Four things you never knew about Todd Rundgren

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Todd Rundgren’s had his hands in as many ground-breaking albums as just about any musician on the planet. He engineered or produced the Band’s Stage Fright (1970), Badfinger’s Straight Up (1971), Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re an American Band (1973), the New York Dolls’s New York Dolls (1973), Hall & Oates’s War Babies (1974) and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell (1977) among others. On top of that, he’s put out 25 albums of his own. Here are four things you might not have known about him.

1) No longer a straight-edge. Rundgren spent most of his youth and young adulthood free of any drugs or alcohol. “I was a complete teetotaller. I didn’t take any kind of drugs or drink or anything. In fact, I had found the behavior of my peers, while they were high, to be somewhat questionable.”

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That changed when he went to see an old high school friend in Philadelphia, Randy Reed. Reed introduced Rundgren to cannabis, and Rundgren later began experimenting with psychedelics and pharmaceuticals. Ritalin ended up being one of his favorite drugs.

“It (Ritalin) caused me to crank out songs at an incredible pace. ‘I Saw the Light’ took me all of 20 minutes. You can see why, too, the rhymes are just moon/June/spoon kind of stuff… With drugs I could suddenly abstract my thought processes in a certain way, and I wanted to see if I could put them on a record. A lot of people recognized it as the dynamics of a psychedelic trip—it was almost like painting with your head.”

2) High achievers. One of Todd’s sons, Rex Rundgren, was a minor league baseball player for nine years.

3) Todd & Bebe. During much of the 1970s, Todd was in an on-again, off-again relationship with model Bebe Buell. During one of their breaks, Buell got pregnant with Steven Tyler and later gave birth to actress Liv Tyler. Buell initially named her daughter Liv Rundgren and told people Todd was her father.

Why?

She wanted to protect Liv from her father’s drug addiction. It wasn’t until Liv was nine years old that she learned who her real father was. Liv and Todd are close to this day. “I’m so grateful to him, I have so much love for him. You know, when he holds me it feels like Daddy. And he’s very protective and strong.”

4) Electronica. Todd’s put out two albums this year. He’s treading new ground with them yet again. This year’s first album, Global, blends electronica with his standard rock and soul. Here’s the lead track on the album:

Upcoming tour

Todd just announced his winter tour dates:

12/1 — St. Charles, Ill.
12/3 — Kansas City, Mo.
12/4 — Council Bluffs, Iowa
12/6 — North Tonawanda, N.Y.
12/7 — Munhall, Pa.
12/9 — Detroit, Mich.
12/10 — Northfield, Ohio
12/12 — Northampton, Mass.
12/13 — Glenside, Pa.
12/15 — Ridgefield Ct.
12/16 — Boston, Ma.
12/18 — Montclair, N.J.
12/19 — New York, N.Y.
12/20 — Sugar Loaf, N.Y.
12/22 — Alexandria, Va.
12/23 — Harrisburg, Pa.
1/6 — Beverly Hills, Calif.
1/8 — Scottsdale, Ariz.
1/9 — Coachella, Calif.

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