Ondrasik "aspires to more gracefully lyrical expression on the Todd Rundgren-esque One More for Love". The album she concludes is a "ploddingly earnest ...affair"

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Spin the black circle

Ruby - Salt Peter. 9 years old and still sounds fresh. Lesley Rankine shines in this sort of rock/trip-hop classic [which again influenced Garbage] featuring one of my tracks of the 90's - Paraffin.
Splender - Halfway Down the Sky. Some delightful Todd produced pop/rock.
Thea Gilmore - The Lipstick Conspiracies. Modern pop/folk at its best, and another of 2003's best releases.
Whiskey Mule - Fuel For the Mule. Demo CD bu bunch of 17 year olds, featuring a friend. 70's rock influenced. Lead singer is woeful, but with a little work there is potential there.
The Boomtown Rats - Best of . Bob and the boys did crank out some cool tunes
Boss Hogg - Whiteout.

And the tracks:

Curve - Hell Above the Water. Curve really should have been bigger. Garbage essentially ripped off half their sound and made money whilst Curve hardly kept their head abouve the water. This track from the album 'Gift' was proof that they could still crank out a good tune.

Iron Maiden - Rainmaker - Just when I was sure that they would never record a decent tune ever again ... One of pleasant surprises in the singles market of 2003.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Rudd's support the Runt

Article in The Boston Globe (30th January) about Boston outfit the Rudds, ahead of gig at Lizard Lounge 31 January, and about singer John Powhida's vocal heroes - Daryl Hall, Todd Rundgren, and Cheap Trick's Robin Zander - who have influenced him since his teenage years growing up in Albany, N.Y. "That's the sound to me," Powhida says. "I liked the freeness and wildness that Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren had. They'd slip into falsetto, take chances, and every time they sang a song it seemed like they were playing with their voices. That's an element of music I like a lot, that experimentation."

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Crimes against music: Scissor Sisters

In the first of what again will no doubt be a regular feature on the site, we look at Scissor Sisters. In particular we look at their cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". Imagine the Bee Gees on hellium, and produced by Giorgio Moroda, and you get an idea of what this sounds like. The original is full of feeling, power, and some quite wonderful guitar playing ... however, in the hands of SS this is really just horrible. Do not encourage them to do anything like this ever again.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Gig news update

Todd Rundgren's concert in Pittsburgh on 18 April has been moved from Rosebud to the Rex Theatre


Ed Bumgardner of the Winston-Salem Journal recommended "Paparazzi" by Jamie Hoover and Bill Lloyd to any Todd, Beatles, Curt Boettcher, or Marshall Crenshaw fans stating of the material "the subject matter - romantic rejection and loneliness, peppered with a hint of retribution and acceptance - is not the stuff of happy endings. Still, Hoover and Lloyd never let woe overwhelm the desire to create masterful pop". Haven't had an opportunity to check it out myself yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Todd tune on UK TV

Todd Rundgren's I Saw The Light was featured in "Venus And Mars", the first in the new series of The Afternoon Play (BBC1) 26th January. The episode starred Robson Green.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

This day in history (yesterday 26th Jan)

1992 - Todd Rundgren's wife, singer Michele Gray, gives birth to son in San Francisco. They name the child Rebop...

Monday, January 26, 2004

Spin the black circle

The first of a weekly update on what's been playing on the stereo, pc etc this week.

Joss Stone - The Soul Sessions. This really is one heck of a record.
The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site. Quite possibly THE album of 2003. Still sounding good.
Todd Rundgren - Live in NYC '78 Good music to have on whilst working on my latest article.

Friday, January 23, 2004

John T. Siomos dies

John T. Siomos, a drummer who performed and recorded with such artists as Todd Rundgren, Carly Simon, Peter Frampton, and many other well-known recording artists has died aged 56.

Liv's dads unite at wedding

Liv Tyler told World Entertainment News Network that her "two" dads only met for the first time at her wedding last year. Apparently she made certain both Steven Tyler and Todd Rundgren were present at the wedding to Royston Langdon She said, "My mother, Todd and Steven had never been in a room together before, and Todd and Steven had never met"

Monday, January 19, 2004

Soul survivor

When was the last time you heard a really good soul album. Real R&B, not the dross that gets labelled R&B these days which neither has any hint of rhythm or blues in its content. If you look you can still find some, but it's getting harder. So Imagine my delight listening to Joss Stone's debut 'Soul Sessions'. The 16 year old from the UK is a delight as she rips into a collection of souls classics such as the Isley Brothers' "For the Love of You", the Drifters' "Some Kind of Wonderful" , Aretha Franklin's "All the King's Horses", and Bettye Swann’s“Victim of A Foolish Heart”. Also thrown in for good measure the White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl (now a Boy)," which features the Roots, which in Stone's interpretation feels right at home in the company, and confirms the song as a true classic. If you like real music, and especially if you like old Stax and Atlantic Soul, then this album should be an essential purchase. A contemporary album, containing material co-written with desmond child and Nile Rogers is due out later this year and will tell us if Joss can take that next step.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

New Album??? Another Tour

It seems at long last, a new Todd album, called "Liars" will be released in the next couple of months. To mark the release Todd will be doing a short US tour with old friends Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress, John Ferenzik and Prairie Prince as his backing band. The Tour kicks off on the 8th April at Potawatomi Casino, Milwaukee. Further dates so far announced are: 10th April Chicago,House of Blues Chicago; 16&17th April Ohio Theater, Cleveland; 18th April Rosebud, Pittsburgh; 22nd April Turning Stone Casino, Verona; 23rd April, Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank; 28th April, GW Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC; 30th April, American Music Theater, Lancaster; 1st May, Paramount Center For The Arts, Peekskill; 2nd May, Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville; and 18th September, Cerritos Center, Cerritos


Because I have nothing better to do with my time, and partly because none of my other blogs really suit my rambling on about anything, I've set up this one. It aims to keep any reader that finds their way here up to date on what's going on with the one and only Todd Rundgren. It is also going to be where I talk about any other music that's made me sit up or throw up. So let the games begin!

Actually, can I start off with a moan. Patronet: If you have a dial up connection ,don't even bother trying to look at or access Patronet, it will hang so much, that'll it will just fuck you off. Sadly, like many others Todd only really caters for broadband users, which whilst fine in the US doesn't help some of us in Europe who still have phone companies that are very slow in upgrading their exchanges so we can get broadband access. I do have broadband, but I have just tested it out on dial up,as I was including the link and even and if you click on skip to the end, it doesn't. So if you have a dial up modem, try again when you get broadband.