Saturday, September 5, 2009

Article: Kasim on tour >

PR) Kasim Sulton is acknowledged as one of the top bass players in the pop and rock music spheres. A long time member of Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Sulton has also done stints touring the world and recording with Meat Loaf, Joan Jett, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Mick Jagger and The New Cars among others.
Now SULTON is heading out on the road again, zig-zagging solo performances and with his own band in between concerts with Todd Rundgren/Utopia as they perform Rundgren's ground-breaking album "A Wizard A True Star" in its entirety. Most recently, SULTON released a 2-CD solo album "All Sides" as well as a live DVD "An Evening With Kasim Sulton…Live In Atlanta."

On September 6, Sulton hits the road first in Akron, OH, where he performs a solo show at 1PM, and at 8PM that same night, he joins Todd Rundgren for the debut theatrical presentation of the entire "A Wizard A True Star" album. The following day (September 7) at 1PM, Sulton joins Rundgren at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for a Meet & Greet to celebrate the opening of the Todd Rundgren exhibit which also includes his work with the band Utopia of which Sulton is a long-standing member; that evening there is a second performance in Akron of "AWATS." The tour schedule of both Sulton's solo concerts and Todd Rundgren/Utopia shows is listed below.

On September 4 SULTON will appear on Cleveland's "Good Company" TV show for an interview and acoustic performance. The program airs at 10AM on local station WKYC (Channel 3) and will be broadcast live online here.

Beginning his career in music at age 16 as pianist for Cherry Vanilla – the glam rocker who was associated with David Bowie and Andy Warhol – SULTON joined Rundgren's Utopia just two short years later, touring extensively and ultimately recording nine albums with that band. He played bass on Meat Loaf's international multi-platinum album "Bat Out Of Hell," sang backup for the follow-up release, "Bat Out Of Hell ll: Back Into Hell" produced the VH-1 "Story Tellers - Meat Loaf" album and has served as Musical Director for Meat Loaf's live performances. As a songwriter, SULTON hit the charts when he wrote and sang Utopia's only top 30 hit, "Set Me Free."

Sun Sept 6 1PM Akron City Centre Hotel Ballroom – SOLO SHOW Akron, OH
8PM Akron Civic Theater – A Wizard A True Star Live
Fri Sept 4 10AM Appearance on "Good Company" WKYC-TV Cleveland, OH
Mon Sept. 7 1PM Meet & Greet, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Cleveland, OH
7PM Akron Civic Theater – A Wizard A True Star Live Akron, OH
Wed Sept 9 7:30PM Stamford Center For The Arts – A Wizard A True Star Live Stamford, CT
Thurs Sept 10 8PM The Strathmore - A Wizard A True Star Live Bethesda, MD
Sat Sept 12 8PM Park West - A Wizard A True Star Live Chicago, IL
Sun Sept 13 8PM Park West - A Wizard A True Star Live Chicago, IL
Sat Sept 26 1PM Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – SOLO SHOW Cleveland, OH
Fri Oct 9 8PM Stage 35 Main Street Micho's Restaurant - SOLO SHOW Reisterstown, MD
Fri Oct 16 8PM The Abbey Pub – SOLO SHOW with full band Chicago, IL
Sat Oct 17 8PM Wilberts Pub – SOLO SHOW with full band Cleveland, OH

RRHOF exhibit

photo by scott sheppard

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kasim appearances..

I'll be appearing on TV tomorrow morning here in Cleveland;

Also, I'll be doing an Afternoon Wear Your PJ's gig in Akron this Sunday at 1:00Pm.
Details and Tickets can be found at

Rundgren to recreate 'AWATS' album at Stamford Palace
By Scott Gargan
Updated: 09/02/2009 11:51:32 PM EDT

When rock 'n' roll icon Todd Rundgren released "Something/Anything?" in 1972, it was hailed as a masterwork of pop songcraft by critics and fans alike.

A kaleidoscopic journey through the mind of a brilliant pop musician, the record explored hard rock, Motown, vaudeville and blue-eyed soul and produced two chart-topping hits: the Carole King pastiche "I Saw the Light" and the classic piano ballad "Hello It's Me."

