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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Nickname Runt
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Considered by many to be the "Ultimate Rock Cult Hero", Todd Rundgren has maintained a legion of fans through four decades, rivaled only by Grateful Dead. Todd was raised in the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) area, and his first professional bands, Money and Woddy's Truckstop, achieved much regional success. It was in the late 1960s, however, that Todd's searing guitar work reached a nationwide audience, in his role as lead guitarist for the blues-psychedelic band Nazz. he wrote and arranged almost all of the work that went into the three albums the group produced. Their music ranged from Southern blues to hard rock to heavily orchestrated symphonies. Nazz broke up in the early 1970s and Todd released two solo albums under the name of Runt. His first big solo success was in 1971 with "We Gotta Get You a Woman" and in 1973 from the double album "Something/Anything?" he scored big on the charts with "I Saw the Light" and a revision of a Nazz song, "Hello, It's Me." Perhaps the superstardom that seemed imminent at this time eluded Rundgren due to his reluctance to be pigeonholed into any single type of music. He still released albums with great love ballads, but they were also laced with heavy guitar rock, and occasionally mini rock operas. Rundgren has scored huge as a music producer, most notably on Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" opus. In the late 1970s and through the 1980s Todd formed the group Utopia, each member an accomplished musician and vocalist. In recent years Rundgren has become a computer enthusiast, marketing many new innovations, some in conjunction with his music. He has also been called on by films and TV for his musical scores. Todd also maintains his own website.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Buxx Banner <Buxx572@aol.com>

Spouse (1)

Michele Gray (22 June 1998 - present) (1 child)

Trivia (27)

Liv Tyler's stepfather.
He was with the rock group, "Utopia".
Co-inventor of the Flowfazer, a computer program that generates visual effects.
Several of his compositions, notably "Hello, It's Me", "I Saw the Light" and "Bang the Drum All Day", are standards known by bar bands across the USA.
Recorded and produced an album entitled "Acapella", which featured only his voice, processed through various electronic devices, to emulate various musical instruments.
Sons: Rex, Randy and Rebop.
Incorporates the song "Bang the Drum All Day" into his concerts, often when the audience is least expecting it.
Since moving to Hawaii, he has taught himself to play the ukulele, joking that "...if you're a musician, it's required by law".
His album "No World Order" has the songs linked together as two long mixes. Because many disk jockeys requested, he released an alternative version of the album, "No World Order - Lite", which has the same songs but mixed as seperate tracks.
His album "With A Twist" (a nod to the "retro lounge" movement) features bossa nova versions of his most popular compositions.
Season 1, Episode 1 of That '70s Show (1998) known as "The '70s Pilot" AKA "Teenage Wasteland," features a plot revolving around Eric going to see a Todd Rundgren concert in Milwaukee. Two of Rundgren's songs are also featured in the episode, "I Saw The Light" and "Hello It's Me".
He presented the first live nationally broadcast stereo radio concert (by microwave), linking 40 cities around the country, in 1978.
His 1981 "Time Heals," video was the first music video to utilize state-of-the-art compositing of live action and computer graphics. Produced and directed by Rundgren, it became the second video to be played on MTV (after The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star").
He gave the first live national cablecast of a rock concert in 1982, which aired on the USA Network. It was simulcast in stereo to over 120 radio stations.
His creation of the first color graphics tablet in 1980 was licensed to Apple Computers and released as "The Utopia Graphics Tablet."
In 1982 he produced the first two commercially released music videos, one of which was nominated for the first-ever Grammy awarded for Best Short Form Video in 1983.
In 1979 he opened Utopia Video Studios, a multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art facility. The first project produced by Todd there was Gustav Holst's "The Planets", commissioned by RCA SelectaVision as the first demonstration software for its new videodisc format.
In 1978, he performed the first interactive television concert, broadcast live over the Warner/QUBE system in Columbus, Ohio (the home audience chose each song in real time during the concert by voting via QUBE's 2-way operating system).
BMI Million-Air Awards were also awarded to Rundgren for his other two Top 10 hit records, "I Saw The Light" and "Love Is The Answer".
In 1996 he won the Digitial Hollywood Award for Best Music CD-ROM for "The Individualist".
In 1994 he won the award for Best Composition Arrangment for "No World Order" from the Interactive Academy.
Grew up in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which is the hometown of Tina Fey. They had the same algebra teacher, although 20 years apart.
His 1978 Hit "Can We Still Be Friends" was number 1 in Australia.
Living in Kauai, Hawaii, USA with his wife and child. [2002]
President & CEO of Waking Dreams ("www.wakingdreams.com"). This collective founded by Todd and his partners was officially incorporated in March 1996, and is focused on the development and licensing of original or undervalued ideas into marketable content, services and technologies.
Formerly in the group The Nazz, the biggest hit of his solo career was "Hello It's Me". Solo again, he produced his solo "No World Order" which was first interactive CD. Now goes by name TR-i for "interactive".
His paternal grandfather, John Sigfrid Rundgren, was a Swedish immigrant, born in Husby-Lyhundra, Stockholm. His paternal grandmother, Sophie Brandweis, was an Austrian Jewish immigrant.

