MUSICIAN TODD RUNDGREN HAS MADE a career out of being an iconoclast. In his 1972 album Something/Anything?, he sang all the vocals and played all the instruments. Soon afterward, he says, he began to see the potential of "using computers to change the way music is experienced." Two decades later, Rundgren, who is now 47 and living in San Francisco, has fulfilled that vision with his new album, The Individualist (see review).
When did you first start using computers?
When I was still in high school, around 1965.I was interested in all sorts of technical things, like robots and rocket ships. You needed a computer to build a robot. They used computers at the telephone billing office not too far from my high school. So I used to go there and hang around.
How did you get the idea to put music videos on the computer?
Upon hearing a song, the average person creates an emotional picture. Music evokes a specific line of imagery. I wanted to reinforce that by doing visualizations of the music.
What kinds of things will music fans be able to do on their computers in the future?
Eventually, with the interactive music CD, you will be able to specify how you would like the music performed. For instance, if you like the instruments, you can listen to an entirely instrumental version of the album. The only limitation will be how much music you can stand to listen to.