Todd Rundgren, fully Todd Harry Rundgren

Todd
Rundgren, fully Todd Harry Rundgren
1948

American Songwriter, Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Producer, Wells Scholar Professor at Indiana University Bloomington

Author Quotes

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.

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.

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.

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.

The problem turned out to be that I never was that kind of an artist.

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.

There's no really deep personal messages anymore in a lot of popular music. More than anything, they're (artists) trying to out-do each other: 'What is the outrage that will get people buzzing and tweeting?' 'She said c**k five times in a row! Wait, the song's called Peacock. I get it!

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.

This is one of the best gigs anyone could possibly have... You travel the same way that Ringo does, you stay in the same hotels that Ringo does - you are essentially a Beatle! In Nagoya (in Japan), when we got off the train we were mobbed as if we were Beatles. It's just a lot of fun

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.

Well, a couple of years ago, I completed an album called Arena. It was something of a tribute to guitar players that had influenced me in a certain kind of music that I hadn't really delved that far into. Nowadays, we make the records and then we find someone to distribute them, as opposed to the old days when you had a multi-album contract with somebody. During that process, we found someone willing to distribute that album, and they also had coincidentally acquired the publishing rights to the Robert Johnson catalog but they had no actual recordings of Robert Johnson songs, they only had the publishing rights. So in order to kind of activate that whole thing, they wanted someone to re-record some Robert Johnson material, and in order to get my album distributed, I agreed to do that. The reason why I agreed to it, or the reason I felt comfortable agreeing to it, was because my very first gig out of high school was in a blues band, so this was a chance for me to sit there and revisit my own past but do it in a way that highlighted the work of a foundational blues master. Through that roundabout method, I wound up studying the catalog of Robert Johnson in a way that I actually hadn't before, but the interesting or peculiar thing about that was that I delivered that record two and a half years ago, or something like that, and it only came out last Spring. I toured behind the record with the expectation that it was coming out and the label just kept pushing the release off by six months at a time. By the time the record came out, I was done touring behind it. We would do maybe one or two songs from the Robert Johnson catalog, but if you really wanted to see me get down and dirty with it, I'm sorry, it's too late, I already did.

Well, I'm sort of optimistic about the progress that the internet has made in a strictly sort of presentational standpoint. It used to be, and I mentioned this before, the internet was originally intended to be a marketplace for anything but ideas. It was a place where colleges could interconnect with each other and college students could interconnect with each other and people would use it mostly for research. Then we suddenly got it into our heads that we can make a lot of money off of this thing, and now, it is the sewer of all of those things that overly capitalized things eventually become. 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 is built and maintained by the users of the internet and gains its integrity from that. Entire industries have grown to depend on it. I can't imagine what MSNBC would do in terms of research if they didn't have Wikipedia.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

'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'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.

That's what I like about Frank Ocean or Bon Iver - they try to capture a feeling in the most sincere way.

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.

Author Picture
First Name
Todd
Last Name
Rundgren, fully Todd Harry Rundgren
Birth Date
1948
Bio

American Songwriter, Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Producer, Wells Scholar Professor at Indiana University Bloomington