Roger Hodgson is more than a Supertramp
Roger Hodgson will revive some songs from his former group Supertramp in his performance Tuesday at The Egg.
By Don Wilcock, entertainment518@ 21st-centurymedia.com
Posted: 10/17/13, 6:20 AM EDT |
ALBANY >> Thirty-four years ago, the British rock band Supertramp asked the question, “I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am.”
“Logical Song” and other hits like “Take The Long Way Home” and “Give A Little Bit” helped the band sell 60 million albums with an orchestrated sound to a progressive rock crowd that questioned life’s meaning at a time when most fellow rock stars were running on testosterone and objectifying women.
Roger Hodgson, who plays The Egg Tuesday night, wrote that song when he was 18 and still in boarding school. He brought it to his band years later, never dreaming that they would be so successful or that decades later he would presenting the same songs to crowds who remember Supertramp but have to be reminded of just who Roger Hodgson is. “You can’t replace the relationship someone has had with a song for 30-odd years,” says Hodgson, explaining why he concentrates on Supertramp songs now even though he has several solo LPs he’s released and a backlog of more than 60 songs that he believes are as good as any of the hits but have never been recorded. “I’m not an artist with an ego that says, ‘You have to listen to my new stuff because that’s what I’m into.’ To me, when I do a show, my goal is to really give people the best, most fulfilling and rich experience they can have for two hours, and I can’t even get around to playing all the songs they want to hear.”
Hodgson begins his concerts with Supertramp’s biggest hit, “Take The Long Way Home,” about the conflict performing plays in the heart of an artist who also aches for a life away from the floodlights — “So, when the day comes to settle down/Who’s to blame if you’re not around/You took the long way home/You took the long way home.”
That song was a clue to Hodgson’s impending departure from the group that came four years later in 1983, when he left ostensibly to go solo but eventually to start a family he’d never had as a child. His dad had given him a guitar as a parting gift on his 12th birthday. “It was at a time when my parents divorced, and I didn’t see my dad again for at least 10 or 12 years. So, in a way, the guitar made me replace him and somehow gave me meaning and somehow became my best friend.”
In 1987, he put music on the back burner and started a family. “I realized if I continued the lifestyle of a touring musician that I would probably not have a family in a few years.”
Today, Hodgson has two grown children. His son Andrew is a musician. Daughter Heidi is a mom. And he’s back on the road with his Breakfast in America tour named after Supertramp’s most successful album.
Even though he’s singing songs that were Supertramp hits, they reflect his personal questions about life, many written when he was still a teen, and he’s finding the experience an awakening. “The connection with the audience is much more important now. Back then I was much more shy and introverted, and I didn’t speak on the microphone. Now I’m totally comfortable with that, and it’s just a different time. However, the songs have always been very much who I am, who I’ve been and who I still am. And it’s interesting that the songs have not aged. I sing them today, and they sound fresh and vital and people relate to them actually even stronger today, funny enough, than in the days of Supertramp.” Hodgson is grateful he still has fans, totally lacking in ego about his late career rejuvenation and maybe just a little surprised by sellout concerts and fans who say his songs have led to their relationships and marriages. “I didn’t even consider whether my songs would be popular in 40 years. It’s amazing. They really haven’t left the radio waves. They’re still played around the world,” he says.
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