Personal Quotes (85)

That's what I like about Frank Ocean or Bon Iver - they try to capture a feeling in the most sincere way.
It's hard for me to say that what I'm doing isn't even really music, because deep inside of me, what I want to do is much greater than music.
People get comfort from music. They get joy from it and understanding from it, and most of all, the average person can't do without it in some sense.
All it takes to become president is money and a certain kind of power. Being president is the first thing I can shoot for, not the highest. It may come to a point where people take rock and roll musicians more seriously than they take politicians. It may eventually turn out that musicians have more credibility.
I've always done very 'composed' music and worked-out solos. But sometimes it's fun not knowing where you're going.
If all you have is faith, then you never actually know anything.
I didn't expect to become an artist. I was not comfortable going out on the road.
I decided early on that I wanted to be Michael Bloomfield, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton - not George Harrison.
I never thought a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland or anywhere else was a good idea.
So I don't think I'm gonna pull my head into my shell just because a bunch of people start acting like idiots.
There are some things that we know are just not as pleasant as the lies that we tell ourselves, and in that sense in order to endure existence everyone endures a certain amount of dishonesty in their everyday lives.
You do have a modicum of peace of mind here, but it's as unsettled as any other place.
Behind every tree there's a new monster.
Most people outside of America won't get it. It's the Easter bunny. It's another lie and I don't understand why we had to invent this character.
It's the only way that YOUR life is gonna have any value to you. If you're just living the same life that everybody else is living what's the point?
Exploitation was rampant before statehood, and various factions actively tried to eradicate the roots of Hawaiian culture in the process of converting the natives to European religious beliefs. Some of the results can never be undone. We try to honor what is left.
I don't have a long history of hit singles of my own. I had a few, and I had a little hot streak in the '70s, but I've had a lot of success producing other people.
I'm a guitar player, really - I mean, first and foremost - I grew up with all that great 1960s music, in terms of growing up, becoming a musician, so it's like first-love stuff; I'm always going to go back to it.
I can't stand Beyonce. The way she sells it so hard, constantly. Everything is shoved right in your face. Like, you don't have the sense to make a judgment of your own.
If bearing a reputation as a weirdo is all it takes to be a genius, I'm a shoo-in. Come to think of it, half the people I know are geniuses - the other half, peculiarly enough, idiots.
Music is the way I understand how to communicate now, the way that I've learned how to communicate... but it will eventually have to go beyond that. You see, I've realized that music is not what keeps people involved - it's the attitude behind the music.
There are still people who believe in that and wake up every day believing it's possible, and invest their whole selves in that.
I figure it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy; if I make a successful arena rock record, I'll wind up playing arenas! I wouldn't mind being back in that kind of venue because of the kinds of things you can do with production. You can make your shows more interesting, which would be fun to do.
I want to be known as a professional weirdo. There aren't many Salvador Dalis or Buckminster Fullers left. If I become popular enough, I can establish the next step for records.
It seems like a totally gratuitous myth to tell people a giant rabbit comes round at night leaving candy in a haphazard way around the house... and the cover shows the bunny caught in the act.
When I got out of the Nazz, I had it in my mind that simply to be eclectic was an important aspect of making music. It was something that I derived from The Beatles.
And so it's inescapable and people who proclaim scrupulous honesty can only proclaim that if they don't examine closely the things they believe.
The Toddstock thing is the closest thing, I have to say, a Grateful Dead sort of thing where it all lapses over from the formality of a concert into more of a lifestyle thing.
When I got out of high school, I was in a blues band. It was the kind of music I was interested in, and listening to, mostly because it was becoming a vehicle for a generation of guitarists - like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Mike Bloomfield. And that's what I wanted to be, principally: a guitar player.
One Long Year was just a song here and there, and it was meant to reflect the mood that I was in but unfortunately it also reflected too little of any particular thing rather than hanging together as a whole album.
I really consider myself fortunate to have been of age during the musical revolution that came in the form of the Beatles. People don't realize that previous to the Beatles, there really was no such thing as an album artist. People made singles. Then they would put a bunch of those singles together and call it an album. And that was it.
While I used to make my living principally as a record producer, as time went on, I had to depend more and more on my live performances because of the evolution of the record industry, which has de-emphasized what made it possible to make a living.
I used to have sort of mixed feelings about a producer whose only skills seemed to be going into the studio, schmoozing the artists and making them feel good. I can see now that in some cases, that's what you have to do because that's the only way you're going to get them to produce.
