Roger Hodgson: Bringing back the sounds of 'Supertramp'
Published: Thursday, August 09, 2012, 6:00 AM
By Kyle O'Brien, Special to The Oregonian
Roger Hodgson spent more than a dozen years fronting the popular British rock band Supertramp.
Millions of people around the world know his signature songs -- "Dreamer," "Take the Long Way Home," "Give a Little Bit" and "The Logical Song." Bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Gym Class Heroes have covered his tunes.
Yet in some ways, Hodgson still flies under the radar.
"Most people know my voice and know my songs, but my name is still unrecognized," he said in a recent phone interview.
Hodgson will perform at the Oregon Zoo on Friday as part of his "Breakfast in America" tour, named after Supertramp's top-selling album from 1979. He said the tour carries the name of the vintage album so that people will recognize him.
"This is what we came up with to connect the dots," he said. "We wanted people to know that 'this is the guy that sings this song.'"
Hodgson has toured sporadically since he left Supertramp in 1983 to move to the mountains of Northern California, where he wanted to live a quiet, spiritual life and raise his children.
Time of his life
"I learned more away from the music business than (during) my time in Supertramp," he said.
Now, at 62, he's having the time of his life -- and finding life on the road more rewarding than ever.
"These songs that I wrote 30 to 35 years ago, I never get tired of singing them," he said. "They've been a part of so many people's lives that they bring back a lot of memories."
The last few years have marked a new start for him, Hodgson added, one in which he's fully embracing his audience and his songs.
"Success is measured by how much I can give back. My touring is my way to give a little bit."
Hodgson isn't recreating the entire "Breakfast in America" album on stage. Instead, he will play hits and favorites from Supertramp albums and from his solo career.
"There's a richness to the concerts," he said, adding that people are blown away by the quality. "The band is fantastic. They're just young musicians I discovered. We worked really hard to get the shows sounding spectacular. Everyone comes away thinking, 'That was Supertramp, but maybe even better.' My voice is sounding great -- wiser, richer in experience. I'm not that shy, introvert young man anymore. The songs come from a much deeper space in me now."
Expect to hear familiar melodies like "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home," "Lord is it Mine," and "It's Raining Again," among others. They are songs that have stood the test of time, and Hodgson said he's amazed at their longevity.
"The ones I play came from a very pure place of inspiration. They're not contrived. When I wrote them, I never thought how successful they would be. They express something in my life, my heart, my soul. They came from a real yearning to know deep love, to know God, to answer a lot of questions churning around inside me."
Hodgson said he's enjoying the tour, which has been making its way south along the West Coast, and he wants as many people as possible to enjoy it with him.
"'Breakfast in America' was at a time when life was simpler. When the world was at a whole other place. It's a positive, upbeat-feeling album. People need that upbeat hope because times are pretty hard right now. For two hours, they leave their problems out there."
-- Kyle O'Brien
Coming up: Roger Hodgson
Where: Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, 503-226-1561, www.oregonzoo.org
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $30-$55, www.ticketmaster.com.