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35 Years Ago: Todd Rundgren Robbed at Home by Masked Burglars

Bearsville

Long before Woodstock had its peaceful reputation besmirched by Limp Bizkit-loving arsonists, the quaint New York burg bore witness to another act of rock-related crime when Todd Rundgren, his girlfriend and their houseguests were tied up and robbed by a quartet of masked burglars.

The incident, which took place on Aug. 13, 1980, came at a time when celebrities were beginning to fear for their safety from overzealous fans; as People noted the following year after a would-be assassin credited Jodie Foster with inspiring him to try and kill Ronald Reagan, the list of rock stars who’d suffered the dark side of fame included David Bowie and Frank Zappa — and John Lennon, who was murdered months after Rundgren was robbed.

Fortunately, Rundgren’s brush with danger was relatively minor; some reports even suggested the thieves even treated their captives to renditions of of his hits. Years later, he chalked it up to the mistaken belief that rock stars have a lot of stuff worth stealing — particularly drugs.

During a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Rundgren claimed the criminals “threatened to cut all my fingers off if I didn’t tell them where I hid all my cocaine, on the weird presumption that anybody in the music business had a lot of cocaine” — and even though he escaped the ordeal with all of his digits intact, he scoffed at the idea that he’d have a bunch of blow lying around the house.

“It’s the drug that has the least return for your investment,” noted Rundgren. “I’d be more interested in having another psychedelic experience. Because I would get something from it. But you could pile all the cocaine in the world in front of me and I wouldn’t care.”

See Todd Rundgren and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’70s

Next: Todd Rundgren Interview

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