|Thursday, February 10, 2011
Commentary by Mark Anton Austin ~ Birmingham, Alabama
Greetings from the Deep South, Birmingham, Alabama USA.
SUPERTRAMP has a huge following here in Alabama. Unfortunately, our radio doesn't expose your solo material, If you were booked to play here, we actually, riding on the name of your former group, have enough small-medium-large venues which would most certainly accommodate your legions of fans, and as well, would be a financial gain for you and your current band. It's a shame we don't have the opportunity to see you perform live here in the south. Georgia is a great state for music just as well, (Atlanta), and I know that legions of your fans would travel from Alabama to Georgia to see you live, notwithstanding your current fans from Georgia, who I am most sure are quite aware of your solo material.
As for me, I have been an enormous fan since my brother laid "Crime" on my bed in '74. I was 12 years old, and absolutely fell for the group as a whole, enjoying both yours and Rick's lyrics, vocals, and points of view of life as you both viewed it all. I then won tickets to see SUPERTAMP live in 1977, in Poughkeepsie, NY (my home state). The concert was my first, and it left an indelible mark on me for life. I'll never forget the finale with the video screen of the bars, and of course, John-Anthony and his "megaphone," with those famous printed words on the side! I had terrific seats, too! The beige (not blue) "piano" T-shirt from that tour was stolen from me from a college roommate - in all of the years of searching, I've never seen one since, If I ever come across one, any colour, it will be shadowboxed, as I could no longer fit in to one of that size, as sizes have indeed changed over the years!
Since my 12th birthday, I have been a self-proclaimed "expert" on SUPERTRAMP, and and as well, on you as a solo artist in later years. I've collected many artifacts of memorabilia from both facets of your career, simply as a testament to your music, which has shaped my life as it is today. This goes for both you, Rick, John, Dougie, Bob and of course, your son as well. "RITE OF PASSAGE," besides being a sonic masterpiece, contains a great collection of compositions (mostly) unavailable elsewhere, and I am fortunate to have been able to acquire it before it went out-of-print, now commanding high prices everywhere. My 9 year-old daughter (at the time).was so mesmerized by "Death And A Zoo" from "Open The Door" that her imagination took her to places only she could "be." The questions went on for almost four years as to what you were communicating in that personal and brilliant lyric. At 14, she now understands. My personal favourite, after finally getting "over" many of the earlier SUPERTRAMP compositions pre "Crime, "Crime" and "Crisis" became "Lord, Is It Mine," a song that has haunted me for over 30 years, Rog. It remains the most spiritual and gorgeous compositions I have ever heard in my life, though I have never been able to decide if you were going through an awakening, or trying to close the door on the things, both materially and spiritually, that had surrounded you to that point. As for me, it helped me to become less of the world, and more of God's plan for me...a stream-of-consciousness, if you will, a place i remain still today, at nearly 50 years young.
Lastly, I've read all I care to read about the confusing and disappointing relationship breakdown between you and Rick (and Sue). Lord knows, Hell Froze Over when the Eagles reformed, and re-froze when Gilmour and Waters and company performed Live 8. Egos be damned! SUPERTRAMP was, and is, a unit, far greater as a whole than the sum of its parts. It's evident on great DVD performances from QUEENS COLLEGE, as well as an audio board-quality recording (with no credits) where John (?) takes center stage and performs solo, an old standard, and even comments on the suit one gentleman was wearing that night (an audience member I presume), and he called it "shit." Lord, the show was a great one, just prior to the release of "Crisis," where you introduced "Sister Moonshine." The point being, SUPERTRAMP is greater as a whole than the sum of it's parts as a group, and Rick, Sue and all others involved should "bloody well" realize that there is room on stage for all of you! I miss Rick's yearning lyrics and vocals, and while they are wonderful without your presence on the post-Hodgson LP's and CD's, a reunion simply must happen....for the fans. Not because SUPERTRAMP isn't relevant without it's other front man (you), as you were both equally as important on stage as you were on record...but because SUPERTRAMP is, indeed, a history-making entity in the eyes of its fans! Rock and roll will never die, and the Lord never promises our next breath. I say to all of you, despite lawsuits, royalties, bad feelings, past times behind, egos be gone, and please, before time takes away the one opportunity to serve your fans well...and I've read that you've done your part in trying to communicate with the rest to make this happen, I'm sure i speak for the millions of the old and new SUPERTRAMP "fans" that a reunion is in order! If SUPERTRAMP is in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME (my memory escapes me at the moment), it is well-deserved. If not, SUPERTRAMP will indeed, be inducted soon enough, and a live performance must happen! Feelings of forgiveness, anger, bitterness, abandonment and sorrow are many times evoked by our minds dictating our heart;s desires, and not necessarily for the betterment of existence. My wife and I pray that three of our many dreams come to fruition: to see you perform live, with or without SUPERTRAMP, to be able to see SUPERTRAMP perform live, with or without you, but most of all, to see all original members (and maybe perhaps some others) come together for, at the very least, a one-off, if not a small tour, one or more here in the states, preferably close to the south-eastern part of the country, where I can assure you, based on your popularity and radio play, SUPERTRAMP will indeed, make HISTORY, once again. A great opportunity to wax poetic, and as well, to prepare for the all-encompassing, better late-than-never induction in to the R&RHOF, if SUPERTRAMP isn't already there.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, Roger (and company), fans and friends. We are all one. Stay beautiful, Roger...you are a rare soul indeed. And by the way, I want one of your white shirts for myself!! I'll find one somewhere. I'm a peasant-at heart!
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