Todd Rundgren will perform his classic 1973 album A Wizard, a True Star live in London next month.
The sum output of this 62-year-old Philadelphian still divides opinion, but AWATS and the subsequent LPs Todd (1974) and Inflation (1975) are very much deserving of their cult status. Though the basis of his sound was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed pop-rock, the mid-70s found Rundgren pursuing an increasingly experimental, proggy direction, and his grandiose studio and compositional innovations – evidenced not just in his own music but in his production work for the likes of XTC and, yes, Meat Loaf – are now the stuff of legend. It’s his voice that you hear talking about “sounds of the studio” at the beginning of Hot Chip‘s ‘Shake A Fist’.
A Wizard, A True Star was strongly influenced by Rundgren’s mounting interest in Eastern spirituality and the caner-friendly jazz-fusion of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. It’s an odd record, and not an entirely successful one, but its sheer ambition and gusto is remarkable, and the prospect of seeing such an assured showman perform it live is one we can’t resist. The AWATS show takes place on Saturday 6 February at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. It’s Rundgren’s first UK performance since the 2008 Arena tour. For more info and tickets click here. Rundgren’s career has been – to put it mildly – a bonkers one. To learn more, check out this enjoyable 2008 Guardian interview, conducted by Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor.