Author Archives: bradbirzer

Roger Hodgson News

For Immediate Release:                                                                       October 21, 2014

ROGER HODGSON Readies Fall Tour As “Crime of the Century” Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Roger Hodgson, legendary vocalist and singer-songwriter from Supertramp, is heading back to North America for a series of fall dates. Following extensive tours of Europe and South America, Hodgson kicks off his North America tour on November 4 in Wabash, Indiana.
Hodgson, one of the most gifted composers and lyricists of our time, co-founded the progressive rock band Supertramp in 1969. Roger was the driving force behind what fans call the “golden years” of the band that made Supertramp a worldwide phenomenon with album sales in excess of 60 million. He wrote, sang, and arranged the enduring rock standards such as “Breakfast in America,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Take the Long Way Home,” “The Logical Song,” “Dreamer,” “It’s Raining Again,” “School,” and “Fool’s Overture.”
Accompanied by a four-piece band, Roger Hodgson continues to perform all his hits he wrote and later recorded with Supertramp plus other classics of his such as “Child of Vision,” “Hide in Your Shell,” “Sister Moonshine,”  and “Even in the Quietest Moments,” plus favorites from his solo albums – “Only Because of You,” “Lovers in the Wind,” and “In Jeopardy” – many of which can be found on his current CD release, Classics Live.

Uniting generations, Hodgson is transporting baby boomers back to their youth while giving younger concertgoers a taste of why his heartfelt songs have endured. In fact, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of “Crime of the Century,” released in September 1974 (see a revised full press release below about the re-issues). Hodgson’s song, “Dreamer,” became Supertramp’s first international runaway hit, driving the album to the top of the charts. “School,” “Hide in Your Shell,” and “If Everyone Was Listening”are also fan favorites from the album that Hodgson wrote and composed and often plays in concert.
Roger’s shows give North American audiences the opportunity to once again experience the magic and spirit that Hodgson created with Supertramp.

Roger Hodgson North America Tour Dates:
November 4 – Wabash, IN – Honeywell Center
November 6 – Detroit, MI – MotorCity Casino Hotel
November 7 – Niagara Falls, NY – Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Resort
November 8 – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
November 9 – Bethlehem, PA – Sands Bethlehem Event Center
November 11 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount
November 14 & 15 – Rama, ON, Canada – Casino Rama


“Whether it’s the melodic complexity of his songs, the harmonies he weaves with his band, the lyrics that sweep you away or his ability to still command the incredible upper range of his voice, ‘beautiful’ was what kept coming to mind over and over again during his performance. ‘Breathtaking’ might also apply. ‘I want more’ certainly would.” ~ Ted Hansen – Mesa Classic Rock Music Examiner
“All these years I thought I was a Supertramp fan when actually I was and am a Roger Hodgson fan. What a show! WOW is all I can say.” ~ David Wild, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone

Check out his latest release, “Classics Live.” This spectacular collection of Roger’s hit songs from concerts recorded around the world on his 2010 tour is available through his Store and iTunes.

Enjoy this video montage of Hodgson performing some of his timeless classics.

For more information, visit the Tour page on Hodgson’s Website or Events on his Facebook page.

For additional information on Roger Hodgson, visit his Bio.



DECEMBER 9, 2014 in the US (Dec 8 ROW)


Featuring the cream of Rick Davies’ and Roger Hodgson’s songwriting, Crime Of The of the Century was the first of the many peaks in Supertramp’s illustrious career; an album that had everything to prove and tunes that effortlessly straddled the world of pure pop and progressive rock. The significant change that happened with Supertramp on this album was that Hodgson and Davies had each found their strength as songwriters and were writing alone.  The LP eventually peaked at Number 4 on the UK charts and saw the band for the first time on the US Top 40. It was the music and the album’s cinematic sonic qualities that accounted for its impact.

Crime Of The Century is not only one of Supertramp’s greatest works, but one of the most highly regarded recordings of 70s rock music. Released in 1974, it put the band on the map after five years of struggle. With the unmistakable blend of the two songwriters – Davies’ and Hodgson’s – work, it married the sweetness of Hodgson’s ‘Dreamer’ — the band’s first big hit single — with the grit of Davies’ similarly beloved ‘Bloody Well Right.’ In ‘School,’ ‘Rudy,’ and the title track, the band – Davies, Hodgson, John Helliwell, Bob Siebenberg, and Dougie Thomson – helped define what would soon be known as ‘Adult Oriented Rock.’ This was — and is — not just an album that showed Supertramp’s increased maturity, but a timeless gem marked by the incredible melodies and thoughtful lyrics of Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies.

