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Thread: Todd Rundgren

  1. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by unclemeat View Post


    Did I see M. Frog Labat in the first clip? Todd with the rainbow colored hair? I can remember some lottery of a Dutch music magazine one could win some of the rainbow colored hair.

  2. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by Czyszy View Post
    That awful typo on the thumbnail is driving me crazy!
    That is almost as bad as Sodd Runtlestuntle.

    While l am here does anyone like Deface The Music, Utopia's "Beatles" album? Not a masterpiece by any any means but extremely creative and a fun listen.

  3. #128
    Member Unfrankie Valli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    Did I see M. Frog Labat in the first clip? Todd with the rainbow colored hair? I can remember some lottery of a Dutch music magazine one could win some of the rainbow colored hair.
    Yes, that's Labat. The band is the second iteration of Utopia.

    Rundgren's appearance is said to have lost him a load of fans after this, although they were probably mostly the new fans who only knew of him because of the belated release of Hello It's Me as a single that got to No. 5 in the chart. I suppose he'd already shed some other fans earlier in the year with the release of A Wizard A True Star.

    From a Record Collector interview:
    "Hello Itís Me was one of three songs we did live on a Sunday afternoon [for Side 4 of Something/Anything]. But none of them were recorded with the expectation that any would be a single.
    One thing that releasing this as a single did was, it pushed the album into the gold record sphere. Then I appeared on the Midnight Special in my Birdman Of Alcatraz costume by this guy, Nicky Nichols, who did outfits and makeup for me. He was on this use-me-as-a-piece-of-art kick. I didnít really know what was going on until he was done, which was moments before I had to go on. I thought it was pretty cool except for what he did to my hair. He gave me some kind of Mary Tyler Moore flip with a hot curler. That was weird."

  4. #129
    Member Unfrankie Valli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteranof1000psychicwars View Post
    That is almost as bad as Sodd Runtlestuntle.

    While l am here does anyone like Deface The Music, Utopia's "Beatles" album? Not a masterpiece by any any means but extremely creative and a fun listen.
    I like it, but it's seen as yet another self-harming retrogressive move coming hot on the heels of Adventures in Utopia, their most successful album yet (that includes the hit single Set Me Free).
    I think Neil Innes's songs for The Rutles were better pastiches, but there's some clever stylistic imitations on Deface the Music - most of the tracks each parody two Beatles songs at the same time.

    For anyone who doesn't know the origin, Rundgren was asked to come up with a song for the movie 'Roadie' that starred Meat Loaf (and featured Utopia), but the one he came up with - I Just Want to Touch You - was rejected as sounding too much like The Beatles, who might possibly sue. Rundgren argued that legal action would be good publicity and then decided to do a whole album independent of the movie, partly hoping Utopia would be sued!

  5. #130
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Arena also has a pastiche of some metal bands....AC/DC for one. Todd's a clever one!

  6. #131
    I think Deface the Music was also a bit of a stopgap, since Warners didn't want to release the album they completed (Swing to the Right).

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Arena also has a pastiche of some metal bands....AC/DC for one. Todd's a clever one!
    Also his Gilbert & Sullivan pastiche, "Song of the Viking." (But not "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" as some have erroneously said; that's a cover. I believe it's from Iolanthe.)
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I think Deface the Music was also a bit of a stopgap, since Warners didn't want to release the album they completed (Swing to the Right).
    No, Deface the Music was released in 1980 and Swing to the Right was recorded afterwards in 1981.
    You're right about the long delay in releasing Swing to the Right though. That and the solo album The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect was the end of Rundgren/Utopia's contract with Bearsville, which couldn't come soon enough for them. (That should have been a new beginning, with a TV documentary about Todd and a great power-pop self-titled album by Utopia, but again they had record label troubles and everything disintegrated.)

  8. #133
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unfrankie Valli View Post
    Yes, that's Labat. The band is the second iteration of Utopia.

    Rundgren's appearance is said to have lost him a load of fans after this, although they were probably mostly the new fans who only knew of him because of the belated release of Hello It's Me as a single that got to No. 5 in the chart. I suppose he'd already shed some other fans earlier in the year with the release of A Wizard A True Star.

    From a Record Collector interview:
    "Hello Itís Me was one of three songs we did live on a Sunday afternoon [for Side 4 of Something/Anything]. But none of them were recorded with the expectation that any would be a single.
    One thing that releasing this as a single did was, it pushed the album into the gold record sphere. Then I appeared on the Midnight Special in my Birdman Of Alcatraz costume by this guy, Nicky Nichols, who did outfits and makeup for me. He was on this use-me-as-a-piece-of-art kick. I didnít really know what was going on until he was done, which was moments before I had to go on. I thought it was pretty cool except for what he did to my hair. He gave me some kind of Mary Tyler Moore flip with a hot curler. That was weird."
    Why do you say he'd lost fans because of "AWATS?" Was it poorly received by fans?

  9. #134
    Member Unfrankie Valli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Why do you say he'd lost fans because of "AWATS?" Was it poorly received by fans?
    Not by the Toddheads, but the fans who liked him only for the more conventional songs on Ballad and S/A? It's something he's said a few times himself anyway. I don't have the sales figures, but I believe that was the point where they started to drop off.

  10. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by veteranof1000psychicwars View Post
    That is almost as bad as Sodd Runtlestuntle.

