From The Desk Of Steve Kilbey: “A Wizard, A True Star” By Todd Rundgren

Steve Kilbey is best known as the frontman of Australian legends the Church, whose “Under The Milky Way” was one of the defining alt-rock singles of the late ’80s. He has also released records with the likes of Grant McLennan, Martin Kennedy and Donnette Thayer, as well as a number of solo albums. Aside from being a member of the Australian Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Kilbey pens poetry and is an accomplished painter. His latest CD is Life Somewhere Else (Communicating Vessels) by Isidore, a collaboration with Jeffrey Cain (Remy Zero). Kilbey will also be guest editing all week.

Kilbey: Wunderkind and enfant terrible: Todd Rundgren‘s fourth solo album was a right doozy. Unbelievably talented as a singer, musician and producer, Todd lets his ego trip, and boy does it trip hard. There’s everything on this record, rock/pop weirdness, ballads and even a soul medley. Rundgren was on fire, and the whole record has its own sound and feeling. An overachiever with an encyclopaedic knowledge of rock music and its conventions, Rundgren invokes everything he’s got here, and it’s a wild ride. Sound effects. Snatches of songs. Silly little interludes. And every now and then real impossible beauty. He could sing with the most beautiful mellifluous voice: a real singer and one hell of a guitarist. He knew and used every studio trick in the book, and the record is a tour de force of what you could do in 1972 on (I assume ) a 16-track recorder. Ahead of its time then and still ahead of its time now. A true wizard, Todd had sussed the possibilities of the studio, and he turns it all up to 11. Dense , humorous, claustrophobic and constantly changing, this record still fascinates and inspires me. Wow—you gotta love Todd. Forty years on, it’s still quite a miraculous record. File under precocious!

One reply on “From The Desk Of Steve Kilbey: “A Wizard, A True Star” By Todd Rundgren”

Can’t say this is one of my faves…prefer Something/Anything (surely “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” is Todd’s career masterpiece), Hermit of Mink Hollow, Ra, Healing, Runt…
I bough A Wizard, A True Star back in the day after hearing “International Feel” which I absolutely love to this day, but much of the rest of the lp was beyond my tolerance level…
Maybe I’ll have another listen and see if things have changed after all these years..
PS The Church are playing around Oz with DEVO and Simple Minds!!! Priceless hahahaha. Steve, I think I’ll wait until The Church are back at The Gov in Adelaide, if that’s ok…cheers…

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