Make us your home page
Instagram

Roger Hodgson brings Supertramp sound to Clearwater

Roger Hodgson performs his “The Voice Of Supertramp” concert at the Reithalle in Munich, Germany.

Getty Images (2012)

Roger Hodgson performs his “The Voice Of Supertramp” concert at the Reithalle in Munich, Germany.

By SEAN DALY

Times Pop Music Critic

There was nothing "logical" about Supertramp, of course. Even the band's chief braintrust, Roger Hodgson, will tell you that. Forty-four years after the British pop/rock/prog/jazz/klezmer/you-name-it band started confounding fans and this music critic alike, the group remains a head-scratcher to categorize, a merger of found sounds, kazoo zings and incongruous (but still pretty awesome) sax solos.

Were the boys trying to be difficult? Was the chaos planned?

"It was not by design, I can tell you that," laughs Hodgson, the 63-year-old composer of The Logical Song, Take the Long Way Home and Give a Little Bit. "Even though I've been influenced by many musicians over the years, I never tried to make music to fit into any category. When I lose myself in the sound, when I get my mind out of the way, that's when the music happens, that's when inspiration happens."

Hodgson bolted Supertramp 30 years ago; the creative, often incendiary spark with co-founder Rick Davies that drove the band to success also led to its fracture. But Hodgson adores his cuts with the old crew, and he'll play many of them — while robustly backed by a rock symphony — at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Friday. About the live solo show, he says rather confidently: "It will be a highlight in people's concertgoing lives."

In a loose phone chat that opened with us comparing birthdays (Roger's is today; mine's tomorrow), Hodgson also discussed — in his trademark high, crystalline voice — the making of 1979's Breakfast in America, the genesis of It's Raining Again and the odds of a Supertramp reunion (hint: not good).

You're calling this the "Breakfast in America Tour," but you're not performing the whole album, right? The title is more of a reminder?

People know the name Supertramp, but the name Roger Hodgson is not as well known here. So by calling it the Breakfast in America Tour, that sort of connects the dots for people in the States. And of course it reminds people of easier times. It's an endless-summer album.

Rumor has it the album Breakfast in America was originally going to be about your complex relationship with Davies. But instead it turned into a relatively lighter, catchier LP — and a multiplatinum classic at that. What was the mood like in the studio? Was it tense?

I don't remember there being much friction in the studio. There was a lot of hard work going on. It took eight months to make. I was working 17-hour days just to finish it. Rick and I have always been polar opposites, which is why the chemistry in the band was always so special. But yes, I guess it was starting to get a little difficult.

Take the Long Way Home has meant different things to me during different stages of my life. In my 20s, wondering what's out there. In my 30s, being a terrified parent in dreary suburbia. And now, in my 40s, finding a certain peace with career, kids, home. What was your frame of mind when you wrote the song?

I had a lot of the same questions you did. My search for what you call "home" has been a long one, since I was a teenager. In Take the Long Way Home, I was reflecting on my own search for meaning in my life. Ironically, I didn't have a wife to go back to. But within that song, there are some very powerful questions, aren't there? That last verse, about what life could have been.

I've never been one to analyze my own songs. I leave that to you. You're better at analyzing. But I'd say Take the Long Way Home very much reflects my own quest for a place of belonging, my place of peace. And I absolutely believe that place is in our hearts.

I'm a fan of the song It's Raining Again, but the structure seems too ordinary for a Roger Hodgson song; it unveils like a nursery rhyme.

I love that description: a nursery rhyme. It's so fitting. I'm going to use that onstage! It's Raining Again had been written many, many years prior to (1982 album ...Famous Last Words..., Hodgson's last record with Supertramp). I was in England at the time, and I had just lost a friend, and it was raining. I was playing on a pump organ, and there it was. That album was heavily judged; we took a lot of flack for that, mainly because it was hot on the heels of Breakfast in America. The band was not in healthy shape then, and that album was full of compromises.

Last question. I feel kind of guilty asking it, but I'll be lambasted by fans if I don't. So: What are the chances of a Supertramp reunion?

I don't see it, to tell you the truth. That time has passed. But the good thing is that the people who come to this show — and maybe who saw us before — feel like they're getting a Supertramp concert. The spirit and the feeling is what you would expect if you went to a Supertramp concert. Those songs were very orchestrated to begin with. And now with the symphony? It works so well I get goosebumps.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Roger Hodgson with Rock Symphony

The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49-$69. (727) 791-7400.

Roger Hodgson brings Supertramp sound to Clearwater 03/20/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 2:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shriek peek: Top haunted events lurking this Halloween season

    Events

    Here are some of the top Halloween events and parties that are looming in the coming scary season.

    “Thriller” music video featuring Michael Jackson with Vincent Price and Ola Ray. Scary movie comes true on a date, while Michael and zombies dance. ?? 1983 Optimum Productions Songwriter: Rod Temperton Album: Thriller Director: John Landis Production Dates: Late 1983 Primary Production Location: Los Angeles, CA.
  2. Halloween season is upon us: Our top 5 wild and mild haunted attractions

    Events

    It has also ballooned in cost as haunts get more elaborate, with some events putting guests inside their favorite horror films and TV shows. Not-so-spooky attractions for the littlest ones have taken a big leap in quality as well — way beyond the standard pumpkin patch and trick-or-treat stations.

    Scare actors roam the grounds of Busch Gardens in Tampa during their annual Howl-O-Scream Halloween themed event. Howl-O-Scream continues on select nights through Oct. 29 at the Tampa theme park. Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticket event and has seven haunted houses, five scare zones and the chance to ride coasters in the dark. [Friday, September 22, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. Wine of the week: Leese-Fitch 2015 California Sauvignon Blanc will cool you off

    Bars & Spirits

    September is still summertime in Florida, and we can still use a cool white wine at the end of a hot day.

  4. Anna Maria City Pier to close for year after 'extensive damage' from Hurricane Irma

    Travel

    ANNA MARIA — While Hurricane Irma's last-minute shift helped spare large swaths of Florida cities from catastrophic damage, the Anna Maria City Pier didn't fare so well.

    A damage assessment following Hurricane Irma suggests repairs for the Anna Maria City Pier can take at least 12 months. [LUIS SANTANA for Visit Florida]
  5. Top picks for healthy convenience foods that put popular whole grains to good use

    Cooking

    Whole grains are trending. The National Restaurant Association declared them one of the top 20 food trends of 2017, multiple surveys report that consumers are seeking them out, and thousands of grocery items have been reformulated to include more in the past year. That's a good thing because there is a tall stack of …

    There is a tall stack of research supporting the health benefits of eating whole grains, which include preventing the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease and helping with weight management.