Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Review: "Todd The Angry God!" - Morristown Green Article at

Todd the angry god by George!
Friday October 10, 2008, 11:36 AM Ear
plugs are no match for Todd Rundgren's "Arena" tour!

There is plenty of bad news to grouse about these days.

But Todd Rundgren went a step farther. He grabbed a laptop, barricaded
himself in a linen closet at his eco/smart Hawaiian home, and emerged
with 13 snarling, tonsil-burning, ear-blistering songs. This guy knows
how to do angry.

The album is called "Arena," and Todd and his band hammered out every
track at the Community Theatre on Thursday.

Fans who came hoping to hear such '70s pop classics as "Hello, It's Me"
or "Can We Still Be Friends" took awhile to warm to this aural assault.
But Todd overpowered them, breaking their will to resist by the fourth
or fifth song.

"Arena" sounds like Frank Zappa-meets-AC/DC. . .with catchy riffs and
sharp lyrics (when they cut through the din).

"Seek the truth," Todd advised between tunes, blasting the country's
"horrible, horrible" leadership by "cowards, perverts, liars and

The songs from "Arena" are meant to be heard together. Concept albums,
alas, are not dead. It's nice to know that after 20 albums, Todd
Rundgren still has something to say. Plenty, in fact. At the top of his

But let's hope, for everyone's sake, that there is no sequel to "Arena."
Because Todd would have to get really riled for that. Which probably
would mean the world had come completely unhinged.

Todd Rundgren at the Community Theatre on Thursday.
Backing Todd Rundgren are drummer Prairie Prince, bass player
Rachel Haden and Todd's former Utopia band-mate, Kasim Sulton. Guitarist Jesse Gress
Todd Rundgren, at Morristown's Community Theatre.

Todd Rundgren played for an hour and 45 minutes on Thursday.

Todd Rundgren: "I'm in the same freaking boat as you guys," he told the big crowd, referring to economic meltdown. "Seek the truth!" advised Todd Rundgren,
citing "horrible, horrible leadership (by) cowards, perverts, liars and

A force of nature--Todd Rundgren puts the pedal to the metal
at age 60

by George! by George!Todd Rundgren at the Community Theatre by
George!Todd Rundgren by George! by George!Todd Rundgren's band performs
songs from new "Arena" album at the Community Theatre on Thursday





REVIEW: Rocker Rundgren returns with new CD, Orange Peel show

With over four decades in the music business as a performer, producer
and digital innovator, Todd Rundgren has never settled into a
particular style. He's had solo hits in the '70s with songs like "I
Saw the Light" and "Hello It's Me" and explored experimental synthy
prog-rock territory with the band Utopia. He's also produced albums
for a diverse range of artists from XTC to Meatloaf to Patti Smith to
Cheap Trick. Just two years ago he stepped into the position of Ric
Ocasek to front a touring incarnation of The New Cars.

Last week he released "Arena," a disc of intentionally big rock
songs. Rundgren plays all of the instruments on the album of
bombastic stadium-style anthems, and he has recently put together a
touring band to recreate the disc on a national fall tour, which
visits The Orange Peel on Wednesday.

Question: Tell me about the new album.

Answer: It's a result of the kind of touring I've been doing lately —
much more guitar oriented, not so dependent on synthesizers and other
kinds of sounds. I've discovered that a lot my fans seem to enjoy
that kind of presentation. It takes them back to the old days of when
Utopia was just a fledgling band. A lot of it has to do with the
response I've been getting in recent months and years.

Q: Why did you play all of the instruments on "Arena?"

A: That's something I started doing on my very first solo album.
People associate that type of approach with me. There's a particular
character to a song when one person is doing everything. There are
certain stylistic earmarks, because I play or program all the parts
the way I hear them, as opposed to how another musician might hear

Q: How are the songs translating with a full band?

A: The record just came out this past week, but we've been playing
the tunes at shows since June. I've been surprised how receptive
people have been to material they've never heard before. That's a
measure of success in how this concept is coming together.

Q: You have an extensive discography. How much of it will you cover
at The Orange Peel?

A: We certainly throw in some older material. I even like to mix in
some covers — songs that the audience might not be highly familiar
with. There are songs out there that have been orphaned by their
original bands, so we'll adopt them for a while. We do "Red Rider" by
Lunatic Fringe and "Walls Came Down" by The Call — songs that were
minor hits in their day.

