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Todd Rundgren On 'Bang On The Drum', Music Education, And The 'White Album'

Todd Rundgren will pay tribute to the Beatles Oct 2 at the Pabst Theater.

Legendary rock veteran Todd Rundgren has been making music for over 50 years, penning classics like Hello, It’s Me and I Saw The Light. In Wisconsin, though, the multi-instrumentalist is most known for Bang the Drum All Day, now a celabratory post-touchdown anthem for the Green Bay Packers. Rundgren takes humor in the late success of the song but says, "It's my least favorite song to play." Thankfully for Rundgren, his focus will be more on Liverpool than Lambeau when he stops in Milwaukee for "A Tribute to the Beatles’ The White Album" at the Pabst Theater October 2nd. 

The tribute marks the 50 year anniversary of the album's release and features Christopher Cross, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Jason Scheff (Chicago) and Joey Molland (Badfinger). Of the 30 songs from The White Album, Rundgren is most excited for While My Guitar Gently Weeps.  "It's one of the few Beatles songs that really features a guitar," Rundgren says. "That's the fun part for me, a chance to noodle around and not simply tribute Beatles but one of my principal guitar influences, Eric Clapton."

Rundgren also reflected on the evolution of the music industry and the way our culture now consumes music. "People started carrying the music with them and you’re reading the newspaper at the same time while you’re on the subway," Rundgren says. "You’re jogging and thinking about other stuff and the music is just there to set the pace for you. Suddenly music is a wallpaper to your life - it’s no longer a quality time experience."

Aside from his solo career, Rundgren has produced seminal albums for Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, New York Dolls, and Meat Loaf. He’s also a champion of music education and runs the Spirit of Harmony foundation to help bring it back to public schools.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Trapper Schoepp
Trapper Schoepp became Lake Effect's assistant producer in August 2019.