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.

For source and commentary go here:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

todd on letterman poster

colbert report: Todd finally taken off notice

Apparently on the Dec 10th episode of The Colbert Report Todd was
finally taken off notice, here's a link to the clip of the show

Albany Times review

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CD review> Musictap

Mark Squirek


This is floor stomping, anthemic music and Todd is on a roll. His last release, Liars, brought him back to melodic pop which he mixed with funk and experimentation. The songs titles were often one word and the message was very direct, he wasn’t happy with a lot of people. Four years later on Arena he tackles a slightly different, but similar, subject. Anger. Only this time he wraps everything in loud, bludgeoning guitars, memorable riffs, forceful choruses, distorted guitars and lyrics that that occasionally approach screaming. As angry and loud as he is, Todd never looses hope for something positive in the end.

Intentional or not, Arena might be considered the second, broader-based half of Liars. Like that release, the title clearly and succinctly explains where Todd is coming from. This time he may be encasing his message in arena-style rock, but more often than not he is addressing the arena of the world. Where Liars may have seemed to be more internal with an occasional touch of finger pointing, Todd is now trying to make us think about where we are in the bigger picture, both physically and spiritually. The idea is laid out on the very first song title, Mad. It doesn’t stop there either. Other songs include Courage, Weakness, Strike and Panic.

Nothing about the message would stand up if the songs themselves weren’t there. Todd’s songwriting skills have seldom been sharper. A lot of artists are disgusted with love and can write a song about heartbreak. But how many can write a song about the danger of kids with guns and make it so damn hummable? Gun starts off with a Paul Kossoff/Free riff and than jumps into a Z Z Top-esque boogie. Somewhere in the middle of the song Todd even references his earlier work with stacked vocals and a hushed question/answer bridge that leads to a screaming guitar solo that would have fit in Utopia. It is a stunning movement across song styles that holds a funny but true refrain which wouldn’t be out of place in a musical number on South Park.

In an odd way the CD could be considered an almost perfect encapsulation of popular hard rock over the last forty years. Years ago Something/Anything was able to reflect the world of pop-masters of the fifties and sixties with the style of the singer songwriter while mixing everything with spacey rock and fun. During Arena Todd again looks outside himself and incorporates the styles of others to create his own personal vision. There are echoes of Queen, Kraftwork and Boston throughout the entire release. Sometimes you think you can hear The Cars, Judas Priest, Robin Trower, Zappa, Genesis, Def Leppard, AC DC or a pop hit from the eighties that you just can’t put your finger on (Bourgeois Tagg anyone?), but Todd somehow manages to always bring it back to being Todd.

Which is where it should always be. Todd is a singular talent in the history of rock. Few artists come close to the man’s skill in the studio. Not to mention his guitar skills. The idea that all this noise came from one, single individual is something that is hard to wrap your head around. Arena was produced, performed and written by Todd. It takes 5 people in AC / DC to do what he does by himself on the song Strike. This isn’t a slam at AC DC, it is meant to serve as an example of how much talent this one man really has.

Arena is the hardened, wiser and reflective book end to Something / Anything. Once again Todd has done it all. The chorus of Weakness, when it finally gets there, may be close to the most beautiful and understanding music he has ever made.

Concert Advertisement: Hartford Advocate CT

The Changing Man
Music legend Todd Rundgren reflects on his career and his fans
Comments (0)
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."¦

Concert Announcement : DC Washington Examiner

Todd Rundgren returns with new tricks in 'Arena'
By Nancy Dunham
Special to The Examiner 12/17/08

ALEXANDRIA – Todd Rundgren is the Merlin of musicians.
Just when you think his last musical trick — either as a performer, recording artist or producer — has been played, he pulls another metaphoric rabbit out of the hat. This time it's a double shot — his new stadium rock album "Arena," and the announcement that he will produce the next New York Dolls album.

Todd Rundgren takes the stage at Birchmere tonight. -- Courtesy Photo "I don't see a producer's hat as that different from an artist's hat," Rundgren said. "The vast majority of artists have some commercial concerns about their records. I often have had the luxury of not thinking in those terms because I produce records for others."

That meant that despite his worldwide acclaim as an artist in the 1970s and 1980s, he could walk away from stadium rock when he grew weary, leaving classic songs including "Hello, It's Me" and "Bang the Drum All Day" as his vinyl calling cards.

