Let's be honest: Todd Rundgren - the multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer/instrumentalist - has been considered "difficult" by some. His disagreements with British rockers XTC on 1986's Skylarking (arguably their signature masterpiece, nonetheless) are the stuff of rock legend, and he's offered extremely blunt commentary on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an institution that's welcoming him in 2021.
But a new interview showcases the kinds of artists that drive him nuts - namely notorious rapper/producer Kanye West, who recruited Rundgren for his latest project, only to (maybe) leave him out entirely.
Rundgren told Ultimate Classic Rock about "three albums worth of Kanye stems I have on my computer" after being recruited multiple times to contribute to Donda, West's sprawling 10th album released in August. "I'm still a producer, and I don't just want to be like driftwood in the process," Todd said, bemoaning the year he spent offering himself for collaboration and West's "dilettante" behavior, dismissing him as a "shoe designer." (Harsh, but not untrue.)
The musician offered a shocking explanation behind the album's "raw, unprocessed" nature, promoted through several gigs where West played radically different versions of Donda to stadium crowds. "He was too afraid that Drake would one-up him, so he hurried up and released the album the weekend before Drake could get his out," Rundgren said, referring to the Canadian rapper's impending, similarly overstuffed Certified Lover Boy. "And in the end, Drake ate his lunch anyway," he added, a reference to Certified supplanting Donda atop the Billboard 200.
READ MORE: Todd Rundgren: His Greatest '70s Solo Songs
Elsewhere, Rundgren addressed his offer of a remote live performance for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, which he won't attend due to a commitment to his forthcoming tour, The Individualist, A True Star. (On Oct. 30, the show will be in Cincinatti, OH, hours away from the Cleveland museum's ceremony.) "I will stop my show and acknowledge the award and mostly acknowledge my fans, because it's for them," he said. "But for me to do something extraordinary for the Hall of Fame would just be hypocritical...I'm too much on the record about my feelings."