This 40th Anniversary edition contains the classic original album, remastered by Ray Staff at Air Studios, and a second disc features their 1975 Hammersmith Odeon concert, mixed from the original tapes by original on-the-night engineer Ken Scott, capturing the band on the verge of stardom, showcasing all of Crime, and also previewing tracks from the then-as-yet-unreleased follow-up, Crisis? What Crisis?

The 2-CD package comes with a 24-page booklet of photographs, and a new essay written by Phil Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of Mojo Magazine, containing new interviews with Dougie Thomson, John Helliwell, Ken Scott, Bob Siebenberg, Roger Hodgson, and 1973-1983 Supertramp manager Dave Margereson. Crime Of The Century is also available in 3LP and digital formats.

The heavyweight vinyl set in a beautiful box set, cut by Ray Staff at Air Studios, featuring all the material of the two CDs across three 180gm LPs, with an eight-page album-sized booklet with a longer version of Alexander’s essay, and two 10×8 prints.

Crime Of The Century was produced by Ken Scott (The Beatles’ ‘White Album’, David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars). His engineering prowess merited a Grammy nomination and became one of the ‘go to’ albums for Hi-Fi demonstrations alongside Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.

Enjoy again the sonic excellence and musical and lyrical sophistication of this well-loved band on this timely celebration of one of Crime Of The Century, one of their landmark recordings.

ORIGINAL ALBUM: School / Bloody Well Right / Hide In Your Shell/ Asylum / Dreamer/Rudy / If Everyone Was Listening / Crime Of The Century

LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH 75: School / Bloody Well Right / Hide In Your Shell / Asylum / Sister Moonshine / Just A Normal Day / Another Man’s Woman / Lady / A – You’re Adorable / Dreamer / Rudy / If Everyone Was Listening / Crime Of The Century

# # #

CONTACT:   Sujata Murthy, UMe (310) 865-7812 /

Lellie Capwell, LPC Media, (818) 384-1180 /

Contacts: Sujata Murthy (Ume)

Elizabeth Freund (Roger Hodgson) 718-522-5858

Kingbathmat News

Amen, amen, amen.


New Album “Arcade Messiah” Incoming

Hi, everybody, I have a new album coming out next month, called Arcade Messiah.

After the last years KingBathmat album and this years acoustic solo John Bassett album “Unearth”, I decided I wanted to make an instrumental album that was quite heavy, bleak, full of riffs and that also flirted with a number of unusual time signatures. This coincided with me having to upgrade my home studio, so the last 4-5 months I’ve been busy learning some new hardware/software whilst making this new album. I’ve decided to release it under the the different name of Arcade Messiah as its purely instrumental and it is slightly different to the KingBathmat style.

It is now finished and will be released next month. There will be a pre-order for both digital download and CD next week, which will be slightly different from what I’ve done recently as it will be available exclusively through bandcamp alone.

But in the meantime here is a 2 min sample preview of the album

Arcade Messiah can be found on these links across social networks
facebook –
twitter –
instagram –

Thanks for your continued support
John Bassett and all at KingBathmat HQ
Facebook Personal Profile -

The Muppets and Bohemian Rhapsody

A hard video to beat.  Just have to smile.

St. Ignatius and Mark Hollis

What does one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century have in common with the most militant Catholic of the sixteenth century?  Quite a bit, it seems.

Prayer of St. Ignatius                                                   

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.

Mark Hollis.

Mark Hollis.

Talk Talk, Wealth

Create upon my flesh
Create approach upon my breath
Bring me salvation if I fear
Take my freedom

Create upon my breath
Create reflection on my flesh
The wealth of love
Bear me a witness to the years
Take my freedom

Create upon my flesh
Create a home within my head
Take my freedom for giving me a sacred love

Trailer: Steve Babb’s The Lay of Lirazel

Steve Babb, everyone’s favorite Glass Hammer bassist and all-around great guy, has just released a trailer for his new work, The Lay of Lirazel.  It’s available as an ebook, a paperback, and an audiobook.  On a personal note, I must note that this is a gorgeous story, related to that told–through prog music–on Glass Hammer’s classic, The Inconsolable Secret.  Enjoy.

