Hodgson takes the long way back to Milwaukee
When you think of Supertramp, the voice you hear is Roger Hodgson's.
Hodgson co-founded the band in 1969 and took the long way to success, ultimately scoring big beginning with 1974's "Crime of the Century," and then with its follow-ups: 1977's "Even in the Quietest Moments..." and, above all, 1979's "Breakfast in America."
Though he left Supertramp in 1983, Hodgson has remained active – except for a decade-long hiatus – releasing solo material, collaborating with Yes and touring; a lot of touring.
Hodgson released "Classics Live" in 2010 and is back on the road again. When the first two shows announced for Potawatomi Bingo Casino (Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4) sold out quickly, a third, on Monday, March 5, was added and tickets are still available for that one.
We asked Hodgson about his return to Brew City...
OnMilwaukee.com: Do you enjoy getting back to Milwaukee? Have you played here much in recent years?
Roger Hodgson: No, I haven't played here at all in recent years, so I am very excited to be coming back to the Milwaukee area and to sell out two shows so quickly that we had to add a third, which I hear is almost sold out, also.
OMC: I worked for a while with a guy that did monitors for Supertramp in the late '70s and he said that Milwaukee was always one of the band's biggest markets. Do you still feel the love when you come here?
RH: He was right, Milwaukee was always a very hot market for Supertramp. In fact, one of the first in America to discover the band. I am expecting to feel the historical love affair with Supertramp and my songs at the upcoming shows and probably see a lot of the same people that I played to all those years ago. I can tell you they're in for a surprise at how good I'm sounding and how great the band is that are with me.
OMC: Can you tell us a bit about the current tour? Is it a mix of solo material and your songs from the Supertramp era?
RH: Obviously I'll be playing all the favorites that I wrote and sang for Supertramp : "Dreamer," "Give a Little Bit." "The Logical Song," "Take the Long Way Home," "School," "Breakfast in America," "Fool's Overture" and many more, plus some favorites from my solo albums.
OMC: I know that the band has reunited. Why didn't you take part?
RH: I am feeling very fulfilled doing the shows the way I am doing them right now and fans tell me they are feeling the old heart and spirit of Supertramp in my shows. Obviously, there is a romantic dream that many fans have to see Rick Davies and myself together again on stage. I did make the offer last year to Rick to join him for a few special shows, and unfortunately my offer was turned down.
OMC: The songs that you wrote for the band still resonate with you. Otherwise, I imagine it would be hard to go out there and keep playing them.
RH: The only reason I am able to endure the rigors of touring is because I still have a deep love and appreciation for the songs I wrote and feel I am able to give a little bit of my heart and my artistry to audiences in a unifying and intimate way that seems to make people go away with a smile on their faces.
OMC: It's been a long time since your last studio record. Are you working toward another one or do you prefer to spend your time and energy on live performance?
RH: Touring has really been my focus these last eight years and fans are getting to hear a few new songs when I play them live. Because people are saying that I am singing better now than ever, I decided to make a new album, called "Classics Live." I recorded songs on my 2010 tour and chose the best versions from all over the world. The first 10 tracks of the two CD set are available on my website and now on iTunes.
Nice interview. I have seats for the Saturday gig - really looking forward to it! Thanks.
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