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- Posted on Nov 23rd 2009 12:30PM by Pat Pemberton
"Carole King was one of the world's premiere songwriters before I ever stepped in a studio," Rundgren, whose early hits 'Hello It's Me' and 'I Saw the Light' were often compared to King's work, tells Spinner. "It's just that why would you want people to see you in terms of someone else? You don't want people saying, 'Oh, I heard this guy Todd Rundgren.' And then have someone else say, 'Oh, yeah. He's kind of like the male Carole King.'"
So after his 'Something/Anything?' album introduced him to the Top 10 list, he recorded 'A Wizard, a True Star,' an eclectic album that was anything but radio-friendly. When he turned in the stream-of-consciousness record with its extended melodies, varied genres and prog-rock leanings, his label was miffed -- they had planned on something more like, well, Carole King. "They were expecting a different kind of record than I delivered," Rundgren says.
Rundgren will perform the album in its entirety during a four-city California tour that begins Dec. 1 in San Francisco. The live performances will feature plenty of theatrics, with Rundgren wearing numerous costumes, including a full space suit.
"From a performance standpoint, my biggest challenge is the 12 costume changes," says Rundgren, a visually conscious performer whose video for 'Time Heals' was the second to air on MTV. "I don't actually get a breather anywhere in the show."
Rundgren, who performed the album at select venues in September, would like to add more dates but only if it works financially. He admits he's not sure how far he can take a show spotlighting a commercially unsuccessful album.
"The shows we did in September were a great proof of concept in terms of where we could possible go with this," he says. "But it's still not a mainstream thing, if you know what I mean. At this point, it's still something that mostly my own cult appreciates. So it's not like I can take it to the wilds of Arkansas."