On November 13, 1995, Todd joined with members of the awizard mail group in an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) session. Questions were submitted in advance, as well as some taken from the floor. The following "interview" was constructed from the raw IRC session and compiled by Roger Linder.
Shhhhhhhhh. The lights go down. The crowd hushes. It's 7 PM, do you know where your hero is?

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the first ever IRC Chat with TR-i. And now, please welcome, TR-i!

Welcome Todd
Thanx. The pleasure is mine entirely. And I intend to prove it. Perhaps by making you all miserable.

Are CD sales a valid measure of your influence?
It's been a long time since I've had a 'hit', if Pearl Jam is the yardstick. But I've influenced enough people who have grown up to be CEOs that I can get a lot of free stuff. Who needs more influence than that?

Which of your recordings would you redo, given the chance?
Actually, I have the chance, and I'm redoing all of them. Well, remixing them anyway for interactive purposes. Anything worth completely redoing, I can't stand to be reminded of.

How do you produce an artist who doesn't speak English?
As one would assume, an interpretor helps. Often you must demonstrate what you mean rather than explain. And the most important tool- a chef of the artist's native cuisine.

Was it Todd's or Andy P's idea to leave "Dear God" off Skylarking?
"Dear God" was always part of my original running order. The LP was deemed too long and something had to go. I essentially loathed "Another Satellite" because it wasn't part of the concept. Andy loved it because it was all Andy and he voted to boot DG because he was afraid of the reaction. The AR dude at Virgin hated the little kid's voice, so I was essentially overruled. Until there is a Skylarking without "Another Satellite" (and with "Mermaid Smiles") it will remain an imperfect record for me.

What do you do with all the poetry/lyrics you haven't recorded?
Same as I do with the music. Nothing because there isn't any. I don't finish writing lyrics until the music is finished, and if I don't finish the music it's because I don't like it and I record over it.

Is it true that absolutely every sound on A Cappela was done with voices?
Except for handclaps and footstomps, everything is a vocal sound. Of course, sometimes I have done something very peculiar to the sound. I don't know if the FDA has some rules about the contents of music, but I don't think I'm in violation.

How difficult is it to keep from 'over-Rundgrenizing' a production?
If there is such a thing as 'Rundgrenizing', then artists must be aware that I am the sole purveyor of it and come looking for it. Serves them right. I would never attempt to sell such a thing to someone who wasn't asking for it.

What is the latest on the reworking of classic rock albums to make them interactive?
We're moving on two fronts: produce a couple of high-profile projects (like Brian Wilson's 'Smile'), and implement a method to utilize existing CD's as the sound source. And as I've said, my whole catalogue is being remixed. More later.

Will Utopia ever reunite?
I imagine that one day this R&R Hall of Fame thing will grow so tired and thin that they'll be compelled to induct marginal bands like Utopia. Maybe then we'll be in the same room together, but only because of the arch silliness of it all.

Did something happen to the AWATS master tapes...did they burn? Were they 16 track recordings?
AWATS is on about 5 2" 16 track masters. We have yet to locate the one containing Zen Archer and a few other things. The last of the forensic evidence is not in so we don't have a body yet

After nearly a year of The Difference, are you still enjoying yourself?
Learning more all the time. We have a chance to skew the playlist more towards my tastes. It seems that it's strangely coincident with what's 'hip' in radio

I haven't heard a one, yet. Not in our market!
The Diff doesn't air in the Bay area either. KFOG, the likely client, is too successful for syndicated programming.

How 'bout The Diff - Real Audio or the Net?
I can barely comprehend speach in RA, let alone music. Not yet.

How'd the MC gig at the Billboard Video Music Awards show go?
Swimmingly! Got to hang with Jill Sobule & Skee-lo.

Since Jesse Helms is running for reelection, what are the chances of a studio versio of "Jesse" for the use of the competition?
Personally, I'd rather just bitch-slap the old fart to the ground and be done with it.

The music for Up Against It was quite a departure from your "norm". How did it come about? "Todd, here's a play we need music for?" and you sat down and "The Smell of Money" came out?
I like that- the smell of money came out. Actually, there was no money involved. The New York Public Theater, who commissioned the work, is non-profit, or rather hoping to make a profit so it doesn't have to go begging. It was a chance for me to explore the music of my youth, the only kind my dad would allow in the house.

Did it come out that "Gilbert and Sullivan" by accident or on purpose?
Knowing about G&S was my way of being a smartass.

Have you heard of the Internet-based musical group, "The Hub"? If so, do the goals of the In[tr]active Music Forum parallel in any way?
I must as yet plead ignorance of the Mighty Hub but would certainly welcome them to exploit the forum in their quest for cyber-stardom.

By the way, C'serve says to tell ya that there's some kind of free 'get acquainted' thing. But I don't remember the number. do!

For those of you who haven't yet explored the In(TR)active Music Forum on CompuServe and would like to do so, just call 1-800-550-5335 and ask for the "Todd Rundgren CompuServe Kit". You'll get a customized TRi membership kit which includes a 30 day trial with 10 free hours during the trial period. End of commercial.
Why haven't you been on Dave Letterman?
I was just on the set the other day when the Chili Peppers were rehearsing, so I was kind of 'on' the show, if you count on the set.

