He writes pop songs that border on perfection…and then refuses to perform them. He throws goofy dance hall numbers into serious albums…just for laughs. He zigs when others zag, filtering musical ideas through years of chemical- and spiritual exploration.
Of course, we are talking about Todd Rundgren, one of the world’s most innovative, prolific and provocative rock stars. His Sept. 15 show at Morristown’s Community Theatre will feature complete performances of two vintage albums that should separate the men from the runts.
(Podcast also can be found on iTunes; search for MorristownGreen.)
In the mid ’80s I caught Todd’s one-man show at Obsessions, a nightclub in Randolph. His electronic tool kit replaced human band mates, a controversial notion at the time.
But what really miffed me was the encore. Todd refused to play the one song many of us came to hear. After we had politely sampled a lot of avant-garde meanderings.
I waited years for the chance to petition Todd about this. Listen for his response in this hour-long podcast.
Todd also explains why he’s performing his challenging 1974 compilation, ‘Todd,” followed by his gentler, “more grounded” 1981 record, “Healing.”
We learn about a harrowing robbery in which thugs taunted Todd with the same song he declined to sing at Obsessions.
He talks about guitar gods and Beatles, psychic exhaustion and Phil Rizzuto. The late Scooter’s unintentionally salacious Yankees play-by-play landed in “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” on a Meat Loaf album produced by Todd.
Todd reflects on the “clueless” music biz, and an internet that is losing its way. Laughter keeps him sane, as you will hear throughout the interview.
Afterward, a million more questions bubbled into my mind. Perhaps some of them will be answered at Wednesday’s concert. Tickets range from $35 to $95.
MORE ON TODD: