Andy Partridge, San Francisco, Todd Rundgren discussed on Our Favorite Albums


Prince. He was the drummer for a group called the tubes cube that he actually recorded all his parts were overdubbed. After the after everything was recorded in he was in san francisco and just all recorded at utopia studios in woodstock new york insane. Did that say right just crazy. Yeah hey i think that speaks a lot to collins base plane that he laid down these tracks without thinking about where the rest of the other half of the rhythm section was going to come from and of course he's bay. Styling is more along the lines of somebody. Like getty lee from rush. Who kinda tends to not necessarily play in the pocket with the drummer. But kind of play their own thing. Yeah definitely very riff oriented very melodic in not necessarily A drawback back and play with the drummer guy so it makes more sense. They still hard to imagine. I mean you play bass. Yeah plan without i mean trying to do it without the drummer would be difficult. The rhythm section is the drummer in the bass player. You know i if you're a marching band. The rhythm section is going to be your base horns and drums centric. You've got to have that all the way through. And the basis of part of that. And that's what anchors everything down. So yeah they recorded this without not to belabor the point but it just baffles me that they recorded this album without such those like. They built the house without foundation and done. Everyone plays to a metronome right The these guys recorded an album without a beat and just insane but that also goes to the kind of the insane levels of production that todd rundgren was able to bring to this. And so let's talk about that. So andy partridge has suggested that. He is potentially autistic on the autism spectrum. He suffers from tinnitus which is ringing ears. Yeah to the point. Where i think. He has at least one suicide attempt because he just couldn't take ringing This guy who again had valium as an addiction has suffered from depression man. He's got some purchasers that yet and as we get into this album the way that this is constructed some of these songs you can feel the anger in frustration with just kind of with life in general. It's like this weird existential like a little bit mostly in the lyrics because most of the music is generally british pop. It isn't that interesting is it's really weird. Yeah and once again that takes them the takes them listening to figure that out at the Their record label was virgin records. I it was distributed in the united states by geffen records okay They signed with virgin records in the seventies they had a hit with waiting for nigel and then version was just kind of sitting around waiting for the next hit and they just pro which didn't show up didn't produce anything that they were transitioning between Between punk and this new do wave in and they didn't have a drummer in so finally virgin says in nineteen eighty-five you have to sell seventy thousand records. Otherwise we're dropping you now seventy thousands not a lot of records but they were so flummoxed so frustrated with this group that they thought had so much potential. But we're just so hard to get along with that they gave them a quota of seventy thousand records otherwise they were dropping well. Let's put that in perspective though because you're right to a to a recording act to establish recording act. Seventy thousand records shouldn't be a big deal especially not in the time period when record sales were an actual thing as opposed to streaming now But if you haven't done anything in a while and you're coming out basically coming from nowhere. Seventy thousand records. A lot of records could be if if you're unknown i mean. Sec has they basically been silent now for a little while had been touring which is the foundation of any rock and roll band. So that's that's a lot would be a big uphill battle to climb thank. They were kinda short haircut. He's bald now but he had like a really short short haircut. Which you know that did that didn't fit into the access eighties. Everyone has been call. Molding had this great big weird mullet thing. New wave alternative punk pop band or you guys. Yeah seems like a banker. Did what's going on singing these like songs in the round where they talking about children's nursery rhymes here just like where do these guys fit in. So the record company gives them a mandate. You've got to sell seventy thousand records. And so they give them a list of producers they say you have to choose one of these producers the new producer new everything choose one of these producers and the band sits down which is basically entered partridge sitting down with gregory data colin moulding and telling them the only name that i recognize on this list. That virgin records gave us. Is todd rundgren. So that's literally why they picked him because he was the only name the record the only name that they recognize. That's hilarious now. So they called todd rendering and they said to him. Are you interested in doing this album for ecstasy. And he said you know what. I actually saw them lie time. So he'd seen them in nineteen eighty and like their music Listen to some of their other stuff. It was like. Wow this is really out there like this is the stuff that he could do something with this. This is out there. In so the record company gives him a mandate. You gotta control. Andy partridge he's gonna try to take over. He's gonna try to ruin everything for you. You've got to keep him on task and you can't go over budget because these guys aren't making us any money and we would really like to make some money. Yeah todd rundgren was known as a bit of a kind of a stern okay. I fist when he needed to be had so he says you got it so they signed the guy and now he has to produce an album. So i think that the way this works it may have been through a letter. It may have been through a phone call. I'm not really sure they were in the uk he was in his studios in woodstock new york called utopia studios. They get in contact and he says okay. So what do you have in mind. And they kinda him on like you know. Because they know that they're under the mandate and you take someone who's already upset and someone who's really hard to deal with. Anyway you give him a mandate and suddenly you have someone who just petulant and now you give them a new boss who's going to enforce the mandate and this is a recipe for badness. So he didn't. They didn't have any ideas. I had no idea what they wanna do. They didn't have a name. They just had a bunch of demo tapes. Okay so he says. Send me the demo tapes. He listens to them and he says there's a concept here he starts arranging these songs and listens to them and says you guys have a brilliant concept album here and they didn't get it. They didn't get it at all. They wrote the songs. Colin moulding actually has five songs on the album which is which was different That's more than he had contributed in the past right and in everyone including colin moulding. And andy partridge and rendered will all say we reason he had that many was because todd rundgren absolutely force it through 'cause run like the songs he one of those on the concept. Yeah he he does songs were part those demos part of his vision. They had some songs that were childlike and innocent in an belied this eggs intial crisis with anger in an ended up with this song called dear god. That is one of the most forcibly forceful strong. I don't know how you even characterized the song as much as it is someone who so so angry at religion that You know to put these these songs down in other words down into the songs is just like my goodness. I mean that is so strong. And.

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