Todd Rundgren

Featuring Jesse Gress, Kasim Sulton, Prairie Prince & John Ferenzik

Classic Rock

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TODD RUNDGREN is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer, and engineer. Best known for his break out hits “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light”, his songs are still celebrated on classic rock stations throughout the country.

Rundgren’s career began in a Philadelphia based band called Woody’s Truck Stop in the 1960′s. He and bassist Carson Van Osten eventually left the band to form their own project called Nazz. It was with this group that Rundgren first recorded “Hello It’s Me”, which gained the group minor recognition, and eventually his solo version went on to become his signature song.

In 1969, Rundgren left Nazz, moved to New York, and began producing other acts. He was later signed to Bearsville Records, and in 1970, he formed the band Runt. However, Runt only recorded their first album, Runt as the full trio, and on the second album, Rundgren replaced Hunt Sales for the majority of the album. IN 1972, Rundgren released his most famous project, a double LP titled, Something/Anything?. He wrote, played, sang, engineered, and produced the entire record.

Following the record, Rundgren began experimenting with mind-altering substances, and he soon began changing styles to incorporate elements of progressive rock.

1973′s transitional A Wizard, a True Star marked the beginning of this trend, which came to fruition with his next two solo albums Todd (1974) and Initiation (1975) and the early recordings under the aegis of his new group project Utopia. A Wizard, A True Star, which was sequenced as a continuous medley, featured a wildly eclectic range of songs set in dazzling arrangements and production, with Rundgren experimenting with the synthesiser and exploiting virtually every studio effect and technique then available. Backing musicians included renowned horn players Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker, guitarist Rick Derringer and several other musicians who subsequently joined the original incarnation of Utopia.

Throughout the 1970′s and 1980′s, Rundgren engineered and produced several notable albums for other artists including Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, Straight Up by Badfinger, and We’re an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad. He also continued to record and release his own material at a rapid pace.

Nearly Human (1989) and 2nd Wind (1991) were both recorded live-the former in the studio, the latter in a theater before a live audience, which was instructed to remain silent. Each song on these albums was recorded as a complete single take with no later overdubbing. Both albums marked, in part, a return to his Philly soul roots. 2nd Wind also included several excerpts from Rundgren’s musical Up Against It, which was adapted from the screenplay (originally titled “Prick Up Your Ears”) that British playwright Joe Orton had originally offered to The Beatles for their never-made follow-up to Help!. 2nd Wind was Rundgren’s last release through a major label and all his subsequent recordings have been self-released.

After a long absence from touring, Rundgren hit the road with Nearly Human-2nd Wind band, which included brass and a trio of slinky backup singers (one of whom, Michele Gray, Rundgren married). He also toured during this period with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr band.

The next few years saw Rundgren recording under the pseudonym TR-i (“Todd Rundgren interactive”) for two albums. The first of these, 1993′s No World Order, consisted of hundreds of seconds-long snippets of music that could be combined in various ways to suit the listener. Initially targeted for the Philips CD-iplatform, No World Order featured interactive controls for tempo, mood, and other parameters, along with pre-programmed mixes by Rundgren himself, Bob Clearmountain, Don Was, and Jerry Harrison. The disc was also released for PC and Macintosh and in two versions on standard audio CD, the continuous mix disc No World Order and, later, the more song-oriented No World Order Lite. The music itself was quite a departure from Rundgren’s previous work, with a dance/techno feel and much rapping by Rundgren. The follow-up, 1995′s The Individualist, featured interactive video content that could be viewed or in one case, played; it was a simple video game along with the music, which was more rock-oriented than No World Order.

Rundgren returned to recording under his own name for With a Twist, an album of bossa-nova covers of his older material. His Patronet work, which trickled out to subscribers over more than a year, was released in 2000 as One Long Year. In 2004, Rundgren released Liars, a concept album about “paucity of truth” that features a mixture of his older and newer sounds.

In early 2008, Rundgren launched his official Myspace page. Later that year, he released the rock album Arena. In concert, he had been performing the album in full and in sequence before its release.

Rundgren released the live compilation album, For Lack of Honest Work, in 2010. The album was advertised as a collection of bootleg recordings that were approved by Rundgren himself.

April 2011 saw the release of Todd Rundgren’s Johnson, a collection of Robert Johnson covers which had been recorded more than a year earlier. On another 2011 release, scheduled for September 13, a further album of covers entitled re:Production sees him performing tracks he had previously produced for other acts, including Grand Funk Railroad’s “Walk Like a Man” and XTC’s “Dear God.”

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“…his voice, stage presence, and guitar expertise all stand out.” – David Bowling, Blogcritics.org

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