RUSH and the Western Tradition

Freedman's book on the meaning of Rush.  I've loving this book--BB

Freedman’s book on the meaning of Rush. I’m loving this book–BB

Rush’s lyrics over the decades put its point of view firmly in the great Western intellectual tradition of Aristotle, John Locke, and Adam Smith. So when you listen to the band’s 165 original compositions, you’re hearing the same ideas that animated Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson—only a lot louder.


Le Studio?

Rush in Le Studio.  Image "borrowed" from

Rush in Le Studio. Image “borrowed” from

Dear Progarchists,

A nice note came to the website today:

I recently searched for pictures of the famed Le Studio in Quebec where Rush recorded (following my own desire for a place so cool to record in).  I found out that Le Studio has been abandoned and was facing demolition.  All the news I found is a couple of years old and I’m wondering if it was demolished or if someone purchased the place to preserve it.

Does anyone have any idea of what happened?  Thanks, Brad

Black Codex, Episodes 14-26

The Black Codex episodes 14-26 released

On October 7th we have released the second double CD in the four part series of The Black Codex.

The Black Codex tells the story of a young man (Ezio) who sets out to draw a map of the world, from a wooden flying machine. However, from the moment he meets Lev, his plans go completely awry. Lev has a mysterious insight in the patterns in which people behave and is a master of secret plans and schemes. Lev involves Ezio in his quest for an ancient book called The Black Codex. They encounter all kinds of villains, secret societies and mythic characters.


Originally setup as  a weekly digital release only the whole series will be released on 4 double CD’s, packaged in a mini-album sleeve. Together with the fourth part a box and a book will become available. The series of double CD’s will be released quarterly. Together with the last double CD a box and booklet will be released.

 Mastermind behind The Black Codex is multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Christiaan Bruin. Not only does he handle the drums for both the progressive rock band Sky Architect as the progressive metal band Adeia. He recently joined  Nine Stones Close as keyboardist. He is also one of the major supports as a musician and producer of Maartje Dekker’s Mayra Orchestra. And of course he has released already 4 solo albums.



Billy Reeves Strikes Again!

Kscope, Podcast 56, and Billy Reeves.

Kscope, Podcast 56, and Billy Reeves.

I must happily admit, every month I really look forward to iTunes informing me that a new Billy Reeves/Kscope Podcast has arrived in my podcast box (“area”? I have no idea what it’s called–something in iTunes).  This month’s–no. 56–is especially good.

Make sure you check it out.  It features music and news from Lunatic Soul, NAO, Iamthemorning, Anathema, and Steven Wilson.

Friendly Fire in Hostile Waters: The Life Saving Lyrics of Steve Hogarth and Neil Peart

N.B. This is a deeply personal essay considering two examples of why prog means so much to me. I could offer others. But, on this October 11, 2014—the second anniversary of the creation of this website—these are the two I need to offer. I reveal some things that maybe should be left unrevealed. . . but such is life.


Marillion, Afraid of Sunlight (1995). St. Michael or one of his relatives.


As some readers of progarchy might know, I’m a progarchist only at night and during my free time. By day, I’m a professional historian, lecturer, and biographer. I’m also a husband of one and a father of six. . . well, seven. . . but that will be explained in a moment.

Though I’ve had the amazing opportunity to lecture in England (2003 at the Ashmolean), I generally lecture in the U.S. In some years, I might lecture as many as 20x in various locations around the country. Usually and understandably, I’m asked to lecture on the liberal arts, Catholicism, biography, etc. But, almost always when someone who knows me only from my academic career looks at my resume, he sees “progarchy” or something about “prog rock” and becomes more than a bit dumbfounded. Yes, I admit it. Rather proudly. I’m 47, and I love Socrates, Jesus, and progressive rock. I love Batman, too, but that’s another story.

All of this is merely to give context to what I’m about to write.

From as early as I could remember, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was never a huge TV person (aside from Star Trek), and I’d just as soon spend any free time outside exploring that vast horizons of Kansas as I would reading. But, also, for as long as I can remember, I loved music. As a toddler (and my mom can confirm this), I’d crawl out of the crib, make my way to the family room, and blast the stereo system at three in the morning, waking the entire house. I also used to turn on oven burners at full blast at 3 in the morning, but this, too, is a different story.


Yessongs design and art by Roger Dean. My first prog obsession.

