Category: Todd Rundgren


Lynn Goldsmith

Todd Is Godd

Todd Rundgren with David Johansen at New York City punk mecca, Max’s Kansas City, by Bob Gruen, via dietcokeandsympathy.

Todd on producing the Doll’s eponymous debut album in 1973: 

The New York Dolls weren’t presented to me – they were just part of the milieu I was involved in at the time. I was still living in New York in an apartment that was walking distance from Max’s Kansas City which is where everything was happening. There was no CBGB yet.

For the most part I went through David. I used him as a translator to get to the rest of the band. The challenge of making the record was that the control room was a freaking circus; everyone wanted to know what was going on with The New York Dolls – the critics’ favourite band. 

I was pretty sober throughout the entire thing, my only working drug was pot. While these guys would smoke pot they would also do everything else. The sessions involved politics, psychology and crowd control. And at a certain point I had to surrender to the process and accept that the surrounding insanity was going to be a part of the character of the record. 

More on New York Dolls and other Todd productions in a gloriously wide-ranging interview at Louder Sound.

The section on recording that album at Wikipedia is also unusually entertaining. Famously fastidious in the studio, Todd is reported to have yelled at one point, “Get the glitter out of your asses and play!”, but it’s overall very clear that the chaos was part of the appeal for Todd in working with them, and at the heart of what he was trying to capture on the record. A highly underrated album and collaboration, imo, very much worth another spin.

Todd Rundgren – 1973
Photo by Chris Walter

Todd Rundgren (with Utopia), 1979, by Robin Platzer, my edit of original via forestdweller

Todd Rundgren and Bebe Buell holding court at NYC punk mecca Max’s Kansas City, 1973, by Bob Gruen, via bobgruen

Todd Rundgren on NBC’s The Midnight Special, aired December 7, 1973, by Lynn Goldsmith. Pretty damn glam.

Freddie Mercury and Todd Rundgren, following Queen’s first headlining New York show, February 16, 1975, by Richard E. Aaron

Todd is Godd

(Behold the classic 70s-vintage flipped image, as our boy Todd does indeed play righty. And yes, this is the guitar known as The Fool, previously owned by Clapton and Harrison that Todd later owned for decades.)

Todd Rundgren, 1973, by Francesco Scavullo, for Interview Magazine.

He’s tall and lank and dresses to kill and thrill, and his once brown hair is now shades of green and orange and in personal brief encounters at Max’s Kansas City’s back room or at the best rock and roll parties, Todd Rundgren joyously walks around like some kid out way past curfew. “Everyone asks me how I got this hair. I bleached it. How do they think I got it?” [x]

Todd Rundgren

From the November, 1974 issue of CIRCUS Magazine