ROGER HODGSON in the Chronicle Herald, Nov 2006

ROGER HODGSON in the Chronicle Herald, Nov 2006


Tramping Canada

Roger Hodgson brings some nostalgia and a roster of new songs back to the country that helped launch his old band on the road to international stardom

By STEPHEN COOKE Entertainment Reporter


SINGER-SONGWRITER Roger Hodgson named his new live DVD Take the Long Way Home after one of several hit singles he recorded with the progressive British pop band Supertramp.

But in many ways the show it captures, recorded live at Montreal’s Place des Arts, took place in his home away from home.

In it’s ’70s heyday, few countries embraced Supertramp like Canada. Now, after over a decade away from the international concert stage, Hodgson returns with a solo tour that hits Halifax’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Saturday night.

Speaking on the phone from a tour stop in Sherbrooke, Que., Hodgson cites a statistic that pleases him very much:
that one in 20 Canadians have owned both of the Supertramp albums Crime of the Century from 1973 and 1979’s Breakfast in America. Given the ubiquity of those records after their release, it’s hard to refute.

"One of my favourite items at home is a diamond album plaque—well, it’s not a real diamond—that we got for Breakfast in America in Canada," he says in a precise British accent.

"Crime went to number one in England first, but it took off in Canada shortly after. America took much longer, Canada discovered us very early on and it spread like wildfire. It started in Quebec, but it soon became this huge love affair with Canada, it was pretty phenomenal."

The love affair continues on the Take the Long Way Home live DVD, which captures Hodgson in front of an enthusiastic crowd and has already gone platinum in Canada.

"I think the best testimonial is that I can watch it, and I can’t usually watch anything I’ve done. It just worked out; we’d had lots of requests for a DVD when I started the solo tour, and we knew we had a Montreal show coming up, so we took a chance on it and it paid off."

After leaving Supertramp in 1983, Hodgson embarked on a successful solo career in the ’80s, with albums like In the Eye of the Storm and Hai Hai, which was waylaid by an accident that shattered his wrists the same week the latter title was released.

It was a long recovery, but he eventually recovered the ability to write and perform, releasing the CD Open the Door in 2000.

"I do have 60 or so new songs waiting for me to do something with them, so we put Oh Brother on the DVD as a kind of a teaser," he says. "But I have been away for quite a while, so I need to connect the dots and let people know I’m back, especially if they’re more familiar with Supertramp than Roger Hodgson.

"So it’s a great way to show them that I’m back, I’m in great shape, and I’m singing the songs that they remember."

It helps that the songs are rarely far from the public eye. Besides ongoing radio airplay, there was the use of the songs Goodbye Stranger and The Logical Song in Paul Thomas Anderson’s sweeping drama Magnolia, while more recently Give a Little Bit was covered by Buffalo’s Goo Goo Dolls, who happen to be performing at the Halifax Metro Centre on Nov. 21.

"It’s a golden rule that a good song is a good song, and will stand the test of time," he says. "It’s wonderful for me these songs have lasted so well, and if I was the kind of performer that went on stage and didn’t really enjoy singing the songs I did so long ago, I really couldn’t do it.

"But I tell you, every time I go on stage it’s sheer joy singing these songs, because they have a very evergreen quality about them. And the good thing is I’ve got so many of them! Take the Long Way Home, Dreamer, Breakfast in America, you name them, they’re fun to sing."

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