Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Todd Rundgren:New Album and myRecordFantasy Event Planned

Gigatone Entertainment, a next generation entertainment company based in Sacramento and Hollywood announced the signing of famed artist, producer, composer, and digital pioneer Todd Rundgren to its label.

Rundgren will be recording a new 15-track album and will invite fans into the studio to participate in the project via Gigatone's myRecordFantasy three-day fantasy camp.

A Wizard, A True Star, the title of Todd Rundgren's 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multi-faceted artist to state-of-the-art music.

As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and interactive artist, Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music, and has along the way created a body of work that is among the most intriguing and impressive in Rock and Roll history.

In addition to writing and recording myriad evergreen hit songs and being universally acknowledged as the godfather of the marriage of music and multimedia, his more than 100 production projects include multi-platinum albums by Cheap Trick, Grand Funk Railroad, Patti Smith, Hall & Oates, XTC, and of course Meat Loaf's seminal game-changer "Bat Out Of Hell."

"Signing such an accomplished superstar as Todd not only thrills us but shows that our new approach towards music creation and its acceptance by artists and fans is changing the market," said Mitchell Koulouris, CEO of Gigatone Entertainment. "Todd is renowned throughout the industry for skills and artistry that put him at a level of the Rock and Roll elite."

Rundgren's new album project will be the subject of a new myRecordFantasy event where he will be in the studio along with fans participating in the studio.

Held at The Track Shack Studios in Sacramento, Rundgren will lead a once-in-a-lifetime event for his most devoted fans to see and live the experience of a rock star making a new album. These fans will be the lucky few that not only live it, but also have the opportunity to perform on the album.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Like all great stories, this one has to start off with,

“I was born a poor black sharecropper’s son”

Not really. But I always loved that line from “The Jerk.” As always, a click on the song title will take you to a sound sample or video, and just use your browser’s back button to return.

Born in the Philadelphia suburbs, my childhood was pretty good. We lived in a lower middle class (I guess) neighborhood, and while my father had a decent job, since there were six of us kids, a lot of stuff the other kids had we either got as a hand-me-down or did without. But back in those days, you were outside all the time, and most of the peer pressure was around clothing. Since many of the families in my town were big Catholic families, the hand-me-down element was common. And Converse All-Stars were cheap in those days.

The neighborhood was young, and there were a lot of friends to hang out with. Ken and George, Paul, Chris, Sean (now a Super Bowl champion coach-congrats!), and a lot of others who while I will not name them all, add to fond memories of a neighborhood that, when I happen through it nowadays, is not the same and does not belong to me anymore.

This first song was from one of the first albums I ever purchased, and belongs here only because I probably wore a hole through the record.

While these next two songs were written from an adult point of view, one of a father, and one of a man looking back, the childhood memories they invoke always make me think of my own.

The fourth song just makes me remember Catholic school and all the rules, even though I was not a smoker!

When you get to the teenage years, it’s going to be a two-fer. Both of these are about looking for something better than what you’ve got. And we had it all right. Now the friends were Ken (still), John, Cap’n Dave, Vinnie, Joe, and again too many others to name.

And of course, as a teenager,heading into your early twenties, you feel like you’re on your own with no direction home…

In your teens and twenties, you’re looking for love, usually in all the wrong places…and suffering eternal heartache lasting for days, sometimes even weeks!

Getting into the adult years, it’s a little harder. Professionally, I have been lucky to have a few good jobs with good companies that have treated me well. The current company has let me occupy space in their offices in three states off and on for twenty-one years (as of today, coincidentally). So I do not have a lot to complain about.

Work does come with competition, conflict and feeling your way through dealing with both. Even in something as dull as accounting, there are the moments where you feel like your back is against the wall and it’s put up or shut up. These next two songs always connect me to that feeling.

I’ve also had to learn to cope with loss. A lot of friends and loved ones have passed on, and my younger sister, who was very close to me growing up and into my late thirties, passed away at the altogether too young age of thirty-four. I have always felt that this song sums this world up the best.

When it comes to my adult love life, that is best summed up by one song. If these songs are the soundtrack to my life, this is the lead single.

I’ve dated a fair amount over the years and am sorry to say I never seemed to get any better at it.

One relationship, while ending with the lady and I parting ways, was a wonderful friendship that spanned much of my twenties and thirties. She was a friend for fifteen years, and for many of them was my best friend. Sadly it did not work so well as a romance. While I consider her the love of my life, those feelings were painfully one-sided and sadly, it’s hard to go backwards in a relationship.