But teeming just beneath the surface of "Something/Anything?" was a strange sense of humor, an aesthetic quirkiness hinting that Rundgren, a producer with diverse musical tastes, would never be satisfied as a conventional singer-songwriter.

Those suspicions were confirmed on Rundgren's 1973 follow-up, "A Wizard, A True Star." A bizarre, yet captivating collage of post-psychedelia, prog rock and found sounds, the record was a departure from the mainstream to the realm of the esoteric. However, the album was much more honest and introspective, a work in which the Philadelphia native explored his most outlandish musical fascinations -- and his true admirers loved him for it.

"It's a popular album among hardcore fans, because you're getting insight into the personality of the artist," Rundgren said recently in a telephone interview. " 'AWATS' drew them closer to me and they have been ever since."

To celebrate this classic -- if underappreciated -- record, Rundgren will head out on a tour to perform the album live, in its entirety, for the first time in his decades-long career. He takes the stage at Stamford's Palace Theatre on Wednesday for a performance modeled after his lavish stage shows of the 1970s.

"This album is, for most people, a head trip," said Rundgren, who celebrated his 61st birthday in June. "(The performance) will be theatrical, rather than just a recreation of the record."

Much like the space-themed shows of the "AWATS" era, the performance will feature Rundgren touring veterans Jesse Gress, Kasim Sulton, Prairie Prince, Greg Hawkes and Roger Powell, as well as eye-popping visuals -- videos, lights, lasers and smoke machines. Rundgren, who once took on a space-rock persona on stage, also plans on making eight costume changes.

"Or the ones I can still fit into," he added, laughing.

The idea for the tour came last year, when a London promoter, observing that many up-and-coming British artists noted "AWATS" as a major influence, planned to stage a concert in the city. However, after the promoter failed to produce an offer, a cadre of Rundgren's American fans, led by Rundgren Radio's Doug Ford, hurriedly organized a tour for the States.

"AWATS" Live will take Rundgren through Akron, Ohio; Stamford; Chicago; and Minneapolis before dropping him off in London. It also will be recorded for release on DVD.

"Why should the British have the benefit of this when (my fans in the United States) want it just as bad as they do?" Rundgren said.

According to Ford, the purpose of the tour is not to recapture Rundgren's mainstream following, but to cater to the "hardcore Todd fanbase" that has long treasured "AWATS" as the high watermark in Rundgren's career.

"This is for the people who grew up on 'AWATS,' " said Ford, adding that the first of two shows scheduled at the Akron Civic Center is sold out.

Even though Rundgren has existed on the fringes of the mainstream for most of his career -- "Something/Anything" being the notable exception -- he has garnered a rabid cult following. That following was solidified with "AWATS," a record Rundgren described as "a whole new start." Indeed, not only was the 19-track album sonically different, but it was structurally different as well.

"The decisions I made with the record weren't strictly musical," Rudgren explained. "They were about the psychology of the LP. We had this 20-minute to 30-minute blank space to put any sound you wanted into. My contemporaries would think in three- or four-minute and five- or six-minute chunks. One of the first things I wanted to experiment with on 'AWATS' was breaking out of that sensibility."

Not one of the tracks on "AWATS" broke the Billboard charts. What Rundgren's listeners got instead was a weird cosmic trip, a patchwork of song snippets and melodies that hover in and out of an ambient, postmodern haze.

From the space-rocket-

lift-off effects of the album's opener, "International Feel,"

to the campy soft rock of "You Don't Have to Camp Around," to the epic pyschedelia of "Zen Archer," side one of the album is spellbinding. Side two features a medley of covers of doo-wop and bubblegum soul hits, along with the signature live track and album closer, "Just One Victory." With its themes of hope and perseverance and complex rhythmic patterns and chord-verse structure, the song is a reflection of Rundgren's longtime penchant for stylistic exploration and his self-confidence as

a songwriter.

To this day, "AWATS" exists as a testament to Rundgren's avant-garde approach and his status as one of rock 'n' roll's true mavericks.

" 'AWATS' was a break from the old way of doing things," Rundgren said. "I tasted what freedom was like. I did anything I wanted. I have done this ever since ... this was my declaration of independence."

