CONCERT

Conversations by Todd Rundgren, Dana Carvey and Hal Wilner: From our 1993 SNL issue


The story was originally published in the February 1993 issue of Spin, partly written and guest-edited by members of the SNL cast. Read interviews and stories of comedy icons from the era of Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Tim Meadow, Lauren Michaels and others – in a package of stories highlighting the problem.

The word Talent So much loose is thrown around nowadays, but in the case of Todd Rundgren, anyone familiar with his work would agree that he fits this class. For nearly three decades, Rundgren, a major inventor of fine arts, has been influencing the influential Philly-based band Naz from its earliest days through its pop hit period (“Hello It’s Me,” “I’m the Light”), a video from the early 1980s. And currently, music and technical research in his avant-garde. Dana is a longtime fan and friend of Rundgren, while Rundgren was a Thelonius monk and contributed to the Kurt Weil concept album. – Hal Wilner

Dana Curve: Todd Flungren?

Todd Rundgren: Of course.

Carvey: Dana Skarki with Hal Bilner. What do you think about Madonna?

Rundgren: We don’t have to start there, do we?

Carvey: No, we don’t have to. It will be very complicated.

Hal Wilner: Give it a try. Singer In the historical sense, how do you see yourself as a singer, composer, or guitarist?

Rundgren: I’m a gearhead type of guy. Most of the things I’m working on now are related to computers. The music I’m working on right now is interactive music.

Wilner: What do you mean by interactive music?

Rundgren: Well, I’ve rediscovered myself as an artist – now, there’s a scoop for you. When I left Warner Bros. about 18 months ago, I had this whole problem about where I was going to stay for the rest of my recording life, because I spent so much time making noise with the computer. When I entered the music business in the late sixties, it was completely different. People our age always go around saying, “Wasn’t the music good then?” The whole industry was different then. When I first got into it, when I dropped out of high school in 1966, the Beatles had just reached their peak and people were beginning to realize that there was some legitimacy in the music business. No one went out expecting to be a musician all his life. The whole industry expanded so fast, this was the gold rush thing. There was an important moment Frampton is alive!, When there was such a thing as a multiplatinum album. Everything was multiplatinum.

Carvey: For the movie, it was Jaw – Basically, the first blockbuster.

Rundgren: The whole blockbuster concept, after which record companies are no longer independent. They are bought by big corporations and moved out of the country. Van Morrison? Is he selling 50,000 albums? Throw him away. It doesn’t matter if someone is a musical icon. They are judged on the basis of their record sales.

Carvey: And how do you see the situation today?

Rundgren: What finally happened was that it went out of the other end, it had very little to do with music. What did you see Players? The whole scene where they are talking about eliminating the writer and then, in the end, okay, if we can just figure out how to get rid of the director and the actor. The whole music business is going that way, and that’s why you have events like Madonna and Michael Jackson, where music is a reminder of the experience. Its worth and like buying a t-shirt yourself. You need to know this so that you can discuss Madonna’s latest outburst at the cocktail party.

Carvey: Don’t you think that some people are just professional celebrities?

Rundgren: What I’m saying is: they use the music business as an excuse for what they’re doing. Madonna is a platinum-selling recording artist The fact is that people don’t try to imitate the music they make. So I had to get some distance between me and the music business in the end. I decided to become an interactive artist because there are some things that I can specialize in, such as computers. At that moment I realized that making and marketing the music of this eel is completely different. For one thing, you don’t go to record labels with such leading-edge formats as CD-I [Compact Disc Interactive, a video-CD system with a remote-controlled joystick] And fiber-optic, direct home delivery, and everything else that will happen in five or ten years and say, “Sign me in, and then I’ll figure out what to do with the music.” So, I did it differently: I’m an interactive artist and when I go to a record company, I license them a port for an interactive format. So the next record will come out not only as a CD, but it will also come out in a variety of other formats, especially CD-1 and possibly other devices.

Carvey: How common is the original CD, the source material, in terms of your last few albums?

Rundgren: It’s not like a few albums in the past.

Carvey: A complete exit?

Rundgren: As one might expect, yes.

Wilner: Well, as an artist you still have, you have control over the options.

Rundgren: An artist can control as much as he wants, but the difference is that for the musician it is a different agenda that makes his work look like painting or sculpture. There is no strict format where the listener comes to the artwork and observes the message in the artwork. A sculptor is never sure what light is going to be on the object. This may be an ideal light, but it changes as you move around the object. So the way the message is conveyed to a part of the sculpture is completely different than the music; You don’t set a deadline for how long you can see the piece of sculpture and you don’t usually apply it to the corner where you can see it or even the environment in which they can see it. And it basically gives the listener an explanatory option that a musician usually doesn’t give them. Musicians are extremely anal. Of all the artists, musicians are the greatest stealing artists, and yet they have a very strict program about how people want to feel about the way they steal. Most musicians go too far with accurate descriptions of words and performances, often completely obscuring their true personalities and creating a completely synthetic personality by striving for this false perfection. And then, if they had the option, they would tune their stereo sets to everyone’s home walk so that the sound would sound the way they thought the record should be played.

Wilner: What is your most misunderstood record?

Rundgren: Lately this hasn’t been a problem, because I’m not cranking hits like I used to. The most public misconception is, “We want you to be a woman”, where people sometimes underestimate a lyricist’s ability to work in a strictly grammatical sense. There’s a line where it says, “Things about him are special when they’re stupid but they’re definitely fun.” And women, feminist groups, thought I was talking about women. They said, “Examine it strictly from a grammatical point of view,” but They Not things, not people. But I remember there were a few radio stations that received bomb threats for playing records.

Carvey: I want to say that I agree with those people.

Rundgren: I think the other more publicly misunderstood thing is the record that never went public. “Jesse” [about Republican Senator Jesse Helms] Not released on any record and most people think it’s kind of an angry diet, but I think it’s a very tender, loving moment. It didn’t make a big difference, I think, because I was invited to the opening ball. And now I think that’s why I’ve been invited to the opening ball.

Wilner: I think you voted.

Rundgren: Oh yes, always vote. You have to vote.

Wilner: Who invited you to the Clinton camp?

Rundgren: Apparently someone in the camp. This is one of the benefits of aging. My friends are leaving the organization. I have friends Live Saturday night Even. Maybe one day I’ll play a show …

Carvey: It would be incredible.

Rundgren: Before my death.

Carvey: Do you feel when your audience doesn’t really know you as I know you, and you come out with a hat that says “Blow me up” and then you sing “Only Human” or “Kindness” in the black leopard.

Rundgren: What this means is, don’t take yourself so seriously. If you take it seriously or if you imagine me, you have a problem. This is such a great phrase [“blow me”] Because it has no forbidden words, but it has all the forbidden effects. In other words, you can go to the television at any time of the day or night and say “blow me away.” On the radio or any public forum, you can say “blow me away.” Blow A word that you can put in any context. So just remember, when you are particularly frustrated.



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