International Feel / Never Never Land – Todd Rundgren
…there’s always more…
I’d never heard of Todd until I got to London aged 19 – it was 1976 – and started at The London School Of Economics – the LSE, reading Law. I quickly fell in with the music lovers & dope smokers who hovered around the ENTS office, next to the college newspaper Beaver. Bands were booked from here, LPs played, regulars included extreme groover Andy Cornwell, Tony Roose & Pete Thomas and Nigel. Nigel hadn’t cut his extremely long hair for at least five years, and he loved Todd Rundgren. After a stoned listen in the Vauxhall flat he shared with similarly long-haired Anton one night, so did I. Glittering pop jewels, soul vocals, heavy guitar, ballads, rockers, curios, often all instruments played by Todd, it was all fantastically impressive. When Todd and his band Utopia came to The Venue in Victoria a few years later I went to see him six nights in a row. The resulting live LP Back To The Bars is a compendium of his best and most ambitious tunes – but this song isn’t there.
I had to wait until 2010 when, in a pleasing circularity of multi-intrumental pop genius, Martin & Paul Steel and I made the Hammersmith Odeon pilgrimage from Sussex to see Todd playing his entire masterpiece the 1973 LP “A Wizard, A True Star” live with Utopia members, including the great Prairie Prince (from The Tubes) on drums. He appeared to get into a different costume for each song, and this was a tremendous gig. These are the opening two tracks.
The second song Never Never Land is taken from the stage musical of Peter Pan with music by Julie Styne.
While filming Wayne’s World 2 in Los Angeles in 1994, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey and I discovered a mutual love of Todd Rundgren, and Dana even gave me 3 CDs of his which I’d never heard – Nearly Human, 2nd Wind and Healing. Dana had become a friend of Todd’s since both appeared on Saturday Night Live one night and reckoned he wouldn’t have any problem replacing them…which I thought was very sweet of him.