Admiral Television?

I was recently listening to the CD "War Babies" by Hall & Oates. It features some absolutely screaming guitar solos, so I checked the liner notes. Guitars are credited to Hall, Oates, Richie Cerniglia, Todd Rundgren and "Admiral Television". A web search for Admiral Television turned up nothing. Anyone know who this is?


Maybe it's an old TV made by the Admiral Company. They made early radios and TVs.
Admiral was definitely an early USA TV manufacturer. They also made radios in the 1970's.
I assumed that the appliance company was the basis for the mystery player's stage name.

I was wondering if anyone knew which guitarist used that name. Some of the playing is really fashion forward for the day (the track "70's Scenario" is one example). IMO, it didn't sound like Todd R., but I thought it barked broadly up Robert Fripp's tree. He's worked with Daryl Hall on some later solo stuff, so that might make sense, but it's just a guess. And a not at all confident guess, at that.

Anyone have info?

Tom Verlaine? It's says that alot of the members from Utopia played on this record so maybe from their band.
OK, here's another not-at-all confident guess: Rick Derringer.
Huh? Rick Derringer? Why on Earth would someone bring him up here?
Well, here's my thinking: The most obvious reason for someone to choose a nom de guitar would be because he was under contract with another label and was unable to get permission from the lawyers or the finance folk to appear "courtesy of." At the time that "War Babies" was recorded, Derringer had been working with Todd Rundgren -- on "Something/Anything" and "A Wizard, a True Star" -- and was also recording his own work on another label.
So, it just maybe could have been him. I have no good reason to believe this, but I thought I'd thrown his name into the mix just for the heck of it.
I said it was a TV thinking maybe Todd Rundgren was doing some sampling with it. The name in the credits is in quotes.
I second Tom Verlaine, mainly because he is the "lead" of Television (the band). I couldn't find anything to back this up on the internet, but it makes some sense.
Lowrider - that didn't occur to me. It's possible that all the flashy stuff is Rundgren and Cerniglia (unfamiliar to me) and that the Admiral Television was a reference to guitar effects.

It's also possible that Verlaine (or possibly Richard Lloyd) of Television is the answer. Rick Derringer's another one that never occurred to me.

Sounds like we got a puzzle here with some interesting logic supporting possible solutions.

Thanks for the ideas.

I'll write more later when I've got a real keyboard in front of me, but let me just note that "Marquee Moon," Television's first record, post-dates "War Babies" by some three years. The band Television may not have even existed when Admiral Television was playing with Hall and Oates.
Martykl ...sounds like your not giving up on this.
I love this question. Thus, my third post (though one has yet to appear). When I suggested last night that it might have been Rick Derringer, I based that on two things: thoughts about who was moving in what circles back in the day, who would actually have had occasion to know someone involved in the making of "War Babies," and also, as I wrote, why someone would employ a pseudonym. (For legal, contractual reasons, most likely.)
Since then, I've listened to "War Babies" -- perhaps not Hall and Oates' greatest album, but better than I'd remembered -- and just now played "Show Biz Kids," a Steely Dan tune that features Rick Derringer on slide guitar.
I'm now beginning to think that my oddball theory may have had some merit. For those who own both records, give it a try and see what I mean.
Thanks for the question.
-- Howard
I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure the leads are all Todd R.

I'm pretty sure that Television was gigging around NYC as early as 1973 (a year before War Babies), even though their first record came out, IIRC, a few years later. That might make the Television reference even more plausible, that band was very hip "vapor" at the time. Everyone in town knew of them, almost no one had actually heard their music.

As to all the leads sounding like Todd, I didn't hear that - not that it's ever possible to confidently make such a determination by ear.


In particular there's one lead early in the record (might be Rose Tatoo, I'll double check) that's all way up on the finger board and pretty abstract. It just didn't sound like Todd to me. Of course, you could be 100% right - but that is, in part, what prompted the question. Todd's a great player and I love listening to his leads, but this record sounded (to me, anyway) like someone else (maybe Admiral Television, whoever that might be) contributed some very quirky lead work.

i was intrigued enough by this whodunit to pull out the record and listen to it for clues. my best guess:
1. it's not tom verlaine, since (as per hudu) he the record predated his notoriety and, above all, nothing on the record sounds like him.
2. likewise fripp--just doesn't sound like him
3. i actually didn't hear a lot of samples or treated guitars, so the actual tv theory probably doesn't hold up.
4. todd's clearly playing some of the leads, but someone a helluva lot faster and more nimble than him is playing on "johnny gore", "70's scenario" et al;
5. rick deringer's a damn good guess--it would be logical for him to use a pseudonym, since he was on a different label with edgar winter, who was a big act at the same time as war babies was released. he also subsequently played on a couple of todd's records. most significantly, it sure sounds a lot like his style--listen to his solos on alice cooper's "under my wheels" or "rock and roll woman" (edgar winter).
someone ought to ask daryl hall to confirm; i believe he's quite approachable.

I just took your suggestion and put the question to

I'll report back if/when I hear from them.

BTW, Todd's pretty nimble when he wants to be, but I agree that some of the War Babies cuts feature a showier lead guitar style than TR usually provides.

keep us posted....
No answer on the e-mail yet, but my guitar teacher had an interesting guess after I played a "70's Scenario" YouTube video for him. He agreed that it didn't sound like Todd and he also thought that both Derringer or Fripp were unlikely. He couldn't speak to Verlaine or Lloyd.

His first thought was Terry Kath of Chicago. I thought he had a point and that it was a good fit stylistically, but he wasn't about to put any money on it, either.

The mystery continues.

