Celebrating Bowie with Todd Rundgren and Friends

The parallels between the careers of Bowie and Rundgren have been noted before; Bowie produced the Stooges and Rundgren the New York Dolls. Neither wanted to settle into a musical rut.


Todd Rundgren’s name is synonymous with “quality”—he’s somebody musicians call on when they want a sure thing. He’s produced some of the biggest and best artists in the world, and he’s released a string of great solo albums. In a phone interview, Rundgren told Brett Callwood that he’s toured a Beatles celebration with Wings man Denny Laine (as well as playing with Ringo’s All-Starr Band), he sang with the Cars a decade or so ago (well, the New Cars to be exact), and he’s now back on the road celebrating the music of David Bowie with former Bowie guitarist Adrian Belew (among others).

“Pre-pandemic, I was asked to be involved in this ongoing thing,” Rundgren informed Callwood. “It was a project before I got involved in it, and they had done some touring and as a matter of fact had much touring to do, except I was only there for one gig. That was an appearance with the Icelandic National Orchestra over a weekend. We did two nights and I think the orchestra was one of the nights. That was it. I just did two gigs. We did a showcase after rehearsals in L.A., and that was the extent of it. So now, I’m sort of rejoining the ensemble, and doing an official tour. A real, multi-city, traveling extravaganza.”

The singer and guitarist says that early Bowie, pre-Spiders, is his favorite period in the legend’s career. “I kinda enjoyed the Spiders From Mars thing, and after that he started working with Eno and pulling lyrics out of a hat. It started making a little less sense by then. Very early on, he was more of an eclectic artist. If you listen to the record, he wasn’t trying to be a particular kind of stylist. He would imitate Bob Dylan on one song, and then he’d imitate Anthony Newley on another song. Or he’d imitate the lead singer from Sweet [Brian Connolly] on a song. He’d try all kinds of different things within the context of one record like Hunky Dory. I was very much intrigued by that. That’s an approach that I’m very sympathetic to. Trying out different styles to see which one conveys the message of a song best.”  

Click here to read the full interview and check out videos of Rundgren doing Bowie.  —VV editors

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