Regarding Open My Eyes on the Tribute cd, what would it take for you to consider working with a non-Label talent?
Ah, working is the operative word. Playing I do for free.

At the Canadian Music Week show in Toronto about 6 months ago, you mentioned that the computer is obviously not the ideal place for music interaction. How will the experience move from the computer to the CD player/stereo?
Perhaps something like a Playstation or Pippin would have the stones to bridge the gap. High-band connectivity into the living room could come just as soon.

Who (or what) has been a major musical influence for you?
Psychedelics. There goes my presidential bid.

What are the chances of additional shows in the Bay area? Is it exhausting to tour?
Beyond New Years, we have no plans. We haven't planned not to either. It's exhausting just thinking about it.

Are your Badfinger tracks in the running for the interactive treatment?
Possibly, but not a priority.

There has been much discussion on the list about your reluctance to include biographical data on the CD-e.
Biography is an attempt to market the mystical... usually rendering the mystical mundane and valuless.

Who are some of your *visual* influences? Artists, filmmakers...
Fellini is probably my favorite director. Currently I'm reexamining the late 50s/Cold War/Beat era as somewhat evidenced in the Individualist. Everything zen, you know.

Do you plan a festive set for New Years?
Chicago will be as festive as we can remember to make it.

Where's PP for the New Year's Shows?
Prarie's out with the Tubes. They got first crack I guess.

Some of your songs have great bass lines (ie, Bang the Drum). Do you start to write songs with a bass line in mind?
Bass been berry berry good to me. I think that I would as much enjoy playing bass (had I an iota of technique) as guitar. Fortunately, the miracle of modern electronics makes up for my shortcomings.

I'm especially interested in knowing how you came to write Healing, Parts I-III. It's such an inspirational piece of work. So many of your fans cite it as some of your best work!
Healing was an experiment in theraputic environmental music. I'm not sure extactly how it can be most effectively administered... but ideally there are no unpleasant side-effects... and I don't think it's habit forming.

[On the CDe for "Cast The First Stone"] who is the other character besides Rush and Buchanan?
That's the Right Reverend Robert Tilton.

Fascist Christ has some really interesting sounds under surround/pro-logic. Do you specifically record for surround?
I haven't heard the record under surround conditions. It's probably me not paying attention while I'm mixing and screwing up the phase.

Is it true that you sold your royalty rights for "Bat out of Hell"? What was your motivation to give up the cash cow?
Cows get old and their milk starts to taste funny.

How do you see the role of MIDI in music. A blessing or a curse?
A blessing to musicians who have a real grasp of the possibilities. A curse because it empowers the competition.

How about a source for the words to "Chakras"?
Charkra means wheel in hindu. Check out books by Rev. Leadbeater wherever fine Theosophical tomes are sold.

You've experimented in a lot of musical genres, any inclination to do something more classical or orchestral in nature?
I was musing about orchestrations the other day. I think I resolved that it's for when I'm older and desperate for something to exploit.

What led you to give up stage guitar amps lately in favor of direct into the PA?
I use wireless ear monitors, so I wouldn't hear the amp anyway. Besides, the sound man loves me for it.

And those of us who prefer to see you up close and personal can't hear a damn chord!
Good point. Maybe we should rent ear monitors.

Todd, you've been at it this "music thing" for a quite sometime, do you ever find yourself with "writers block"? And if so, how do you get around it?
I have a weird writing style. I figure that if I remain calm and don't run to the piano everytime something comes to me then I won't run out of ideas before my children have to support me.

So, the piano is your nemesis, not the guitar!
You're right. I've got to stay away from that guitar, too.

Whatever happened to Kevin Ellman? I thought his drumming was impeccable.
Kevin Ellman went on to manage the Beefsteak Charlie's Chain of fine family dining establishments.

What did you think of his drum style?
Kevin was hella-funky. But the funkiest was John Siomos, who decided to play with Frampton instead.

Who's the blond mustachioed bass player in one of the nazz videos (Not Wrong Long?) It doesn't look like Carson.
That blond mustachioed fella was our engineer who filled in because Carson quit. I'm not even sure that's me in the video.

What potential do you see in realtime group interactions on the internet?
The net, as we have just demonstrated, is the world largest digital delay. I don't envision any real-time anything on the net... and that's why we like it!

Tortured Artist and Hermit are wonderful. Can we have a clue as to your inspiriration on these?
If I had a clue I'd give it to ya. I'm still trying to buy a vowel.

Who is "Mason" credited on Utopia Theme...one of your few collaborations?
The original Utopia keyboardist was a guy named Dave Mason... not the one you're thinking of.

How long does it take to create a computer animated video piece like "Theology"?
In the case of the Theology, years. We must have made it 6 times and it's still not finished.

I think the drugs are wearing off... it's time to leave the love-in. Let's do it again sometime. Meanwhile, check out the IMUSIC forum... the first taste is free, just like real drugs!