The Musical Path Of Todd Rundgren!
OK, you all know that I am a fan of Todd Rundgren – and you should be too! Here is Todd circa 1974, from the cover of his brilliant double album “Todd”, which included “A Dream Goes On Forever”, “The Last Ride” and “Don’t You Ever Learn?” among many others:
And here is Todd, circa 1993…and as you will see, Todd was seeking a new musical direction along with a radically different look – and NAME!
Introducing “TR-i” – Todd’s Musical Journey Into The 90’s!
Fans of Todd Rundgren have followed this prolific Artist on an amazing – and artistically varied musical path…
Todd’s changed his look along with his musical direction – from the golden era of the 70’s, which included such masterpieces as “Something/Anything”, “Todd” and “Hermit Of Mink Hollow” – to the 80’s, which had such classics as “Healing” and “Acapella” – before ending the decade with his masterpiece “Nearly Human.”
In late 1989, Todd was given a special honor – his handprints in the “Rock Walk” on Sunset Strip…
You can see the coverage I provided of the event on the Movietime Channel – along with a couple of great soundbites from an interview I conducted with him…
It was at this point that the 1990’s beckoned, a time of huge changes in interactivity and computer-generated music, and of course, Todd jumped in with both feet!
In the 90’s, Todd went into another experimental phase of his music career, embracing the internet and looking for new forms of artistic expression, including rap! That included a new name!
As a result, some of that music wasn’t the type of Todd music that would produce hit singles.
However, looking at this music reveals of wealth of classic Todd material – he was and always is, after all, “The Individualist.”
TR-I – “No World Order” – 1993
Rundgren entered the 90’s in a technological mood, and began recording under the pseudonym “TR-i” (“Todd Rundgren interactive”) – embracing the internet both in the studio and on many tours as well…
1993’s album “No World Order” consisted of hundreds of seconds-long snippets of music, that could be combined in various ways to suit the listener – if you interfaced with the music. Todd targeted this album for the Philips CD-i platform, so fans could manipulate his music to suit their own creative taste! “No World Order” featured interactive controls for tempo, mood, and other parameters, along with pre-programmed mixes by Rundgren himself!
Here’s a great live version of the title track, “No World Order” from Todd’s 2013 tour in Amsterdam!
Yes, Todd was rapping early!
Todd also released a “lite” version of the album, removing the interactivity and making the music more streamlined.
He also put on an amazing interactive concert at the time:
“Live In Cyberia!”
As a member of his PatroNet music service in the 90’s, I received an autographed VHS of his “Cyberia” concert – read all about it here:
Next up was another TR-i album:
“The Individualist” – 1995
“The Individualist” featured interactive video content that could be viewed or played; giving the listener a chance to play a game with the music….and the music, while still techno and rap-driven, was also more mainstream as well…
Here is Todd performing “The Individualist” from Cleveland in 1997:
“The Individualist” contains one of Todd’s best – and most obscure – songs, the catchy pop majesty of “Espresso (All Jacked Up)” – read all about it – and see a great music video – by clicking here:
Doesn’t that make you “all jacked up?”
After going interactive, Todd decided to have some fun with his old songs and give them “a twist”:
“With A Twist” – 1997
In the true spirit of be eclectic and adventurous, “With a Twist…” is a 1997 album by Todd that turned some of his most popular songs on their head. Asked to produce an album of new versions of his older singles, Rundgren decided to record the songs in “Bossa Nova” style!
Here’s Todd performing his Bossa Nova version of “I Saw The Light” on Conan O’Brien’s talk show in 1997:
Yes, that’s his good buddy Kasim Sultan on guitar and backing vocals! As current Todd fans know, he isn’t satisfied just singing the same hit song over and over again, and this is a great example of how he can interpret his music in new and creative ways…
“One Long Year” – 2000
Todd ended the 1990’s by taking a collection of his PatroNet work and releasing it as an album. PatroNet was Todd’s subscription service over the internet, and so fans had gotten these songs over several years, but it was released in 2000 as “One Long Year”.
One of the hidden gems on this album was “Where Does The Time Go” – a classic Todd pop hit that is seen here from the “Hermits of Mink Halloween” at RundgrenRadio’s PaRRty in IKRON:
For some, the 90’s were a musical departure for Todd that wasn’t as satisfying for them – but as you can see, Todd was on a musical journey, and there is a decade worth of adventurous, creative work that deserves to be heard…just as in the 80’s, when Todd mastered the “power pop” song:
Todd and Utopia had a slew of great pop songs, and you can read all about them by clicking on my story here:
Another album of Todd’s is also being re-discovered and appreciated more for the masterpiece it is:
“A Wizard, A True Star!”
This is Todd at his most creative and sonic – and you can read all about this LSD-infused masterpiece by clicking on my story here:
Leave a message and let me know what your favorite Todd song from the 90’s was!
Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, documentary films, Independent Cinema, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Todd Rundgren, TV Show, Uncategorized