I grew up with a very, very intelligent mother and two spirited and equally intelligent older brothers. They introduced me to Tolkien, to Bradbury, and to progressive rock. Lots and lots of progressive rock. In particular, I used to stare and stare at the gatefolds of Yes’s Yessongs. And, of course, Roger Dean’s art is deeply ingrained in every fibre of my being.

Prog has gotten me through much. As some level, it has been almost religious for me. I can state with complete honesty—though without detail, at least at the moment—that had I not had the music of the Moody Blues, Yes, and, especially, Rush, I would not have survived junior high school. I mean this quite literally. Neil Peart’s lyrics gave me a reason to live when it seemed no others existed. Let’s leave it at this: I had an amazing mom, two wonderful brothers, and a rather evil step father (sounds like a Disney movie, I know, but it’s true—he’s currently serving in the first third of a 13-year prison sentence; not a “nice guy.”).


Rush, Signals. Art and design by Hugh Syme. The album that taught me to be myself.

Even with my step father and his machinations, I was able to escape INTO prog. A simple pop or rock song wouldn’t do it. My imagination demanded long songs, intricate bass and drums, and philosophical lyrics.

It still does.

Most of my prog associations are happy ones, despite what I just wrote above. There was prog when I went through college and graduate school, when I play Canasta (my favorite game), when I bake (one of my hobbies), when I met my wife, when we got married (at our wedding; yes, prog was played!), when we had each one of our children, and throughout my entire professional career. Every book I’ve written, I could’ve easily dedicated to a few artists who inspired me as I pounded the keys and poured over the research.

The lyrics of Greg Spawton, Mark Hollis, Roine Stolt, Andy Tillison, Tom Anderson, Tori Amos, Sam Healy, Roland Orzabal, and Neil Peart hover always near my conscious waking state, and who knows what they do to my dreams? Quite a bit, I presume.

To the crux of the point. I could name probably ten albums that have fundamentally shaped my life and made me—for better or worse—who I am.

But, no moment in my life—even with all the horrors of childhood—compares to August 8, 2007. On that day, my wife delivered a full-term stillborn baby. Our little girl, Cecilia Rose Birzer, had been utterly healthy and had come to full term on August 6. Rather than induce, we decided to wait and allow her to come naturally. It was a wretched decision to make as on the morning of August 8, she became entangled in her own umbilical cord and strangled to death. At the time it happened, my wife felt a strange, painful jolt in her womb. By the time we got to the hospital, though, Cecilia Rose had already suffocated.

It’s one thing to suffer and be abused on a personal level. It’s a radically different thing to see a loved one suffer. There’s nothing in this world more horrific than knowing that your child has been harmed. Nothing. I’d rather die at the hands of a madman than see one of my own children hurt. And, there was my little precious girl strangled to death in the most protective of all places—her mother’s womb.

We held our baby for a very long time after she came into the world. She grew hauntingly and eerily cold as the heat from her mother’s womb dissipated. There was our little girl, never to wear pink, never to love princess, never to fall in love with a prince.

Our community—at the college and through our parish—rallied around us, and, for this, we are eternally grateful. Strangely enough, he had just moved to a new house—located across the street from a grave yard. We had our little girl buried there.

Of course, I’ll never forget the year after she died. I was on sabbatical, and I was writing my biography of American founding father, Charles Carroll. The day Cecilia Rose died was the most confusing of my entire life. My wife handled it all with beautiful strength and grace, her husband less so. For the next week, every single minute seemed a day, every hour a lifetime, and the entire week a year or more. We buried her on August 14.

After the funeral, after the burial, after all of our friends had returned to their respective lives, I felt absolutely alone and quite bitter. I don’t member a lot about that year.  I hugged our other kids all of the time, I wrote my biography of Carroll, and I made daily (sometimes more) pilgrimages to Cecilia Rose’s grave. I had experienced real depression as a kid—but it was of an entirely different kind. When I was a kid, the evil happened to me. Now, as an adult, the evil happened to my daughter. The first was bearable, the second didn’t seem to be.

From August 8, 2007, to March 5, 2008, I hated God. There’s no way around it, I hated Him. I never doubted His existence, but I thought He was nothing more than a huge, nasty, omnipotent bully. While at Cecilia Rose’s grave, I would (quite literally) shake my fist at the sky and scream. I’ve been against abortion all of my life, but, standing at her grave, I raved that “God was the biggest and most evil abortionist in the universe.”

