“AWATS” Is 39!
Todd’s masterpiece “A Wizard A True Star” was released 39 years ago, but still feels as fresh today – and continues to have an incredible influence on other Artists…
MOJO is a very respected British music magazine, and they printed a real “love letter” to Todd!
“Way More Talent Than Is Useful!”
I love the fact that Todd’s back is on the table of contents page, along with an extensive article about his new CD release at the time – “Global”, as well as his collaboration on “Runddans!”
There is also ANOTHER reference to Todd in the issue, where someone calls him brilliant and adds that he has “way more talent than is useful!” More on that in a minute, but first:
“A Wizard A True Star!”
One of the aspects of the article I wanted to share, and delve into more deeply, is Todd’s brilliant – if very misunderstood – album “A Wizard A True Star!” Todd talks extensively about it in the MOJO article, and the magazine also showcases all of the Artists who have been influenced by “AWATS” AND Todd!
The “Something / Anything” Hangover!
We all know how brilliant this double album is – Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time – but the non-stop success of the album kept Todd’s followup effort on ice – and along with frustration about that, Todd was also spending his time experimenting on more than just music!
“Between ‘Something/Anything’ and ‘A Wizard A True Star’ I took acid and everything changed.”
This is a quote from the MOJO article, and Todd goes on to discuss how his experiments with acid impacted his music.
As he says in MOJO:
“There was a lot of stuff floating around”, he explains, “like synthetic mescaline or psilocybin, active ingredients in mushrooms. I took a couple of trips before I did (A Wizard…) and they had a pretty profound effect. I didn’t want to jump off the roof and commit suicide but my world view permanently changed. I’d be walking down the street and it would be like the buildings were falling on you.”
He also states that he got off synthetic drugs after 1973.
“It’s impossible to keep that level of concentration and intensity going”, he admits.
But what came from that era is arguably Todd’s most creatively inspired effort ever!
Todd’s Enduring “AWATS” Influence!
The brilliance of “A Wizard A True Star” may not have been understood when it was released, but since then, “AWATS” has continued to be more and more acclaimed as years go by – and many Artists refer to it as an inspiration to them!
In the very same issue of MOJO, musician Colin Newman specifically lists “AWATS” as one of his music influences, saying this:
“When I was at college. I went into town in Winchester and they were having a sale. I both two records cheap that day – Wizard…because I’d previously heard I Saw The Light, a great Beatles pastiche…I put on A Wizard…and thought, ‘What the fuck is this?’, it went from going ‘Grrrgggr’ (mimics International Feels’ electron intro) to something from The Wizard Of Oz. It has a quality of someone who doesn’t take themselves entirely serious and is way more talent than is useful. I thought it was brilliant. He was amazingly slapdash in his approach to everything, and all his work methods were totally wrong. He’d record the bass before the drums. This record very much defined who I became.”
Finally, one of the most interesting charts that accompanied Todd’s article is one that shows many of the Artists who have used Todd’s music in their own…
“For The Love Of Todd: a dozen recent converts to that real Rundgren richness:”
Among the many Artists influenced by Todd is one of the most popular groups in music today:
This chart-topping french duo used all of “International Feel” for their film “Electroma”…here is a link to the entire film on youtube Todd’s song is the first music used at 5:16 into the film:
This group’s terrific psychedelic vibe was bolstered on their album “Lonerism” by adding “International Feel” to their setlist, and Todd remixed the album’s single “Elephant.”
Hope you can read the other inspirations, just in case you can’t find MOJO for yourself…again, so many ways that Todd has influenced others! And inc as you missed it, here was my first article about Todd in MOJO magazine:
What a great writeup!
Todd In Studio!
Of course, Todd’s wizardry includes his producing efforts for Artists as disparate as Patti Smith and Grand Funk!
Read about my favorite music produced by Todd by clicking here:
Happy 39th to “AWATS”!
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