Todd Harry Rundgren born June 22, is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer who has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced music videos and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies, such as using the Internet as a means of music distribution in the late s.
A native of Philadelphia, Rundgren began his professional career in the mid s, forming the psychedelic band Nazz in Although lesser known, "Couldn't I Just Tell You" was influential to many artists in the Album) pop genre. Rundgren is considered a pioneer in the fields of Epic (Instrumental) - Them* - Joyful Toy Of 1001 Faces musicprogressive rock.
Rundgren — His father was of Swedish descent and his mother was of Austrian and German descent. He grew up in the bordering town of Upper Darby  and taught himself how to play guitar with little help. By then, Rundgren had lost interest in the blues and wanted to pursue a recording career with original songs in the style of newer records by the Beatles and the Who.
Rundgren had no prior production experience and remembered that the producer, Bill Traut"just whipped through the mixes in a day or two So I got it into my head, 'Well, he's gone now, so why don't we just mix it again, more like the way we want it? It was pretty much trial and error. It was that extra layer that made her influential. A lot of those chords she got from other people.
But beyond the elements of her composition, I always thought it was the way she played her own material that really sold it. I met her right after Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. I actually had arranged a meeting, just because I was so infatuated with her and I wanted to meet the person who had produced all this music. But the Nazz had just signed a record contract and I couldn't skip out on the band, even though it was incredibly tempting.
The rest of the band struggled to accommodate his changing tastes. Nazz's second LP, intended to be a double album called Fungo Batwas reduced to a single disc by Atlantic with approval from Rundgren's bandmates. He left the band in late due to their frustrations with his domineering behavior. Nazz IIIconsisting of leftover tracks from the Fungo Bat sessions, was later finished without Rundgren's involvement.
After departing Nazz, the year-old Rundgren briefly considered working as a computer programmer, and then decided (I Feel Like Im) On Top Of The World - Jerry Williams - Power Of Soul (Reel-To-Reel his calling was as a producer. He moved Album) New York in the summer of and involved himself with the clubs of Greenwich Villageparticularly Steve Paul's Sceneand met a number of Manhattan musicians and fashion designers. Grossman, known for his management of folk rock acts, had just founded Ampex Recordsa joint business venture with the tape company of the same name, and built Bearsville Studiosnear Woodstock.
Bearsville soon became its own record imprint. Immediately afterward, he said, "the Band asked me to engineer their Stage Fright sessions. I think Jesse Winchester was a kind of run-through for that, because I was pretty quick to get the sounds and they liked that. His work for the Band was followed by a second album for Winchester which was then shelved for two years and the album Taking Care of Business by the James Cotton Blues Band This project resulted in Rundgren meeting Cotton's keyboard player Mark "Moogy" Klingmanwho in turn introduced Rundgren to keyboard player Ralph Schuckettboth of whom worked extensively with Rundgren over the next few years.
Rundgren was to produce Janis Joplin 's third and ultimately final album, Pearlbut plans fell through, as the two artists could not get along with each other. Following a period where he thought he would never return to being a performing artist, Rundgren approached Grossman with the idea of what would become his debut solo record, Runt.
Although his general attitude for any project was to "make the record [I] wanted to make and then hope the label can find a way to promote it", Rundgren ensured that any loss to Grossman would be minimal: "I didn't get an actual advance for Runt.
I just asked for a recording budget to pay the studio costs. I had no idea how much money I even had in the bank. If I needed cash, I would show up at the accountants and they would just give me hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Released in midRunt was not originally credited to Rundgren due to his anxieties about starting a full-fledged solo career, and instead bore the moniker "Runt". If you go back and listen to it, it's very sophisticated material, especially for a guy so young. Rundgren's industry reputation grew substantially as a result of his success with Runtand for the first time in his life, he began using recreational drugs. Initially this was limited to marijuana.
He said that the drug gave him "a whole different sensibility about time and space and order" that influenced the writing for his second album, Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. While initial reviews of Ballad were mixed, it came to be regarded as one of the greatest singer-songwriter albums of the era.
In lateRundgren Cantata No.140 Wachet Auf BWV140 - Johann Sebastian Bach - Air on a G String / Brandenburg Concert recruited to finish Badfinger 's third album Straight Upa project George Harrison had abandoned to organize the Concert for Bangladeshin London.
As with Balladmuch of the newer material was written or conceived under the influence of marijuana. However, pissoneverything (Raw Dance Mix) - Various - Agave Res this time, he had also begun experimenting with Ritalin. He recalled, "my songwriting process had become almost too second-nature. I was writing songs formulaically, almost without thinking, knocking [them out], reflexively, in about 20 minutes.
To keep up the pace, he installed an eight-track recorder, mixer, and synthesizers into his living room so that he could continue recording after leaving the studio. He then decided to stretch the project into a double LP and quickly recorded the last few tracks with musicians live-in-the-studio.
Included among straightforward pop songs are extended jams and studio banter, such as the spoken-word track "Intro", in which he teaches the listener about recording flaws for an egg hunt -type game he calls "Sounds of the Studio". Music journalist Paul Album) called the recording a "masterclass in compression " and said that Rundgren "staked his claim to powerpop immortality [and] set the whole ball rolling".
Subsequent albums, beginning with A Wizard, A True Star and the spin-off group Utopiasaw a dramatic shift away from straightforward three-minute pop.