Todd Rundgren performs Wednesday 7:30 p.m. at the

Palace Theatre, Stamford. $60-$125. 330-253-2488,

Todd Rundgren performs Wednesday 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, Stamford. $60-$125. 330-253-2488,

live stream of saturdays rundgren radio b day bash

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

meet and greet at the premiere AWATS show has been canceled

OFFICIAL AWATS Akron event poster and t-shirt available at both of the Akron shows! If you'd like to purchase AWATS Akron shirt(s) and/or posters(s) but aren't making the Akron shows, we will hopefully have some available online for you after the tour is over. Official Todd merch is expected to be available at all of the AWATS shows including Akron.

Due to the secrecy surrounding the band's first set, the Todd meet-n-greet and sound check auctions for Akron have been CANCELED. However, a free meet-n-greet will take place at Cleveland's Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame on Monday 9/7/09 starting at 1pm.
Has anyone else seen the new merch at Toddstore? Like the kewl AWATS T's (in bud green!) and camo t- with the TR peacew sign and AWATS hoodies with the album art on the back!!!

Interview: guitarsite by greg prato

Interview with Todd Rundgren
By Greg Prato

Todd Rundgren has always marched to the tune of a different drummer. Whether it’s releasing power pop gems (1972’s Something/Anything, 1982’s Utopia), getting all prog-y (1975’s Initiation), fronting the New Cars (which sees Rundgren replace Ric Ocasek), or producing some of rock’s all-time great recordings (Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, the New York Dolls’ self-titled debut, Grand Funk’s We’re An American Band, etc.), Todd always seems to be a step or two ahead of the pack.

Out of all the albums he’s appeared on over the years, one of the more intriguing releases among Todd-worshippers was unquestionably 1973’s A Wizard, A True Star, which is Todd’s most “out there” album. Largely ignored upon its initial release, the album has picked up quite a few admirers over the years - so much so, that Todd will be performing the album in its entirety for a series of U.S. shows in the fall, and early next year, in Europe. Todd recently took time out to discuss how the forthcoming A Wizard, A True Star revival came to be, and also, how he came to own Eric Clapton’s legendary “psychedelic Gibson SG” from the Cream days.

How did the idea of performing A Wizard, A True Star come up?

I was in England about nine months ago, to do a European leg of the Arena tour. Our promoter in England came up with this idea to me, based on the fact that there were a lot of younger artists- especially techno and turntablist - that were not only name-checking the record, they were actually quoting and using pieces of A Wizard, A True Star in their own work. So he thought it was an ideal time, perhaps to go back and reprise that record - not only would it have some appeal to my longtime fans, but there was this potentially new audience, who was interested in checking out the old man [laughs].

So we started talking about it, and it turns out we’ll be taking it to England in February. When the fan network here got wind of this possibility, then they got all organized and found a venue and approached me with the possibility of premiering it here, instead. Since we were in the planning stage of the European thing, I figured why not - it would be a lot easier to mount it for the first time in the U.S., than to try to do it for the first time in Europe. So that’s how we came to that conclusion.

How did you assemble the band that will be touring with you?

The first inclination was to use the guys that I had played with before, and who had some familiarity with the music. So I started with my basic rhythm section, which is Prairie Prince and Kasim Sulton, and my usual guitar player, Jesse Gress, and that left open the need for at least two keyboard players, because the foundation of the record is actually this trinity of three keyboards. There's piano, and then there’s two of the following - either an organ, clavinet, and an instrument that they don’t make anymore, but that we used to use a lot, called an RMI. Rocky Mountain Industries is the company that made it. It was a very early electronic piano, which made a sound that didn’t sound a lot like a piano, but it was unique sound at the time - it gets used a lot throughout, and I realized I’d have to hire at least two keyboard players, and maybe even a third person to cover some other odd keyboard parts.

Roger Powell was an obvious choice, and I’d been working with Roger on unrelated projects, so I figured this would be an opportunity to play some music again. And then the reason why I selected Greg Hawkes as the other player is because he actually still owns some of the same kinds of very early synthesizers and electronic keyboard instruments that we used on the record. So he would be good to cover a lot of those sounds - not only would he be able to play them, he’d be able to bring the actual equipment. And then at that point, I realized that were a lot of other various kinds of parts - including some very important horn parts, that’s why I asked Bobby Strickland, who was in the Nearly Human and Second Wind bands. So that rounded out the line-up.