While I do not want to give the impression that I’m carrying a torch here, I still think of her often, and there are many happy memories that come to mind when I do. The last I heard, she was happily married and had adopted a child. I pray for her continued health and happiness.

I also hope she can forgive me for ending things as sloppily as I did. Relationships were never my strong point.

Like Todd says, sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to happen.

As I said earlier, I have been fortunate to not have to worry about much as an adult. I have always had a place to live, a job, and even some friends (in AZ, they are Lonesome McDogg, Greg and Dfly). I do have the normal middle-age agita that Mr. Seger summed up so nicely…

And that brings us up to where I am not…knocking on fifty, with less hair and more gut. Maybe I’m wiser, it’s hard to tell. But I’m not old…just older.

But there’s no question that time is not on my side, and I’ve got less track ahead of me than I do behind…

There you have it. Almost forty-nine years summed up in fifteen songs. A lot of good memories, some sad, and probably not so different from most other people.

Which leads me to what would have been song number sixteen if I could have found a sound clip, “A Brand New Book” by Graham Parker.

I’ll have to leave you with the lyrics…

I once read the story of somebody's life-Ihad a few moments to spare
He was a good man who lived with his wife with the usual kids in his hair
There was happiness a lot of weirdness and a sprinkle of tragedy
I pulled it by chance from a second hand bin
But it could've been written just for me

Because the words came out not twist and shout
Cause that's not what a grown man writes about
That chapter's over, let it blow over
I found that I've become the owner of a brand new book
A brand new book

I've travelled far and I've travelled wide and I guess I'll be travelling on
Fill another suitcase up with possessions and put on a Badfinger song
I've got much more than most people have and a little less than a few
But you can't measure these things by weight
They either drag you down or they lift you

I don't read between the lines
I'm not ready for what I'll find
I don't believe that love is blind
It just can't see straight, it just can't see straight oh yeah
Read all about it, read all about it yeah

I read that book for an hour or two and then I looked up at the night sky
I saw the big dipper and then the big bopper and I realized how much time had gone by
Every page had something to say but one thing that struck me as true
The clock just keeps ticking as if you're not there
Man it either drags you down or it lifts you

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Spock's Beard - X Tour Presented By CalProg

Long time proggers Spock's Beard have recently released their 10th studio album, appropriately titled "X".

This album has been critically acclaimed as their best "post-Neal" work, and by some as their best work period. The Beard are about to launch a substantial European tour in support of it, but due to economic factors were not planning any shows in the US.

CalProg could not let that happen, and so are honored to announce that the launch of this momentous tour from the CalProg stage in Downey.

The Beard are originally from the LA area, and CalProg is hoping that local fans will avail themselves of this rare opportunity to see these guys at the top of their game.

Here's the facts:

Spock's Beard - X Tour

Sunday Sept. 12, 2010 @ 8pm

Downey Civic Theater

Tickets go on Sale Saturday July 17 @ 7am

Available only at CalProg.Com

All Seats Reserved - $55

Credit Card or Paypal

The band was formed in 1993 in Los Angeles by brothers Neal and Alan Morse. Neal (keyboards/vocals) and Alan (guitars) were joined by fellow musicians Nick D'Virgilio (drums), Dave Meros (bass), and keyboardist Ryo Okumoto.

The Beard play a brand of progressive rock which draws on multiple influences ranging from classical, pop, rock, jazz and jazz fusion, and R & B. One can hear the influences of many groups, including Genesis, Yes and the Beatles, yet their sound is original and fresh.

They are also well known for their intricate multi-part vocal harmonies and use of counterpoint much in the vein of Gentle Giant. Spock’s Beard has released 9 studio CDs to date, including the acclaimed 'The Kindness Of Strangers' and 'V', before releasing the epic concept album 'Snow' in 2002, which also marked the departure of leader and main composer Neal Morse for a solo career as a Christian artist.

After the departure of Neal Morse, the frontman role was taken on by Nick D'Virgilio. This Spock’s Beard v2.0 has since released three more studio albums: 'Feel Euphoria', 'Octane', ‘Spock’s Beard’, all on InsideOut Music.

And now ‘X’, their tenth album is going to be released on the 23rd August 2010! Although Nick plays drums for the studio sessions, the complicated role of frontman required the group add tour drummer Jimmy Keegan to the fold. Both drummers perform with drum sets on stage, and the unique combination allows them to both spell one another as well as create opportunities for wonderful duet performances.

