Last month, Baby Boomer/rocker Todd Rundgren got into some hot water. He was doing a rather mild-mannered interview about his new album with Variety, and the conversation turned to politics. Rundgren said flat-out, “If you’re a Trump supporter, don’t come to my show, because you won’t have a good time. And also, I don’t understand your frickin’ values.” It became a thing. Fox News yelled about it and Rundgren got death threats and a ton of bad press in the conservative media. Concert promoters were worried and Rundgren got death threats. One month later, he sat down with Variety again for a follow-up interview. He’s not backing down. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
Things have died down: “Well, the biggest issue turned out to be my relationship with Yes and the Yes festival — they were concerned about what negative impact that might have on them. But things have pretty much died down. There aren’t enough of these angry people to go around, so they all move en masse to somebody else in due time. But in the first week, there was a lot of panic and a lot of mixed feelings. The record company was glad, because it brought attention to the record as a whole, but other people, agency people, were wondering what kind of net effect it would have. As it turns out, it seems like crowds have been getting bigger rather than smaller, and it’s either out of curiosity or because people are actually coming to the show to make a statement that they don’t want to see people being intimidated for essentially expressing an opinion.”
Targeted by the right-wing media: “The initial response was quite obviously orchestrated, because almost all of it was vitriolic and almost all of it started out with “You showbiz liberals…!” [Breitbart.com] channeled a bunch of their morons over to Variety to make commentary, even though none of those people ever read Variety before. So that was weird and ironic at first. Eventually the bots and trolls get overwhelmed by the real responses, which are at least more measured. Yeah, there’s still negative response from certain people, but as a broader audience has actually gotten to see what the hubbub is about, they’ve just found it amusing, I think, albeit with a certain amount of biting commentary.”
He still doesn’t think Trump supporters should come to his show: “They tried to cast it as me having some kind of inherent dislike of the Trump voter. Here’s the problem, and here’s where I get in trouble again. [Laughs] There are certain things about Trump that are irrefutable: He is dishonest. He is a pathological liar. He’s an ignoramus. These are all provable. “Evil” (is) a little less (irrefutable); it depends on your definition. I consider him evil because he makes other people do things that they regret and that they wouldn’t do otherwise. Those people who are still 100 percent behind him, the only thing you can deduce from that is that he represents them perfectly. They support the dishonesty, they support the ignorance, and they support the evil. But it isn’t like those are the people that I dwell on all the time. I’d much rather think of people as having some concern about the truth, and wanting to know what’s real and what isn’t real, and wanting to help other people rather than destroy them because they’re not loyal to you. That’s what I’d prefer to believe about people. But the plain reality is that anybody who will still go to the wall for this guy is everything that he is. And that’s depressing. [Laughs.] And if those people walk out of my show, as far as I’m concerned, buh-bye.
The entire interview is a worthwhile read, he goes on at length about what he thinks of death threats, and the intimidation of artists. He also talks about how Trump has empowered white supremacists and how genuinely scary that is. I completely agree with Rundgren when he talks about how terrifying it is that Trumpers – having already seen Trump in action for five months as president – are still 100% behind him. Those people haven’t seen or heard anything that would weaken their support. And that’s terrifying.
Photos courtesy of WENN.