Thu April 04
Roger Hodgson Interview
Words By Robert Dunstan
“I sometimes feel a bit like Roger Waters
from Pink Floyd,” Roger Hodgson, the voice of UK band Supertramp, says when
interviewed about his upcoming Australian tour. And that would be because,
like Waters with Pink Floyd, Hodgson is no longer welcome in Supertramp, the
band he helped form in 1970.
During the ‘70s Supertramp enjoyed great success around the world with
albums such as Crime Of The Century and Breakfast In America.
Hodgson had answered an ad in a music paper in 1970 asking for a bass
player, which then led to his association with Rick Davies.
“Rick and I met and really hit it off,” Hodgson remembers. “So that was
the beginning of Supertramp, although it took us a while to develop. For the
first two albums [1970’s self-titled debut and 1971’s Indelibly Stamped]
we were just feeling each other out as songwriters and musicians and didn’t
really have a clear idea of where we were going.
“But, by the time [1974’s hugely successful] Crime Of The Century
came along, Rick and I had already begun to write separately. So the songs
became much more personal but we were also writing much better songs. We’d
matured a lot and our record company [A&M] recognised that and put us in the
studio with [producer] Ken Scott and told us we could take as long as we
wanted to record Crime Of The Century. And working with Ken at
Trident Studios also meant we learnt a lot about making really good-sounding
Hodgson toured some parts of Australia a couple of years ago, but on this
occasion it will be with a full band for the first time to present the songs
he penned while with Supertramp.
“So audiences are in for a real treat,” he says, “because I’ve got a
great band. There are two Canadians and two musicians from California. I’ve
tried different musicians over the years but this band is just fantastic. We
all click together and I now have the best vocal harmonies I’ve had in any
band I’ve ever worked with. And I really didn’t want to put a band together
using session musicians with long pedigrees because I wanted a group of
hungry musicians who, if given a chance, would shine.
“And I’ve heard people say after the shows, ‘Wow! I saw Supertramp in
1979 and this band is even better’,” Hodgson chuckles. “You can’t get a
better compliment than that. And the songs we do are all my songs –
the songs that I wrote and Supertramp then recorded – so they have been with
me for many years. And a lot of them were with me before Supertramp had even
formed. I’d written a lot of them before I had even met Rick [Davies] and we
put the band together.
“But I do realise that a lot of people hear The Logical Song or
Dreamer or whatever and just associate them with Supertramp rather
than me,” Hodgson sighs. “So the hardest thing to get across is that if
people come to a Roger Hodgson show, they are going to get all those songs.
They are going to hear Breakfast In America, Fool’s Overture and
Take The Long Way Home along with all the others.
“And they’re songs that have stood the test of time. Not only for the
audience but also for me because I know that I am enjoying playing them now
even more than I did when I was with Supertramp. And it’s funny because I
now have a much greater appreciation for them as songs.
“But maybe that’s because I’m now older and wiser and have much more to
give,” the lifelong vegetarian then concludes with a laugh. “I’m also
singing so much better now. And people have been quite astonished at how
fresh all those old songs still sound.”
Roger Hodgson had fronted short-lived pop group People Like Us in 1969,
but was then offered a recording deal with Island Records.
He formed studio group Argosy which recorded a single flop single, Mr
Boyd, despite the band featuring Hodgson alongside Reginald Dwight (who
later became Elton John), Caleb Quaye and Nigel Olsson.
“I’d been signed to a publishing company called Blue Mountain Music and
they had heard my demos and helped me put together an amazing band to go
into the studio to record for Island,” Hodgson recalls. “And you can imagine
how I felt because I was 19 at the time and it was my very first time in a
recording studio. There I was alongside all these great musicians, so I
thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”
WHO: Roger Hodgson Band
WHERE: Thebarton Theatre
WHEN: Fri Apr 5
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