Q: In the future do you expect to do more playing or producing?

A: I don't expect to make a self-conscious change from the variety of
things I've been doing. I've been doing less producing, but that's
more because of global changes in the music industry. Budgets for
recordings are not as great. I made "Arena" entirely on a laptop.
Musicians don't call up producers as often.

Jedd Ferris writes for take5. Email him at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Review: by Bill Kopp

The personal and the universal
Todd Rundgren rocks out, but keeps it real
by Bill Kopp in Vol. 15 / Iss. 11 on 10/08/2008

When the character Forrest Gump compared life to a box of chocolates
("you never know what you're gonna get"), he could have just as
easily drawn a comparison to the music of Todd Rundgren. Throughout
his career—beginning in 1967 with proto-powerpop quartet Nazz,
through his solo work, albums with Utopia and extensive production
duties for others—Rundgren has charted an idiosyncratic path.

To a casual observer, his stylistic changes might seem haphazard.
Rundgren attributes his approach to restlessness: "I have never
actually seen myself as a stylist, someone trying to develop a
personal style and milk that until the public loses interest in it,"
Rundgren says in an interview with Xpress. He says that his musical
approach "is as much about entertaining myself as it is entertaining
anyone else."

His latest album—Arena, released Sept. 30 on HiFi—is his 20th solo
album of new material (depending on how you count). And it marks
something of a return to form. His last studio release, 2004's Liars,
was a concept album (the songs all "fit into a thematic puzzle," Todd
says, "about dishonesty in modern life"). So, too, he says, is Arena.

But is it a topical album specifically about current events? "If you
want to talk about leadership by deception and cowardice," Rundgren
says with a laugh, "then a certain 43rd president's name might pop
into your head. But that doesn't mean that he thought these ideas up.
This goes back to the frickin' Roman Empire: Nero fiddling while Rome

As is his hallmark, Rundgren's lyrics try to bridge the personal and
the universal, angling toward the timeless rather than the timely. He
says that if these songs were "totally specific to one personality, I
wouldn't feel as inclined to write about them. Because 10 years from
now, people will forget about that person. Our loathing of George W.
Bush will eventually dull into a kind of lingering disgust, because
we won't have to deal with him anymore."

Rundgren observes that the qualities of leadership and heroism "are
things that come out of us; they become manifest in various
personalities and situations." Yet he says that he's most interested
in writing about "the part that's inside us, pre-manifestation."

"This particular record is about the concepts of courage and
cowardice, and how they manifest from the small—like personal doubts,
extremely internal things—to interpersonal reactions, and how those
characteristics play out between people ... all the way up to crises
in leadership, to the political milieu that we find ourselves in,"
Rundgren notes.

But as its title suggests, Arena rocks, too. While Rundgren has made
significant forays into singer/songwriter territory (The Ballad of
Todd Rundgren in 1971), prog rock (much of Utopia's early output),
bossa nova (1997's With a Twist ...), Broadway (1991's 2nd Wind) and
even hip-hop (1992's No World Order), Arena leans toward fist-
pumping, anthemic rockers with hooks and catchy choruses. Concert-
goers should expect a loud, raucous, rocking evening.

All of the songs on Arena were written early this year; when Rundgren
played in Greenville, S.C., a mere six months ago, he didn't play any
of the new songs. ("I hadn't," he admits, "even started on the new
material then.") The album was recorded at his home on the Hawaiian
island of Kauai, with Rundgren playing all of the instruments.

But on this tour, he performs the whole of Arena (plus other songs
from the rockier end of his extensive catalog) with a top-notch band
that includes longtime musical associates Prairie Prince (drums)
Jesse Gress (guitar, vocals) and Todd's former Utopia band mate Kasim
Sulton (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Rachel Haden, daughter of famed
jazz bassist Charlie Haden, plays bass and sings. But it's Rundgren
the audience will see out front, singing lead and wailing on guitar.
Rundgren's stop at The Orange Peel is his last before he's off for a
month of dates in Europe.