All band members are writing now, which has resulted in a much more soulful and diverse mix of material into this incarnation of the band. The latest CD brings the fusion, rock, and classical influences strongly to the front.

With a touring schedule that has covered much of Europe and the US, they have played to their legions of fans at major prog festivals around the world.
Their live shows have been well documented on DVDs and live CDs such as 2005’s “Gluttons For Punishment” recorded during their European "Octane" tour and “Spock’s Beard Live” recorded in Holland during their European “Spock’s Beard” tour, released in June of 2008.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Let me start off by saying I am a Phillies fan. As such, the only time I’ve really had anything against the Yankees was last October. For many baseball fans, he was Darth Vader. I never really knew much about him until the mid-90’s.

I will miss George Steinbrenner, who died this morning at age 80, for his contributions to Seinfeld more than his contributions to baseball.

George Steinbrenner was first introduced on Seinfeld in the Season 4 episode, "The Smelly Car," when Kramer said that Steinbrenner's proclivity for trading away the Yankees' best prospects was ruining his life. But at the end of Season 5, when George Costanza would get a job working for the Yankees, Steinbrenner would become a recurring character on the best sitcom ever made.

Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday at the age of 80, never actually appeared on Seinfeld. But even though it was Seinfeld co-creator Larry David who voiced the Steinbrenner character, while an actor named Lee Bear was used to show the back of the owner's head, Steinbrenner actually became one of the most significant characters in Seinfeld's last few seasons.
Often when characters would find themselves in precarious predicaments it was because of something related to Steinbrenner: When Costanza took a nap under his desk and didn't want Steinbrenner to find out, he had to call Jerry and ask him to phone in a bomb threat. When Costanza tried to convince a woman he had met that he was from Arkansas, Steinbrenner became convinced that Costanza was moonlighting for Tyler Chicken. When Costanza promised during a sexual encounter to give his secretary a raise, it was Steinbrenner who had to sign off on it. and so on.
The Steinbrenner character appeared on 16 episodes of Seinfeld, which makes him one of the most significant of the show's large cast of minor characters -- that's more than Uncle Leo, more than David Puddy, more than Kenny Bania, more than Jackie Chiles and more than Tim Whatley.
Despite never appearing on camera, Steinbrenner will be remembered for playing a major role in one of the major television programs of 20th Century America.

So, farewell Mr. Steinbrenner. I hope there are plenty of eggplant calzones in heaven!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Live review: 'Beatles Celebration' at Hollywood Bowl

The music of the Beatles, a summer night and the Hollywood Bowl: a can’t-miss recipe, right?
As things turned out Friday, at the opening of a three-night “Beatles Celebration“ marking roughly the 45th anniversary of the Fab Four’s final Bowl appearances, this stuff isn’t remotely as easy as it may look, or sound.

There was no dearth of sweet memory, evocative melodies, poignant lyrics or variety of stylistic interpretation of the group’s catalog from soloists Patti Austin, Todd Rundgren, Bettye LaVette, Rob Laufer and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

But the music truly came alive only sporadically, primarily in the 2-1/2-hour show’s second half with LaVette’s dynamic, soul-searing set and Rundgren’s appearance that finally acknowledged the fun that was central to what the Beatles were about.

Until then, it was more of a Beatles appreciation than celebration, containing little of the youthful exuberance of the band’s early songs, or the anything-goes experimental glee of its latter years. Too often the songs on the first half approached the “Rockabye Baby” series of albums that transform music of the rock era into soothing children’s lullabies...

...but then LaVette showed up and suddenly the music sizzled as it should. She funkified “We Can Work It Out” along the lines of Stevie Wonder's long-ago reworking and performed a Sinatra-style “Here, There and Everywhere.”

On “Blackbird,” which McCartney in recent years has described as his elegy to the civil rights movement, LaVette took it into a universe of her own, her shredded sandpaper voice wringing every drop of struggle in this trenchant ode to anyone who has slain demons, within or without. And Lennon surely would have delighted in her sassy take on “Come Together,” for which she challenged anyone in the audience to explain his stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

With Rundgren at last came some larger-than-life rock ‘n’ roll. He strolled grandly onstage as the band cranked up the calliope-inspired sounds of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” the singer outfitted in an appropriately outsized top hat, fake walrus (nice allusion, Todd) mustache, black waistcoat, white gloves and white spats.

