Progressive rock pioneer Todd Rundgren comes to Grass Valley |

Progressive rock pioneer Todd Rundgren comes to Grass Valley


WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: Todd Rundgren – Global Tour 2015

DANCE CONCERT – Limited Theater Seating

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 29

WHERE: The Center for the Arts

314 W Main Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: General Admission seated $52 members, $62 non-member

Standing Room Only $37 members, $47 non-member

The Center Box Office - 530-274-8384 ext 14

BriarPatch Co-op or online at


For years, The Center for the Arts Marketing Manager, Pamela Roberts pestered her co-worker, Booking and Production Manager Nancy Solyan to book a gig with multi-faceted progressive rock pioneer, Todd Rundgren.

Next week, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, Roberts will get her dream come true, when eclectically accomplished musician and studio virtuoso Todd Rundgren performs a special dance concert at The Center, making a stop in Grass Valley as part of his busy summer “Global” Tour 2015.

“When (Solyan) was finally able to coordinate his schedule with ours I screamed out loud and scared my office mates. Todd was such a pioneer with recording and production. If there were 48 tracks available, he would put something on every single one. A Wizard, A True Star from 1973 is one of my favorite listens, even today. I still can’t believe we have him coming to our small theater,” said Roberts.

Local music promoter Mikail Graham is a long-time fan that has never seen Rundgren live in concert. The host and producer of The Other Side and The Good News Show, Graham devoted a two-hour radio set with “bits and pieces” of Rundgren’s long and varied musical career. The archived podcast of the show can be heard at:

Graham will be part of the production line the night of Rundgren’s Grass Valley show and is excited to get to know him.

“It’s pretty amazing to have an icon like him in our small little town. It’s going to be a tour de force show,” said Mikail.

As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and, most recently, interactive artist, Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music.

“He’s totally diverse. He’s one of a kind,” said Graham, who has been a fan since the early days of peacock feathers and glitter and appreciates Rundgren’s ability to write songs that capture the depth and heart break of the human experience.

Graham has observed Rundgren’s music evolve from simple pop to more complex progressive rock, a style that gained him a devoted cult following.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rundgren began playing guitar in adolescence, going on to found and front the quintessential 1960s cult group, The Nazz. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, Runt.

In 1972, on Something/Anything?, Rundgren played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, catapulting him into the superstar limelight. He was dubbed “Rock’s New Wunderkind” by the press. Later, other recordings followed: The Hermit of Mink Hollow, A Wizard, A True Star, and hit singles: I Saw The Light, Hello It’s Me, Can We Still Be Friends, and Bang The Drum.

In 1974, Todd formed Utopia, an entirely new approach to the concept of interactive musicianship, and embarked on an extensive round of touring and recording. Standout Utopia offerings included, Oops! Wrong Planet, Adventures in Utopia, and Oblivion. Along the way, Utopia combined technical virtuosity and creative passion to create music that, for millions, defined the term “progressive rock.”

Rundgren’s myriad production projects include albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meatloaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall And Oates.

“He’s a fabulous producer. That’s the other thing,” said Graham.

Rounding out his reputation as rock’s Renaissance man, Rundgren composed all the music and lyrics for Joe Papp’s 1989 Off-Broadway production of Joe Orton’s “Up Against It” (the screenplay commissioned by The Beatles for what was meant to have been their third motion picture). He also composed the music for a number of television series, including Pee Wee’s Playhouse and was a regular on the Late Show with David Letterman.

He was also regarded as a pioneer of rock video, interactive CD, and Web-based music, according to Rolling Stone.

After wrapping up the summer tour for his new album, “Global,” Rundgren will play with Ringo Starr in the All Starr Band Autumn Tour in Canada and East Coast.

Learn more at and

Contact freelance writer Laura Petersen at or 913-3067.

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