It's not like it's never happened before, but here's a story with a happy ending.
Fans of rocker Todd Rundgren (and you can count me among them dating back to his great album, Something/Anything) are getting quite a little show these days. Rundgren is on tour in the South, but he's not alone. On Saturday night in Boca Raton, Fla. his opening act was none other than Royston Langdon, the fiancé of Rundgren's kind-of daughter, Liv Tyler. Langdon used to head up a group called Spacehog, but they disbanded and now, according to Rundgren's web site, Langdon is opening dates all over the place.
But wait: you're saying, Isn't Aerosmith's Steven Tyler the father of Liv? If you were playing Rock 'n' Roll Jeopardy you'd be correct. But you'd also be correct to say that Rundgren was as well. For the first nine years of her life, Liv was raised by her mom, rocker/author Bebe Buell , to think that Todd was her dad. In fact, Steven Tyler's much noted drug problems were so severe that Buell and Rundgren took this path rather than involve Tyler.
Later, when Tyler found out, he stepped up to the plate. But Rundgren has hung in there, and he and Liv have managed to make a nice, extended family out of the whole affair.
Enter Langdon, whom Tyler will presumably marry. The affable British rocker from Leeds will carry on with Rundgren in Clearwater, Jacksonville and Atlanta before returning home to record his solo album. Also hanging out on the tour, I'm told, is Todd's 21-year-old lookalike son, Rex, a baseball star in the Florida Marlins farm system.
Rundgren, by the way, is not in that stupid Rock and Roll Hall of Fame despite having produced many hit records (Grand Funk's 'We're An American Band,' Badfinger's 'Straight Up,' Psychedelic Furs' 'Love My Way,' XTC's classic 'Skylarking') and made many classics of his own.
You see that's why it's actually not a Rock and Hall Hall of Fame, just Jann Wenner's Hall of Fame. Rundgren would have been eligible now for at least eight years. Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney have each been inducted twice.
BAFTA, the British Academy Awards, announced their nominees yesterday. They copied to a T the same nominees as the Directors Guild of America, choosing Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Lord of the Rings, and The Pianist .
This should be interesting, because as Oscar voting ends tomorrow, I wonder if the Academy will nominate those five movies too. It would seem that of them all, The Pianist is the most vulnerable. Director Roman Polanski has all but vanished from the process, not even giving the New York Times an interview this past Sunday. Could we see a resurgence instead of Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven? Or will DreamWorks pull off a last minute rally for Road to Perdition or Catch Me If You Can ?
I'm told the staff at the syndicated talk show Dr. Phil is "freaking out" over a story in last week's National Enquirer. The story claimed that Dr. Phil, protégé of Oprah Winfrey , is a control freak who works his staff to death while he lives it up dining gourmet style in front of them and driving a Ferrari.
Usually I wouldn't endorse a National Enquirer story but I've heard similar things from different sources. I've been told that Phil's Southern styled homily-driven persona is not the real Phil at all.
Fame is a quick ride for most performers, especially those who start believing their own press. Maybe Oprah better put Phil on the couch and give him some advice, because if anyone knows how to handle herself in public, it's Winfrey. Her staff adores her and you rarely hear a negative word out of them.
The only happy person in the record business this week is Norah Jones, the 21-year-old daughter of Indian composer Ravi Shankar.
Her debut album will remain at #1 with about 100,000 copies old for the last seven days.
The rest of the Top 10, however, is floundering. Together, all the CDs by J-Lo, Avril Lavigne, the Dixie Chicks and Eminem didn't add up to a hill of beans -- fewer than 730,000 copies once again. The one little bright spot is the soundtrack to the movie Chicago, which is a hit and may wind up saving a couple of executives at Epic Records their jobs. Talk about the Perils of Pauline! (That was an old radio and is no reference to Epic execs with similar names.)
Mariah Carey, by the way, hangs in there with her Charmbracelet album. But Whitney Houston? A month after its official release, Just Whitney... has drifted into the lower, wilder regions of the album chart as if it never existed in the first place.