SAUSALITO, CA — On a sunny Labor Day, Todd Rundgren performed a set of standards and surprises at the Sausalito Art Festival. Starting the show with Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life,” ending with his well-known hit “Hello It’s Me,” and filled with all sorts of goodies in between. Todd and the band were in fine form – Jesse Gress on guitar, Kasim Sulton on bass, and our own local artist Prairie Prince on drums. The crowd laughed and cheered at the power-packed variety of tunes, many with a twist.
That’s Todd – always full of surprises. If you’re only thinking of “Hello It’s Me” or “Bang the Drum All Day,” dig a little deeper to be delighted by the variety of what Todd has created, and continues to create these days. It makes me wonder where he gets the ideas and inspiration – not to mention the energy! Luckily he can rejuvenate at his peaceful place in Kauai when not on the road.
Just before our Sausalito show he was at a fan experience called Todd Rundgren’s TyRolean Getaway. Hosted at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont, a community of kindred spirits hiked in the hills and hung out with their hero. Nightly talent shows gave the opportunity to jam with fellow attendees and also included skits and other fun frolics inspired by the Sound of Music theme – with many campers donning lederhosen and nun habits.
An autumn highlight is a trip to University of Notre Dame where Todd will participate in a myriad of activities, including attending football games and as Artist-in-Residence presenting his interdisciplinary course Exploring the Creative Muse: Art, Business, Technology and Rock n’ Roll. He’ll also shine the spotlight on his Spirit of Harmony Foundation, which supports the moral imperative of music education. Activities include a musical instrument donation drive, workshop for local teachers and visits to area schools. Todd and SOHF are partnering with Notre Dame’s “Play Like A Champion Today” initiative to unveil a new music program for children who reside with their families at South Bend’s Center For The Homeless. Todd will present the children with their own ukuleles, and together with his fans from around the country will be serving lunch and providing entertainment to residents at the Center. I’m packing my bags to volunteer in this afternoon of service, attend the final class session, and enjoy his concert with the student bands.
Beyond that we can look forward to him touring with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band in the fall, including a stop at the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium on November 19. And there’s word of an autobiography and a new album in 2017. This one will be a collaborative effort with multiple artists – I can’t wait to find out who! Todd wouldn’t share that information in our interview, so your guess is as good as mine. Until then, there are many works of his to revisit and enjoy. And as the lyrics in his song “International Feel” say, “there is always more…”