There Goes My InspirationMusicians and other artists are often "inspired" by TR/Utopia in their own work. This section points to some of the web pages that relate to music, art and other forms of interactivity that have been inspired by TR.
A new album by Joe Guido Welsh features three Utopia musicians, and sounds like it could have been a Utopia album in itself. Check out "Nothing Left to Say" at the Amazon.com MP3 store and on CD. Also available in iTunes.
- Tom Wolfe writes:
I've been a huge Todd fan and actually worked with him on Dumb & Dumber (I was music consultant). I just finished a cd that was produced by Andy Chase (Ivy, Tahiti 80) that I think would be of interest to Todd fans.
- John Kinsey writes:
Greetings. I'd like to draw your attention to a CD I've just released entitled Twisted Roots. TR is one of my musical heroes and I think this influence comes through strongly in my work. Blaise Barton, who has engineered for Bob Dylan among other artists, has called it an album of "heartbreaking music." You can check out the record online at www.cdbaby.com/johnkimsey.
- Bryon Thompson writes:
Todd's natural sense of melody and musical originality has always been an inspiration and has influenced my own writing/arranging. Here is my instrumental guitar music site for your review: http://www.bthompson.net/cd
Todd's music has inspired several pieces of my original artwork as well: http://www.bthompson.net/fine_art/digital.html
Robert Le Plar writes:
I am the vocalist, guitarist & songwriter in the UK based band kodeine. We have just released our debut album on Candyfloss Music. I am a massive Todd fan and I think there will be quite a few other fans out there who will enjoy what we do (bits of Todd, Bowie, Prefab sprout - melodic songs with some cool grooves etc). We have our own website at www.kodeine.co.uk and could do with all the help we can get! There are 30 sec audio clips available for the whole album amongst the usual biog, interview, pics etc.
- Tianne's art work
- Randy Walters
- Roger Linder
- Gilly Nils (brother to Ed Grieze)
- Jeffrey Bergman
- Brad Page and his band Ten Story Love have a new Todd-influenced CD
- John Glossenger
1. How did you meet Todd Rundgren?
I have been supporting his music since I was 16, so it was inevitable he would eventually remember me from the many times he met with fans after the shows. I also met his Mother, Ruth, at a Texas gathering and she and I have been corresponding via snail mail since 1978. She enjoys the support and loyalty from the fans and I was happy to see her singing along at some of her son's shows when he plays near her. Todd invited fans to come camp out on his property in Hawaii for his 60th Birthday Camporee, and that of course, bonds you closer -one week of pure bliss and a concerts just for us. Thanks to him I now have an extended "family" of 300 plus folks!
I attended the Wedding of one of my camp mates and made very close connections with many of these people.
What a diverse and interesting group of people from ALL walks of life!
One works for MGM and produced a video of this birthday event called "Toddstock" which is premiering in Michigan after the Akron show. We are all very excited to relive this dream. I am happy to have "made the cut" in this movie, as i did Face Painting and Tropical Body Art for the happy campers and their kids, including Todd's niece and nephew.
How did you get involved with his costuming?
Purely a miracle! Last minute help really-- I left a message with Todd's wife, Michele ,offering my services as a costumer, mask maker, dresser, whatever. She took me up on it !!! First, she asked me to find the Multicolor Hair Dyes for Todd, which i found in Kent. When I delivered it to their room-I saw sewing machines and fabric strewn about and offered to help. I spent many hours working with Michele and Deb C.S Christian, who were furiously creating costume magic while Todd was rehearsing at the Civic Theater....he would pop in for fittings and adjustments. Michele entrusted me with a Vintage 1972(?) feathered harness made by Nicky Nichols that needed feather repair, and I created a matching mask for it as per Todd's instructions. This was for the song " Zen Archer".
It was a huge honor and and a dream come true for me to make Something/Anything for Todd , who was a key inspiration for me to become an artist when I first saw him perform "A Wizard, A True Star" at the Akron Civic Theater in 1974! Full circle 35 years later! Can you say "Holy Grail"?
I must* mention, this year Michele hired some talented costumers to help her with this "Todd" and "Healing" tour. Sa Winfield ,Rachel Culp (Actor Robert Culp's daughter) and Michele are sewing as we speak. They always keep things a secret to surprise the fans- but rumor has it the costumes for the band will be phenomenal!
2. What do you like about his music?
Everything! His diversity~ from Gilbert and Sullivan stylings to Electronica to Techno to Rock to Soul to Jazz to Blues (recently covering Robert Johnson) to Pop Love songs and virtually all genres. He has a unique ability to write meaningful lyrics that can be interpreted individually. People can relate personally to a song and yet it still sells and gets airplay -that speaks volumes. Todd covers so many styles and always keeps things fresh! He rarely repeats himself, with the exception of the last 2 tours he did specifically for his fans here and in Europe. Todd is a true innovator in music, video and computer technology, and a well known record producer..
