You gotta give credit where credit is due. Sure, there is some decent music out there today, but I will be the first to rally up all the kids and teach them about the past, the influences and the history that has shaped the now.
One name that must be included is the multi-talented Todd Rundgren.
Dude came into our lives in 1967 when he formed the British invasion-influenced band The Nazz and never looked back. Whether it was recording solo records or records with his next band, Utopia, Todd came with the newest sounds not only in pop/rock music but paved the way as far as electronic music and progressive rock went. He went on to produce many acts as well, including Grand Funk Railraod, The New York Dolls and Meatloaf, among others. Always eccentric and very unpredictable, Todd wrote some of the most beautiful inspiring lyrics out there. (“When you feel afraid, love one another, when you’ve lost your way, love one another” from "Love Is The Answer").
In 1997, Todd recorded a record called With A Twist which was a collection of 11 of his tunes recorded to a bossa nova style. I had the pleasure of working with Todd on this release as I worked at the Guardian record label at the time, who put it out.
Dude did a small club tour supporting this and I’ll never forget it. The stage looked like a Tiki bar and Todd came out in a straw dress. Who the hell else could pull that off and make it look damn cool?! Guy lived in Hawaii at the time – I remember when he first came into the office – what a presence.
So how delightful to not only enjoy breakfast this morning, but to simultaneously enjoy the news that this musical genius is releasing a new LIVE record and a LIVE DVD this month.
First, Todd Rundgren, The Best of Todd Rundgren Live, a CD compilation due out 11/15 that spans 25 years of touring and is a collection of 13 of his favorite songs performed during a variety of different tours from 1979-2004. Rundgren personally selected the performances.
Then two weeks later, on 11/29, a LIVE concert DVD will be released. The concert was filmed in June 2004 in Albany, NY, during his critically-acclaimed 2004 international tour. The DVD is filled with over two hours of material, totaling eighteen songs - eight taken from his Liars album (which was released earlier that year), another eight from his more recent history, plus his defining “Hello It’s Me” and his tender take on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which Todd first performed on the George Harrison tribute album. Rundgren most recently performed the Harrison cover with Joe Jackson when the two of them were on tour last year. Their version, with Joe doing the high parts (I don’t know whyyyyyyy), left me saliva-less.
In a time were we’re fortunate enough to have history being re-released on DVDs, this is another great addition to that bunch. Recently, the old Dick Cavett shows, which features none other than Janis (among others), the groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh from 1971, and now this. The more the access the kids and real fans have to these artists, the more the mystique and genius will love on.
Todd is one of the most unique artists out there. Thank you Sanctuary for releasing both these titles.