Director’s chair: Todd Rungren’s old-school rock |

Director’s chair: Todd Rungren’s old-school rock

Kris Sabel
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

Considered by many to be the “Ultimate Rock Cult Hero,” Todd Rundgren has amassed a devoted following and critical acclaim in his lengthy career.

He plays the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday with Jesse Gress on guitars, Rachel Haden on bass, Matt Bolton on keyboards and Prarie Prince on drums. This current tour is in support of his soon-to-be-released album “Arena.”

Speaking about this latest effort, Rundgren said “my new album is more of an old-school rock record. I’m not playing Chuck Berry songs, but it’s extremely guitar-oriented, with few keyboard parts of any significance. It’s very concise, sing-along, fist-pumping.”

Rundgren was a member of Nazz, Utopia and, recently, the newly tuned-up version of the Cars. In the early ’70s he released two solo albums under the name Runt and made a name for himself with the pop songs “Hello, It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light,” and “We Gotta Get You a Woman.” Later hits included, “Can We Still Be Friends” and “Bang on the Drum All Day.”

Rundgren, unwilling to be pigeonholed into any single type of music, did not bask in the limelight of his commercial success, but carved his own path as a musician, writer, producer and innovator in the world of electronic music, video and the internet.

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Acknowledged as one of the world’s top record producers, he has worked with an amazing group of artists including Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall And Oates and most notably on Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” album. Rundgren composed all the music and lyrics for Joe Papp’s 1989 Off-Broadway production of Joe Orton’s “Up Against It” (the screenplay commissioned by The Beatles for what was meant to have been their third motion picture).

He also has composed the music for a number of television series.

I anticipate Sunday night’s audience will be a mix of those who know him only for his hits and those who have followed his achievements over the past four decades with cult-like enthusiasm. Whichever group you fall into, I look forward to seeing you at the theatre for what should be an incredible night.

For more information on this tour check out Rundgren returns to the Vilar on Aug. 27 for the recently added “Forty Years Ago Today,” a tribute to the Beatles’ epic album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. That performance also features Lou Gramm, Christopher Cross, Bo Bice and Denny Laine.

I hope to see you at the theatre!

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