Discord & Rhyme: A Music Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

008 (feat. Dave Weigel): Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, a True Star (1973)

“The birth was painful, but the baby is beautiful.”

—by far the nicest thing XTC’s Andy Partridge has said about Todd Rundgren as a producer

Discord & Rhyme is excited to welcome its first guest co-host! David Weigel is a politics reporter for the Washington Post, but more importantly for our nefarious purposes, he is the author of the truly excellent progressive rock history The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock. But this episode is also a reunion: Dave used to geek out about music with your hosts on the teeny-tiny ‘90s music websites we lovingly called the Web Reviewing Community (WRC). And today, he’s geeking out with us all over again by helping us tear apart Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, track by minute-long track.

Producer wunderkind Rundgren’s maddening 1973 opus is many things to many people. To Mike, today’s host, it’s the album that best captures the true spirit and intent of psychedelia. To Dave, it’s one of the seeds of his own prog rock obsession. To Rich, it’s equal parts drug trip pressed to vinyl and giddy, hysterical prank. To Ben, it’s a suite of beautiful melodies marred by Rundgren’s penchant for giggles and electronic farts. And to Amanda, it’s creative but intensely irritating, so she has chosen to sit out as commentator and serve as this episode’s Statler, Waldorf, and Kermit. No matter your perspective, there is truly no album like A Wizard, a True Star, and this episode is quite a wild ride.

Miscellany

  • Discord & Rhyme has launched a Patreon! If you like what we’re doing and want to support the podcast, visit patreon.com/discordpod to chuck some spare change into the tip jar.

  • You should all read Dave’s excellent book, The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock. Even if you’re not a prog fan, it’s a terrific overview of the genre and packed full of interesting information about the music scene in that period.

  • Speaking of great books, you should also read co-host Benjamin Marlin’s latest: All the Days of His Life: Listening to David Bowie, Song by Song, for which he struggled through both Tin Machine albums. He does it all for you.

  • Amanda doesn’t actually hate this album quite as much she pretended to, and actually sort of likes “Zen Archer,” but don’t tell anyone. (She does find the album very annoying and/or boring.)

  • “Todd is God” was a real thing. The ‘70s were weird, man.

Links

Discord & Rhyme Roll Call

  • Mike DeFabio (host)

  • Amanda Rodgers (moderator)

  • David Weigel (special guest)

  • Rich Bunnell

  • Ben Marlin

A Wizard, A True Star tracklist

  1. International Feel

  2. Never Never Land

  3. Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off

  4. You Need Your Head

  5. Rock and Roll P***y

  6. Dogfight Giggle

  7. You Don’t Have to Camp Around

  8. Flamingo

  9. Zen Archer

  10. Just Another Onionhead/Da Da Dali

  11. When the Sh*t Hits the Fan/Sunset Boulevard

  12. Le Feel Internacionale

  13. Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel

  14. Does Anybody Love You?

  15. Medley: I’m So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby/La La Means I Love You/Cool Jerk

  16. Hungry for Love

  17. I Don’t Want to Tie You Down

  18. Is It My Name?

  19. Just One Victory

Other clips used

Todd Rundgren:

  • Hello, It’s Me

  • I Saw the Light

  • We Gotta Get You a Woman

  • Bang the Drum all Day

  • Couldn’t I Just Tell You

  • Determination

  • The Nazz - Open My Eyes

Others:

  • Boris/Merzbow - Woman on the Screen

  • Frank Ocean - Solo

  • Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl

  • “Weird Al” Yankovic - One of Those Days

  • Fine Young Cannibals - Good Thing

  • Billy Bragg - Just One Victory

Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip

Todd Rundgren:

  • Change Myself

  • Strawberry Fields Forever

  • Good Vibrations

  • Breathless

  • Slut

  • Song of the Viking

  • Utopia - Love in Action

Others:

  • The Beatles - I Feel Fine

  • The Beatles - There’s a Place

  • The Beatles - You Won’t See Me

  • The Beatles - Carry That Weight

  • Mary Martin - Never Never Land

  • Michael Jackson - Man in the Mirror

  • Prince - Raspberry Beret

  • Nick Lowe - Cruel to Be Kind

  • Steve Reich - It’s Gonna Rain

  • Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove

Band/album personnel

  • Todd Rundgren – vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, bass, percussion, horns, various electronic effects, production

  • Jean-Yves "M. Frog" Labat – VCS 3 synthesizer, woodwinds

  • Mark "Moogy" Klingman – keyboards, organ, piano, electric piano, glockenspiel

  • Ralph Schuckett – keyboards, organ, RMI, clavinet, accordion

  • John Siegler – bass guitar, cello

  • John Siomos – drums, percussion

  • Rick Derringer – bass, electric, pedal steel guitars

  • Michael Brecker – saxophone

  • Randy Brecker – trumpet

  • Barry Rogers – trombone

  • David Sanborn – saxophone

  • "Buffalo" Bill Gelber – bass guitar on “Just One Victory”

  • Tom Cosgrove – guitar on “Just One Victory”

Credits

  • “Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:

  • Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste

  • The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...

  • Faith No More - Midlife Crisis

  • Herbie Hancock - Hornets

  • Kraftwerk - Autobahn

  • Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen

  • Todd Rundgren - International Feel (this episode only)

You can buy or stream A Wizard, a True Star and other albums by Todd Rundgren at the usual suspects such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news, updates, and other random stuff. Follow Rich @zonetrope, Amanda @MagneticInk67, Ben @BenjaminM1019, and Dave @daveweigel. Special thanks to our own Mike DeFabio, the Other Leading Brand, for production, editing, and his spirited defense of a complicated album. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.