Roger Hodgson says his music comes from ‘a very pure place’
By Neda Salamat
Friday, February 25, 2011 at 6:09 p.m.
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Pechanga Resort & Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula
Tickets: $45 to $55
Phone: (877) 711-2946
Roger Hodgson will get his world tour started in Southern California this week.
Roger Hodgson of Supertramp fame spends most of his time singing about giving a little bit, but the rock star is giving much more — he kicks off his 2011 world tour in Southern California this week after successfully releasing a live album in 2010, “Classics Live.”
Hodgson, who is on spiritual retreat in Northern California and responded to our questions via e-mail, is finally hitting his vocal prime — his live album is some of his best work yet, featuring recordings from Brazil, Norway, Germany and Canada. It’s no wonder fans come from all across the globe to see Hodgson perform.
“Last year fans came from at least eight different countries that I know of — probably more — and surprised me during my show in Nuremberg by spontaneously singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me,” Hodgson said. “My audiences often sing along with me, but this was the first time I’ve had them sing TO me. It was very touching for me, needless to say.”
The singer’s musical roots go back to age 12, when he began playing his father’s guitar, a gift from his father after his parents divorced. Hodgson then adopted the piano at age 16 and the pump organ at 17.
“I found one (the pump organ) in the backroom of this old lady’s house covered in cobwebs,” Hodgson said. “I bought it for 24 pounds, took it home, cleaned it up and proceeded to write many songs on it — ‘Breakfast in America,’ ‘Soapbox Opera,’ ‘It’s Raining Again,’ ‘Two of Us,’ even part of ‘Fool’s Overture’ and the ‘Logical Song.’ It had that magical quality to it that helped me lose myself in the sound of the instrument. It still does; I still have it at my studio.”
Though Hodgson still has trouble choosing which of his songs he likes performing best (“That’s like asking do I have a favorite child”), some of the favorites he names included those with references to God.
“For me, music was where I went to express my longing to know God, to know true love, my longing to feel truly at home inside myself,” Hodgson said. “I put this inner quest into my songs, and I believe, because they came from such a deep place, this is one of the reasons they have had such an enduring quality. They touch that place in everyone who is searching for true happiness, belonging, for God — whatever you want to call it. So yes, most of my songs have a spiritual theme in them — when I write music, I am always alone and it’s very much an inner communion for me. It’s not generally known that I never wrote with the band, and the band didn’t share many of the spiritual beliefs that I wrote about, so all my songs — new and old — are all very personal expressions from me.”
As he prepares to leave his spiritual haven and make the trek to Southern California with four other musicians, Hodgson counts his blessings — the songwriter loves seeing younger generations at his concerts and looks forward to continuing to reach out to people through his music.
“I’d say I have been blessed with the gift and passion to be able to express my heart and soul through music, whether it be with an instrument, my unique voice, producing albums or through the creative process of songwriting,” Hodgson said. “I do realize I have written some wonderful songs and have an ability for writing great melodies, but I think the reason these songs have stood the test of time so well is because they came from a very pure place and were not contrived. I never sat down to try and write a hit song. Music was where I went to be alone to express my deepest emotions, my deepest longing, my deepest pain and joy and questions.”