“If you know what you want, I’ll get it for you. If you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.”
Smart Books for musical Minds! – Few record producers possess the musical facility to back up such a bold promise, but in over 40 years behind the glass, Todd Rundgren has willed himself into becoming a not only a rock guitar virtuoso, an accomplished lead vocalist, and a serviceable drummer, vocal arranger and keyboard player, but also a master of perhaps his greatest instrument of all, the recording studio.
Throughout his career, Rundgren has ping-ponged between the worlds of producer and recording artist with varying degrees of critical and commercial success. After learning his craft as a songwriter and arranger, with Nazz, Rundgren gained attention by engineering recordings by The Band. His reputation was cemented by a string of noteworthy productions beginning in 1971 with Sparks, and continuing with classic albums for Grand Funk, The New York Dolls, Badfinger, Hall & Oates, Meat Loaf, Patti Smith Group, Psychedelic Furs and XTC. All of this alongside his own solo albums – including Something / Anything, A Wizard, A True Star and Hermit Of Mink Hollow – on which he played and sang virtually everything, and a series of albums by his band, Utopia.
Researched and written with the cooperation of Rundgren himself, A Wizard, A True Star is a fascinating, authoritative account of four decades of making magic in the recording studio.
Paul Myers is the author of the critically acclaimed biographies, It Ain’t Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues and Barenaked Ladies: Public Stunts Private Stories. His writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Crawdaddy, Mix, Electronic Musician, Canadian Musician, The Globe and Mail, The Georgia Straight, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Myers is also a songwriter, guitarist and producer whose current project is The Paul & John, based in San Francisco. Born in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Myers now lives with his wife Liza, and their cat Buddy Guy, in Berkeley, California.