So what unusual direction might Rundgren—now 60 years old—pursue
next? If he's decided, he's not telling. "I imagine there are a whole
lot of things that I could explore. I'm not like Paul McCartney," he
observes, "longing to write my symphony."

Meanwhile, the baker's dozen of new songs on Arena manage to have it
both ways: They rock out in a melodic fashion, yet lyrically they
convey what's on Todd Rundgren's mind these days. "I didn't
necessarily want to do something political or topical," he
explains. "I wanted to do something about people. Something that
is ... human."

[Bill Kopp is an Asheville-based music journalist whose features and
reviews can be found at ]]

who: Todd Rundgren
where: The Orange Peel
when: Oct. 15 (8 p.m. $25 advance/$27 door. or 225-5851)

For more or to leave comments :

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


thanks oc sheri for bringing this to my attention

Brian Grace playing sax with Todd Rundgren in Vegas (front)

Clash magazine – Todd Rundgren Returns to His Roots (October 7)

Clash magazine – Todd Rundgren Returns to His Roots (October 7)


Ralph Schuckett Tuesday, 10/07/08 8:30 ET
Please join us for an evening with Ralph Schuckett Tuesday at 8:30 pm ET.Ralph has been all over the place...member of Todd Rundgren's Utopia, session work with The Four Tops, Carol King, James Taylor, Hall & Oates, Cher, Phoebe Snow, and Bette Midler. He's also produced music for Sophie B. Hawkins, Belinda Carlisle. And if that's not enough, he's even done music for Pokemon. .... to name a few of his accomplishments.We'll also have the first match of the Battle of the Todds. Listen in so you'll be informed on how to Rock the Vote!Callers are, of course, welcome. See ya on the radio!

Monday, October 6, 2008


October 6, 2008 Fun and music at the B.R. Cohn Fall FestivalJ.M. Berry Sonoma Valley Sun

The threat of rain and the actual occasional shower didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the near-capacity crowd Saturday, as the sun peeked through the clouds at near-perfect weather for the kick-off of the 22nd year of the charity concert.

The Turtles have to be one of the most fun rock acts playing today, with a show that borders on a circus act. The repertoire ran the gambit of '60s rock classics, including the handful of hits they had during the day, intertwined with joking about their ages and generally poking fun at the '60s.Up next was Todd Rundgren, and we're not sure that the laid-back winery crowd was prepared for what was going to hit them. Rundgren and band hit the stage in all black with a full-blown hard rock assault that included many of his past hits and a large chunk of his new album, which will be released this week. Playing guitar the entire set, Rundgren assumed every "rock position" known, and even a made up a few new ones, all while laying down shredding guitar riffs.Kris Kristofferson's turn was next and using only guitar and a harmonica, he captivated the crowd's attention with his thought-provoking lyrics and classic vocals. Many of his songs harkened back to the '60s, with themes about ending the war and social injustice. The American legend seemed to be having a great time on the winery stage, laughing and smiling throughout his set.Wrapping up the show were perennial favorites the Doobie Brothers, who were absolutely polished and in mid-tour form as they laid down favorite after favorite in true Doobie Brothers style. Front man Tom Johnston was very enthusiastic on stage, running right out to the crowd with his wireless guitar, getting everyone pumped up and into the music. The brothers closed the set with the classic "Listen to the Music" that had the whole crowd singing along.Sunday's show, which also features the Doobie Brothers and the Turtles and adds Dave Mason and Robert Cray to the bill, was sold out.

RARE concert advertisement NAZZ


Sunday, October 5, 2008

XM radio...Oct.6 10-11:00 pm deep tracks channel

Todd Rundgren's "Arena" World Premiere 40 Deep Tracks 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM (1 hr)

It's Todd Rundgren's first studio album in 5 years, "Arena." It is a guitar-based concept record inspired by the movie "300," in which a small group of men had to face an invading overwhelming army. They knew they would most likely die, yet undertook their mission with a sense of duty and courage. Todd used that to compare our leaders of today. He says it is up to all of us to hold our leaders accountable and take actions in our daily lives to improve the world we will leave for our children. Catchy, guitar-based, the album is being hailed as Todd's best music in decades. Normally, he doesn?t talk directly about songs, but he feels this is too important, and will actually share his meanings and intentions. He'll also recount a few amusing stories about 3 of his most beloved past songs.
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