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Rundgren's All About Giving Fans What They Want

Of the Oakland Press

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For more than 40 years, Todd Rundgren has prided himself on being a musical chameleon, jumping between styles and methods of presenting his music — including hits such as “Hello, It’s Me,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “I Saw the Light” and “Bang on the Drum All Day.”

These days, Rundgren, 59, has gone back to the future somewhat with a basic four-piece rock band in which he plays “a lot of guitar.”

“All of the touring I’ve been doing lately has been a great consolidation of what essentially has been a fragmented audience ... I hadn’t really directly addressed for awhile,” explains Rundgren. “And that’s those people who like to see me in a band and playing the guitar.

“It’s my older fans, really, and they remember me from the ’70s when it just used to be me and the guitar all the time.”

Even in this format, however, Rundgren is unapologetically iconoclastic, playing material “from all periods, current songs as well as older songs” and even recasting some keyboard-oriented material for the guitars. It also dovetails with his next recording project; with the New Cars on “indefinite hiatus” and, he says, unlikely to come back, Rundgren — who has also produced hit albums for Meat Loaf and Grand Funk Railroad, among others — has started working on what he calls an “arena rock” album that he likens to ’70s bands such as Boston, Journey and Bad Company.

“It’s very hooky songs, big, sing-a-long choruses and melodic guitar solos and essentially the kind of music that works well in an arena,” explains Rundgren, who also has an ulterior motive for going in that direction.

“I figure it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy; if I make a successful arena rock record, I’ll wind up playing arenas! I wouldn’t mind being back in that kind of venue because of the kinds of things you can do with production. You can make your shows more interesting, which would be fun to do.

Todd Rundgren performs Wednesday (Jan. 30) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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