Today's post was going to be about how much I hated the movie "ET" but I just received an email about something that disturbs me even more than that stupid ET voice.
I am a HUGE Todd Rundgren fan and have been for a long time. That being said, there has been some stuff of Todd's that I'm not such a big fan of (Power Trio anyone?) And guess what? If I don't like it, I don't buy the music, or see the tour. Simple as that. But apparently some people don't grasp this concept. This is his reply to those were not happy to hear about the "New Cars" band he'll be recording/touring with.
Todd's message on the "New Cars"
For the screamers:
Now that the cat is out of the bag, or rather 'car is out of the garage', I should address the issues I would have dealt with had someone given me a heads up before we went public.
There is a new cadre of 'fan' who has taken to constant second guessing of my motives and decisions. Their responses are usually Cassandraesque, rife with predictions of career death and loss of core audience. If results are not to their satisfaction, they threaten... what? To actively campaign against playing my music on the radio?
Here are the facts. I don't know what kind of job you have, but I imagine that if you want to keep it you have to adapt to changes in your job description and to changes in the job market itself. And I don't know if you've heard, but musicians have notoriously brief careers. You can't do the job well on a part time basis, so you had better make a living at it. And if you want to keep the job, you better take advantage of whatever opportunities you have to work.
You would have thought that 2004 was a big year for me careerwise, and in many ways it was. But the effort to bring the tour to the widest audience was not a profitable venture and I am still paying it off today. You would have thought that 2005 has been a nearly disasterous followup, and in some ways it has. But I erased the debts of last year, got caught up on my taxes and even vacationed for a couple weeks. Oh yeah, and I supported my family.
So now an opportunity has arisen for me to pay my bills, play to a larger audience, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally have some fun for a year. The catch is, a lot of people have been counting on something else. Let's make this clear: the possibility of a Utopia reunion of any kind has always been extremely remote. We disbanded for specific reasons that a previous reunion attempt only exacerbated. Despite whatever enjoyment we got from playing the music for our fans, the reformation left a sour taste. It would be ludicrous to Spinal Tap our way through a tour so fans could be satisfied that we simply showed up on the same stage. That's a redefinition of Utopia I can't personally handle. No 'magic date' is so magical that it can transform such an ingrained relationship. It's not happening and we'll all have to live with it.
The rest of the equation is obvious. I can take out a band of my own and slide inexorably into debt, or I can go out solo and take my chances. Except that's no choice. Most of my recent material doesn't translate to the accoustic guitar (let alone piano), so the act has become stale to the point that I won't accept any more gig offers for solo shows.
So you see, if someone gives you an opportunity to make a good living for a year without violating your musical ethics (or HAVING to play Beatle songs), and throws in the ability to retain your own identity and perform your own material and possibly create new fans, well, what choice do you have, really? The schedule even gives me plenty of time to record a new solo project, so what's the problem? If my working musician's decision offends you, start calling the DJs and beg them to stop playing all that TR music that's in such heavy rotation. Otherwise, me and Kas and Prairie and Elliot and Greg will be playing parts of the country we'd never get to otherwise, and hope to see you all there when we do.
While it's cool that Todd even bothered to address the "screamers" it pissed me off that he even felt he had to. How could someone critize Todd for doing whatever he has to? or wants to for that matter? People act like Todd should be held to a higher standard. I love how the part where he says:
If results are not to their satisfaction, they threaten... what? To actively campaign against playing my music on the radio?
Quite the sense of humor, no? Listen up people. Leave Todd along. Go get a life. Go watch ET.