Tonight I went to the Apollo for the Robert Johnson centennial tribute concert and saw folks like Bettye Lavette (LOVE HER), Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren (an alien), Keb’ Mo’, Living Colour, The Roots, and Macy Gray. I was super excited to see Taj Mahal perform, as my dad was a big fan of his stuff. It was such a great show! More on that tomorrow. Right now I’m going to listen to Taj Mahal and wish I could tell my dad how awesome my night was.
I, for one, welcome our new Runt overlords.
(See also: Taj Mahal and Todd Rundgren in 1989 performing “She Caught the Katy” and… um, Gilbert & Sullivan, also featuring Michele Rundgren and Christian Marclay, the “unwitting inventor of turntablism.”)
TR: Well, Patti and I were friends from when we both first came to New York. We hung out a lot together. I always thought of Patti as a poet and a soul who performed her hardest. I got to see Patti with her little 45 record player doing her improvisations and reading her poetry. She’s just an incredibly remarkable and powerful person in that context. You can actually see her aura crackling around her. I thought that the din of the instruments drown out what was unique about her. But, lo and behold, she connected with something; she connected with people. She did something that no other girl was brave enough to do, and she built a career around that. By the time I actually got to work with her, it wasn’t necessarily out of a musical prerogative; it was out of a personal prerogative. She came to me and said, “I’ve met the love of my life and I’m going to go off and raise a family and I haven’t told the band this yet, but essentially, this is going to be my last record for the foreseeable future.” In that context, it wasn’t that I was the best producer for the record, but that this was maybe our last chance to work together on a record and that’s how I wound up working on Wave. She was coming off of a real hot streak with her previous record “Because the Night” that she wrote with Bruce Springsteen. But, by the time she got to Wave, the record we did together, her head was in a whole other place. Her head was in Michigan. It was something of a bittersweet experience. It wasn’t until we got to the very end of the record that the band even found out that this was going to be their last record.
I have a whole book in mind about fandom. Even an imaginary book cover… It must include a visual chapter of goofy-grinned girls meeting the older gentlemen they (sometimes nonsensically) adore. There is something… something in those smiles.
(Photo replies open in case you have pics of yourself giving that same goofy grin that you want to add.)
Charles Dickens isn’t the only one celebrating a birthday today. Three cheers for the man himself:James Yancey aka J Dilla aka Jay Dee. Commemorate with a journey through his musical legacy (as MC and producer)
Last night, camplittlewolf started posting lyrics from this song on Twitter. This is the Todd song everyone knows, the one I inevitably end up humming a few bars from when people ask me who Todd Rundgren is. “Oh, you know: hello it’s me…”
Hello: it’s so me.
But it’s not even my favorite Todd song. Nowhere even close. I don’t care if he plays it any more when I go to his shows, as crazy as people are about demanding it. “Helllllllooooooo it’s meeeeeeeee” they shriek from the balcony. I can’t help but imagine them rending their clothes as they say it. It’s certainly not his favorite song. I know that if he does play it, he’ll say something sardonic before he does. And I know it’s not the one he’ll PERFORM on. (For his true performance, see Black Maria—which he can still kill 40 years later—or Hawking or A Dream Goes On Forever…)
In this video, he’s rolling his eyes at himself. The hand-kissing, the waving, the mic-swinging. The fake horse-riding. It’s what the people came to see. It’s his Elvis moment. He says it best: “Let’s pretend I’m Wayne Newton.” This is what he was being forced to perform at the same time as he was creating chaos like this. Or even this.
But those lyrics to his greatest of greatest hits? Taken out of context, they’re even more beautiful than in context, as Ms. Little Wolf’s choice excerpts proved. I was giddy just reading the words. Yes: It’s important to me that you know you are free… Yes: I’ll come around and see you once in a while, or if I ever need a reason to smile…
Sometimes it’s enough for me to know that there’s someone else out there as fickle about his identity as I am. Someone who has the capability to be M.O.R. while wearing rainbow chaps. (As Dick Clark says: “I wish I dressed like that.”) Someone who has no problem rolling his eyes at himself, even while singing the words that some of us live by, that some of us rend our clothes to.
And please: while my eyes are taking a needed vacation staring at the inside of my head because of the things I put out there on the internet sometimes, I’d be more than happy for you to roll your eyes at me too. Cos I never want to make you change for me….