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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Todd Rundgren: A Wizard, A True Star

Musician Todd Rundgren. (Crossover Media)

By: Alex Ashlock

In January, Todd Rundgren reformed Utopia, his progressive rock band from the 1970s and 80s to perform a benefit concert for one of the band’s original members, keyboard player Mark “Moogy” Klingman, who was sick.

It was supposed to be a one-off event, but it turned into a kind of magical moment for them.

“The reaction from the audience was so enthusiastic that we were kind of taken aback,” Rundgren said before a recent Utopia show at the Wilbur Theater in Boston.

“We didn’t realize there was that much latent good will for the original Utopia. So we began to talk about the possibility of extending this a little bit further,” he said.

Well, that they did, in a tour that stretched into the fall. But they did it without Klingman. His health deteriorated and he died on the night of November 15, the same night Utopia played its show in Boston. He was 61.

Posting on his Facebook page, Rundgren wrote, “Moogy Klingman, longtime friend and Utopia member passed away after a difficult battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed. RIP Moogy.” A memorial service is scheduled for Klingman at The Bitter End in New York December 11.

Todd Rundgren, who is almost better known as a producer of other artists as he is for playing with Utopia or recording solo on records like “Runt” of “Something/Anything,” says he plans to continue touring in the future, including a stint with the Ethel String Quartet.

“I also just recently did a two gigs in Holland with Metropole Orchestra, and the results of that is that we have a lot of charts now that we can take and do guests spots with other orchestras. So I’ll probably be doing some of that. At this point we’re still putting next year together. But I know that I’m goofing off for the rest of this year. It has been a pretty intense year,” he said.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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