Todd Rundgren’s plans for his next album may sound like utopia to his most ardent fans.
Rundgren tells Billboard.com that he hopes to make what he calls an “arena rock record … something between prog rock and pop music. It’s very hooky songs, big, singalong choruses and melodic guitar solos and essentially the kind of music that works well in an arena. Everything has to be very deliberate and there’s often a lot of air in it to allow it to spread out and fill the space.”
Rundgren says he’s got “a few” songs already written for the project, and he plans to start working in earnest on it in early February, after he finishes his current North American concert tour. “I write in a very strange way,” he explains. “Things are very fragmentary for a very long time, and then they come together very quickly near the end of the process. I don’t even write the lyrics to the songs until immediately before I (record) them.”
How the album will come out remains up in the air, too. Rundgren’s last release, 2004’s “Liars,” was released by the now-defunct Sanctuary imprint, and he hasn’t found a new home yet. “At this point it’s one of those things where you make the record and then you shop it around for a distribution deal,” he says. “If everything goes well on both sides of the deal, it increases the possibility of sticking with the same distributor, whoever that might be, for another album.”
Rundgren also acknowledges there’s an ulterior motive in moving in the “album rock” direction. “I figure it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy; if I make a successful arena rock record, I’ll wind up playing arenas!,” he says with a laugh. “I wouldn’t mind being back in that kind of venue because of the kinds of things you can do with production. You can make your shows more interesting, which would be fun to do.”
One thing Rundgren won’t be doing — at least not very much — is touring with the New Cars. The band, he says, is on “indefinite hiatus at this point,” though it’s open to regroup for corporate and private dates.
“We couldn’t get the rights to use the name the Cars, and the New Cars just confused everybody,” Rundgren explains. “We didn’t want to have to start all over again. And I’ve got my own music and my own audience; I had no reason to start trying to begin a new career with another band.”