    While l am here does anyone like Deface The Music, Utopia's "Beatles" album? Not a masterpiece by any any means but extremely creative and a fun listen.
    Great songs, ruined (for me) by the arrangements and production. It sounds like a Beatles cover band had a friend with a cheap keyboard who insisted on joining in. It's really weird when the songs themselves are such good pastiches. I know it's the band they had but I just can't get over the sounds.

    My Utopia hot take is that the 1982 self-titled three-sided album is one of the high points of 1980s pop. Pure perfection from beginning to end.

  11. #136
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    agreed on both counts - Deface the Music almost works but you can tell they maybe didn't think the idea was good enough to spend a lot of time on. they sound like demos.

    the three-sided album indeed is one gem after another, though I kind of agree with a review I read that called it "microwave pop with a still-frozen center"...there's something cynical about it
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  12. #137
    Member Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Almost every Utopia album has some element or other that is sort of a questionable sonic choice. I haven't heard the self-titled one in quite some time though. Strangely, when I hear Deface The Music I feel like, whatever it has going on, it works better for me than some of their albums.
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  13. #138
    Member Unfrankie Valli's Avatar
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    I don't hear anything cynical in Utopia (1982). It's the sound of a band with a lot of good songs freed from the shackles of Bearsville. Unfortunately a 3-sided album was a stupid idea at the time and the record label didn't last long.
    Deface the Music is clever but sounds weird as a Beatles pastiche partly because of having to find a place for Roger Powell's keys. One of Rundgren's bee-in-the-bonnet projects.
    Then Swing to the Right where they really didn't have enough decent material and wanted to get it over with quickly to end their Bearsville contract.
    Their best-sounding album was Adventures in Utopia. If they'd followed that up with something similar I think they'd have been much bigger.

  14. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unfrankie Valli View Post
    Unfortunately a 3-sided album was a stupid idea at the time and the record label didn't last long.
    The only (other) 3-sided album I know of is Monty Python's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief", which featured two interlaced grooves on the B side of the LP. Which side you got to hear depended on where the stylus happened to land.
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  15. #140
    Jazzbo manquť Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batchman View Post
    The only (other) 3-sided album I know of is Monty Python's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief", which featured two interlaced grooves on the B side of the LP.
    I think the first commercially released three-sided album was Johnny Winter’s Second Winter in 1969. It was not a gimmick cut like the Monty Python, but a two-record set with side four blank. Nowadays they do three (or five or seven) sided albums by putting etchings on the non-music side.
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  16. #141
    Joe Jackson's Big World was another one, a few years after the Utopia record.

    Also in jazz there were three-sided albums by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Keith Jarrett. (The Kirk was a weird concept piece, while the Jarrett was just a concert with only enough music for 3 sides.)

  17. #142
    I think the first multi-groove record was "The Chariot Race Game" from 1959, which explained the rules of the game on the A-side, and had five parallel grooves on the flip. But I think the first one most people remember was the "It's a Super Spectacular Day" (or whatever it was called) flexidisc that came in a 1960s issue of Mad Magazine. There were a bunch of toys based on the concept, like The Farmer Says, or Electronic Talking Football.

    Quote Originally Posted by dfan View Post
    Great songs, ruined (for me) by the arrangements and production. It sounds like a Beatles cover band had a friend with a cheap keyboard who insisted on joining in. It's really weird when the songs themselves are such good pastiches. I know it's the band they had but I just can't get over the sounds.
    Probably that RMI Keyboard Computer, which was anything but cheap. Which I guess explains why Todd kept using it until well into the 80s (it was kind of a defining feature of his sound ever since Initiation, which is smothered in it). I'm convinced the reason Todd wound up producing New England was that he and Jimmy Waldo went to the same keyboard tech (Waldo used an RMI as well).
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  18. #143
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I think the first multi-groove record was "The Chariot Race Game" from 1959, which explained the rules of the game on the A-side, and had five parallel grooves on the flip. But I think the first one most people remember was the "It's a Super Spectacular Day" (or whatever it was called) flexidisc that came in a 1960s issue of Mad Magazine. There were a bunch of toys based on the concept, like The Farmer Says, or Electronic Talking Football.



    Probably that RMI Keyboard Computer, which was anything but cheap. Which I guess explains why Todd kept using it until well into the 80s (it was kind of a defining feature of his sound ever since Initiation, which is smothered in it). I'm convinced the reason Todd wound up producing New England was that he and Jimmy Waldo went to the same keyboard tech (Waldo used an RMI as well).
    Yeah, that RMI was really expensive. Looked it up in 1979 it was f 15,000

  19. #144
    Quote Originally Posted by veteranof1000psychicwars View Post
    That is almost as bad as Sodd Runtlestuntle.

    While l am here does anyone like Deface The Music, Utopia's "Beatles" album? Not a masterpiece by any any means but extremely creative and a fun listen.
    Oh, it's brilliant. A fun Utopia pop-fest in it's own right but really a perfect Beatles pastiche. I love it from beginning to end, so good imho ymmv yada yada.

    Crap. Now i have to put that one on. It's been awhile :P

    Take It Home!

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Arena also has a pastiche of some metal bands....AC/DC for one. Todd's a clever one!
    Yeah, that all killed live (as is often true) but the album originally left me kind of cold. Possibly because i heard it first all on the tour and bought the CD at the show

    It grew on me more though. "Courage" alone was worth the price of admission, in my mind. I love that song way too much. Again, though, perfect pastiches. That is his specialty.

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