This is interesting. Maybe you can tweet Todd Rundgren?
i still cling to rick derringer--found this link between him and h&o:
also, the bass player from his band derringer played with h&o.
if we put this much effort into finding the zodiac killer, we'd be immortal.
That's a good find, Loomisjohnson. I now agree that the "Admiral" is someone under contract by a different label. I really thought that it was Todd because he was so advanced with the technology and engineering, so why not use a pseudonym relating to some vintage gear.
I agree that that link makes Derringer feel like the main suspect.

I just fired up Showbiz Kids and I definitely see your point.

I always assumed that that was Larry Carlton on guitar. Oddly enough, Carlton was another name that came up when I played this "whodunnit" game with my instructor.

I'll keep workin' it with the e-mail machine, but I think you might have nailed it.

Rick Derringer wouldn't surprise me. He was playing with Johnny Winter up until Winter got a bit heavy into heroin and disappeared from '72 -'73. The bass player for Hall and Oates in 1974 was Kenny Aaronson. After Kenny's stint with Hall and Oates, he moved to another band but ended up playing for Rick Derringer two years later. Derringer was in NYC in 1973 as he was from Ohio (gotta leave) and he performed for Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on Steely Dan's 'Show Biz Kids'. Kenny Aaronson the bass player was born and raised in Brooklyn and was the up and coming bass player in the New York scene. War Babies was recorded in New York. You guys are very close or you probably nailed it with Derringer. I would look to Kenny Aaronson forthe answer. He probably knows and he might more approachable than Daryl.
From an interview with Kenny

After Stories, I got a call from the keyboard player of Hall and Oates named Don York, this was in 1974, and he invited me to play with them. I toured with Hall and Oates for about a year, we were opening up for Lou Reed, believe it or not, and Hall and Oates had been known at this point for being an acoustic duo, and all of a sudden, they released an electric album. Entitled "War Babies," it was produced by Todd Rundgren, which was a departure for them. So, they’d mix it up by playing an acoustic first set, then bringing on the band for the second half. And we’d watch everybody leave. But it was cool, a nice experience, and it was nice to be part of it. I learned a lot from them never any regrets.
Oh, and Kenny Aaronson played some slide guitar. Rick Derringer played slide on War Babies. There's a connection here. Kenny played bass on the War Babies tour.
Also look to drummer Eddie Zyne. He played for Hall and Oates in '74 and also Derringer. He's one of the biggest Todd Rundgren fans of all time.
I got nothing for you about the guitar playing on "War Babies". Just wanted to say, this is a great thread. Wish all the stuff on A'gon was as collaborative and positive. FWIW now I gotta buy "War Babies" and "A Wizard a True Star" not to mention seeing what RD has out solo-wise.
the other listed bass player on war babies, john siegler, became the bass player in utopia and also played bass in (no. 1 suspect) rick derringer's epononymously-titled band, deringer. now watch, we're all on the wrong track.
Have we completely eliminated John Oates?
John Oates is listed as a guitarist. I like the contract idea, but that would mean Derringer was on the same label with Winter as Hall and Oates was on War Babies and that's not the case.
I need to correct that statement. They were on different labels so it could be a contract issue.
Im such an idiot. I have an in. My wife works with a guy who knows Todd Rundgren. Actually my wife works with two guys in their early 50's who travel to most of Todd's shows and know him very well. Ill keep you posted.
Looking forward to hearing about anything Todd's got to say.

Okay, so he texted Todd's wife. She said that it is actually a television. She told him that there's a lot of funky things they put on the War Babies album cover and they even quoted people that didn't exist. This answer is coming from Todd Rundgrens wife this morning.

My wife works with these two guys that worhship Todd Rundgren like you cannot believe. These guys take vacation time to follow him around. They've been doing this their entire lives together and have become very good friends with Todd and his wife (obviously).
Oh, and Todd's wife said that your guess of Rick Derringer was a good one because he and Todd have always been such good friends.
Thanx, Don.

So it seems that Todd actually did that wild solo on the track "70s Scenario", after all...

I wouldn't have guessed that (and I'm only a half step behind your wife's Todd worshipping buddies). I've seen him perform a couple of dozen times over the years and I must say that the "Scenario" solo is definitely a different direction for Todd.

Live 'n learn. Thanx again for the inside info.

Marty. I guess this guy my wife works with is friends with Paul Ryan who authored a book on Todd Rungren. He told my wife theres a whole chapter on War Babies. It must be interesting if there's a whole chapter on it.

I will look for the book.
Thanks for the heads up.

FYI, it turns out that the author is called Paul Myers.
Well, what do you know about that. I've been following this thread with interest, and never would have guessed. One cool thing is that it's got me listening to some Todd Rundgren records I haven't played in many years. I saw him only twice -- both times way back when -- and thought he was awesome both times.
-- Howard
Sorry about that. I think the news has gotten the best of me lately. It has taken over my brain (whats left of it). I have nightmares about politicians. I was mowing the lawn after that post and was asking myself if I typed Paul Ryan.

If you want to hear Todd flog his guitar, check out his recent disc called "Todd Rundgren's Johnson". He covers about a dozen Robert Johnson classics and just kills 'em. It's a little strange to buy something from TR that features someone else's songs (because - IMHO - he's one the half dozen best songwriters of my lifetime), but this is one of my favorite blues guitar records ever.

You know, I never expected it to be what it turned out to be but I guess it didn't surprise me. When my wife forwarded the information I actually said "get out" aloud at my office. I'm thinking about hunting down that book about Todd now that this thread has peaked my interest. I really like these threads about music and musicians. Between this web site and a interview on NPR with this fantastic female musician Kendra Morris Ive had new music showing up at my door step about every other day these past couple of weeks.
Thanks for that recommendation, Marty. I'll definitely check it out.
-- Howard