To the pleasure of fans, prog rockers Supertramp's songs still crowd the airwaves on radio stations around the country. They're a band whose music has stood the test of time, and then some. Founding member, composer, and co-frontman of the band Roger Hodgson is the brains and voice behind many of the band's hits, like "Dreamer" and "Give a Little Bit."
His solo work maintains the same musical integrity and appeal as his former act. "My music hasn't really changed a lot," He says, "I was a huge part of Supertramp. So, the sound of Supertramp, I was responsible very much for it."
He has though, evolved as a musician, "The main thing that's changed over the years is I'm singing much better now. I think because I've matured much more, I'm able to put more of my heart into the songs and so people can feel them in a deeper way than they ever could.
"When you're singing, you really can't hide what's going on inside of you. I'm much more in touch with myself now, and that really translates into the songs. Luckily, these songs are wonderful songs, and the message of them is still very relevant." He continued, "I still believe in them. And they haven't aged." This sort of timelessness allows people of every generation to gather at his shows and enjoy his music.
Hodgson has toured off and on over the past eight years. The British born, American transplant has been thrilled to travel and sing around the world, but playing in his home, the U.S. is something that pleases him most. For a period though, after Supertramp, he left the road and went to the mountains to peruse a simpler lifestyle and raise his children.
"It's wonderfully fantastic to know that my songs have stood the test of time and that a wonderful audience is happy to see me again." Of his role as a musician detached from a band, he says, "I like being a solo artist. I really like the personal connection I can have with the audience as a solo artist. I am touring with a fantastic band with musicians I've chosen." He believes the connection is very special, one he values greatly.
"My songs have always been very autobiographical." He says, "What I feel about life, love, what I see in the world. They're very personal, and that's really why they've stuck with people through the years. Maybe I've been able to express a lot of what maybe others have not been able to find a way to express in their lives."
His only problem when creating a set list for shows is deciding what not to play. At performances, Hodgson performs a few new and many older songs. The tunes that have been around longer are meant to bring back good memories to the devoted, "It's wonderful to take people, in a way, on a life journey through music." He also engages in storytelling onstage letting the audience know where the songs' came from, "It really gives the people a richer experience."
Hodgson's songs offer depth instead of just fleeting fancies, "Even at a very young age, I had a lot of pretty deep questions going on inside of me. And they just found their way into my songs. I wanted to know what life was about." He says, "I had a longing for love, I had a real deep longing to know God, to know how to even feel God and what God was. There was a lot of confusion about that. Music was where I went to put my deepest thoughts."
This sort of musical magic runs deep in his family. His son Andrew is an alt rock musician. Hodgson is his biggest fan, and said happily of his kin, "They're proud of me, and I'm proud of them."
Roger Hodgson, The Legendary Voice of Supertramp comes to Hard Rock Live (One Seminole Way, Hollywood) on March 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $44, $54, and $69. Visit Ticketmaster.com.