Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Concert Advertisement: Hartford Advocate CT

The Changing Man
Music legend Todd Rundgren reflects on his career and his fans
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Thursday, December 18, 2008
By John Adamian

Todd Rundgren
Dec. 20
Infinity Music Hall
20 Greenwoods Road
(866) 666-6306

Todd Rundgren is one of those multi-talented protean figures of rock.
Producer, songwriter, singer, frontman, guitar hero, New Wave hit
maker, conceptualist — he's done it all.

You could practically fill up this space just itemizing his
achievements: founder of Philadelphia's the Nazz, a wonderfully
garage-y band that was one of America's best "Anglophile" acts in the
wake of the British Invasion; frontman of the bands Runt and Utupia
in the '70s; scored a solo hit with "Hello It's Me," classic footage —
which you can see on YouTube — where Rundgren sounds like Carole
King and looks like Ziggy Stardust; emerged as a proto-slacker
spokesman with his '80s hit "Bang the Drum All Day"; acclaimed
producer for a wildly diverse group of acts from the New York Dolls,
to Hall and Oates, to Ian and Sylvia, to Cheap Trick and beyond.
Perhaps his most recent peculiar incarnation came in the form of
stepping in as the frontman in the Ric Ocasek-less the New Cars in

One might wonder just which guise of Todd Rundgren's will appear on
stage at Norfolk's Infinity Music Hall on Dec. 20. But Rundgren's
long-time fans are used to rolling with the flux of his work, as he
told the Advocate when we reached him by phone at his home in Hawaii

Rundgren and his band will be playing songs off 2008's Arena, along
with more recognizable classics. "We essentially do the entire record
and we bracket it with older, more familiar material, but mostly all
guitar-oriented," he says.

And fans — though they've been willing to follow Rundgren through a
capella adventures, solo acoustic shows, or as a backing band for
artists like Ringo Starr — seem eager. "The audience had not seen me
in this particular guise in such a long time. I guess it was
exhilarating in some way — to sort of pick up as if 20 years hadn't
past," he says. "It seems to be what everyone has been missing."

Many artists have special connections with fans, but Rundgren's stand
out. And he's rewarded his long-time fans in unusual ways, like
setting up informal after-show get-togethers with some. Perhaps the
most un-rockstar-like example was when he invited die-hard fans to
come camp out on his property in Hawaii. Rundgren's comments about
the event warrant inclusion.

"We had an event here last June because it was my 60th birthday," he
says. "We have a fairly large empty tract of land next to the
house. ... We decided to make an open invitation to any of the fans
who had the wherewithal to get to Kaui and could pay a food
allowance. And we had about 250 people come here and set up tents and
camp out and we called it Toddstock. I got a chance to get a more or
less intimate view of a great cross section of my fans. ... The one
thing they share in common is that they're willing to take on an
adventure like that and they were willing to do it with a certain
degree of good humor. And so I have to think that my fans are people
who — at this point — would have to be comfortable with change."

He continues, "I don't see the fans as being a whole lot different
from myself. I think the reason I stay connected with them is not
because I try to stay connected with them and read their minds and
write music about what they're thinking about. I just continue to
write music about what I'm thinking about, and odds are it will find
some kind of resonance in them."¦

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