Supertramp (de)tour to CERN

During their recent European tour celebrating forty years since their debut album, the members of the famous British rock-band Supertramp decided to take a break and pay a visit to CERN on 16 October, the day after their concert at Geneva Arena. It was a fast break for the authors of the popular “Breakfast in America”, as their next concert was in Lyon the same evening.


Supertramp's John Helliwell
with anti-matter trap.

Not content with merely unveiling the mysteries of the Universe, CERN has also been able to improve the performance of one of the world's most famous singers and saxophonists, John Helliwell, the leader of the rock band Supertramp! In his words: “Tonight in Lyon I shall play the saxophone better than before I came here”. And Gabe Dixon, keyboard player and songwriter, added: “I would love to write a song about the Universe now. If only I could put all this into poetic words…that would be a real accomplishment”.

The members of Supertramp were brought to CERN by Patrick Geeraert, former Head of CERN's Finance Department and current Head of Administration at ESO. The programme of the band's short visit included a tour of the SM18 hall. Guided by Rolf Landua, Supertramp found the experience extremely inspiring. “What we've been told today gave us a fantastic opportunity to learn. The efforts you make to understand and visualize these things knock you out”, said Cliff Hugo, bass player.

Not surprisingly for members of a band that has been playing together for 40 years, the aspect of CERN that Supertramp loved the most was the collaboration among thousands of scientists to figure out solutions, and the sharing of knowledge and discoveries. For Martyn Ware, founding member of the bands The Human League and Heaven 17, this was not the first time he had visited an international scientific organisation. “I recently visited the Paranal Astronomical Observatory in the middle of the Atacama desert. To be in the place where we will discover the secrets of the Universe and where the World Wide Web was born is worth thousands of science lessons, it’s a dream for me… it’s fantastic!”

“I am not at all scared by black holes but something I'd like to do when I pass away is to be cryogenically frozen so that I can come back about 300 years from now, still alive, when a lot of scientific questions will have answers” said Carl Verheyen, Supertramp guitarist. "And now I'm going to read the CERN Bulletin for the rest of my life!" Hurrah!




by Francesco Poppi