The proceeding sound and structure of Wizard would be heavily informed by Rundgren's hallucinogenic experiences: "It was very ADDactually, and I wouldn't dwell on whether a musical idea was complete or not. The studio was designed to Rundgren's specifications and was created so that he could freely indulge in sound experimentation without having to worry about hourly studio costs: "I have to say that, in some sense, A Wizard, a True Star was kind of rushed through because the studio wasn't finished.
A Wizard, a True Star was released in March The former High/Low - The Swellers - The Light Under Closed Doors reached number two on the US charts, while the latter became a seminal forerunner of punk rock (I Feel Like Im) On Top Of The World - Jerry Williams - Power Of Soul (Reel-To-Reel, although Rundgren never became known as a "punk producer".
The tour began in April and was cancelled after only a couple weeks on the road. Once Rundgren was finished with his production duties, he began formulating plans for an improved configuration of Utopia, but first returned to Secret Sound to record the more synthesizer-heavy double album Toddwhich was more material drawing on his hallucinogenic experiences. During the making of ToddRundgren took note of the " fusion jazz sensibility" between session musicians Kevin Ellman drums and Movement Cycle - Beyond The Event Horizon - Event Horizon Siegler bass.
Rundgren chose them, along with Klingman and keyboardist Ralph Shuckett, to be the new configuration of Utopia. It marked Rundgren's first full-fledged venture into the progressive rock genre. Utopia released several more albums between and Although they gradually rebranded toward a rock-pop sound, Todd Rundgren's Utopia remained their highest album chart showing at number But I am allowed to sing about anything I want!
Initiation addressed cosmic themes, showed a strong interest in spirituality particularly Far Eastern religion and Pieśń o Lwowie - Wojciech Dzieduszycki - 70 Lat Na Scenieand displayed the musical influence of psychedelic rockas well as the avant-garde jazz fusion of contemporary acts such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. Released in MayFaithful saw Rundgren celebrating his tenth year as a professional musician.
The arrangements of the covers were intended to sound as close to the originals as possible, and Rundgren's original songs were written as a reflection of his s influences. He cited the song "The Verb 'To Love'" as the point in which he made the conscious decision to stop writing superficial love songs and "seek out all other kinds of subject matter to write about. During andRundgren attempted to tour with a true quadraphonic sound system, however it proved ultimately unworkable — despite successfully delivering high-quality sound in a concert setting — due to the enormous technical requirements involved.
Since most concert arenas of the day were ill-equipped to host large towers of Album) equipment in the rear of the halls, the speakers often had to be hung from the ceiling rigging. This installation could take up to two days to complete, meaning that it was necessary to send two separate sound systems, each with its own, complete set-up crew, out on the road, so that they could "leapfrog" and allow Rundgren to play dates on consecutive days, which would have otherwise been impossible.
The system featured a then-new technology called "signal analysis", which required white and pink noise to be pumped through the speakers, in order to set the active equalizers so as to minimize feedback and distortion.
The pink and white noise analysis had to be performed twice: once with the hall empty, and then again with the audience present, which many concertgoers found annoying.
Additionally, Rundgren's insistence on personally overseeing the acoustic set-up of the system left him exhausted and unable to continue, and he pulled the plug on the experiment. InUtopia recorded a Beatles parody album in the form of Deface the Music. Chapman, when he was apprehended, was wearing a promotional T-shirt for one of Rundgren's albums (I Feel Like Im) On Top Of The World - Jerry Williams - Power Of Soul (Reel-To-Reel had left a copy of Runt.
The Ballad of Todd Rundgren in his hotel room. Rundgren was not aware of the connections until "way after the fact". His experience with computer graphics dates back towhen he developed one of the first computer paint programs, dubbed the Utopia Graphics System; it ran on an Apple II with Apple's digitizer tablet.
On August 13,Rundgren's Mink Hollow home was burglarized. He and his girlfriend who was pregnant at the time were tied up while the house was ransacked by a group of armed men. According to Rundgren's account, the men erroneously assumed that he possessed a large quantity of cocaine.
Although the family was unharmed, the men stole some valuable items including a custom-made Alembic bass guitar. It is now considered one of Rundgren's most popular songs. Rundgren signed with Warner Bros. Recordswho issued his next album, A Cappella which was recorded using Rundgren's multi-tracked voice, accompanied by arrangements constructed entirely from programmed vocal samples.
InRundgren scored four episodes of the popular children's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse. Nearly Human and 2nd Wind were both recorded live—the former in the studio, the latter in a theater before a live audience, who were instructed to Album) 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. Rundgren was an early adopter of the NewTek Video Toaster and made several videos with it. The first, for "Change Myself" from 2nd Windwas widely distributed as a demo reel for the Toaster.
Later, he set up a company to produce 3D animation using the Toaster; this company's first demo, "Theology" a look at religious architecture through the ages featuring music by former Utopia bandmate Roger Powell also became a widely circulated item among Toaster users.
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 Afterglow - Dan Gibson / Charles T.
Cozens - Songbirds At Sunset of whom, Michele Gray, Rundgren married. He also toured during this period with Ringo Starr 's All-Starr band. The mid s saw Rundgren recording under the pseudonym TR-i "Todd Rundgren interactive" for two albums. The first of these, 's No World Orderconsisted of hundreds of seconds-long snippets of music, that could be combined in various ways to suit the listener.