TITLE: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #34
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Wow, no.
LINEUP: Todd Rundgren, Mark Klingman, Ralph Schukett, Jean Yves Labat, John Siegler, Kevin Ellman
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rundgren forms a band and goes prog. I mean, really prog. Frankly, it’s more like Zappa than prog at first. Then it’s just boring and LONG.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: By this time in Todd Rundgren’s career, he was a hit maker who churned out long and complex albums that indulged everything he wanted to do musically (since he did them all himself, mostly). Still, that wasn’t enough, so Rundgren formed a band – Utopia.
This first incarnation had THREE synth players augmenting Rundgren, a bassist and a drummer. Oh, Keith Emerson eat your heart out. What we got was three long-ass songs (one of them an excruciating 30 minutes long) and one short one.
I was intrigued by the first cut (which was recorded live). It had energy and a decent vibe but definitely it felt like something Zappa would do. As the album went on I became less enthralled, and midway through the last cut (the one lasting a half-hour) I was getting impatient. WHEN IS THIS THING GOING TO BE OVER – I CAN’T TAKE ANOTHER KEYBOARD SOLO FULL OF EIGHTH AND SIXTEENTH NOTES!
I like prog and I don’t mind long songs. They have to be interesting. This wasn’t.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original band contained Hunt and Tony Sales, son of comedian Soupy Sales and who were part of Rundgren’s original ‘band’ Runt.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: C: Really, there’s some interesting stuff. It just goes ON AND ON AND ON. Exiled.