Tag Archives: The Tubes

T.G.I.F. – Ten For Todd Rundgren

Might get the chance to see Todd Rundgren again this weekend; he usually breezes through town every eighteen months or so with a different show every time. Being in a secondary market, we don’t always get the premium themed shows. Last time through he bookended a run-through of his Liars album with some classic hits, but bigger cities got a walk-thru of A Wizard A True Star.

This time I was excited to see him because he’s playing the Healing and Todd albums in their entirety…but then found out that our show is called Todd Rundgren’s Greatest Hits. That’s not exactly chopped liver, mind you, but I was looking forward to being part of a cheering throng singing the chorus of “Sons of 1984” and trying to keep up with “Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song” (never could, never will). But he’ll dazzle regardless; no doubt alternating ballads and rockers (as I did below).

Regardless, Rundgren is a true rock icon. He turned sixty-three last week and shows no signs of slowing down, let alone stopping. Always a great song interpreter, his upcoming album re:Production will feature covers of songs he produced for other bands. Considering that list includes Meatloaf, The New York Dolls, XTC, Grand Funk, Rick Derringer, The Tubes and The Psychedelic Furs, this could be a lot of fun.

Yet another reason The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is a sham – one of the most prolific artists, producers and innovators of the last four decades has yet to get an invite.

But he’s in mine, so this week’s TGIF offers Ten For Todd Rundgren

(01) – I Saw The Light

(02) – The Very Last Time

(03) – Can We Still Be Friends?

(04) – Initiation

(05) – Hello It’s Me

(06) – Black Maria

(07) – We Gotta Get You A Woman

(08) – Sons of 1984

(09) – A Dream Goes On Forever

(10) – Utopia Theme

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It’s A Complex World

I don’t even remember how I got the tape.

But back in the late 70s, back in my Syracuse days, someone got me a cassette copy of a radio broadcast of The Young Adults performing a set at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. I had never heard of the band, but was knocked out by the combination of bizarre stage comedy and first-rate musicianship. It sounded like a guy riffing on a Catskills comic fronting The Tubes.

Video: “Kill Yourself

Of course, not seeing the band and never having been to Lupo’s, my vivid imagination ran wild. Lupo sounded like he would resemble Captain Lou Albano (one stage comment said “Lupo is a nice guy – he’d give you the hair off his back!”). I pictured lead singer Rudy Cheeks to be a Fee Waybill type, with second vocalist Sport Fisher more of a normal looking guy. Of course, it turned out I was reversed on the singers (see Sport above); Cheeks more closely resembled William Conrad on a bender.

But it was the songs – “Christmas In Japan In July“, “Complex World“, “A Power Tool Is Not A Toy” and others – that had me playing the tape over and over again. In one bit the singer proclaims “we were asked if we can play any Irish songs. Well, this next one is about a firebombing and we hope that will do...” The song, “Fallen Arches“, is about a McDonald’s going up in flames.

Video: “A Power Tool Is Not A Toy

In Syracuse, we had a club that served the same purpose for the same kind of audience, The Firebarn Tavern. For a few years, that was the place to be no matter who was playing. Stories from that late 70s era are so incredible that even if I wrote the book it would have to be placed in both the fiction and non-fiction aisles just to avoid lawsuits.

For the Lupos crowd, The Young Adults were gods. Our gods were The Flashcubes.  And I’m sure there are some label guys who could have done both these bands right, but they were more interested in finding the next same thing.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Of course, I never thought to Google the band last month or I would have known about their reunion gigs on Memorial Day weekend. (I’m sure there are some Rhode Islanders kicking themselves that they missed the Flashcubes reunion two weeks ago.) I’m sure I could have bumped moving day for Eli and scooted over to Lupos’s for the magic. It definitely got filmed, so hopefully someone will release a DVD for posterity.

But not only did I discover the reunion…but that they made a movie!

Video:It’s A Complex World Trailer

Of course I’m crushed that I missed the chance to see the band in person. But this just proves once and for all that if you wait long enough, you can find anything on the Internet.

Hey Sport and Rudy – see you at the next one!

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