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Supertramp singer, musician comes to Luhrs

October 31, 2012|By AMY DULEBOHN | amyc@herald-mail.com
  • Roger Hodgson of Supertramp will sing the greatest hits of the band Friday, Nov. 9, at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University.
By Rob Shananhan

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Roger Hodgson started playing music and writing songs when he was just 12 years old. He was in his first band a few years later, and founded the internationally-known rock band Supertramp before he was 20. Yet, more than 40 years later at age 62, he said he feels like he's in his prime.

 "I'm writing all the time. I really believe that artists should improve with age. Painters are usually painting their greatest work at age 60, so why aren't musicians like that?" he said during a telephone interview from Northern California, where the England native has lived since he was 24.

Hodgson will show his prowess off to the audience as he sings the greatest hits of Supertramp at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, when "Roger Hodgson: The Legendary Voice of Supertramp with Band," comes to the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shippensburg University in Shippensburg.

"The show is really blowing people away. I'm not one to (toot my own horn) but it's a very, very special show. People are just stunned by the quality of it, and the musicianship of it, and obviously, the songs that they haven't heard for 20, 30 years, since I did them with Supertramp last, which was 1983," he said.

Hodgson is clear, though, that he sings only songs from the band that he wrote and composed, such as "The Logical Song," "Breakfast in America," "Take the Long Way Home," "Give a Little Bit," "Dreamer" and "It's Raining Again."

Hodgson also promises that his Pennsylvania show will be one that is well-thought out.

"When I come to Shippensburg, I'll go in, I'll check out the venue, I'll get the feeling of the place ... and then I'll fine tune the set list accordingly. And then even on stage while we're playing, every night something changes, and the band is great. They're ready for that, and they're watching for that and they'll follow my lead," he said.

Hodgson, who left Supertramp nearly 30 years ago to raise his family away from the music business, said his time away from the scene left him a better person. Fans say that his distinctive tenor voice sounds just as good if not better than it did in the 1970s and 80s.

 "I think taking a break from the music industry, almost 20 years actually, was very good for me," he said. "And not just for my voice, but for me as a man. Coming back to touring again, I'm a very different man (compared) to the shy, introvert songwriter who was kind of hiding behind the band back with Supertramp. There's a confidence, an enjoyment and a comfort that I have now with being in front of people that allows me to give a whole lot more."

In addition to touring, Hodgson has lent his time and voice to charity. He has donated the song "Give A Little Bit" to help raise funds for causes including Tsunami Relief, UNICEF, Hurricane Katrina relief.

Hodgson said his decision to return to touring was a gradual one. "I was invited to do a few shows, and then I did a few more ... and then for the last 8, 9 years I've been touring everywhere but America. This is actually the first time that we've been able to make a tour happen in America. I'm very, very happy about it obviously, because I live here and I love Americans," he said.

As he continues to tour, he said his biggest challenge has been name recognition. "Promoters weren't prepared to take a risk on the name Roger Hodgson because everyone thinks of my songs as Supertramp songs ... everyone knows my voice and my songs but they don't know (my) name. But it's turning, it's changing, it's wonderful," he said.

Otherwise, selling tickets is not a difficult task for a performer whose music is known for its staying power.

"I'm pretty proud of the legacy (Supertramp) left," he said. "The amazing thing is that --- the songs that I wrote stood the test of time so well. It amazes me today that every concert I'm singing the songs that I wrote — that people have been hearing now for 30-plus years, and they sound as fresh today as when I wrote them, and that's pretty amazing."

And Hodgson still appreciates his music, as well.

"I just love singing (the songs), so they've really stood the test of time for me, as well. People ask me, ‘Well why do you think that is?' I think that it's because they really did come from a very pure place. I never sat down and tried to contrive to write a hit song. The few times I tried I fell flat on my face and didn't come up with anything," he said.

"Music is really where I went to express what was going on inside of me," Hodson said. "I was quite a sensitive young man and it wasn't very safe, especially in England to talk about a lot of the stuff I was feeling so I (expressed) that in my songs. Little did I know these songs would go out and touch millions of people. That's the magic of music. What I was feeling and writing and singing about touched other people who (felt) the same way."



If you go ...

WHO: "Roger Hodgson: The Legendary Voice of Supertramp with Band"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9

WHERE: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, Pa.

Cost: Tickets cost $40 to $65

Contact: Call 717-477-7469 or go to luhrscenter.com

More: Roger Hodgson is online at www.rogerhodgson.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/RogerHodgsonOfficial



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