Friday, December 19, 2008

The Return Of Rundgren The Rocker | Philadelphia Inquirer

The return of Rundgren the rocker
He's playing the guitar hero again.
By Sam Wood

Inquirer Staff Writer

Todd Rundgren is fuming mad.
And for fans of the 60-year-old rocker, that's reason to celebrate.

Rundgren has spent much of the last two decades dabbling in
multimedia experiments, techno, and soundtracks. Do we need to
mention the bizarro exercise where he retooled his biggest hits -
"Hello It's Me" and "I Saw the Light" - into out-of-tune bossa novas?

But his anger at eight years of the Bush administration has pushed
Rundgren to return to classic form.

Classic rock, that is. He's picked up his guitar and is wielding it
with a revitalized sense of mission.

Rundgren always has been a rock-and-roll chameleon, sliding
effortlessly from Beatles-style pop to progressive rock to soft rock.

With Arena, Rundgren's latest full-length outing, he's returned to
guitar-hero mode, summoning echoes of AC/DC, Boston and Robin Trower.

"The music is designed to make people just want to pump their fists
in the air and have a visceral response," Rundgren said from
Monterey, Calif., where he had just finished speaking to a conference
on the future of the music industry.

The music is designed to seduce, Rundgren said.

"I'm hoping that people, after a few listens, will begin to absorb
the message," he said. "It's almost quaint."

Underneath all the stomping bombast, Rundgren said, he wanted to
impart a sense of determination and hope.

"The whole record is about the failure of men in recent years," he
said. "How our leadership, political and economic, has turned out to
be liars and cowards and devious people of all kinds.

"But what we really admire about men is how they search for truth and
bear up under awful burdens without complaint," Rundgren
said. "That's what this project is all about."

Rundgren's plans for the new year include more touring and a return
to production duties at his Hawaiian studios. In March, he'll be
producing the New York Dolls.

Rundgren's Sellersville show is sold out, but local Todd fans will
have something to celebrate New Year's Eve, when he performs a semi-
private, semi-secret gig at the Painted Bride Arts Center (for more
information visit

Todd Rundgren, with Freeman, performs at 8:30 p.m. Monday at
Sellersville Theater 1894, Main and Temple streets, Sellersville.
Sold out. Phone: 215-257-5808.

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