Friday, December 3, 2010

Crawdaddy review of Paul Myers Book A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio

Book Review: A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio
Ric Hickey

A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio
By Paul Myers
(Jaw Bone Press, 2010)

Paul Myers has penned the definitive Todd Rundgren biography. Dispensing with the typically invasive biographical method of delving into a subject’s personal life, Myers here instead sticks to the real meat of the matter: The artist’s work. Dedicated solely to Rundgren’s music and production, the book is a much more intriguing and respectful biography than one could ever pen in the more traditional vein. Forgoing the need to supplant the text with salacious anecdotes and insidious speculation, Myers’ respectful approach is best exemplified by his decision to dedicate no more than a single paragraph to Rundgren’s tumultuous break-up with Bebe Buell.

Though Rundgren’s tongue had already taken up permanent residence in his cheek by the time he named his 1973 magnum opus A Wizard, A True Star, time has proven this moniker to be apt, accurate, and certainly suitable for this book’s title as well. A willing participant in the interview process for this manuscript, Rundgren’s every contribution is insightful, revealing, acerbic, and often funny as hell. From the first few pages his quotes are brutally honest, including very frank discussions about his experimentation with drugs.

Young Rundgren’s high school band experience morphed into the psychedelic garage act Nazz and subsequent recording contract as a solo artist. First establishing himself as a hit-maker as early as 1972, he was soon tapped to produce other artists as well. With “Hello It’s Me” topping the charts, he was busily constructing his first studio in a friend’s loft apartment on 13th street in New York City. Making it up and learning the ropes as he went along, Rundgren mastered the rules of performance and production as he simultaneously went about breaking them to suit the needs of his impeccable ear. In retrospect, it’s amazing how the first fruits of his improvised construction of a recording studio from the ground up resulted in the psychedelic masterpiece A Wizard, A True Star. This was just one of what would be a string of wildly diverse and endlessly inventive self-produced solo LPs.

In the early ‘70s, Rundgren settled comfortably into the producer’s chair and helped birth two hard-rock classics of the era: The New York Dolls’ self-titled debut album and what would turn out to be Grand Funk’s biggest selling LP, We’re An American Band. Rundgren’s production resume reads like a who’s who from almost every imaginable subgenre of rock music, from prog to punk. The list of enthusiastic contributors to this book includes Patti Smith, David Sanborn, Hall & Oates, Steve Hillage, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, Flo & Eddie, as well as members of the Psychedelic Furs, Badfinger, the Tubes, Cheap Trick, the New York Dolls, XTC, and Utopia.

Though the band members seemed to grasp that Utopia was not a top priority to Rundgren or his label, he did keep them busy as hired hands whenever possible. Sidemen on countless projects, Kasim Sulton and Prairie Prince were employed numerous times, including the sessions for the first LP by ‘70s teen pop idol Shaun Cassidy.

No one in the music business was busier or in higher demand in the 1970s than Todd Rundgren. He produced a staggering number of hit records around this time, including Meat Loaf’s seminal Bat Out Of Hell LP. Though the torrid and complicated back history of that legendary album is well known by now, it is curious to contemplate how the backing band assembled for those sessions was one half Utopia and one half Springsteen’s E Street Band.

In the ‘80s, Rundgren’s already busy production schedule kicked into high gear with a steady stream of artists passing through his studio. At this time, he kept himself busier than ever in order to keep his ill-fated video production studio afloat. In addition to his reputation as an audio production genius, he was an early proponent of video and computer technology. He often found himself way ahead of the curve with these emerging technologies, and many of his experiments failed to generate much notice or sales. The advent of the personal computer marked a major turning point for Rundgren and opened him up to a world of possibilities. He continues to explore new technologies today.

Over the course of literally hundreds of sessions with dozens of artists displaying varying temperaments, there were bound to be clashes in the studio between hardheaded artists and their sarcastic, self-assured, and sometimes condescending producer. In the long run and in spite of their strong differences at the time, many found that Rundgren was almost always right in his convictions. In addition to his role as producer, he is also a multi-instrumentalist who contributed mightily to hundreds of these recordings.

Seemingly, every artist that has worked with him over the years has nothing but good things to say about him. Many credit Rundgren with making them better musicians and songwriters. Others say he broadened their horizons, and in numerous cases his efforts propelled them to greater fame. Today he looms like a mischievous guardian angel over the careers of countless recording artists, and this tome about his life and works pays a great and important homage to his legacy.

