Recorded at the same time (July 1972) at the same studio (Bavaria Studios, Munich) as Amon Düül II`s well known and of their best efforts 'Wolf City', Utopia was a common project by Amon Düül II producer and musician Olaf Kübler (saxophone, moog) and Düül bass player Lothar Meid. Using the synergy of the parallel sessions with the Wolf City recordings, Olaf Kübler appreciated Düüls singer Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz as singer of 2 of the album tracks and Düül heads Weinzierl and Karrer on guitar and violin. There is also a different version of Deutsch-Nepal on the album. As Olaf Kübler reminds Deutsch-Nepal was originally planned to record only for the Utopia album. Musically Utopia has a lot in common with the Düül records 'Wolf City' and 'Viva la Trance' and slightly early Passport and Embryo influences…
Out of all the releases issued thus far in the Todd Rundgren/Utopia Official Bootleg series, it turns out that Vol. 5 – Oops! Wrong Planet Tour – is one of the most "bootleg sounding" of the bunch, as it's less than stellar audio quality suggests it is an audience recording. Despite not possessing as clear a sound as the other volumes (which appear to be mostly soundboard recordings), Oops! Wrong Planet Tour does a good job of capturing the group during one of the most transitional periods of its career. Beginning the year (1977) as a prog rock band (RA) and ending it as a new wave-ish arena rock outfit (Oops! Wrong Planet), both sides of the group are showcased on this double-disc set, while a generous helping of solo Rundgren material is included as well, given a Utopia makeover.
Easily, 1980 could have gone down as the year that Utopia broke through to the mainstream. With the commercial success achieved with the album Adventures in Utopia and its single, "Set Me Free," it appeared as though Rundgren and company were well on their way with their next release. But instead of issuing another album of new wave-esque pop, the group completely switched gears and released a twisted Beatles parody, Deface the Music. While longtime fans loved it, the release obviously confused and alienated their newfound mainstream following, as it failed to follow its predecessor's strong chart showing (and with John Lennon's death just two months after its release, a Beatles parody wasn't exactly what many rock fans wanted to hear at that point in time). As a result, the group only performed selections from the Deface album during its short supporting tour. Now fans can finally hear what the songs sounded like on the concert stage, with Vol. 6 of Rundgren's bootleg series, Deface the Music Tour.
By the release of 1984's Oblivion, Utopia was inching its way toward a sound that was very popular with the mainstream pop bands of the time – glossy production and electronic drums (a sound popularized by the likes of the Cars and Def Leppard). While the aforementioned groups benefited from this musical approach, Utopia did not – especially due to the fact that drummer Willie Wilcox helped propel many of the group's tracks before this "electronic makeover." It turns out that on the album's supporting tour, Wilcox merged both traditional drums with electronic ones (which improved many of the cold-sounding Oblivion tracks), as evidenced from Vol. 9 of the ongoing Todd Rundgren/Utopia Official Bootleg series, Oblivion Tour. Although its days as a band were drawing rapidly to a close (Utopia would only issue one more album, 1985's POV), the group sounds in fine form here, as such new tracks as "Cry Baby," "Itch in My Brain," and "Love With a Thinker" turn out to be highlights, as well as such older nuggets as "You Make Me Crazy," "Caravan," and "Last of the New Wave Riders".
While the heart of jazz fusion may live in sunny California, USA, it is strengthened by impulses from all over the world. For 15 years and counting, lots of those have been emanating from Bremen, Germany. This city, located on the river Weser, is the birthplace and home of musician/composer Michael "MSM" Schmidt. In his day job, Schmidt works at a large insurance firm. At night, he is a passionate music composer whose works regularly make a splash in the US jazz-rock scene. His latest album - his fifth production - is entitled "Utopia"