My very first records, I was very interested in how you get the particular quality you want out of it, and I began to learn about the engineering and aspects of production and things very early on. I got hands-on with the process and taught myself how to engineer, as opposed to just being a producer who asked the engineer to make it sound nice.
I don't use any real vintage hardware any longer. That's always been the object as far as gaining control of the studio environment, going back to when I built my first studio, Secret Sound, in New York City. The whole point was to not have to pay studio bills anymore and not be looking at the clock.
Kids don't want to dye their whole head another color; that's what their mothers do.
In a way, I created Utopia as a platform for me to become more of a guitar player and less of the kind of balladeer that people were taking me for.
When you come to a place like Kauai, you don't go for a high tech world.
My father was not really into popular music; I had to learn about that for myself.
On occasion, I hear a rearrangement of a song that really makes me reevaluate it in a way.
It's nearly redundant to enumerate the reasons The Beatles are important. There are probably different reasons why The Beatles are important to a musician like myself and to the millions of Beatles fans who just enjoy listening to the music.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an era when radio was less formatted. It was really special. You could hear a jazz song then a pop song then a show tune then some jazz. Basically, whatever the DJ felt like playing, he would play. He was educating you and exposing you to things you would never hear otherwise.
'State' can be a word that is a noun or a verb or an adverb - it's kind of why I chose that title. It's not to confound the audience but to keep me from painting myself into a cul-de-sac in the early stages of making a record by having too high concept or having some really strict set of rules I have to adhere to.
It would be really great if someone would invent a new Internet with the specific purpose of not making money off of it, but making it what it originally was, a free marketplace of ideas, and there are still aspects of the Internet that are that. Wikipedia, essentially, is still the bastion of the original ideals of the Internet.
It's great if you can afford to carry a string section on the road with you, but most people are used to the idea of just a keyboard player creating those string sounds.
The problem turned out to be that I never was that kind of an artist.
I am a laptop boy. People say: 'Where's your studio?' I say: 'It's in my laptop, in my rucksack.'
I've got billions of sparrows to worry about as well as everything else'. So there's the whole idea that whatever it is that you believe, it can never be valid unless you have some consensus reality demonstration.
Before there were any sort of 'recordings' there was performance. If we are devolved back to the Stone Age tomorrow, there will be performance.
So there was a way for you to get promoted and survive as an artist without worrying about AM radio hits.
It was always remarkable to me how ignorant the labels were of the listening habits of their own customers, and how obstinate they were in denying those habits and then trying to essentially alter those habits instead of retooling their business to adapt to them.
I've become kind of a haven for people who like pop music, but that's not the only thing they like. They also like music in general and want to be able to expand their own horizons. They haven't completely given up on music and are willing to have somebody mediate new things that are happening in music to them.
It seems like there are two worlds out there - one that has revolved around 'Breaking Bad,' and then the one that I've been in, which just kind of observes it from afar.
It may not necessarily reflect my current frame of mind. Sometimes I have to put myself at the point in time of the voice that I'm trying to sing with.
Most people didn't have the bandwidth to download whole albums. And so it brought back this cherry picking idea that the audience would focus on certain songs and possibly be the impetus behind what eventually got on AM radio: the single or whatever.
I first started doing some somewhat technology-based shows in the '80s. If you wanted to get real technical about it, back in the '70s I used to open up with Utopia with just me on the stage with a four-track tape recorder. So, technically, I've been using the help of various devices pretty much throughout my career.
It's no longer necessary to slave over the vocals. I don't sing the lyrics until I write them, and singing is the very last thing I do. I record the entire track, and then I worry about lyrics and vocals. The music will suggest where the words are going to a certain extent.
My guitar heroes are Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and people like that - so I've tried to make an album of Robert Johnson covers that, well, while not totally faithful for blues purists, is faithful for people like me that grew up with the '60s and the electric blues-rock versions of Johnson's songs.
If I have an opportunity to do something safe or something challenging, I'll often choose the latter. Sometimes, the objective is to submerge my viewpoint with the artist.
I write in a very strange way. Things are very fragmentary for a very long time, and then they come together very quickly near the end of the process.
I'm not a one-hit wonder as some suggest. I've had a couple of hits, but still, all of my hits were in the '70s. There was pretty much nothing in the '80s, '90s, or in the first full decade into the next millennium.