He helped the dutiful rock band that supplemented the orchestra amp up the show’s electricity quotient with “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” and served as the Eric Clapton surrogate in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which he preceded with a nod to Ringo Starr’s momentous 70th birthday -- a Beatle is 70?-- just two nights earlier.

His performance of “A Day in the Life” was the night’s most faithful to the original, the orchestra delighting in swirling to the massive climax that producer George Martin cooked up for the conclusion of the “Sgt. Pepper’s” album backing 1967.

A predictable all-star finale paved the way for audience sing-alongs on “Hey Jude” and “All You Need Is Love.” Fans in their 50s, 60s and 70s, many of them with children and even grandchildren in tow, waved arms, fired up lighters and cellphone screens ceremonially while beaming smiles and shedding the occasional tear.

Given this was the Hollywood Bowl, where the Fab Four had torn things up so raucously nearly a half century ago, at least one fan wished this celebration had traded some of the earnest camaraderie for more of the freewheeling spirit that has endeared the Beatles and their music to generation after generation.

Perhaps they figured, possibly correctly, that since McCartney did just that so well a couple of months ago under the very same orchestra shell, why try to compete? But a Hollywood Bowl celebration for the Beatles with no “Twist and Shout”? No “She Loves You”? No “Can’t Buy Me Love”? A hard day’s night, indeed.

For the full article, go here

Saturday, July 10, 2010


An interview for Elsewhere.com

Todd Rundgren laughs as he predicts the end the current model of on-line music sales which will disappear like the Sony Walkman and vinyl singles: “Because some songs are priceless, some songs are worthless . . . and some songs are worth exactly 99 cents”.

He should know. In a 40-plus year career he's made songs, and whole albums, in each category.

However although he has appeared on over 40 albums under his own name or that of his bands (the Nazz in the 60s, Utopia from the mid 70s), been producer for everyone from the New York Dolls and Patti Smith to Meat Loaf (Bat Out of Hell), Shaun Cassidy and the Psychedelic Furs, Rundgren allows himself another dry laugh as he describes his position in the marketplace of music.

“I'm a fringe artist.”

Given his long career – which admittedly has only troubled the American top 20 singles charts with I Saw the Light and Hello It's Me in the early 70s – you'd think this innovative musician who was also in the vanguard of video and internet technology would be a household name.

But if he's known for anything today it's as the man who acted as father for actress Liv Tyler – daughter of Aerosmith's Steve Tyler – when she was a child.

An amusing and almost detached observer of his own career, he notes a rare experience when he fronted the New Cars in 06 – the old Cars with him in for lead singer Ric Ocasek – and discovered a very different audience response from what he was use to. He admits people come to his shows expecting and wanting Hello It's Me “and I mostly don't play it because it's too out of context of what I'm doing at the time”.

Rundgren's wayward career has taken him from soul-pop through expansive prog-rock, from guitar hero to abandoning the guitar entirely. Yet he is currently out playing a programme of blues by the legendary Robert Johnson (1911-38) delivered in the style of the late 60s power-rock bands like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. His new album is Todd Rundgren's Johnson – a title more risque to an American audience.

And he picks up a local rhythm section players when he comes to Australia and New Zealand later this year – and his visit is a surprise, even to him.

Just like the traveling bluesmen of old, just being a troubadour?

(Laughs) There has certainly been no up-tick in my record sales that would cause me to be popular Down Under, but my association with Hal Wilner brought me to Australia in January to do a Sydney summer festival and this was a fairly significant event, so I got a lot of direct exposure and coverage by the press. That was the necessary foot in the door to try and pursue some sort of tour.

The record only requires a quartet and a lot of people are familiar with the material, so it is plausible to pick up a rhythm section: my principal guitarist will rehearse the rhythm section before I get there.

And why versions of Robert Johnson at this time?

I went through an era where I almost eschewed electric guitar, my focus went elsewhere and I wanted to become a better singer and performer. So for a number of years I would front a large band and never play the guitar, never play any instrument, just dance around and sing.

I got back into the guitar some years ago and in a big way. I wanted to do an arena rock-style record – the record was Arena – but like so many artists of my generation – and maybe everyone these days – you get your material distributed independently. No one I know has any major company, five-record deal.

So it came time to do distribution for Arena and the company that made the deal also happened to administer the Robert Johnson music publishing. They made as a requirement to distributing Arena that I record an album of Robert Johnson tunes as well. They claimed to me that they were getting many requests for Johnson songs to be used in films and tv shows, essentially the mechanical license.

