Posts Tagged ‘Ra’

The band Utopia are releasing a 7-CD box set from Todd Rundgren’s progressive band.  The April 20th release of The Road to Utopia: The Complete Recordings 1974-1982 will coincide with the long-awaited reunion tour of Rundgren, Kasim Sulton (who toured with his own iteration of Utopia earlier this year), Willie Wilcox, and Ralph Schuckett which kicks off this April and runs through June.

The new box set will trace Utopia’s evolution from its 1974 debut album – featuring the Mark II line-up (Mk. I was a short-lived touring unit) of Kevin Ellman (drums), Moogy Klingman (keyboards), Jean-Yves “M. Frog” Labat (synthesizers), Ralph Schuckett (keyboards) and John Siegler (bass/cello) – through 1982’s Swing to the Right, the fifth and final album from the “classic” line-up of Rundgren, Roger Powell, Wilcox, and Sulton.  Across seven albums, all of which have been expanded with bonus tracks, the band synthesized influences as disparate as prog rock, jazz fusion, pop, new wave, and even The British Invasion.  From the 30-minute opus “The Ikon” to the pop classic “Love is the Answer” and the spot-on, slightly naughty Beatles pastiche “I Just Want to Touch You,” Rundgren’s Utopia refused to be musically pigeonholed.

The box set has all six of the band’s studio and sole live albums as originally released between 1974 and 1982 newly remastered by the label’s Joe Reagoso from the Warner/Bearsville tapes.  Each album will be housed in an individual gatefold digipak with original art elements from each LP including inner sleeves and inserts.  Rundgren, Sulton, Wilcox, and Powell have all made written contributions to this set, as well.  Fifteen bonus tracks are spread across the seven albums, including live performances, promotional single versions, and more.

Following the period chronicled in the new box, the band recorded three more albums for the Network and Passport labels between 1982 and 1985.  Numerous compilations and archival releases have celebrated Utopia in recent years (including a “lost” album, 1976’s Disco Jets) but The Road to Utopia has all of the band’s music as originally released during the period covered.

The 2018 reunion tour will likely touch on various eras of the group’s long history; Schuckett was part of the first 1974-1975 line-up, while Sulton has recurred in the band over the years: 1974-1982, 1982-1986, and 1992.  Wilcox was a member between 1975 and 1986, and joined again for the 1992 reunion.  The tour will kick off in Pennsylvania on April 18th and will wrap up on June 5th in California.

The Road to Utopia: The Complete Recordings 1974-1982 is due on April 20th.