Purchase: A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio [at]

ticket giveaway for dec 9th chicago show

Thursday, December 2, 2010

TODD's next album song details

Todd Rundgren and Fans Get in Studio for myRecordFantasy
Fans to Audition and Perform on New Album During January Event
By Gigatone Entertainment

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010 - 5:06 am
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 1, 2010 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Gigatone Entertainment, a next-generation entertainment company has announced details of its latest album and myRecordFantasy project with Rock superstar Todd Rundgren. Rundgren, whose innovation as a producer and recording artist has spawned one of pop music's most devout followings, will return to the studio January 17-19, 2011 for Gigatone's myRecordFantasy event for his album project, "(re)Production."

myRecordFantasy, held at Gigatone's headquarters at the Track Shack Studios in Sacramento, will feature Rundgren's fans from around the world vying for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of auditioning to perform on the Rundgren's new album. In addition, fans will be attending and participating in nightly jam sessions with Rundgren and special guests. myRecordFantasy with Todd Rundgren is the third such event in the myRecordFantasy series, the previous two featuring Monkees lead singer Micky Dolenz and Starship frontman Mickey Thomas.

Rundgren's production techniques have exacted watershed efforts from artists such as Meat Loaf ("Bat Out of Hell"), Badfinger ("Straight Up"), XTC ("Skylarking"), The Psychedelic Furs ("Forever Now"), and Grand Funk Railroad ("We're An American Band").

(re)Production features Rundgren performing selections he's produced for others. It includes such hits as the Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way," Meat Loaf's "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad," Grand Funk Railroad's "Walk Like A Man," XTC's "Dear God," Cheap Trick's "I Can't Take It," as well as songs by The Tubes, Hall and Oates, The New York Dolls, Rick Derringer, Patti Smith, Badfinger and Bourgeois Tagg, among others.

Todd broke onto the music scene in the late 60s fronting Nazz, with the psychedelic power pop hit "Open My Eyes". Upon the release of Rundgren's third solo album, the 1972 masterwork Something/Anything? and its melodic hit singles "I Saw the Light" and "Hello It's Me", the rock press promptly dubbed him "Rock's Wunderkind Renaissance Man", and forever solidified his status as a gifted pop craftsman. His follow-up, A Wizard, A True Star, was a sonic kaleidoscope of progressive rock, serving notice that Rundgren was not going to walk a straight pop line. The universally acknowledged godfather of the marriage of music and multimedia, his production, recording, touring, technological trailblazing throughout his solo career has taken him through a broad swath of creative stylings.

As with previous myRecordFantasy events, the entire event is filmed in high definition, with episodes airing on Gigatone's Channel Page on YouTube at

Gigatone Entertainment is a next generation entertainment company based in Sacramento and Hollywood founded by Music and digital entertainment pundit and Grammy Governor Mitchell Koulouris. Guest artists appearing with Rundgren at myRecordFantasy will be announced by Gigatone in the weeks preceding the event.

More Information Pricing and Details:
Press Contact:
Mike Martis/Gigatone Entertainment
Phone: 916 281-4275

SOURCE Gigatone Entertainment

professor todd
Professor Rundgren
11.28.2010 | Konrad Strauss

Todd Rundgren was in residence at IU for two weeks as a professor for the Wells Scholars program. In addition to teaching a seminar for Wells and Hutton scholars, he gave a masterclass and Q & A session for Recording Arts students, and performed a recital in Auer Hall entitled Cluster: The Birth of the T-Chord.

Rundgren advised students not to be afraid of technology, ‘just dive in and try to break it! That’s how you learn to use it to it’s full potential’ But he cautioned that technology is not a end unto itself, it has to serve the music. So if the song isn’t working, rearrange it or rewrite it. Don’t try to fix it ‘Tools. Rundgren also spoke about how to build a career. He pointed out that the traditional opportunities, such as working your way up through the studio system are no longer available, instead he advised students to become entrepreneurs and ‘create your own reality’.

Rundgren is optimistic about the future of the music industry. He described how in the early 90s he approached several major labels about creating an online subscription music service, and was turned down. The very next year Napster went online and the decline of the music industry establishment began. Now, he said, the internet allows artists to reach their fans directly without the label being in the way, and this will lead to a renaissance of new music.