While they had the publishing they had no recorded versions so they required I make a record. I agreed to do it mostly because I wanted to get my record out and thought I would figure out how to deal with this later.

To my chagrin when I got around to doing it, it turns out Eric Clapton had been making a second career out of tributing Robert Johnson. After U2 did a song I was crestfallen, what was I going to do?

One of my heroes [Clapton] has already done it so anything I did would pale by comparison if nothing else. And the whole process will be creepy for me, constantly trying to outdo Eric Clapton.

It took a year and I came to the conclusion I was not directly influenced by Johnson, Eric Clapton was – and I was influenced by Clapton.

So I am not attempting to compete in my authenticity.

Another fortuitous coincidence was that my first gig as a professional was in a blues band so I understand the idiom. It wasn't a ridiculous leap to deconstruct and reconstruct this material into a way I was comfortable with.

But it is no way “a tribute”, you won't see those words anywhere there.

The entirety of Johnson is 40 - 45 minutes and that's an opening act. My shows are usually two to two and half hours, so of necessity I'm going to have to fill it out. The blues guy I know best is myself. My big initial influence was electric blues – and English people who did their own version of that. So all throughout my career are examples of my modernised or twisted take on the blues idiom.

My first band the Nazz, whose career was done by 69, and on the second record we rip off John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton.

In concert we may play a few songs people are actually familiar with.

In many ways the diversity of your career allows you to do pretty much what you like these days.

I don't believe I have much in the way of radio success, that is a great advantage to me because people send me notes saying, 'This show will be total shit unless you play this song'. This is helpful.

You've been quite good about revisiting your earlier work and playing albums in their entirety: you're soon doing The Healing and Todd albums.

I have a devoted audience because through this process of not playing what people expect me to play I have weeded out all the dilettantes. So now the audience I have is particularly devoted and will come to see anything I have to present. And if it is in package form will purchase anything I have to present. But a lot of it depends on a certain recognition that they need to get every once in a while and deeply desire.

They come about through Rundgrenradio . . . the guy who runs it plays the music and does interviews with anyone even tangentially related to my career, and it has a substantial hardcore following and go to for information. They decided they wanted to dabble in promotion and polled their audience and they [The Healing and Todd] were the records they wanted to hear.

No one was expecting the level of production that went into the first one, it is more a theatrical representation of the record . . . so now the expectation is high.

I'm interested in the fact that you also do what we might call re-creations of music – for example the Beatles on Deface the Music, the covers on Faithful and your own music in With A Twist . . . why??

The Nazz's first song was Open My Eyes – which was the Who and Beach Boys mashed together – and on the B-side was Hello It's Me, it was a dirgy version where I played vibes, and for some reason the record got flipped and it became a minor hit.

Years later when I wasn't a radio staple I was doing the Something/Anything album and the album consisted of me playing most of the instruments. It turned into a double album and by the last side there was enough of me playing by myself and wanted to do live-in-the-studio performances with no overdubs.

So I did half a dozen songs and one was a reworking of Hello It's Me with a more modern groove, background chorusses and a horn section. I did it because I thought it was a different way to do it, I was in a singer-songwriter phase.

I never thought about radio play but the biggest single became Hello It's Me and other bands covered it, like the Isley Brothers.

That's the song that if I don't play we have people walking out – and I mostly don't play it because it is too out of context of what it is I'm doing. If there was a context then I'd play it.

So I just thought I heard it in a more personal way and that's why I redid.

The moral of the story is I not only improved it in how the song could be interpreted, but it turned out to be a gigantic financial boon.

The New Cars must have been a different experience again?

Yeah, the thing that hit me the first time we played in front of an audience, we were eight songs in and people were still singing along. Which is completely different from my shows. If there are people at my shows who haven't fully kept up they are going to be stumped at several points in the show trying to remember where, if ever, they have heard this song. Plus I have this nasty habit lately of whatever my newest record is, I play the whole thing. And then give them the crumbs of older material.

That [New Cars] was an experience I haven't had on stage, that power of familiarity. You are not trying to sell anything, when they hear the first note they are fully committed and the song is sold.

It's part of your performers tool kit, you want to get the audience going and you are going to over indulge yourself and play some old jam . . . but you know at the end you have to play something they are familiar with, and it doesn't matter if it is Louie Louie.

You have had a long and diverse career in production. What attracts you to a project?

