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“The biggest gangster in the business was…” Todd Rundgren on the HBO TV series Vinyl

Well, you can't say he doesn't have a sense of humour.
Well, you can’t say he doesn’t have a sense of humour.

My interview with Todd Rundgren is now posted at the Vancouver Sun. Rundgren plays Vancouver this Saturday April 30, so it’s a preview Q-and-A piece.

I have to admit one of my main reasons for wanting to interview the guy, besides the fact that he’s worked with just about everyone (six degrees of Todd Rundgren, anyone?) is because a friend of mine is a huge fan – one of those classic-rock guys who loves just about everything Rundgren does. The cult of Rundgren seems similar to the cult of Zappa, in that it’s is 110 per cent male and over 40.

One of the more interesting (to me) topics that we covered was that Rundgren has family in Vancouver – in fact, his grandfather, whom he never knew, left his American family to start up a new one in Canada. Or something like that. You can read the interview here.

There were a couple of things that didn’t make it in, though. For instance, I asked what Rundgren thought about Vinyl, the HBO series which is based on the New York music scene of the early-to-mid-’70s. Rundgren has a bit of a vested interest, in that he was involved at least tangentially in that milieu while producing albums by the New York Dolls and Patti Smith. (Read more about Rundgren’s producing adventures in Paul Myers’ A Wizard a True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio.)

This is what he had to say:

“I watched a little bit of it and it just seemed so arch to me, so over-the-top. I guess they’ve got to compress a lot of action into a shorter time frame, but I really didn’t care for the lead actor (Bobby Cannavale). I didn’t care for the gangster-y dialogue. I don’t remember it being like that. I met lots of record guys and none of them were like, by the time I got into the business, which is the era they’re depicting, by then most of those old gangster-y kind of guys were gone. It was a new kind of record guy. The biggest gangster in the business was Clive Davis, and he wore three-piece suits all the time.”


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