Todd Rundgren to Perform Elsewhere on Night of Rock Hall Induction

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Todd Rundgren via his Facebook page

If you’re looking forward to seeing Todd Rundgren perform in-person on the night of his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you’d best purchase a ticket to see him in Cincinnati. No, the Class of 2021 ceremony isn’t moving to the Queen City. The big event will take place at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse when inductees Tina Turner, Carole King, Foo Fighters and the Go-Go’s, among many others, get their due. But though Rundgren will be in the great state of Ohio, he’ll be 249 miles to the southwest, performing at the Andrew Brady Music Icon Center in Cincy, as part of his “The Individualist – A True Star Tour.” Rundgren has stated unequivocally that he won’t be there for his own induction.

The musician and star producer had been eligible for induction since 1995, 25 years after he released his first recording. And though he had been nominated before, he had never been selected for induction. Until 2021 that is.

In a prepared statement when his selection was announced on May 12, Rundgren said, simply, “I’m happy for my fans. They’ve wanted this for a long time.”

However, in a series of recent interviews, the musician has continued to speak his mind about the institution.

“For me, I was 35 when they started the Rock Hall, and I didn’t really see the point of it at that time,” Rundgren told the Canton Ohio newspaper The Repository on Oct. 27. “And also was convinced, and I think history has backed that up, that when you call it the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you have to be quite scrupulous about who you induct into it — both in terms of who should be included and in terms of who shouldn’t be included.

“So you get all kinds of grief about Madonna being in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame … and grief from me also about people who should have been in there and are not.”

In a video interview with TMZ, Rundgren said he thought Halls of Fame were “like a sports thing. You’ve retired from the game, and your stats are there for everybody to judge, and they can measure you against other players in real terms, and not in subjective terms, so much. And you’re done with your career.

“For musicians, your greatest aspiration is to do it for the rest of your life. I’m not into the whole sense that there’s some sort of competition among musicians to get into [the Hall].”

Of his own induction, Rundgren told the paper “It’s not something I dwell about.” He added somewhat cryptically, “But I do have inside information about how the whole thing works, and it’s just bizarre.”

In a Sept. 12 interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Rundgren said that he had “offered to do something live for them from [his concert in Cincinnati]. I will stop my show and acknowledge the award and mostly acknowledge my fans, because it’s for them.”

He told the website, “I don’t want to rain on anybody else’s parade. A lot of artists take this seriously. Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean I should try and spoil it for them. I would just like it to elapse without any kind of bad vibes or anything being a result of it. I’d just like it to happen and be over with.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front the ’60’s psychedelic group, The Nazz. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut album, Runt. 1972’s two-LP Something/Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, catapulted Rundgren into the limelight. It was followed by such albums as The Hermit of Mink Hollow and A Wizard, A True Star, as well as such hit singles as “I Saw The Light,” “Hello It’s Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends” and “Bang The Drum.”

Watch Rundgren perform “I Saw the Light” in 2014

Related: Our feature on the wild success story of Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me”

Rundgren’s production projects includes Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, as well as albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall And Oates.

Rundgren’s tour continues through Nov. 17. Tickets are available here.

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  1. 122intheshade
    #1 122intheshade 30 October, 2021, 01:00

    Good for Todd. He could be in the HOF as an artist AND as a producer. A decade before Prince conceived
    Purple Rain, Rundgren explored the same territory (and more, lightheartedly) on Something/Anything? The inner sleeve notes alone are worth the price of admission. That little red light in his rear view was The Kid from Minneapolis.

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  2. Lorelei
    #2 Lorelei 30 October, 2021, 02:30

    I think Todd doing a song or two from the concert venue would be great! I don’t see why the R&RHoF wouldn’t jump at that! And if you happen to be reading this Todd, I love you!!!! <3

    Reply this comment
  3. Da Mick
    #3 Da Mick 30 October, 2021, 09:48

    While it would be great to see Todd perform for the “Hall” audience, even remotely, it’s because it’s an amazing treat to see him perform any time, anywhere, NOT because it’s the HOF, which I agree with Todd, is a joke for so many reasons. I just saw Todd on his “The Individualist” tour, and while I’ve probably seen him close to ten times over the last 45 years or so, and his conceptual shows are always original and entertaining, THIS is the show I, and probably most Rundgren fans have always wanted to see. If he’s comes near to you, don’t miss it. His band is remarkable, and, somehow, through even his later years, Todd has retained his soulful voice — even his highs, and of course his playing skills. You will leave this show smiling.

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  4. Toddheads?
    #4 Toddheads? 30 October, 2021, 18:08

    Not since George C. Scott divided the movie industry by refusing to accept his Academy Award, has an artist divided the music industry by “refusing” to receive the RRHOF induction.

    Ultimately, Todd hasn’t refused this accolade, he has accepted it “for his fans”. True, the fans wanted this more so than Todd, but his lack of humility and humbleness bewilders many of us “Toddheads”.

    Todd Rundgren will be joining an elite list of musical geniuses (some far, far greater and more talented than himself) who were also way, way ahead of their time. Suck it up Todd! You’re in….and you deserve to be there with the other GIANTS (Chuck Berry, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, etc, etc.)

    I hope all this “smack” will work out for Todd and his fans, and he won’t be remembered as the “George C. Scott of Rock and Roll”, but rather his musical genius who joined a whole host of musical geniuses.

    Long live Rock! Long live Todd!

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin 30 October, 2021, 20:24

      Actually, several other inductees have shunned the ceremony before, including David Bowie, Jerry Garcia, the Sex Pistols and even Paul McCartney, who stayed home when the Beatles were inducted (but showed up for his own individual induction).

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