Is this the first time you’re playing with Roger Powell since the early ‘90s?

Yeah, we did have that one sort of two-week reunion, where we played one gig in the U.S., toured Japan, and that was it. I think that’s the last time that we played together.

Did you begin rehearsals yet?

No, rehearsals will be the week leading up to the first gig, so I think the 29th is our first rehearsal.

Have you gone back and listened to actual the album again?

Oh yeah. As a matter of fact, I went back and recovered the original multi-track masters, so we could examine exactly what’s in there. Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell, because there’s such a racket going on. We have the original masters for reference, as well as for potential sampling - when there’s some sounds or other things that we would have huge difficulty reproducing nowadays.

What type of drugs were you on when you did A Wizard A True Star?

Well, I couldn’t say exactly what drugs we were on for any particular session, and for the most part, I don’t think we were doing anything psychedelic during the actual musical production. I was getting pretty ‘psychedelic’ when I was putting the studio together - leading up to making that record. Actually, I built Secret Sound with A Wizard A True Star in mind as the first project that would be done there. So the construction of the studio and the construction of the record kind of went on simultaneously.

How does the album hold up now?

It’s always hard to be objective about your own work - particularly something’s that taken on more or less a life of its own. So a lot of the fans and younger musicians have then viewed it with expectations and a mystique, that while I have to have some respect for it and potentially make some accommodation for it, I’m approaching it more from the standpoint as of what would I do if I had the resources back then to mount a show behind this record. The record had never been played in its entirety - pieces of it were incorporated in the shows I was doing at the time, but there are some songs that were never performed live. It was never done with any attempt to try and keep the original running order substantially in tact, either.

More shows possible?

I think that once we’ve done the shows and people realize that it’s not simply a concert - it’s more of a theatrical presentation - that there will be interest in other parts of the country, and potentially, in other parts of the world, to have the show brought there. We’ll definitely be doing a DVD recording, but the timeframe for that is more or less unknown. But we’re also probably doing some live pay-per-view/online offerings, as well. And that will give the promoters and the audience a little clearer idea of what the show is actually like.

Let’s talk about the “theatrical” element of shows.

There’s lots of costume changes and there’s all of the effects and things, that were so “de rigueur” back in the ‘70s. Mirror balls, laser beams, and all that other stuff. And as I said, I do probably more than half dozen costume changes throughout the course of the set. I in my own mind liken it to something you may see in Las Vegas than what you would see normally on the road.

What is your guitar set-up?

What I use nowadays is all pretty much Line 6 - in one configuration or another. I have a couple different amplifiers, a couple of different Line 6 amplifiers. When I’m recording, I use Line 6 software to get the sounds I need - Arena is pretty much all Line 6 sounds. I may go back and haul out one of my older guitars - a guitar that’s more associated with that era than one that I usually play now.

Will you be using any of the actual guitars you recorded the album with on the upcoming tour?

I don’t have any of those actual guitars, but I do have a guitar that resembles a guitar that I probably have used on the record.

You used to own the Gibson SG that Eric Clapton played in Cream.

The original Eric Clapton guitar was auctioned off more than a decade ago. The year after Eric Clapton had his big guitar auction, then that guitar was auctioned off. Who owns it now I have no idea.

Was it one of the best-playing guitars you’ve owned?

It was a great guitar. The actual model of guitar, the great thing about it is it was completely unobstructed all the way to the top of the neck. So you can play the highest notes quite comfortably. But at the same time, it did have its own issues. That clear shot of the neck that you have is also a result of the fact that it’s very flimsily attached to the body of the guitar, so you can almost bend the neck and put the guitar out of tune. Some people kind of use that as a way to get vibrato - by actually bending the neck, rather than bending the strings. Also, the original guitar that Eric Clapton used to own, the pick-ups have been modified on it - some of the windings had been taken off the pick-ups, to give it a more piercing sound. If you compare it with a stock SG from the same period, it sounds kind of thin. It doesn’t have the same amount of body.

How did you get that guitar?

