Rundgren lectures about Beatles


Musician and producer Todd Rundgren shares opinions on the Beatles' and others' music with a full lecture hall during “LONGHAIR: Todd Rundgren on the Beatles Effect" on Thursday in Ballantine Hall. Rundgren gave the lecture as the ninth instructor in the Wells Scholars Program and will perform Sunday in Auer Hall. Alex Farris Buy Photos

“This is the closest I’ve ever sat to the front of the room,” one of the audience members at Todd Rundgren’s lecture, “LONGHAIR: Todd Rundgren on The Beatles’ Effect,” told the rockstar.

Lecturing during Professor Glenn Gass’ Music of the Beatles class, Rundgren spoke about the effects of the Beatles as pop icons, influencing the lives of the baby boom generation in everything from hair styles to religion.

“I had few goals in life. One of those was I wanted to grow my hair long,” Rundgren said.

The lecture was open to the public and the room was filled.

First-year graduate student John Vanors said he hadn’t realized how popular Rundgren was until he stepped into the lecture hall.

“I was kind of surprised at the turn out, I just kind of thought I knew who he was and that everyone had kind of forgotten who he was,” Vanors said.

Sophomore Sarah Mosier tried to sign up for lunch with Rundgren via an e-mail invitation.

“I tried to sign up that very same day, and I couldn’t because it was already full,” she said.

After the lecture, Rundgren opened up the floor for a Q&A with the audience. 

Rundgren answered questions dealing with everything from touring with Ringo Starr to what he believed “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was really about.

“I still think John wrote it about LSD, and I will take that to my grave,” said Rundgren.
Rundgren’s public performance during his visit at IU will be at 8 p.m. Sunday at Auer Hall, in which he will be performing solo, something he hasn’t done in years.

“This is sort of a retrograde experience for me because I haven’t done a solo concert like this in at least five years or more than that maybe, and the reason why is because I kind of swore off this kind of presentation because of two reasons,” Rundgren said.

Rundgren’s reasons stem from his lack of having any material that is appropriate for a solo artist and a solo instrument, making his shows nostalgic because they contain songs that he wrote a long time ago.

“In my mind, this event is a combination of performance but also a little of explanation about my song-writing process and more importantly my particular harmonics and how that got developed and where it is exhibited in my music,” he said. “Less than being a straight ahead concert or recital, it’s going to be a lot of talking.”

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