Kauai was home for singer

There's no place like home for musician Todd Rundgren, who enjoys exploring the islands of Hawaii.
There's no place like home for musician Todd Rundgren, who enjoys exploring the islands of Hawaii.(Courtesy of Todd Rundgren)

Rock legend Todd Rundgren, 61, has been performing for more than 40 years. Best known for hits such as "Hello It's Me," "I Saw the Light" and "Bang the Drum All Day," Rundgren is again on tour. The Pennsylvania-born musician now lives in Hawaii. "I used to live in upstate New York, where we got incredibly bitter cold for weeks on end," Rundgren said. "And I remember the winters from growing up in Pennsylvania. I have no desire to relive them."

Rundgren suggested that people visiting Hawaii should give local delicacies a try, including something with Spam in it. "That's a holdover from the days when Hawaii's principal function was as a military outpost," he said. "I still eat Spam. I just made a Spam sandwich last night. It was delicious."

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: Kauai has always been my favorite destination, so I made it my home in the mid-'90s. I travel a lot for work, so it's nice that my favorite place to travel to and my home are now one and the same. We don't have a city the size of Honolulu. The biggest city is just a town, but I like that. People will visit us as time permits, but it's almost like going to another country. Kauai is not the kind of place where people just drop in unexpectedly.

Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A: Los Angeles is relatively easy to get to, and Chicago is also high on my list, but I really enjoy island hopping and seeing the active volcanoes and such. They're natural wonders. I'll go to Honolulu (on the island of Oahu) when I need to get to a big city. It reminds me a little bit of Miami. People are always surprised to find that I'm not really a big fan of Maui. It's not all that it's cracked up to be. For locals, Maui doesn't have a huge appeal.

Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A: Some clean clothes, music and something good to read.

Q: Where would you like to go next?

A: Some place exotic, like Japan, which I love. I had been there, but it was for work and I was so busy I hardly had any time to enjoy the surroundings. Unfortunately, the dollar is so weak that that could be a very expensive trip. I need to find a way to make it part of my work routine — with a little less work! Then someone else can cover the expense. (Laughing.)

Q: What advice do you offer vacationers going somewhere for the first time?

A: Be aware of your surroundings. You get a lot of people coming to Hawaii from landlocked states who've never seen the ocean before. They get all giddy about how beautiful the water is and just jump right in, without realizing how dangerous it can be. I'm actually a poor swimmer myself. I like Kauai and find the ocean to be inspirational and spiritual — cleansing — but I rarely go in it.

Q: How do you try to fit in when you're a tourist?

A: I try not to be pushy or loud.