I was in Woodstock - I wasn’t living there yet, but I was working with the Band. Working on Stage Fright or something like that. And Jackie Lomax was living in Woodstock and he had been using the guitar as a lap guitar - it was in terrible shape. They had lost the original bridge, and they had put a wooden bridge on it, and the action was so high that it couldn’t really be played as a regular guitar. He was hard up for money at the time, so he offered me the guitar for like $500! Which I jumped at - just because it was such a sacred artifact in my eyes. I restored it, took care of it, and began to play it. I became as associated with it as Eric was. The guitar was in my possession probably three times longer than he owned it. I owned the guitar from the ‘70s through the ‘90s.

Other projects, future plans?

This is about all I can think of at this point. It’s hugely complicated. Mounting a brand new show from scratch with all of the not just musical issues - and this is fairly challenging chunk of music - but all of the staging issues as well. It’s challenging.

Confirmed Tour Dates [additional dates will be announced in the coming weeks]

Akron Civic Center, Akron, Ohio – 6th September 2009

Akron Civic Center, Akron, Ohio – 7th September 2009

Palace Theater, Stamford, Connecticut – 9th September 2009

Strathmore Hall, North Bethesda, Maryland – 10th September 2009

Park West, Chicago – 12th September 2009

Park West, Chicago – 13th September 2009

State Theatre, Minneapolis - 15th September 2009

HMV London Hammersmith Apollo – 6th February 2010

The Paradiso, Amsterdam – 8th February 2010

For more information, please visit:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens spotlight exhibit on Todd Rundgren
CLEVELAND (August 31, 2009) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest spotlight exhibit focused on Todd Rundgren’s career, which spans more than four decades. This highlight exhibit case will be unveiled on Friday, September 4 and located in the Ahmet M. Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall.

This exhibit will feature nearly 40 artifacts culled from Rundgren’s vast career as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, as well as his innovative works integrating music and technology. It will highlight his first Top 20 single through his work with Utopia, Ringo’s All Starr Band, the New Cars, his production work for artists including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Patti Smith, the New York Dolls, the Psychedelic Furs and Meat Loaf, his 60th birthday celebration, which debuted his album Arena, to his upcoming performances of the 1973 album A Wizard/A True Star in its entirety.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

· "Star Fever,” a Patti Smith poem included in first issues of A Wizard/A True Star, c. 1973.
· No World Order CD-ROM, the first interactive record album ever released, 1993
· "Mammon,” hand written lyrics from the Liars album, 2004.
· Todd Rundgren Back to the Bars Stage Outfit , c. 1978
· Utopia Promotional Ad and Backstage Passes, c. 1975
· New Cars All-Access Pass, 2007

Philadelphia native Todd Rundgren first began developing his musical skills as a teenager. Spending the late ‘60s as a founding member of the psychedelic pop group Nazz, his first solo Top 20 hit was “We Gotta Get You a Woman.” But it was the 1972 album Something / Anything?, on which he played all instruments, sang all vocal parts and acted as his own producer that catapulted Rundgren into stardom and set the stage for his parallel career as an innovative and record producer. Something / Anything? featured “Hello It’s Me,” which reached Number Five. His next two albums, A Wizard / A True Star (1973) and Todd (1974), ultimately led to the formation of the band Utopia in 1974. Utopia’s longest-standing members were Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton and Willie Wilcox and they continued recording and touring through 1992. Rundgren’s 1983 album, The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect included the hit “Bang the Drum All Day.” No World Order (1993) was the world’s first interactive record album and was also the first commercially available music that could be downloaded.

Rundgren has strong ties to the Cleveland area and to the iconic Agora music venue franchise. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, Todd Rundgren and Utopia played more concerts in the Cleveland area than in any other city in the United States. Carrying on the tradition, Rundgren is debuting his limited series of live performances of A Wizard / A True Star at the Akron Civic Theater on September 6 and 7, the first time this album has been performed in its entirety.

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays (and Saturdays through Labor Day), the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), children under 8 and Museum Members are always free, for information or to join the membership program call 216.515.8425. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit

Monday, August 31, 2009

rock and roll hall of fame display

Hi All,
Just so we are all clear and there are no misconceptions.....
This is what the Exhibit will look like for Todd at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It's not a retrospective but a display. In fact, I think we are bumping Eric Clapton out of his glass apartment and taking over the lease! See ya in Akron and then Cleveland!