Monday, November 1, 2010


Visiting IU professor Todd Rundgren performs a set Sunday in Auer Hall in the Jacobs School of Music. Between songs he explained his methods of songwriting and composition and told stories about how he developed his style of playing as a young musician.

It’s been more than five years since Wells Scholars professor for the 2010 fall semester Todd Rundgren has performed a solo show.

“It’s kind of embarrassing to say, but my parents really like him. I’m in marching band, and he directed us. He seems like a really cool guy. We played “Bang on the Drum All Day” in band,” freshman Elizabeth Szymanski said.

Fans stood in line waiting for the Rundgren recital, “CLUSTER: The Birth of the T-Chord”, well before the doors to Auer Hall opened.

“I’ve been a fan of Todd Rundgren since I was in high school. The opportunity to catch all of the events going on during his visit are important to me,” Alumnus Jeff Green said.

Professor Andy Hollinden stood in line as well. A fan of Rundgren’s Utopia album and prague rock, Hollinden said he was confused when he heard Rundgren’s earlier works.

“I was 14 or 15 years old, so I was only into what I liked. When I heard the earlier stuff, to me it just seemed more like radio music, you know, sort of pop music. Now that I’ve become more knowledgeable about song writing and music production, I can see why that stuff’s his most successful, maybe most critically acclaimed,” Hollinden said.

Rundgren got the audience involved in conversation too.

“I swore off these kinds of shows. Imagine my chagrin at finding myself up here on stage with a guitar around my neck,” said Rundgren, who got the crowd to laugh then gave them a mock vocabulary lecture, telling them that ‘chagrin’ is a bad word, and they shouldn’t laugh at his chagrins.

The free show, which was open to the public and broadcast on the school of music’s website, featured Rundgren on stage at Auer Hall with an acoustic guitar, grand piano and the C.B. Fisk Organ in Auer Hall.

Professor Christopher Young played the organ while Rundgren sang along.

“I swore off playing the piano solo because I don’t feel I’m any good at it, and I don’t feel I have any business charging people to hear me play the piano,” he said.

Rundgren’s catalogue featured samples of music from different periods of his musical career. The final song of the close to two hour recital was “The Wheel,” which Rundgren described as “another of these sappy hippie songs.”

After that, Rundgren said goodnight to the crowd, wishing them a “Happy Halloween” and told them that those were all the songs that he remembered.

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