Roger Hodgson to Supertramp: Stop playing my songs
Published On Mon May 30 2011
By GREG QUILL
Rodger Hodgson, co-founder and chief songwriter and singer of the hugely popular 1970s British progressive rock band Supertramp, is alerting fans via notices on his website and press releases to media that the band’s so-called reunion tour is using an unknown imposter in his place.
Hodgson says they’re performing his songs, in breach of a long-standing agreement with former band mate, songwriter Rick Davies.
“For the fans’ sake, I am happy that my old friend and partner Rick is going on tour again, but I am not in agreement with how he is choosing to market his Supertramp tour by capitalizing on my art to sell tickets, and especially now, since both of us are touring at the same time,” the California-based Hodgson said in a recent press release.
When Hodgson left Supertramp after the Famous Last Words album in 1983, he and Davies reached an agreement, witnessed by other members of the band, that Davies would keep the band name while Hodgson would keep his Supertramp songs his solo pursuits, Hodgson said in an April interview with British music magazine, Classic Rock.
For any Davies-led version of Supertramp, Hodgson’s compositions remained off limits, and Davies kept his part of the bargain till 1988, when he started using Hodgson’s signature pieces — including the hits “Dreamer”, “Give A Little Bit”, “The Logical Song”, “Breakfast In America”, “Take The Long Way Home” and “It’s Raining Again”— for occasional Supertramp reunion events, without asking or informing Hodgson.
“When he broke that agreement and started playing my songs, that hurt very deeply,” Hodgson said in the interview. “I felt betrayed.”
Even so, Supertramp performances were few and far between until last year, when Davies, whose contributions to the Supertramp canon include “Bloody Well Right”, “Goodbye Stranger” and “Gone Hollywood”, embarked on a 2010-2011 40th anniversary world tour. Hodgson’s songs and image are used in the marketing campaign, which Hodgson — he’s also on a solo world tour at the same time — has been chronicling on his website.
Hodgson, 61, has long denied rumours of an acrimonious split with Davies when Supertramp was at its peak, explaining that he simply wanted to spend time with his two small children.
He moved his family from Los Angeles to the mountains of northern California, where he built a home and studio and focused on his family and spiritual life, and later launched a solo career.
“I have always strived to be authentic and original,” Hodgson wrote on his website when the current Supertramp tour got underway. “My songs come from a deep and very personal place inside me and they carry my beliefs and my dreams and my philosophy of life. The other members of Supertramp never held the same spiritual or philosophical beliefs that I have and that are in my songs.
“What I wrote about didn’t represent the rest of the band or their beliefs. So for Rick to claim credit for songs he didn’t write or believe in, is an integrity issue.”
Hodgson was considerably more hurt and offended, he said, when Supertramp performed without him at London’s 02 Arena in October — and featured seven of his songs.
“It didn’t feel good,” he told Classic Rock.
Hodgson also says he would have like to be part of Supertramp’s 40th anniversary reunion tour, but was not invited.
“I know how many of you would like to see this, and that is why I have offered. I feel in my heart it’s the right thing to do. So, I’ll keep holding out an olive branch to Rick in case he should change his mind.”
Davies has not returned an interview request from the Star, but a statement on Supertramp’s website dated “05.08.2010” says: “In June of 2008 Rick Davies went to meet with Roger Hodgson to discuss the possibility of a reunion with him. After fifteen months of discussions, last fall Rick and Roger did not come to an agreement as was hoped. Roger decided to continue his solo career as he has since leaving Supertramp twenty-seven years ago.
“After a bit of soul searching and much encouragement and support from Supertramp's longstanding promoters, Rick decided to put the band back on the road.”
In the meantime, Hodgson urges fans to continue monitoring the Supertramp tour marketing campaign, and posts infractions on his web site.
Supertramp, without Hodgson, plays the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on June 12.
Hodgson started his own tour on May 25 at Royal Albert Hall in London, and will perform with his band on September 2 at the 24th Gatineau Balloon Festival in Quebec, and October 28 and 29 in Montreal at Places des Arts, his only Canadian dates so far.