Todd Rundgren grateful for producing others' work

May 3, 2013 at 6:03 PM
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BEARSVILLE, N.Y., May 3 (UPI) -- U.S. multi-instrumentalist songwriter-record producer Todd Rundgren says producing other musicians' recorded work set him up for artistic freedom now.

"I've found a great deal of satisfaction in recording other musicians' music," he told the Daily Freeman of Kingston, N.Y. "There's a certain fulfillment in having the ability to change hats within the field.

"It's kept my music life interesting."

Rundgren is touring through August to promote his 24th solo album, "State," with his next performance at the Bearsville Theater on the outskirts of Woodstock, N.Y., Sunday and Monday.

The 250-seat theater is adjacent to the former Bearsville Studios, where Rundgren recorded his own 1970s and '80s music but focused on producing the work of others.

Among the albums he produced were "Straight Up" by British rock band Badfinger, "Stage Fright" by roots rock group The Band, "We're an American Band" by blues rock band Grand Funk Railroad, "Bat Out of Hell" by musician Meat Loaf and "Skylarking" by British New Wave band XTC.

Rundgren's own hits include 1972's "Hello It's Me" and "I Saw the Light" and 1983's "Bang the Drum All Day."

Rundgren founded Bearsville Studios with Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Albert Grossman, who managed The Band.

The 64-year-old musician -- who also composed the score for the 1994 comedy film "Dumb and Dumber" and TV series including "Pee-wee's Playhouse" and "Crime Story" -- told the Freeman his early-career production work set him up to have total artistic freedom now.

"I'm able to make any record I want, because I've made enough money recording other artists' music," he said.

He described the 15-track "State," which came out April 8, as a fusion of rock, soul, rhythm and blues and "electronica."

Rundgren, who will be at New York's Gramercy Theatre in a week, tours Europe later this month before returning to the United States in mid-June. He later tours Australia and Japan.

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