I got it into my head that I had somewhat neglected the guitar, and then I did a record called 'Arena,' and it was not a particularly bad record - it wasn't a bad record at all, but it was built around a certain concept, which is a guitar quartet, with a little bit of augmentation here and there.
I think there are always people who, when they get the bug to play an instrument, they want to get as good as they can with it rather than just be simply adequate at it. You run into them every once in a while - some kid who wants to be the next Stevie Ray Vaughan, for whatever reason, and plays exactly like him.
I don't know what the inspiration for most of songs really mean until I finish them. For the most part, I'm going for a visceral impression, and I write the words last.
I never look for music by genre. I look for an artist who puts a dependable trademark on things. Like Elvis Costello - he's a great songwriter who presents his songs in a number of contexts. I feel the same about my own music.
Once I go on stage, the atmosphere is totally theatrical. The greater the illusion, the greater the intensity of the excitement it creates.
People write me letters and say I should answer them. But I don't like to answer letters. I don't write letters. I've never written my mother one.
When I got out of high school, I joined a local blues band in Philadelphia - Woody's Truck Stop.
Because of the way the record business has kind of stumbled and disintegrated, in a way, you're as likely to sell records at your merch table at your gigs as you are to sell them in a regular record outlet or even online.
The God that can only love something like this man. And from then on it was all downhill.
Celebrities are the fodder of much of the media business, so they're always interested in making you seem provocative when you're not, or trying to bring you some sort of embarrassment by revealing something you'd rather not have revealed. That's the downside of celebrity.
Every once in a while, we have some sort of movement in music that everyone suddenly wants to work in, like grunge or rap or disco or some other musical phase, and then suddenly, that'll be the thing to do.
I certainly have a fascination with pop music as a musical form, not necessarily as a lifelong commitment. I guess you could say I'm like a Casanova of music. I can't seem to settle down with one musical form.
Sometimes being a musician has little to do with viability and everything to do with survivability. Many musicians start out great, and they wind up out of the business in 10 years.
By the time my first solo record came out, I was making a handsome living as a record producer. I had worked with the Band, Janis Joplin and all of these other artists in the Albert Grossman organization. So as my so-called solo career evolved, I never felt pressure that I had to come back and top when I might've done before.
People have always said that I could have been a highly successful pop artist, if only that were my intention. It never was. My original intention was to be a kind of behind-the-scenes participant in music, to just be a record producer and engineer. And I made a record for myself just so I could have an outlet for my musical ideas.
Singles needed to come back. And what I tried to do in my online experiment was to change the rules for myself and make available at a more regular pace the fruits of my labour, for people who decided they wanted to support my recordings.
Sometimes you could tell what it was about - it was interesting - and sometimes it was quite obvious that someone had lost it and it was on an endless loop.
'Something/Anything?' was kind of a different record, since I'm playing everything myself. A lot of the songs on there have a particular kind of instrumentation that is much like a guitar quartet, and in some ways, it's an exceptional song on that record because so much of the writing on 'Something/Anything?' is piano-oriented.
The Nazz survived for 18 months - that was my first taste of fame on some level and of the overall experience of being in a band. There are good and bad aspects, and I got to taste some of both, and, well, it's not as much fun as what you see in 'A Hard Day's Night,' let me just say that.
The New York Dolls did not think of themselves as punk rock. There was no such term at the time. They were just another band in what was called the New York scene.
There's only one band that could ever even pretend to assume the mantle of what the Beatles did, who have been so pre-eminent and world-dominating that they could effect a paradigm shift in the culture, who have been willing to leverage their success into musical change, and that is U2 - regardless of what the result of that is.
When the Beatles first came out, you had to go to a certain amount of trouble to have long hair. You just couldn't have it immediately. Anything you can just go out and get - like platform shoes - is not going to inspire people as much as something they have to go through a little bit of hell to have.
We bought property after Iniki in '92. I figured we'd never find better bargains. As it turned out, we didn't get a bargain, but we did find the spot we wanted to live on. It actually took a couple years to secure that spot. Then, after we moved, it took over 10 years to start construction on the house. It's still a work in progress.
If I had the power, I'd say: If you're a Trump supporter, don't come to my show, because you won't have a good time. And also, I don't understand your frickin' values. Because I'm not singing about that. If you don't understand that basic thing, you're just fooling yourself. I guarantee that in this show, if you're a Trump supporter, you will likely be offended. Let the buyer beware! I mean, if you can't take a joke, or you can't admit that you've made a mistake, you don't belong with the rest of us.[May 2017]

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