men and music (and math)

July 6, 2008

I have always been attracted to geeks and dorks (defining “dork” as a geek with artistic tendencies). With only a few exceptions, the men I have loved have been musicians or scientists (or both). Dominique, who invented a new approach to division and taught himself how to play drums. Dr. John, ER doc with guitars in the attic and watercolor paints in the studio. Michael, “invisible” bass player. David, man of many strings. Greg, inventor of languages and fond of stringing his 12-string backwards, for the joy of relearning it. Randy, former Eagle Scout, now wreaking havoc with camera and code.

Anyway. With that “heritage” it is not a surprise that the man I am married to is a geek–musician, engineer, photographer, tinkerer. And with all that “heritage” you would quite fairly expect that I would understand being a FAN, a groupie so to speak. But I, um, don’t really know that territory.

My dear spouse however, is a FAN. FAN in all-caps, of a certain rock star who really truly opened the doors of possibility for him.

He was fourteen when he heard Todd Rundgren’s “Utopia”. He says, “the album opened my eyes. It was a doorway to the Rabbit Hole.”

This is his tribute to Todd’s 1974 album “Utopia” being both ahead of its time in content–”Like nothing else going on then”–and, Todd’s full-on hands-on involvement: Engineer, producer, songwriter, performer.

To hear my husband speak of this, there is no missing his passion, and his gratitude, for Todd Rundgren.

Imagine now, my man’s life as a boy child in the midwest–imagine dust and grime, and limited options. To have a musical bent but only the reference points of bad AM radio … and to finally breathe in the novelty and intelligence of Rundgren’s music. Really, “savior” is not too lavish of a credit to give to Rundgren.

I suppose it is a classic story, boy meets (real) music and his life is saved, his life is shaped; as Todd did, he grew up to be engineer/producer/songwriter/performer. However, this is the first time that I’ve lived beside such a living history, and I have a few things to learn to understand.

I am learning to understand, for example, what is a FAN. In this case, a FAN is someone who buys airplane tickets and travels long distances to hear and see his hero perform. Multiple times, same tour. Tuesday, we travel to Portland, Wednesday, we are among the lucky few who scored tickets to the show at The Triple Door.

On the 23rd, he’s off to a show in St Louis, and the 24th, a show in Kansas City. All of this following the show that wrapped up “Toddstock” Todd’s 60th Birthday/Fan Appreciation extravaganza–which explains the photo below–my dear spouse, in Todd’s kitchen, with Todd!

Todd Rundgren and FAN, Kauai

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