Nazz Biography

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Formed in Philadelphia, USA in 1967, the psych pop Nazz comprised Todd Rundgren (22 June 1948, Upper Darby, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; guitar/vocals), Carson Van Osten (b. 24 September 1946, USA; bass/vocals), both ex-members of bar-band Woody’s Truck Stop, Robert ‘Stewkey’ Antoni (b. 17 November 1947, Newport, Rhode Island, USA; vocals/keyboards), and Thom Mooney (drums). Although the quartet made its live debut supporting the Doors, manager John Kurland deliberately cultivated an air of exclusivity which ultimately hampered progress. A lucrative recording contract with publishers Screen Gems resulted in 1968’s Nazz, a synthesis of British and US pop invoking the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield and the Small Faces. However, despite the excellence of tracks such as ‘Open My Eyes’ and the minor hit ‘Hello It’s Me’, the unit’s anglophilia and mod affectations proved unfashionable in the face of acid-rock which, when coupled with growing internal disharmony, sowed the seeds of their demise. Nazz Nazz emphasized the positive elements of its predecessor and although the same influences were still apparent, a sense of individuality was also present.

Rundgren’s departure for a solo career in 1970 brought the Nazz to an end, and Nazz III, compiled from material from the Nazz Nazz sessions, was issued posthumously. Antoni and Mooney were later joined by Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson (later of Cheap Trick) in Fuse, but only Rundgren achieved lasting success outside the Nazz. Despite negligible commercial gain, his former band’s work was later lauded as the precursor to a generation of British-influenced US bands, notably the Raspberries, Stories and Sparks.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.