It's the material – which I think goes along with the priorities of most listeners. The thing they care most about is a decent song. They don't want to hear the most incredible version of the world's crappiest song. They would rather hear a half-assed version of the world's best song.

You are always striving to hear what it is in the material that might be attractive to a listener, and that's the most time-consuming aspect for me of the process.

Early in my production career I didn't vet the material too much, I figured we'd get in the studio and the combined talents would work out the problems. And for a lot of things that did work.

I had overconfidence in my own songwriting and if people didn't produce the goods I would just take over.

But if you develop some recognisable style, if you apply that to production you put your paw prints on everything you do, instead of letting the act put on their display, warts and all if necessary.

If their songwriting is weak and some label has decided to put the record out anyway then they are just going to have to live with the weak songwriting.

In the Seventies a review in Rolling Stone could make or break you, but you can't second-guess the taste of a critic let alone the buying audience, you have to have another vision of what you are trying to accomplish. I consider more timeless aspects of music . . . it's the phenomenon that gets Sinatra's Capitol recordings of Fifties rediscovered.

Some records don't get recognition but grow in stature.

You have to think like a musician – which can be hard if you are working with people who got paid a whole lot of money before they did anything which became the model. 'Here's the seven-figure advance, now make a record'.

But what did musicians do before we had a record industry, which is only about 100 years old? How did they live?

First, they were probably better musicians than today – but you got you paid for your performance so you had to hone that and be sharp -- today we are getting back to that – and the material had to stick in people's head somehow.

If they could just forget about you, you'd have no follow-up business.

The problem happened when the music industry discovered that music could be commoditised and success was no longer measured in the size of the audience you paid for or even, go forbid, how the local critics responded.

It became about figuring out what the buying patterns were, and it was all the Arbitron rating system, people in a room with a dial and an aggregate score.

If a number went below a certain point the record would never get released.

But most people are so unsophisticated they don't now what a chorus is (Laughs)

So basically you still listen for a good song?

The material doesn't have to be super-confident, it just has to be done with brio or some perceptible emotion. It also doesn't have to be technically perfect.

The thing people care the least about – which is the thing some artists, to my mystification are most obsessed with – is the actual sound quality.

Most people don't have studio-referenced sound quality. Since people started listening with earbuds, how can anybody figure out how to mix? There is no uniformity to how people listen.

Most sound systems come with distortion, like superbass, which most musicians try to keep out of their records. If there is any muddiness in the bottom end of the mix you've made you will rattle the walls and will sound horrible.

Is music still important? It seems like just another entertainment thing in the marketplace today.

As it became portable it became just a lifestyle accessory. It always has been in some aspects, there are always bands or acts meant for the musically naïve, like Taylor Swift. As people get older their experience grows, and seeing it performed live they realise that human beings do this, it's not all machines.

Like when you listen Sinatra's Capitol albums, they were mostly all one take, no overdubs, a 50 piece orchestra and the singer all locked in – and it is the performance they will strive to perform live from there on.

The Sony Walkman changed everything: random access, skipping over songs, that ate away at the album being principle form.

This is why the Internet model for selling music will eventually fail . . . people will realise that some songs are priceless, some songs are worthless and some songs are worth exactly 99 cents.

There is another new model out of Disneyworld: the new Mickey Mouse club singers who grow up with their audience. For some artists that is a close link with their audience for an album, and a guaranteed sales figure.

I used to do two solo albums, Utopia and three production jobs every year. Then variety and eclecticism was a selling point, now it seems there are too many artists are trying to cram into the same space, all of the Linkin Parks . . .

Some of what you have done is very amusing – I'm thinking of Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell – but humour and wit seems to be missing in music these days.

Yeah, it is pretty humourless, although it is there in some aspects of hip-hop – Flavour Flav is a pretty funny guy. But I'd like make a record like Absolutely Free, just a pastiche of guys musically goofing in the studio.

Of course Zappa asked 'Does humour belong in music?' Like Led Zeppelin said, 'Does anybody remember laughter?'

They do, the audience is prepared for it, comedians are filling sports arena now. If you have a choice of going into comedy or music these days I'd say your odds are 50:50.

Of course, if you are in a band you have to develop a sense of humour as a survival mechanism.It's pretty deadly if you wind up in a situation with someone who has no sense of humour. It can make for some long and uncomfortable bus rides.

You've got to have a sense of humor in this day and age, it's too easy to fail.