Even if you are not a fan of his music -you probably like something he has produced! Badfinger, The Band, Meatloaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, Bette Midler, etc. the list is endless! His body of work is outstanding! I challenge anyone to Google his work and not find something to like!
3. What is your impression of him personally?
Brilliant ~"A Wizard A True Star" ... Intense, hilarious, sarcastic, kind and inspirational---a genius. The fact that he is willing to play these shows produced by Rundgren Radio at The Akron Civic Theater speaks to his generosity and is bringing much needed income to our area. All his fans spend a lot of money with the local businesses.
Any amusing anecdotes you would like to share? Some are inside jokes-had to be there kind of things. I enjoy waxing philosophical with him and was fascinated with his hair dye stories from the Mod 70's in London when they actually used carpet dye to stain the hair!
Kids! DO NOT try this at home! (LOL)
4. You mentioned other people you have had the chance to meet and work with, including George Clinton and the octopus cape. Could you expand on these?
Another inspirational moment hit me after seeing George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at The Akron Civic Theater not long after Todd's show. What they had in common was purple glitter eyeshadow and pink platform boots! This was in the Glam days, and no one questioned your masculinity. Pure Glam showmanship, like Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel etc. and well before Kiss . I again had the light bulb over my head "I want to make costumes for rock stars when I grow up".
Well it did not happen exactly as I dreamed as a kid. But little did I dream I would ever meet my musical Icons much less create for them. I made the Neptunian Octopus cape for George Clinton's Induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! It was televised on VH1 and in the AP Press worldwide and made the Front Page in Color of both the Akron Beacon Journal and The Cleveland Plain Dealer! I am still pinching myself over all my good fortune and blessings . Very surreal to me to this day. Bernie Worrell (who co -wrote "Burning Down the House" with the Talking Heads) bought 3 of my headdresses. Bootsy Collins and his wife Patti live in Cincinnati and I get Christmas cards from them!
I keep in touch with many of the band mates, and they treat me as a little sister.
The P.Funk Family thinks I dyed my hair in honor of George's multicolored locks and the Todd Family thinks I did it in honor of Todd's multicolored hair!
Both and ..Funny! Basically, I did it because of artistic freedom- "got a wild hair" and it is temporary .
5. How did you become interested in this field (art for your head), and how long have you had this business?
These 2 bands, of course , and my love for costuming. I worked for Morgan's Studios in Galveston for 10 years and Danny taught me all I know about costumes, headdresses and masks. Sadly I lost my Mentor this year to cancer. But I hope to continue his legacy.
I started my business 16 years ago as a Professional Face Painter, Mask Maker and Milliner~ Hence the name: "Art for Your Head!" It morphed into me becoming a booking agent for all types of talent when i realized most of my friends were Caricaturists, Jugglers, Magicians, Clowns, Stilt Walkers, Dee Jays, Musicians, Face Painters, Balloon Twisters,etc. A "Mott-ly Krewe" indeed!
We work for many corporate and private events, grand openings, festivals, and masquerade balls. I count my blessings every day that I love my fellow artists, the work I do, and I truly believe that is what makes it successful!
6. You told me your sister is a musician, who still performs in the area.
My sister Terry and her husband, Greg, have an Americana Folk band called Magpie. They now reside in the Woodstock area. They have done benefits for the Cuyahoga River Clean Up, and recently performed music from their musical play: "Sword of the Spirit" for "The John Brown Society" in Ohio, and also in Harper's Ferry. They are a force to be reckoned with and I am extremely proud of their work. They have over 20 albums out and continue to support Environmental and Civil Rights issues. Their next CD will be produced by Chris Anderson who has also worked with Todd at Bearsville Studios. Small World~One World!
Any other artisans in your family? My sister Kathy is the one who inspired me to start drawing as a child. Aunts and Cousins are gospel singers. Mom and my sister Mary sang as well. My cousin Jimmy is a comedian. All of the family appreciates the arts!
7. To clarify, you currently live in Austin, correct?
Yes! I love Austin, which is very open minded,and a creative town.The ONLY place to be in Texas in my humble opinion. We have a motto here: "Keep Austin Weird!"- so I am just doing my part!
8. You still visit this area; what, besides family, brings you back to visit?
Work/Gigs, music, (esp. Todd), The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,etc. Visiting dear friends and high school pals from St.Vincent- St.Mary's. Also the nostalgia of my childhood stomping grounds, the Lovely Gorge/Cuyahoga Falls, and various parks, the beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley, and the yummy Szalay's sweet corn!
Are you inspired by TR and have an online statement? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see about getting you listed here!