Pursuit Of Happiness), John Boutte and others – brings their own personality to the party, making each track feel different from the last. While Rundgren may be the name on the album cover, he allows every collaborator to make their presence known. Totally modern and relevant, WHITE KNIGHT still features Todd’s distinct musical thumbprint and is a pleasure from start to finish.
the same considerations that a lot of artists have because they survive on their own output. I was doing pretty well producing other people’s records and that was liberating in terms of making my own – I didn’t have to worry about
whether they would sell or not. My relationship with the labels in that regard was always a little hot and cold. If I was producing something that was successful in the album market, everyone was happy with me. If I did one of my
own crazy records with no consideration in how successful it would be, there would be great consternation as well.
SPAZ: You are one of the few artists that can wring emotion out of modern technology. Do you find that your musical ideas are inspired by the changes in technology or do you manipulate technology to fit your ideas?
TODD: I got into the sound sculpting aspect of it. I record in a way that a lot of people would consider backwards and it came from having my own studio early on. When I had to record in other studios, I couldn’t afford to go in with fragmentary ideas and waste a lot of time trying to figure out what the end product is supposed to be, because the meter is running. It can get pretty expensive. So, after SOMETHING/ANYTHING?, I decided I would build my own studio and that would give me all the time that I needed to push the envelope in a sonic sense. Ever since then, I’ve always had my own studio. I build the tracks essentially before I ever write the song. The tracks suggest to me where the songs should go. I may have a place holder lyric or an idea of what the subject matter might be but very rarely have I written out the whole song – like I did in my early days – and learnt how to play it, then go into a studio and perform it in the traditional sense. I write the words and melodies at the very last minute. I think that may help with that emotional aspect of it.
self-conscious but I do a lot of research to see what it is that people are listening to. I did that especially with STATE and GLOBAL. And with EDM, which I was comfortable with because I was doing that sort of crap with INITIATION, where me and Roger Powell would just set up a giant wall of synthesizers and start improvising. There’s still a little bit of the essence of EDM on the current record. I like to stay current in terms of my influences as long as it is something that I could do without self-consciousness. The only thing I can’t do without self-consciousness is write a Country song! (Laughs) So, I’m not going there!
Was that your intention when putting this album together?
cases, the end results were surprising. The thing I did with Joe (Walsh) surprised both of us. You wouldn’t listen to it and suddenly think, “Oh, it’s Todd Rundgren and Joe Walsh.” You’d have to see the credits to know that.
all this other dreck we couldn’t stand to listen to! (Laughs) If you listen to a lot of anything, it just seeps into you. When I got out of high school, my first gig was in a blues band. So, that’s all we ever listened to – black roots music or people that were influenced by it. Fortunately, in Philadelphia they have a long history of Soul music. Actually, it underwent a big Soul revival in the ‘70s with Gamble & Huff and all the acts they produced – The O’Jays, The Spinners and bands like that. That became a new sophisticated Soul and we all liked that as well. So, I’ve had a close association with that sort of music. That influence is in there and I can’t pry it out anymore. I can’t separate it from whatever I’m doing. It’s gotta have that Soul component in there somewhere.
we’ve got some serious people involved and so we expect that something is going to happen.