Friends, Toddheads, Utopians! I come to praise Todd, not to bury him!
I got kind of over excited when I read no more Utopia ever from Todd. and I did say some things in the wrong way. Two things first -
First thing- I certainly do owe an apology to Kasim. He's a good guy and we've recently done shows together in the Utopian spirit. When I said that Todd and Kasim were disrespecting themselves and their fans by shelving the Utopia reunion permanently, I made a big mistake. Kasim, as he has told me on many occasions, would love to do a Utopia reunion (with or without me). It has nothing to do with Kasim because it's Todd's decision. Kasim sang and wrote Utopia's biggest hit, "Set Me Free" and he'd love to get back to that music, if only for one tour.
Kasim, please accept my apology. If we Utopians up here in the Ikon make mistakes, and we do....please forgive us. (or in this case...me)
Second thing - I think it's fine that they're doing the Cars - Unfortunately Todd seemed to be saying that they would be doing that instead of a Utopia reunion. So I, like many of his fans, was hostile to the Cars thing. The truth is Todd could still do a Utopia reunion. No matter how many rock tribute bands or Dinosaur reunion bands he plays with.
So it's not an either/or thing. And for Todd to imply that somehow that a Utopia reunion is a money loser is, I feel, wrong. I think fans would flock to the shows. And to whatever DVD/CD came out of it would probably have more than respectable short and long term sales.
When I said that Todd is disrespecting himself by permanently dumping the Utopia reunion - I only meant this - That the musical legacy Todd and the Utopians created was a rich one and one worthy of revisiting. And he should give that Utopian legacy the respect it deserves. It was his baby.
When I said "Todd should take a chill pill and cool out" - How long can he stay mad at Willie? I played with Willie for a year or two and hung out with him often. He's a mellow fellow. The last Utopia reunion was in 1990. It's been 15 years. Bury the Hatchett, Todd.
For that matter, whatever problems Todd and I had back in the day...... It was 25 years ago.
Dust in the wind, OK? .... Our problems were settled decades ago (literally). Time to bury that hatchet too. I too, would like to be part of the reunion that will now never take place, unless the fans make it happen.
Once in the early daze of Utopia when we were recording one of our 15 minute songs, I asked Todd if it shouldn't be more commercial. He said to me "It isn't about how many records we sell, it's about creating a band that will influence music and that people will long remember."
I think we Utopians and Todd especially, accomplished that.
Gentle prodding sometimes works.... so why not start a quiet revolution? Whisper, "Utopia now, Utopia now, Utopia now!"
Moogy's response to Todd's recent letter
It was announced and anticipated that there would be a Utopia tour next year and now that's permanently put off for a Cars tribute band. No wonder some TR/Utopia fans are pissed off.
Some of us believe that Utopia was a band of musically significance and influence and that it's legacy and legend spread far beyond it's record sales. To have Todd and Kasim dump a Utopia reunion so they could make a few more dollars doing essentially a Cars tribute band, seems not only to disrespect their fans, but also seems to show disrespect for themselves and their musical legacy.
It assumes that Utopia's music and legend are far less important then making a few more bucks doing a sound alike band of Cars hits.
Maybe they should work it out to do both. What if John Lennon were still alive and he and Paul had a shot at doing a Beatles reunion and say they never got paid what they were due as Beatles. Suddenly on the eve of a promised tour, someone is putting together a "Culture Club" reunion tour with just the drummer (no boy george) and Lennon and Mac decide to sing Culture Club songs under the name "Culture Club" instead cause the tour may pay a few dollars more.
That's what this feels like.
Obviously Todd and Kaz get along. So probably Todd is still mad at Willie? I spoke to Willie a few years back and he definately wanted to reform the group at least for a tour or record. So TR should take a chill pill and cool out.
And oh yes. I want in on the Utopia reunion. My keyboard chops are up and as a founding member, I'm willing to let begones be begones and let's get back to the music. And If Todd is worried about losing money working with a band that's not the Cars, I'll work cheap. I did way back then in Utopia as well.
The question is would a reunion of the Cars without the folks who sang the songs - Ocasic and Orr - be seen as a real reunion at all - or just another tribute band with Todd as the major draw? If so, might not a real reunion of a real band that did the music back then draw even more people and more respect? I think so.
So my opinion is that Todd would make more money and get back to his legacy with a Utopia tour of real Utopians rather then a tribute band doing Cars hits. Or he and Kas can do both. He's worn many hats in the past. Why not the future?
Todd's message on the "New Cars"For the screamers:
Now that the cat is out of the bag, or rather 'car is out of the garage', I should address the issues I would have dealt with had someone given me a heads up before we went public.
There is a new cadre of 'fan' who has taken to constant second guessing of my motives and decisions. Their responses are usually Cassandraesque, rife with predictions of career death and loss of core audience. If results are not to their satisfaction, they threaten... what? To actively campaign against playing my music on the radio?
Here are the facts. I don't know what kind of job you have, but I imagine that if you want to keep it you have to adapt to changes in your job description and to changes in the job market itself. And I don't know if you've heard, but musicians have notoriously brief careers. You can't do the job well on a part time basis, so you had better make a living at it. And if you want to keep the job, you better take advantage of whatever opportunities you have to work.
You would have thought that 2004 was a big year for me careerwise, and in many ways it was. But the effort to bring the tour to the widest audience was not a profitable venture and I am still paying it off today. You would have thought that 2005 has been a nearly disasterous followup, and in some ways it has. But I erased the debts of last year, got caught up on my taxes and even vacationed for a couple weeks. Oh yeah, and I supported my family.
So now an opportunity has arisen for me to pay my bills, play to a larger audience, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally have some fun for a year. The catch is, a lot of people have been counting on something else. Let's make this clear: the possibility of a Utopia reunion of any kind has always been extremely remote. We disbanded for specific reasons that a previous reunion attempt only exacerbated. Despite whatever enjoyment we got from playing the music for our fans, the reformation left a sour taste. It would be ludicrous to Spinal Tap our way through a tour so fans could be satisfied that we simply showed up on the same stage. That's a redefinition of Utopia I can't personally handle. No 'magic date' is so magical that it can transform such an ingrained relationship. It's not happening and we'll all have to live with it.
The rest of the equation is obvious. I can take out a band of my own and slide inexorably into debt, or I can go out solo and take my chances. Except that's no choice. Most of my recent material doesn't translate to the accoustic guitar (let alone piano), so the act has become stale to the point that I won't accept any more gig offers for solo shows.
So you see, if someone gives you an opportunity to make a good living for a year without violating your musical ethics (or HAVING to play Beatle songs), and throws in the ability to retain your own identity and perform your own material and possibly create new fans, well, what choice do you have, really? The schedule even gives me plenty of time to record a new solo project, so what's the problem? If my working musician's decision offends you, start calling the DJs and beg them to stop playing all that TR music that's in such heavy rotation.
Otherwise, me and Kas and Prairie and Elliot and Greg will be playing parts of the country we'd never get to otherwise, and hope to see you all there when we do.