Articles de magazines 2 (en anglais)
Hard-Up Heroes with the Hilton Connection
New Musical Express
November 2, 1974
by Fred Dellar
If you'd been foolish enough to mention a new album to Supertramp just over a year ago, you'd have been greeted with looks that suggested you ran away and played with a bottle of cyanide.
Money was still something you played Monopoly with and the band was so down it seemed just a matter of announcing the split and looking for the next set of circumstances.
But, somewhere along the way they decided to make a single and mix it at Trident. There, producer Ken Scott heard the band and liked what they did. So they bent his ear towards the large amount of material they'd piled up on their homely Sony (no, they couldn't afford a Reox like everyone else) and Scott became so intrigues that he began to work up a kind of Eddie Offord-Yes relationship with the group and decided to lead them on their quest for their personal Holy Grail - an album that would gain them acceptance.
So off they all went to the Who studio to up down some basic tracks, later returning to Trident for overdubs and thence to Scorpio where they did the final mix - all of which too around five months.
"Ken's really become part of the band," claims keyboardman and founder-member Richard Davies. "But he's such a perfectionist that when he tries for a drum sound we all walk out and leave bob Benberg (the band's drummer) and him to it. If we come back a couple of hours later they'll still be working it all out".
Even the sound effects on the album - 'Crime of the Century' (reviewed last week) had to be really authentic. When he wanted the sound of children's voices, Scott went down to his daughter's school and recorded the holocaust at going-home time. Another evening he could be found recording buskers in London's West End which on another occasion he and Supertramp made their way to Paddington where, amid the train-spotter, they recorded the station announcements for a track called "Rudy".
Scott, who won a large number of plaudits for his work with Bowie, is currently involved in a project with Billy Cobham. But he's already planning another album with Supertramp. Y'see the band claim they didn't put all their best material on the new album: "We just used some of the songs that fitted okay", says guitarist Roger Hodgson, "and some of the strongest material is yet to come - we've had a lot of time in which to write during the past couple of years."
But now the band are back to earning a little bread once more and they've dedicated their album, which A & M released a couple of weeks ago, to a guy called Sam - a guy who once decided that a small portion of his million would find a worthwhile investment in the talents of Supertramp. Now there's a story.
Breaks are coming for Supertramp
New Musical Express
October 23, 1971
by Tony McNally
High on a mountain road in Norway lies a definite reminder that Supertramp once played there - the equipment van, which had to be left because the mountain was too steep to take it down. And that is only one of the incidents with vans for this refreshing five piece outfit. So bad has the situation been that last Wednesday the band couldn't play Liverpool with TYA (who they're on tour with) and it resulted in sax player Dave Winthrop busking to cinema queues - he did make five bob though!
At London's Coliseum on Sunday night, I say the band play for the first time, and must say was impressed by their edited set. The music is complex, with strong harmony lines, and a variety of instruments including saxes, flutes, piano, organ and guitars, I would say they draw heavily from the blues, especially for the boogies, but do have a distinct country flavour.
The band was formed around keyboard player Ric Davies two years ago with guitarist Roger Hodgson. Dave joined 18 months ago, and Frank Farrell (bass) and Kevin Currey (drums) came in earlier this year.
The band have gained quite a bit of respect in the music business, and they told me that Paul Kossoff recently invited Roger to join his band. But as things were just beginning to go for them they decided to keep together.
As they put it, the band has been through absolute rubbish and now they are starting to get breaks, one of which must surely be the TYA tour.
"At last," Ric said, "five of us think probably the same way, which is quite useful and we like the same things in music.
"Like playing with Kevin; it's very hard to find a drummer who will do very simple thins because they think of jazzy bits, and can't do the simple rhythms because of this ego thing going.
When the band was in its early stages they played a minor key type of thing, and also some very poetical type of stuff - until the guitarist left, and that changed their musical format.
Rick: "Yeah, when Richard Palmer left, thing started to change all right, and we got into this type of funky thing. It's a feel type of thing. It's going to be a little bit more intricate and a little more worked out and more arranged, but not into the ELP type of thing.
Listening to the band I got the impression that the arrangements were carefully worked out, seems that things are going to be tighter though.
"It's arranged now, but simply," Rick went on to say "but it'll go a little bit deeper. A lot is drawn from the blues, that's the sort of feel bit."
The music is put together by the band, and the album "Indelibly stamped" seems to be doing well, if for nothing else, just originality.
"On Stage," said Rick," we try to be light-hearted, enjoy the rhythms and then let it show in the music.
Listen with your heads not your ears
May 15, 1971
By Kevin Corrie
I joined Supertramp about two months before we started work on the new album. I had to do three auditions (short lists and things) and the band saw 87 drummers and 93 guitarists. They didn’t find a guitarist. Eventually Roger, the bass player, played guitar, so Frank joined on bass just after we finished the album.
"We’ll be rehearsing now for a few weeks, then we got to the P.N. Club, Munich for a few weeks to break the band in to coincide with the release of the album.
"What can I say about the album… it’s right where we all are at the moment. We’re not out to impress all and sundry with our musical prowess, virtuosity,etc. We like to think people who buy the album will listen with their heads, not their ears, but we don’t mind.
"If they get something out of it what we didn’t consciously put on it, then good for them. We think it is quite a varied album with most of the out of it that we didn’t emphasis on melody and feel, both on the album and on stage.
"Most of our live gigs are colleges which means we’re only exposed to people who want to know anyway. We hope the album will find it’s way into the possession of people who wouldn’t normally associate themselves with ‘groovy’ college bands.
"The fact that Supertramp are still together is a minor miracle in itself. When the first album was being made the personnel scenes were really bad. Vans and cars breaking down one after the other.
