WHY? WHY NOT! by Todd Rundgren
Almost as soon as they started, people stopped asking what the next big thing would be. I was posed the question a few times myself, the answer of course varying dependant on how I felt at the moment. If I was a bit depressed or bored, the answer was "I Don't Know". If not, then the answer was relevant to who or what was hot that week. Anyway, I think we ll feared that we were going to end up like our parents and rock and roll would be like "Big Band Sound" - something remembered but not alive. On one or more occasions, I told someone that I thought "religious rock" would be the next "thing", as evidenced by the then current popularity of George Harrison and John McLaughlin, amongst others. I was only half serious because I did not know the difference between what is "religious" and what is "spiritual". I have always had a dislike for religion, so much so at times that I begin to equate morality with hypocrisy, making it easy for me, like so many of us to be a cheap criminal of life, the first step on the road to becoming one of those "over thirty" horrors we like to scare ourselves about.
Every single one of these stiffs that you see abusing power, taking advantage of his size and seniority, and generally disseminating the products of his ignorance was once young and aspiring and, however glorius or perverted, maintained a moral code. Why then and not now? Because when you are young, you ask yourself "what am I doing here", you expect that at some point you might recieve an answer. But as you begin to pass thirty and you still don't know what you're doing here, you have little concrete to look forward to except death. And this is why you give up your moral code and go for yourself because if you have nothing to life for, you have little to lose. The point, after all this build-up, is that you had better learn what you're doing here, and since you don't know what, then obviously you are here to learn.
Before I can relate any of these realisations to you, they od course have to occur to me first, and since my major mode of expression, outside of my own lifestyle, is the "Modern LP Record", their influence will show first and most vivadly therein. This brings up the pertinent question of why I make these LP's in the first place. Although I can safely tule out making a living at it, since I never have sold quite that many records, up until recently, I have not seriously considered the reason myself. I now finally and publically admit that I make records about 25% for personal satisfaction and about 75% to gain attention. And why do I want all this attention, when I, like most people, can't stand to have the way I live strutinised? I have always believed that I live for a reason,that I contiunue to live sometimes without apparently any reason but although I may now know it, there is a purpose to all this. Because I continued to believe this I was granted the ability to know what my existance is about and why I am here. My purpose is to make an asshole out of myself in front of everyone, so that no one will be affraid to be an asshole. In doing so, I will learn how not to be the asshole I would be if I sat on my hands and "turned thirty" and never lived up to the unbelievable expectations of the generations to which I was born. This generation of smelly hippies, VD cariers, half-queers and freaks is going to panhandle, acid-trip and riot into realms beyond the strained imagination of any that has lived before, provided we don't all punk out. And that, in case you haven't figured it out by now, is what this record is about.
The entire recorded works of Todd Rundgren, contrary to appearences, is a continuous train of thought or expression and each album represents the evening report in a week of events, packaged appropriately to accentuate the highlights. This is why 'How about a little fanfare?' brings to ming Walter Cronkite and that moderate sensory overload that accompanies the evening news. Now here's what's happening...within about ten or twenty years, when faith in technology reasches an all time low, experimental progress in psychic phenomenon which began recently will begin to bear fruit. Someone will develop a simple excercise that will tap the psychic and clairvoyant potential that is discovered in newborn children in current and later generations (due, possibly to chromosome mutation caused by drugs or radiation or just plain attitude). Through this exercise, and in the same manner that kids learn to read and write, the power of mental telepaphy will become commonplace and most will devote their energies to supra-concious exploration of the universe. That is in case you can't figure this from listening to 'I think You Know'. Just imagine how silly I feel trying to sing a song about thinking.
Many eastern spiritual studies proport that this universe is consiousness in myriad forms, and that all existance is formulated from a single building block. This is 'The Spark of Life', starting from the greatest simplicity and highest conciousness and moving through the universe, tracing the outline and substnace of all that exists on all planes; every thought ever thought. Yes, boys and girls, there really is a Santa Claus! The story of why I cram all this into a record is told in 'An Elpees worth of Toons', and believe me, it's not because I've got an elpees worth of toons.
I have performed 'A Dream Goes on Forever' in concert for years, but this is the first recording of it. It is one of my first sexless love ballads, meaning it can be sung by anyone to anyone, for what it's worth. The roots becoms much more exposed on 'Lord Chandellor's Nightmare Song' as I have never dared do this in public. It was written by Gilbert and Sullivan as part of an operetta about fairies, providing the fad is not so current. Words are still good for a laugh once in a while, but not much to say about the 'Drunken Blue Rooster' which is pretty much a musical joke (but a good joke!).
It sets us up giggling for 'The Last Ride', like ITYK, a cosmic ballad and the first time in recent memory that my foot has touched a wah-wah pedal. The lyric summed up thusly..."I thought I knew just just everything, I had it made and I could coast, But I turned away love when I needed it most."
Nobody would contest the fact that this generation likes to get high and take a lot of things through it's mouth to get that way. One might say you haven't lived until you thought you were going to die. Some of the thoughts that go through ones mind while peering curiously over the bring are jotted down in 'Everybody's Going to Heaven'. This desire will eventually work itself out when the natural ability to get high is acquired. And when this happens we will all rejoice and we will trip all night and boogie all day and watch the big monkey do the 'King Kong Reggae'.
Speaking of getting high, many people often prefer the old 'No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator', in a word, sex. 'Total Orgams', Tantricc Yoga, and 'Marriage Made in Heaven' are all means to this end, getting high. Anyone who marvels at his own preoccupation with his glands will be dumbfounded as I was when I learnt that straight people have been getting high since time immemorial this way. And I mean HIGH, like you can't imagine, all with proper self control. Think abou it while you're balling and listening to the song.
The next three toons, 'Useless Begging', 'Sidewalk Cafe', and 'Izzat Love?' are all old songs and represent here a kiss off to a style (or Styles) in which I will probably never write again. One might say my wimping days are over. (Cafe might make a good theme for the midnight movie.) One might also get the impression that I was breaking out of some kind of shell in 'Heavy Metal Kids', but to tell the truth, my father neither drinks nor owns a pistol, so I often then to be singing not about myself, but I am, in the words of the poets, 'talkin' 'bout my generation. But you aint heard heavy metal until you heard 'In and Out The Chyakras We Go'. Actually, matter is energy in this case so make that heavy energy music. Although it is commonly considered to be impossible, much of the inspiration and composition for this pieve came from the machines. The ryhthmic structure is entirely their own and just as with a human player, it affects the way in which I perform. What is the difference between human energy and machine energy when it comes to sound? But yu can make believe that a machine could make music that made you feel something? Chakras, by the way, are the organs of sense on the higher planes of consiousness. Activating them has a lot to do with sex. See what I mean? See how much we have to learn? 'Don't you Ever Learn?' is the last admonition fro myself, and the generation to which I belong, not to turn our backs and get so high we float off this planer that we were born to. And in case we fuck up, I leave it to the next generation, 'Sons of 1984', to take it from at least the highest point we can reach.
A double LP says so much that to talk about it at all seems to be beating things into the ground. It is even harder to talk about an album that was finished four months ago, and would have been released then but for the commercial success of a single that was two years olf. Then as the vinyl shortage moved in, so did pressure for a single LP. Everyone who makes records has a reason, but I make them to hear, not to sell. It's pretty lame and I'm sorry about that but I still think it's important. I belong to the spiritually ripe generation anxious to change things and make them better, but this makes us suckers for any so-called "spiritual" pressure groups that need tools. Remember that before you change anything you are here for something else. You are here to learn.