Joanne Paulson, The StarPhoenix

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2006


It has been 23 years since Roger Hodgson left the superband Supertramp, but his voice is still among the most-heard on radio.


Unless you've been hiding in your shell, the strains of The Logical Song, Take the Long Way Home, and Breakfast in America have reached your ears ever since then. Indeed, the 1970s and 80s progressive rock band hits the Saskatoon airwaves perhaps 20 times a week -- 20-odd years later.


That's almost how long it has been since Hodgson performed his tunes on tour, and he hasn't had a national Canadian tour since he left Supertramp in 1983.


Even he wonders at the amount of airplay his songs still get.


"There's a certain amount of amazement. To tell you the truth, I think it's more gratitude now. I'm just amazed how much I'm enjoying these songs that I wrote so long ago, on stage."


Hodgson is now touring solo, backed only by Canadian saxophonist Aaron MacDonald, and stopping in Saskatoon Nov. 16 at TCU Place. It's a far cry from the huge spectacles that Supertramp concerts once were: they, along with bands like Pink Floyd and Genesis, were pioneers of the big, flashy show.


"I'm enjoying singing (the songs) more today than I did with Supertramp," said Hodgson. "I am doing these solo shows . . . and there's something about the solo shows, people keep saying how intimate they are. Because I don't have a band around me, I can get inside them."


Hodgson says he is "reliving the feeling" that possessed him when he wrote the songs.


Hodgson wrote and sang many of the Supertramp songs, from albums like Crime of the Century, Even In the Quietest Moments and Breakfast In America. After 14 blockbuster years peppered with hits, Hodgson left Supertramp in 1983 after the release of Famous Last Words. His motivation was his children, just toddlers at the time: he realized that touring took him away from home too much.


Then in 1987, Hodgson broke both wrists in an accident, which forced him to stop and look at his life, because so much of his identity was wrapped up in being a musician, he said. It took more than a year to regain playing ability.


"It really did bring out some soul-searching questions and in a way deepened my focus not being on the music and the music industry."


He has released solo albums in the years since Supertramp, including In The Eye of the Storm in 1984; Hai Hai in 1987; and Open The Door in 2000.


Today, he continues to write. He says he has a large backlog of material, and may consider recording again; but for now, his focus is on the tour.


The touring momentum began in Montreal, where he recorded a DVD called Take The Long Way Home, which was just recently released. Hodgson, born in England but now living in California, says he's happy to be coming back to Canada.


"I've always felt very at home in Canada. In a way, I feel it's my second home. If I didn't live in California, I'd be up there with you. I'm just very comfortable with the culture; I love playing up there."


Hodgson says to expect Supertramp hits and his own solo works at his upcoming concert, plus, perhaps, a new song or two.