With more than 40 years of making music behind him, former Supertramp vocalist Roger Hodgson is showing no signs of slowing down. The Portsmouth, UK born singer-songwriter is the voice behind such legendary FM radio staples such as “Take The Long Way Home”, “It’s Raining Again” and “The Logical Song” and has helped Supertramp sell more than 2.8 million records in Canada alone.
As a part of the approximately 60 shows Hodgson will play this year, Roger Hodgson will be bringing his legendary voice and full backing band to Casino NB for what is certain to be an unforgettable performance on Tuesday July 6.
“I have been touring for the past four to five years,” Hodgson says via telephone. “And honestly, I feel like the luckiest man alive.
“I had written a batch of songs that came from a place deep inside me and decades later, these songs have stood the test of time. Continuing to have the chance to offer that in concert is a wonderful gift.”
Formed in 1969, Supertramp broke out internationally with their 1974 record “Crime Of The Cenutry” and seemingly followed it up with hit after hit for almost ten years after. In 1983, Hodgson stepped away from Supertramp for the purposes of pursuing a solo career as well as helping to raise his then small children.
“I think I have largely been portrayed as the bad guy in regards to leaving Supertramp,” he says.
“In all honesty, it was a difficult decision but an amicable split. I needed to take a break from the industry; it ended up being a life choice for me, wanting to raise my kids and build a home where I could pursue making music while still remaining close to my family.”
Hodgson would end up relocating his family from the seemingly never-ending hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to the relatively calmer climes of Northern California. There, he achieved exactly what he set out to do in leaving Supertramp: building a house with an in-home studio where he could make music at his leisure while remaining close to his growing family.
With only three solo records released over the course of the past 26 years, it is obvious that Hodgson was never intent on vigorously pursuing a solo career. But even with so little studio output in the past two and a half decades, he has maintained a dedicated following of fans throughout the world.
The “video” section of Hodgson’s official website at www.rogerhodgson.com boasts no less than a dozen clips of the musician playing music all over the globe, including a March 2009 performance on the Quebec music-related reality show Star Academie.
Hodgson begins playing “Breakfast In America” to roaring applause in the clip, showing his music has transcended generations and lends more to the credence that music made throughout the 60’s and 70’s has maintained popularity for a very simple but important reason: it was good.
While Hodgon’s performance might have been a highlight for the show’s contestants, Hodgson was also given the opportunity to serve as a mentor to this impressionable group of musicians.
“I wanted to offer them some lessons I learned in regards to staying sane and to implore them to remember their motivation for being on the show.
“These ‘idol’ types of shows are star making machines and for the time they are on the show, these young contestants have their worlds turned upside down. It can end up being very detrimental to their personality when suddenly, they are no longer a part of the show and the public does not necessarily care what their next move is.”
When asked how he feels in regards to the music business in today’s day and age, Hodgson tells me that he feels as though the artistic element that went into helping make Supertramp the band they are is missing from much of today’s music.
“Supertramp was fortunate to come out at a time when record companies would be patient and let bands develop. Back then, it was understood that it would be three or four records before the company would see some kind of return on the group.
“The state of the music industry these days isn’t allowing that to happen and I truly believe that is one reason why it is suffering so badly. The end result of what some musicians release ends up being shallow and is preventing some true artists, people with an actual vision and something to express from getting their product released.”
Prior to the end of our chat, I ask Hodgson if he believes there is any possible reconciliation with Supertramp on the horizon, especially in light of the fact that both he and his former band are touring throughout the summer.
“I have always held out that possibility to be honest with you,” he says. “This coming summer, Rick Davies and Supertramp are playing a series of 40th anniversary shows in Europe and by coincidence, I am also doing some dates in Europe. I had offered to join them for a few of those shows but to date, the offer has not been accepted.”
Hodgson goes on to say that when he left the band in 1983, he and Davies agreed that Davies would keep the Supertramp name but also would refrain from playing Hodgson’s material live.
According to Hodgson, that gentlemen’s agreement has been broken as Davies has started playing some of Roger’s songs in concert with another singer taking on Hodgon’s vocals. Aggravating things further is the fact that the upcoming Supertramp dates in Europe are being billed as a “hits tour”, which Hodgson feels is only going to further confuse fans.
“I find how the Supertramp tour is being promoted is very misleading. With that being said, I am all for giving the fans what they want and rejoining the band for a few select dates.
“We will have to see what happens; my door has always been open.”