ROGER HODGSON in the North County Times, Feb 2012

ROGER HODGSON in the North County Times, Feb 2012

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CALIFORNIAN: Hodgson continues to give more than 'a little bit' to fans

North County Times
February 23, 2011 1:22 pm
 
There is no doubt that many artists in the '70s wrote songs about serious, philosophical topics. One such group was Supertramp, who rode to fame on the backs of songs like "The Logical Song, "Give a Little Bit" and "It's Raining Again."

Now, Roger Hodgson, the former Supertramp lead singer, and writer of the aforementioned songs, brings his music to the Pechanga showroom for shows Friday and Saturday evening.

"It's wonderful and amazing that my songs have stood the test of time so well, and I can only attribute that to the fact that they did come from a very pure place and the melodies seem to have a timeless quality to them, as do most of the lyrics," Hodgson said. "And because they are 30-40 years old now, they hold a lot of memories for people around the world."

Of course, most people recognize Hodgson as one of the primary members of Supertramp, which featured Hodgson and Rick Davies, reaching a zenith with the 1979 album, "Breakfast in America." And that album, like the others, featured songs that have become radio staples over the years.

amid the success, Hodgson left Supertramp.

"I have always tried to follow my heart and my instincts in life," he said. "I quit the music business at the peak of Supertramp's success in 1983 to stay at home and be with my children growing up. That is what my heart was telling me was more important than to continue touring with Supertramp. Whenever I follow my heart, life has always worked out better than I hoped."

He credits that decision to his popularity and ability now.

"I believe that my time away from the music industry is the reason why I am still in my prime creatively, and my heart and spirit are very strong, and I love giving a little bit of my love in concerts," he said.

Hodgson is quick to point out that his songs are built around his life experiences.

"I've always had a lot of questions, deep questions like 'Why am I here? Where do I find God? How do I find true love?'" he said. "I started writing songs when I was 12, and I put my questions and my feelings into my songs. Within a year, I actually did my first concert at school of all original songs."

One of his most popular songs, "The Logical Song," was based on post-school reflections.

"In 'The Logical Song,' I'm looking for the answers I didn't get in school," he said. "They taught me how to be sensible and intellectual and responsible and all these things. But, at the end of the day I was left with 'Please tell me who I am.' That to me was the most important question and has been for most of my life."

"Give a Little Bit" hearkens back to his youth.

"Like many of the songs I have written, Give a Little Bit has such a pure, timeless message that is just as relevant today as when I wrote it as a teenager," he said. "It's a song that really inspires people to give a little bit, not give a lot, just give a little bit and see how it feels and show that you care. I believe that true happiness comes from giving - giving our love, giving our time, giving a little bit of ourselves in whatever ways we can."

As one might expect, loss also factored in his songwriting.

"'It's Raining Again' came pouring out of me day," he said. "I was at my mother's house and had just lost a friend. It was raining outside, and I was feeling melancholy and sat down to play my harmonium. It's a sad song with an upbeat melody."

Even to this day, Hodgson's songwriting follows a similar format.

"My songwriting process has never changed," he said. "I've always written songs when I'm alone, not with a band. I have always found it very difficult to be in composing mode around other people. For me it is a very personal process, usually late at night when I find myself alone and I can really tune in."

It begins with just a few words.

"Generally, the music comes first with a few lines of lyrics, then for a two or three week period of time I sing the song every opportunity I get," he said. "I usually hear every note in my head first and slowly the lyric takes shape. When it's complete I make a demo. Back in the Supertramp days, I would then bring the complete demo to the band to learn their parts."

Performing live gives Hodgson the chance to explore various styles, all while developing a oneness with the audience.

"My songs work well in all formats, and I experience a powerful, intimate connection with my audience, whether I perform solo, with a band or an orchestra," he said. "I think what makes the solo show unique is that people hear the songs the way they sounded when I first wrote them."

Touring has allowed him to bring people together, something that many of his songs have expressed.

"For the last few years, I have really been enjoying touring because it is one of the best ways I can give my heart and give my love and maybe bring a ray of hope to people ---- bring people together in the spirit of love," he said. "I really believe that love is what we are all searching for ultimately. And as a performer, I am really just a mirror for the audience. If I am putting out love and joy to the audience my hope is that many in the audience will feel that and go away feeling uplifted and hopeful in some way."

And that has culminated in his most recent project, "Classics Live."

"I released it in response to so many fans that have asked for a CD of my live concerts and who have said they feel I am singing better today than when I first recorded these songs," he said. "They wanted to have new versions of a lot of the classic songs that were only available as the Supertramp versions all these years. In 2010 we recorded all the shows and chose the best songs from shows in Brazil, Venezuela, Paris, Norway, and Germany that became part of 'Classics Live.'"

For many fans, the shows are proving to be quite a different experience.

"After the show, people tell me they are amazed how complete the songs sound with just one instrument, and they can't believe the huge sound I make playing keyboard, grand piano or guitar," he said. "To this day, one of the biggest thrills for me is when I perform my epic song, "Fool's Overture," backed by an orchestra. I get goose bumps every time."

To this day, he is thankful for his musical abilities and what he is able to feel from fans.

"Music has an incredible ability to spark memories in our life," he said. "I am grateful to have a gift where I can take people on a journey through their life."

- Roger Hodgson -
8 p.m. Feb. 25-26
Pechanga Resort & Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula
$45-$70
877-711-2946

 

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