Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Todd Rundgren, fully Todd Harry Rundgren

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

"If we recognize love, it is by its beauty. If we recognize truth, it is by its beauty. The meaning of life is beauty. When we sense and experience beauty, we are looking straight into the face of the Creator. We achieve transcendent union with the mind of God. We were born to be aware of it and to create more of it."

"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."

"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."

"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?"

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"Love between the ugly, is the most beautiful love of all."

"So I don't think I'm gonna pull my head into my shell just because a bunch of people start acting like idiots."

"People who have memorized your songs-how can you not love them?"

"The God that can only love something like this man. And from then on it was all downhill."

"So there was a way for you to get promoted and survive as an artist without worrying about AM radio hits."

"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."

"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."

"There are still people who believe in that and wake up every day believing it's possible, and invest their whole selves in that."

"What are riches untold in a life without compassion? For there’s no winter as cold as a life without compassion. There’s no prescription that’s sold that can heal you like compassion."

"You do have a modicum of peace of mind here, but it's as unsettled as any other place."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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 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."

"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 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 don't have the same restrictions that other people do because I never painted myself into a corner. I've always done things that didn't necessarily fit the form. I've never felt limited in that respect in terms of songwriting."

"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 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 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."

"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."

"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 never thought a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland or anywhere else was a good idea."

"I knew who Meat Loaf was because I'd seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show off Broadway. I went to a rehearsal studio in New York City and apparently, they had auditioned for nearly any producer in the business who would listen to them. Everybody said, "These songs are too long," no one could figure out which one was the single, "The guy is really big and fat and not attractive," you know, all of these excuses of why nobody was interested in making a record with them. So I go into this rehearsal studio and there is Meat Loaf and there are two background singers and there is Jim Steinman, the guy who composed the record, sitting at the piano. They essentially performed the entire record for me, the four of them. It was like everything you've seen in the videos, like "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," with Meat Loaf mopping his brow with the rag, and singer Ellen Foley, who was with this fat, sweaty guy, and they're doing the entire thing in front of me. In my mind, I'm thinking, "This is a spoof on Bruce Springsteen, and that's why I have to do it. Even though every other producer in the world has turned it down, I have to do it because it's a spoof on Springsteen and Springsteen needs to be spoofed." I don't know if you recall at the time, but he was on the cover of Time Magazine -- "The Savior of Rock 'n' Roll" -- and he's doing all these overly long songs with these tortured kind of James Dean lyrics -- motorcycles and switchblades and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, stuff out of the '50s. "Man," I thought, "This is so cornball, I can't figure out why people are so crazy for it." So when Meat Loaf came along, I said, "This has got to be a big spoof of Bruce Springsteen," so I undertook the record."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"If all you have is faith, then you never actually know anything."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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'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'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."

"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."

"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."