“People tell me I am one of music’s best kept secrets,” says Roger Hodgson.
Hodgson proved to be a formidable hit-maker in the 1970s, fronting the prog-rock band, Supertramp. After the departure of singer Richard Palmer, he took over vocals and served up the group’s first big hit with his song, “Dreamer,” from the 1974 album Crime of the Century.
Until his departure from the group in 1983, Hodgson would pen some of the band’s biggest hits and herald Supertramp into the group’s “golden years.” Tracks like “Give A Little Bit,” “The Logical Song,” “Breakfast In America,” “Take The Long Way Home,” and others would top charts through the 70s and still remain in heavy rotation on the radio today.
But, after the release of 1982’s …Famous Last Words…, Hodgson announced he was leaving the band. He had decided to focus on his family and a solo career.
“I took a break,” Hodgson says. “I didn’t tour for about 17 years.”
He released a couple of solo albums, In the Eye of the Storm in 1984 and Hai Hai in 1987, but neither achieved the level of success that his work with Supertramp had. “I took a break from the industry,” says Hodgson, who spent the next decade focusing on his family.
“My kids were flying by themselves, and I got invited to do a couple of live events, and it felt really good,” Hodgson says of his return to music in the late 90s. In 1997, he released Rites of Passage, a live album featuring his son, Andrew, and Supertramp saxophonist John Helliwell accompanying.
“Ringo Starr invited me to be in his All-Starr Band,” he says. That was in 2001, and he toured with the former Beatle, singing and playing guitar.
“People loved it,” says Hodgson. “I realized my time away had been really good for me. I was more confident and comfortable.”
The experience inspired Hodgson to get back in the game. He says he started working solo, then as a duo, then a five-piece.
“Even many huge Supertramp fans are admitting that the band I have put together actually sounds better than the original,” Hodson says. “So the audience is in for a wonderful surprise.”
Of course, the industry transformed after Hodgson took his break back in the 80s. Digital technology changed the way music is recorded and distributed. Hodgson has embraced these changes.
“The technology really allows us to get an incredibly good sound. My traveling system is very high-tech,” Hodgson says. “It makes vocal harmonies sound really pristine and exact, but, unlike a lot of shows nowadays, there’s no lip syncing.”
What hasn’t changed: Hodgson’s songs are still hits and still resonate with fans all over the world. “Styles and fashion come and go,” Hodgson says. “I did my own thing, and, luckily, people liked it.”
“These songs were not contrived. I wasn’t trying to copy what was popular at the time,” he continues. “A lot of these songs are very personal. They are genuine and sincere, and they have a lot of depth and heart to them.”
Hodgson is bringing his hits to the Honeywell Center in Wabash on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Visit www.honeywellcenter.org for tickets. For more tour dates or information on Roger Hodgson visit www.rogerhodgson.com.