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What bass did John Siegler play on Utopia?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Spaced Out, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Spaced Out

    Spaced Out

    Aug 3, 2007
    The bassist on the album Todd Rundgren's Utopia was John Siegler, who I can't find any info on because someone else named John Sielger is more famous. I need to know what bass he played on that album. It was the most beautiful tone and sliding I've ever heard. So I'm on a mission to find out and thought I'd ask around. I want that bass.
  2. cheesybass


    Apr 10, 2005
    I saw him in concert with Todd a couple of times and he used a Fender Jazz. He's a great bassist!
  3. Zack1990


    Dec 4, 2007
    Spaced Out... oh my friend, save your search, the rich amazing sound comes from Siegler working a cello... only John could do it.

    For what it's worth, he's finest bass player I've ever heard.

    Try slowing down some of his runs on the Icon to half speed and see if you can duplicate them ... I tried for years, no dice.
  4. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    John used both a Precision and a Jazz bass but I mostly saw him lugging around a Jazz in the Utopia days.

    Freedom Fighters:

    A really talented bassist.
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    That was a truly amazing band, way ahead of their time. The second incarnation of Utopia was too new wave for my tastes, but I do loves me some Todd. And yeah, Fenders, P & J.
  6. Jimtoonz


    Aug 26, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    This photo was taken in 1972 during the recording of Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star album. Looks like a Jazz in that photo, although I have seen photos in which Siegler was using a P-bass.


    I always liked his session work. The parts always fit the songs perfectly.
  7. Zack1990


    Dec 4, 2007
    I guess I should have been more explanatory. Yes, definitely, usually a Precision or a Jazz. But those sounds & textures that pop up occasionally on Utopia (the album) are most certainly from John plucking a cello... and I didn't want Spaced Out to spend time looking, not that he would, for an electric bass that would produce the same sound.

    On a slightly different point, my niece once asked me what band I would most like to see & hear. My answer was immediate: the Utopia 'Power Sextet' of the mid seventies... if only because of John. There are a heck of a lot of good bass players out there but John had that very unique style and approach that I gravitated to and if it weren't for him, I would have gotten nowhere on the instrument... for what that's worth ...
  8. epoxo57

    epoxo57 Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    Perrysburg, Ohio
    Block inlays on the neck would suggest a Jazz in that picture :)
  9. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I know JS used a cello for texture and certain recorded pieces, but I saw Todd & Utopia four or five times during the John Siegler era and he never broke out a cello - of course, they had three keyboard players, usually.

    That incarnation was a fabulous live experience even if no one really knew what that M Frog guy was up to.

    Siegler was a huge influence on me, too.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    When you talk about "Utopia" - I tend to think of Kasim Sultan as the bassist who really impressed me - I think of "Singring and the Glass Guitar" with fond memories! Although I haven't listened to that stuff for decades - but Kasim was the bass player with Todd, who stood out for me!

  11. +1 to that. And I agree that they were ahead of their time. The album RA is phenominal. I actually saw them on that tour ('76 or '77) and they were opening for Blue Oyster Cult if you can believe that. Great, underrated band.
  12. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I saw that tour, too - and worked on Todd/Kasim's Ankh bass, now that I think about it. (Just needed a set-up, really, but it was driving Kasim crazy and it made Todd, who owned it, nervous to see anyone going at it with a screwdriver.)

    Anyway, I'm so old and such an original Todd fan that I actually saw Todd with the Hunt brothers on drums and bass.
  13. Zack1990


    Dec 4, 2007
    Bovinehost, I defer to your superior knowledge my good man. But I do have to say, if only to defend my own aging years and progressive senility, while I was evidently referring to the Icon I was actually thinking about the Freak Parade. That was the tune that gave me the same obsession as Spaced Out, and while I was trying to figure how Siegler got the sound, a friend of my father's walked into the room and said 'that isn't a bass, that's a cello'. I looked at the liner notes and sure enough... anyway.

    Very cool about the Ankh bass. And there is no doubt, Kaz is no slouch, that's for dang sure. Those albums are (Ra, Opps, Adventures, and Swing) very tight, very professional - those four are a heck of a band. But I have to admit it's the earlier stuff the gets me... 72 to say, 75. That's the sweet spot for me.

    The Hunt brothers? They before Nazz? Wholy Toledo
  14. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Soupy Sales Kids? That was Runt, yes?
  15. Jimtoonz


    Aug 26, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    The Sales brothers, Hunt and Tony worked with Todd on his 1st two "solo" records, Runt and The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. They also worked with Iggy Pop and were part of Tin Machine.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I prefer "Something..","Todd" and "Wizard" as albums - but the thread was talking about Utopia as a band and its bass players - I thought Kasim Sultan was the bass player who stood out ! :)
  17. I was going to say the opposite. Utopia's earlier stuff put me to sleep.

    Hammer in my heart has a nice groove. Sultan on bass, no?

    Kasim Sultan is a cool name for a musician I must say. Is that his real name?
  18. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    Siegler is one of my top influences in playing bass - I saw him a few times and every time he was playing a fretless P bass.

    The track to Just One Victory is as good as Jamerson's best IMO.
  19. wodock

    wodock Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Sergeantsville, NJ
    On the Runt album there is was one song, Once Burned, that had Rick Danko playing bass and Levon Helm on drums. Even though Todd was one of my favorites (I even saw the Nazz) I never got into Utopia that much. Too much over the top playing and effects. One favorite album that Todd produced was by the James Cotton Blues Band and Todd plays guitar on some of the songs with Michael Bloomfield, Johnnny Winter and Matt Murphy. Todd was a really incredible guitar player back in the day. I think the acid had an effect on his stuff after the first couple of solo albums.


  20. That is very cool! :D Man you just never know what is going to end up in these threads sometimes!

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