Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Article: Todd Rundgren Discusses Connection to John Lennon's Assassin|htmlws-main-w|dl2|link9|

Todd Rundgren Discusses Connection to John Lennon's Assassin
Posted on Dec 8th 2009 2:00PM by Pat Pemberton

When Todd Rundgren performs the song 'Rock and Roll Pussy,' he touches upon a bizarre connection to John Lennon's murder. Mark David Chapman, the man who assassinated Lennon in 1980, was intrigued by the song, which many believed was critical of the ex-Beatle. The delusional Chapman also believed Rundgren -- who was involved in a feud with Lennon around that time -- was beaming messages to him.

Still, while Chapman was supposedly "obsessed" with Rundgren's music, the songwriter and producer says he tries not to think morbid thoughts about his unintentional connection to Lennon's death.

"When you're in the public eye, you never know who the hell is looking at you," Rundgren tells Spinner. "You would like to think you have some influence over the people who are fascinated with you, but they are casting you as some fantasy caricature they'd like to see as opposed to what you're trying to be."

Rundgren wrote 'Rock and Roll Pussy' -- a song about celebrities who talk about change but don't actually participate in it -- for his 1973 album 'A Wizard, a True Star,' which he has been performing live in its entirety. Since the song specifically mentions the word "revolution" and references lying in bed, many assumed it had to be about Lennon, the 'Revolution' songwriter who held famous "bed-in" protests with wife Yoko Ono.

"I've never actually averred that the song was about John Lennon," Rundgren insists. "I think that was an assumption because at the time there was a press conflict about us."

Soon after the album was released, Rundgren was quoted in Melody Maker magazine saying Lennon was an attention seeker out to help himself more than any cause. Lennon responded with a sarcastic letter in the magazine, saying "I never claimed to be a revolutionary. But I am allowed to sing anything I want! Right?"

Rundgren, a Beatles fan whose early music was clearly influenced by the Fab Four, said the lyrics were meant to be more general. "One can say that John Lennon was guilty possibly of some of the finger-pointing that the song evinces," he says, "but it's mostly the whole idea of talk versus action and not specific to any one person."

On Dec. 8, 1980, Chapman constructed a tableau at the Sheraton Centre hotel in New York , consisting of a bible, a 'Wizard of Oz' poster and an album, 'The Ballad of Todd Rundgren.' Later that day, he shot Lennon outside the Dakota apartment building.

"I recognize it as one of life's more unfortunate occurrences," Rundgren says of the murder. But any time you become famous, he said, scary people are going to take interest in you.

"You're just lucky if you don't meet them most of time."

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