Rundgren packed up his expertise and moved it behind the scenes. His video for "Time Heals" was one of the first to be shown on MTV, and his Web site, PatroNet, was one of the first to allow subscribers to access music directly from the site.

Yet he's perhaps best known for his production chops on classics such as Grand Funk Railroad's "American Band" album.

"Todd Rundgren is a genius, and I don't use that word a lot," said composer Jim Steinman, who has spoken publicly of his awe at Rundgren's production work on Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell."

No wonder he was tapped to produce the eagerly awaited Dolls album, which has received a huge boost of publicity now that Rundgren signed on.

A stint that began in 2006, when Ric Ocasek began fronting the "The New Cars," brought Rundgren back to audiences and rekindled an enthusiasm that ultimately became "Arena."

The album's full of the big hooks and catchy lyrics you expect from Rundgren, the type of music that gets its messages across — in this case a call to arms to bear up under unbearable burdens — while still allowing the listener some fun.

The great news for fans is that Rundgren is touring in support of "Arena." Grab tickets quickly because many shows have sold out quickly and Rundgren might not tour extensively.

"It's always a joy to play for my audience," he said of his limited touring. "But I don't want to take too much advantage of them."

If you go
Todd Rundgren
Venue: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
When: 7:30 tonight
Details: $35; 202-397-SEAT;

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sneak peak at Kasim video release on DVD

The DVD from the Kasim show in Atlanta is finally ready and available
for you to purchase at www. KasimStore. com. To celebrate the release
of this DVD, Kasim will be on RundgrenRadio. com tomorrow night
starting at 8:30pm ET!

Jesse Gress and Doug Kennedy are in the video as well.

A little background on this DVD for those who don't know ...

This DVD is quite unique because every part of it is fan-based (some
Groker's by the way) with the exception of the performers of course.

The show was put together by RundgrenRadio. com and GroupieGear. com
and marketed on fan forums like this one. The DVD taping was done by
DaveK and Jen Salyer. The sound for the show and the DVD was mastered
by Grady Moates. The DVD cover was done by a Kasim fan. The photo on
the event t-shirt was taken by trs. The interview on the DVD was done
by CruiserMel. Obviously, all of the attendees were hardcore fans.
The list goes on and on.

I think this speaks volumes for the power of the
Kasim/Todd/Utopia community as a whole. Lots of different fans from
all over the country, and even the UK, got together and played a role
in making this DVD happen. That is cool as it gets IMO. The folks who
couldn't get involved or attend this gig will still get to play a
role by getting to enjoy this DVD.

In short --- it's all good!
Here's a sneak peak on youtube for your viewing pleasure ...

Rare song:Call From The Grave /Kurt Weill / Todd Rundgren with Gary Windo

concert advertisement The New Yorker


127 E. 23rd St. (212-307-7171)—Dec. 26-27: Todd Rundgren returns to the pump-your-fist rock of the late seventies and early eighties on his new album, “Arena,” his first release in four years.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

review: washington post

TODD RUNDGREN "Arena" Hi Fi Recordings
-- Alexander F. Remington

Friday, December 12, 2008; Page WE08

TODD RUNDGREN always had a knack for a hook, an instrumental
proficiency to rival Prince and an ego to match. Forty years
since "Open My Eyes" and 60 years old, he's back to what he does
best: simple hard-rock pop songs.

His latest album, "Arena," is a concept album for '70s AOR (album
only radio), like a Who "Sell Out" for the classic-rock era, minus
the fake commercials. Even the song titles are
archetypes: "Courage," "Weakness," "Panic."

They're a lot of fun. Opener "Mad" segues into "Afraid," and the
whole sonic palette is immediately apparent: multitracked singalong
choruses, occasional synthesizer, straightforward drums, mixed-down
bass and, of course, guitar riffs everywhere, every note played by

The pace slows on the second half, as up-tempo slows to mid-tempo,
and the chunky riffs become less prominent: Anthems have to give way
to ballads, after all. The best is "Today," which opens with an
arpeggiated synth reminiscent of Pete Townshend, and builds strum by
strum to a shouted, reverbed repetition of "Today's the day!"

The album isn't quite classic. It does a noble effort evoking a now-
maligned era, playing its tropes with reverence rather than a smirk,
but it's a little too historically accurate for anything timeless.
It's a vanity project that works, but a vanity project nonetheless.

Appearing Wednesday at the Birchmere (703-549-7500, Show starts at 7:30.