Earlier this week, FB friend and Colorado pottery artist extraordinaire, Tom Edwards, posted that he went to a Todd Rundgren concert. This immediately caught my attention because when I was in junior high I was madly IN LOVE with Todd Rundgren. He was one of my very first rock star crushes. Granted, I would’ve been total teenybopper jailbait for Todd back then, but nevertheless I fantasized that his song “Hello, It’s Me” was his way of telling me why we couldn’t be together, even though I JUST KNEW he had “thought about us for a long, long time.” (Never mind the fact that I was still going through puberty, and was about as desirable and shapely as an asparagus spear.)
Until I read Tom’s post I hadn’t thought about Todd Rundgren (or any of my old rock star crushes) in years. True, I have a ton of Todd’s old songs all over my iPhone, but sadly they aren’t in any of my recent playlists. Which means they fell off my listening radar a while ago. (Although his songs occasionally still pop up on the local radio station, KPCW. Mainly because the volunteer DJs are just as old and reminiscent of classic rock as I am.)
I was jealous that Tom and his crew got to go see Todd Rundgren this week, so I did what any red-blooded, middle-aged, American woman who had her fair share of rock star crushes back in the day would do: I stalked Todd Rundgren on the Internet.
The Web Kills Rock Star Crushes
I was happy to find out that Todd has a new CD that just came out April of this year entitled State. It’s had mixed, mostly lukewarm reviews, but I learned long ago to ignore mainstream criticism, since I’m a little counter-mainstream myself. More than once I’ve been on the wrong end of a bad review, which in my mind just means that the reviewer is an idiot. (However, if they love me, then they’re brilliant. Yes, it really is that simple in my condensed, little world.)
Eager to fall in love with Todd Rundgren all over again (and maybe even revive a few other long-forgotten rock star crushes), I enthusiastically listened to several tracks off State on iTunes.
And I listened…
And I listened…
And then I listened again.
But instead of clicking on the “purchase” button, I found myself muttering old people euphemisms like, “What the hell is this?” and “Who listens to this stuff?” and “How the heck did this get made?” I sounded like my dad giving unsolicited commentary when I went on a Led Zeppelin bender back in high school.
Excuse Me, Do I Know You?
But honestly, this is not what I expected. As crazy as it sounds, the guy I’m hearing on iTunes is not the Todd Rundgren my girlfriends and I listened to as we divvied up our rock star crushes for future dating purposes (“Okay, you get David Bowie and I get Peter Frampton. You get Roger Daltry and I get David Lee Roth. Nobody has to take Axl Rose until he gets his shit together and stops acting like a friggin’ diva.” Even WE had our limits back then.) On Todd’s new album…er, I mean CD, where are the songs like “I Saw the Light”, “Can We Still Be Friends”, and “We Gotta Get You a Woman”? Old Todd mixed rock with the occasional jazz horn section and great harmonies. New Todd relies on an angry techno track that makes me want to start a food fight at In-N-Out Burger.
Now, I know all you State fans out there will say that I’m trying to pigeonhole Todd Rundgren in a way that prevents him from growing as a musician, that I’m being narrow-minded and trying to hang onto my rock star crushes of yesteryear. Maybe. But here’s what I have to say about that: If I get the opportunity to drive a classic 1965 Mustang Convertible, I sure as hell don’t want a turbo-charged, fuel-injected engine to kick in when I shift into fourth gear. Yes, that’s fine if I’m tearing it up in a 2013 Saab 9-3 Turbo. Apples and oranges, people. I don’t like to mix my generational metaphors, same as I don’t expect clouds in my coffee when I go out for a latte, unless I get the rare chance to hang with Carly Simon at a Starbucks. And if that’s the case she better not show up dressed like some crazy Kardashian on her way to the Grammys.
So no, I don’t care for Todd Rundgren’s new CD. And yes, it’s because I want more of the old Todd Rundgren…preferably tunes without the P. Diddy backdrop. So maybe it’s better that I don’t see Todd Rundgren in concert. After stalking him online I’ve discovered that he’s not quite what I remembered. Between his new music style and aged rock star looks, I think I’ll just add “I Saw the Light” to my latest playlist and replace my rock star crushes with my new obsession for cocoa-infused brie (no lie). Both make me weak in the knees, but fortunately the cheese gets better with age.
Okay, so my taste in men has changed over the years. Today I can definitely do without the glittery Kabuki make-up and the shoulder wings. ‘Cuz here’s the deal: If it takes a guy longer than I do to get ready and he’s suited up in more Spandex than a fat actress on the red carpet, then I’m out.
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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on FirstRun.tv. She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.