In 1967 I was a high school sophomore frequenting Philly's musical haunts. My favorite local band, Woody's Truck Stop, featured a strange-looking kid with listless hair who could set a guitar on fire. Word spread that this quirky vunderkind, Todd Rundgren, was forming his own band, to be called Nazz. The debut was eagerly anticipated, especially because they were going to be opening for The Doors. That evening was enchanted; The Doors were new on the scene, and in fantastic form. Nazz came out with both barrels blazing; playing to a hometown crowd they just about shook the building apart. There was a lot of great music happening back then, and their debut album escaped me. However, I connected with Nazz Nazz, their second, and last. Frankly, I was amazed and delighted to discover it's available.
Nazz Nazz is a gem from beginning to end. The writing is consistently excellent, the singing is exceptionally good, and it features a slew of monsters. Forget All About It, Not Wrong Long, and especially, Under The Ice, deliver hard rock with polish and bite, totally satisfying. Gonna Cry Today and Letters Don't Count, (the latter is a treasure), showcase the sentimental Rundgren writing style that America would later come to love. Meridian Leeward is a hoot, and the episodic and mercurial A Beautiful Song is worth the price of the CD by itself. Swinging from heartbreaking, sincere yearning to blazing guitar seemingly about to explode, this wonderful song, or suite if you prefer, gives ample evidence of Rundgren's amazing abilities as a producer, abilities which provided him his most enduring success. As an artifact of an industry giant emerging from the pack, Nazz Nazz is fascinating, but it's really much better than that. Nazz Nazz stands on its own as a thoroughly masterful rock album, a pleasure then and a pleasure today.