Progressive rock band Supertramp has a foothold in music history akin to many of its contemporaries, and in news that’s almost as depressing as the success of “Cupid’s Chokehold”, members of British prog rock outfit are planning a reunion for its 40th anniversary… without the founding leading man and bassist. Per Undercover:
Supertramp has announced a 2010 tour without inviting founding members Roger Hodgson and Dougie Thompson back in the band.
The Supertramp tour comes as a surprise, especially to Hodgson who told Undercover last December Weve looked at it and talked it over. I have looked at it many times. It is hard to reinvent us. I would never say never but Rick (Davies) has pretty much retired right now and Im in the prime of my life. The reaction I am getting from fans is please dont reunite. I think a lot of the magic and spirit that people think they would see at a Supertramp reunion they are actually getting at my shows now. I feel the reunion I am having is with my audience and it feels really good.
Truth be told, a true Supertramp reunion, in this writer’s humble opinion, would be astounding for people like me who were not around during their height of fame to catch a performance. Unfortunately, this is not a Supertramp reunion. It is more like Rick Davies and the guys got bored, got stoned, realized the interest waned, and just said fuck it. From a statement by Hodgson’s management (via Undercover):
Weve been told that they are billing the tour as the 40th Anniversary tour of the band and we just find this very surprising, misleading and disrespectful of Roger since he is the only other member that was a part of Supertramp when he and Rick founded the band together 40 years ago. (Dougie joined the band in 1972 and John and Bob a year later in 1973 and have not actually been with Supertramp for 40 years). It would seem that you would want to invite the other co-founder and the bass player of the classic line up for the 40th anniversary of the band. So, were really hoping it doesnt create any confusion in the market place or mislead anyone into thinking that a 40th anniversary tour means a reunion tour with Roger Hodgson and Dougie Thompson. And with not inviting them, it seems it would have been more straightforward to simply call it a Supertramp tour.
We know what you are going to say, that bands reunite all the time with new line-ups (GnR) or temporary/permanent replacement members (The Offspring, Metallica), and this is very true; you might say that this article comes off as a purist hipster rant, but that is not the case.
Fellow prog rock band Pink Floyd had its major lyrical contributor and ego-trip bassist drop out in the late ’80s, and we still received A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, Division Bell, and a killer live concert video titled P*U*L*S*E. Sadly, some reshufflings work out and some do not (cases and points aforementioned included, depending on your viewpoint) — Supertramp without Hodgson does not fit. It is tantamount to KoRn without Jonathan Davis, System of a Down without Tankian & Malakian, Journey without Perry (okay, two out of three is still bad), as some equations just do not make since.
Floyd survived because David Gilmour is a talented guitarist and lyricist in his own right, and he still had the other original members (minus Barrett) backing him up when Waters went all Bono on them. Supertramp doing a reunion tour of covers is one thing, but an anniversary tour for a 40 year run where the majority of the reunited members weren’t behind the name nearly that long is an insult if you don’t even bother consulting with the rest of the parties in question, former bassist Dougie Thompson included (though considering his management duties for Disturbed, he’s probably pretty tied up).
Take a lesson from GnR and Smashing Pumpkins, Davies — just because the band you were in has a nostalgic and dedicated following, it does not give you the right to “reunite” and call dibs when the authenticity is not there. Anniversary tour? More like a bit of retiree whimsy, but don’t fret: we forgave grandpa, and we’ll forgive you if you get your sense back.
Maybe Hodgson should take a cue from Waters and strike out on a big bang this year with what generally amounts to his own material. Hodgson was already on a roll with some dates in Australia recently, made up by a good chunk of his Supertramp material, so why not? I do not typically condone spite for its own sake, but in this case the stoners need redemption, and frankly after this news, I need to smuggle another doob m’self — Bonnaroo and Waters cannot come soon enough.