A true jack of all trades, Todd Rundgren continues to redefine the sound of rock & roll through genre-melding songwriting and production
Hall of Fame Essay
It was 1974 and my first night in New York City. I’d flown all the way from San Diego and met up with my best friend, the photographer Neal Preston. Immediately we went out on the town. I went to the Bottom Line, where I met my editor from Circus magazine. I mentioned that he’d misspelled my last byline. He drunkenly berated me for bringing it up and had me thrown out for being underage. We then went to Max’s Kansas City, where Laurel Delp introduced me to Lou Reed. I asked him a question about Jackson Browne. He swore at me and left the table. Bruce Springsteen was playing upstairs, but the bouncer wouldn’t let me in. We then went to Nathan’s for a hot dog. A homeless man with blood-red eyes warned us that the Middle East was going to blow up that weekend. In other words, it was the greatest night ever.
The next afternoon, I knocked on the door of Todd Rundgren’s Horatio Street brownstone and began the glorious task of interviewing him for Rolling Stone. Todd was an early musical hero of mine. His aching early songs of love and longing had come to mean a lot to me. When I’d finally and boldly asked my secret school crush to go to the prom with me, she laughed and ran off. I didn’t understand why it felt this bad and this good at the same time, but Todd did. Here was a rock star who didn’t write about the lofty life of luxury in the south of France; he wrote about people like me.
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