Tue, November 14, 2006


Roger Hodgson, mentor-for-hire?

No, the former Supertramp frontman isn't trading in his keyboards for a School of Rock franchise. Nor is he supplementing his income by tutoring university kids in the subjects of prog-rock song stylings and iconic album covers.

No, Hodgson is making himself available to contestants of shows like Canadian Idol to school them on the finer points of surviving the music biz, primarily how to handle the life-altering changes that are sure to come there way once they've achieved success.

"In this business there is nowhere to go for mentoring," says Hodgson, who appeared as a celebrity coach on Idol this season. "If you were an attorney, you would article -- you'd learn the ropes for a few years and then go into practice. But in this business, it seems like stardom occurs much faster than that. Too fast, sometimes."

Hodgson says he has mixed feelings about the Idol phenomenon, but was surprised to find he enjoyed his experience with the Canuck version of the show.

"Mainly I was impressed with the kids," says Hodgson, who penned such classics as The Logical Song, Give a Little Bit, Dreamer and Breakfast in America during his tie with Supertramp. "My heart went out to them, because I realized what a huge thing it was to have to step out from their own lives and into all this fame and lights and everything, not knowing if anything would follow after the show."

Hodgson found himself so invested in the contestants that he re-connected with runner-up Craig Sharpe, inviting the teen to shadow him on tour.

"It was very beautiful," Hodgson said of the experience, which he hopes to repeat with other interested participants. "I felt like a big brother."

Hodgson's tour stop in Winnipeg coincides with the recent release of the concert DVD Take the Long Way home -- Live in Montreal. He had hoped to use a performance from Shepherd's Bush in the U.K. for the DVD, but had to scrap those plans after the concert didn't go quite the way he'd hoped.

"I wasn't happy with the results, so I didn't let that one out," he says, en route to a local tour stop tomorrow at the Burt. "We tried it again in Montreal, and this one really worked ... Plus, it's gorgeous to look at."

Even if you haven't seen the DVD, there's a good chance you've heard Hodgson's music in some modern-day contexts recently. Supertramp tunes have been covered by acts like James Blunt and Goo Goo Dolls, and Give a Little Bit has become the unofficial anthem for countless charities to benefit victims of the South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

"It's just one of those songs ... that has a profound but beautiful message, which is give a little bit and show you care," Hodgson says. "I know it's giving that makes me happy, and I'm very fortunate to have a gift that makes people happy."

Tickets to Hodgson's show are $49.50 and $59.50 at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.ca or 780-3333).