On the evening of March 5, 2008, I sat in Mass, and I decided that I hated God so much, I would end my own life. I had thought about suicide a lot as a kid, and it was the words of Neil Peart that had given me the strength to persevere. After leaving for college, entering marriage, and having kids, such thoughts had dissipated to nothing. I’d assumed they were gone forever.

In the near absolute darkness of March 5, 2008, though, I was ready to end it all. All of my doubts and fears overwhelmed me. I was thirteen again, and I was ready to say goodbye, even if that meant leaving my wife and kids alone. In some twisted logic, I’d convinced myself that since I’d allowed my daughter Cecilia Rose to “be murdered” I wasn’t fit to be a father. My wife and kids would be better off without me.

Some small voice resisted that night, and I called one of my closest friends. I won’t give his full name, but his first name is Steve. Steve, being about the kindest person I know (and wickedly smart), immediately came to see me. We met at the parking lot in front of our office building. I’m not sure how long we sat in my car talking. It might have been an hour, it might have been five. Steve, being Steve, never complained. He just listened. I cried, I ranted. I probably seemed more than a bit crazy. And, I think I was. Yet, after however long we talked, it was over. Just the very witness of Steve’s friendship made me realize the beauty of living. I’ve still never gotten over my anger about the loss of my daughter, and I think of her every day. I can, however, now accept her death even if the pain remains (and, believe me, it does, and, I assume, always will).

Afraid Of Sunlight (back)

Day-glo Jesus.

So, what does all of this have to do with progressive rock? One album and only one album sustained me during that horrific time, August 8, 2007-March 5, 2008, even as I slowly and sometimes not so slowly descended into despair: Marillion’s Afraid of Sunlight.

I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t listen to other music. I most certainly did, and I enjoyed that other music. That was also a year of The Flower Kings, Kevin McCormick, Rush, Talk Talk, Riverside, Porcupine Tree, Pure Reason Revolution, and others. But, it was always Afraid of Sunlight that gave me the most strength, and it was to that album that I returned over and over again.

I had, naturally, come to Brave first (through my friend, Lee), and I loved every aspect of it. I had delved into the lyrics, the music, and the meaning of Brave. It was, perhaps, one of the finest puzzles I’ve ever unraveled. But, of course, it ends in suicide. I had spent so much time deconstructing Brave that I decided just to take Afraid of Sunlight for what it was. I had (and have) every note and every lyric memorized. But, I never analyzed the album. It was only recently—perhaps in the last several months—that I finally looked into its meaning, finding out that the album dealt with celebrity and the death of celebrity: O.J. Simpson; Michael Jackson; and Brian Wilson.

I’m very glad I didn’t know any of this in 2007 and 2008. Then, it was quite simply an album of immense hope—hope in beauty, hope in truth, and hope in goodness. Hope. An overabundance of hope.

Steve’s guitar, Pete’s bass (the bass ties the entire album together), Mark’s keyboards, Ian’s drums—all so gorgeous, so intense, so meaningful. And, then, Hogarth’s voice. What can one say that would ever do justice to such a voice? It’s a voice of hope, a voice of truth, a voice of beauty, and a voice of conviction.

I hope the band will forgive me for reposting these lyrics without permission.

Drive the road to your surrender
/Time comes around… out of my hands
/Small boats on the beach at the dead of night
/Come and go before first light/
Leave me running in the wheel
/King of the world
How do you feel? 
What is there to feel? 

So how do we now come to be
/Afraid of sunlight? 
Tell me girl why you and me
/Scared of sunlight? 

Been in pain for so long/
I can’t even say what hurts anymore
/I will leave you alone/
I will deny/
I will leave you to bleed/
I will leave you with your life/

So how do we now come to be/
Afraid of sunlight? 
Tell me girl why are you and me/
Scared of sunlight? 

All your spirit rack abuses/
Come to haunt you back by day
/All your byzantine excuses
Given time, given you away
/Don’t be surprised when daylight comes
/To find that memory prick your thumbs
/You’ll tell them where to run to hide
/I’m already dead/
It’s a matter of time/

So how do we now come to be/
Afraid of sunlight/
How do we now come to be
/Afraid of sunlight/
So how do we now come to be/
Afraid of sunlight
How do we now come to be
/Afraid of sunlight/

Dayglo jesus on the dash/
Chalk marks on the road ahead
/Friendly fire in hostile waters
/Keep the faith/
Don’t lose your head
/So how do we now come to be? ….

Such words could not, of course, bring back my Cecilia Rose.  But, they did save my life.

For: Dedra and Steve.


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