"Eventually the guitarist and drummer left the band. That was it. As far as people in the business were concerned. We’re now slowly convincing them they were wrong.
"We have a gas doing the album. We were in the studios all over Easter and we wrote and produced it ourselves. People don’t realize it but the studios and studio engineers all affect the way the album comes together.
"It was recorded at Olympic in Barnes, Which is a really nice studio, and the engineer Bob knew exactly what we were trying to do without anyone having to say anything. A&M are rush releasing it to get it out for early June. So we can only sit tight and hope everyone digs it.
The Seventies Sound
August 8, 1970
Roger Hodgson is the base guitarist with a new five-piece British group Supertramp, whose debut album "Supertramp" is issued by A&M are particularly enthusiastic about the band who have signed with The Chrysalis Agency and are beginning an extensive round of club and college dates throughout Britain.
"We’re very pleased at the reaction we’ve had to our initial bookings in Britain at places like the Marquee. As a group we haven’t been in existence for long, although all of the members have had a good deal of musical schooling in various groups during the past few years.
"When we originally got together earlier this year it was decided that we must spend some months together tightening up our sound before doing British gigs, so we went to the Continent and spent several weeks rehearsing solidly in Geneva. Then we spent some time as a resident band at the P.N. club in Munich. We had five half-hour shows during the week and seven shows a day at weekends. This was very good for us; it’s the type of experience that many other bands have gone through at the beginning of their careers. For some reason, a lot of really good British outfits consider that the hard, exhausting work in German clubs is one of the best methods of tightening group sound and getting the group together as a team. We certainly found that to be true.
"Now we’re looking forward to all our British gigs and are really keen to hear the reaction to our album when it’s released. All the numbers were written by ourselves.
"As far as my personal history is concerned I’ve had a passion for playing guitar since my early schooldays – and it certainly affected my work! At school they tried to dissuade my passion for music, but in the end they let me have my own solo concert. I was 12 at the time. I played most of my own compositions but the only encore I received was the one non-original song I performed – Cliff Richard’s "Bachelor Boy."
"I left school at 18 and joined a group called People Like Us, but I was always the odd one out because I refused to force a smile on stage. Lionel Conway of Island Records heard a demo we made and asked me to leave the group and make a solo record of one of my own compositions called "Mr Boyd." It was released in America under the name Argosy and got to No. 28 in the Kansas City charts.
Up until now I’d always played lead guitar, but when I auditions for Supertramp they asked me to switch to bass and, having got used to it, I really dig it now. I also play piano and cello with the group."
Tramp hits the road
September 5, 1970
By Andrew Means
Like a thousand other relatively unknown groups, Supertramp are trying hard to make a name for themselves. But unlike most groups in a similar position, they have an excellent recommendation – their first album.
Richard Davies (organ, electric piano, vocals), Roger Hodgson (bass guitar, vocals), Richard Palmer (lead guitar and vocals) and Robert Millar (drums) have combined to produce some very tasteful material. Latest addition to the group is David Winthrop (saxophone, flute and vocals) who was not featured on the album. The full effect of Supertramp, then, is as yet a relatively unknown quality. During a recent breakfast ritual I asked Roger and Richard Davies how the group had first started.
"I started the group off really, after my old group broke up. My manager asked me if I wanted to start again with new musicians," Richard Davies told me, in between gulps of bacon, sausages and other delicacies.
"We put an advert in, and built up the group from there. Me and Roger are the two main composers and Richard Palmer is writing lyrics at the moment. When we first started we took a wrong direction in trying to do complicated stuff, but we’ve change that now.
"The forming of the group and getting a record out has taken us about a year and we’re itching to get out on the road," Roger broke in.
Was there any particular sound or instrument which they felt would identify them?
"Ideally we’re just five guys on stage just grooving along." Said Richard Davies. "If anything the electric piano may be the distinctive thing. Also we’ve got some weird voices.
"We have very different voices," agreed Roger. "This comes out in the moods of the songs we each write. If we write a rock song Dave usually sings it. He’s got a harsh voice."
Richard explained that when either he or Roger thought of the beginning of a song, they tried to get the mood across to Richard Palmer and he wrote the lyrics.
"When we write a song we find that some line will just come into our heads subconsciously," said Roger. "Richard grabs these lines and writes lyrics around them, making them fit the mood of the song."
Richard Palmer strode in at that moment; I asked how he shaped the lyrics.
"This is contradictory because it’s not what I’m doing, but the lyrics that impress me the most are ballad lyrics about concrete people and places, rather than abstract ideas – like the Band do," he said "It’s not always possible but if you can make the words stand up on their own without the music then it’s good. The attraction of the ballad is that the song tells a story. I admire lyrics if they make sense.
"The days of the protest song as such are over. It’s much better to tell a story illustrating a point. I’m not sure that it’s the business of the rock-and-roll band to protest. It does seem to me a little bit easy to use the stage or record as a soapbox.
"Most people in the music business seem to adopt other people’s convictions without thinking it up for themselves. I try to make a personal point with my lyrics. The right thing is to try and present an attitude – just a statement of fact from which it’s evident that you are thinking in a certain way.
"The songs I admire are narrative. Protest songs are essentially negative. Jefferson Airplane, who I like a lot, have a very positive attitude. They drag you into their field of influence. Many groups don’t have the personality power to do that."
Did they feel that their album represented them fairly?
"I’m satisfied with this album in view of how long we’d been formed when we made it," said Richard Davies. "When we made it Robert had only been with us a week."
"We’ve got about twenty songs for our next album now," Roger told me. "It’s very much different from the first one emotionally."
"The last album was songs which Richard and I had written before Supertramp was formed," said Roger. "The next one is going to be songs written since the group started. Now all we’ve got to do is get the gigs. We’ve got a few University dates and this is the market we’ll be aiming for.