By Wendy Schreiner Special to Night & Day
Night & Day
Night & Day — When I hear the band name “Air Supply,” I automatically think of love songs.
Apparently, so does lead singer Russell Hitchcock, who told me recently during a phone interview that the word “Love” is in the title of his two favorite numbers. “Lost in Love” is his favorite because, “it changed our careers.” “All Out of Love” is his favorite number to perform on stage.
The name “Air Supply” was created from a dream. Hitchcock said, “We were in Australia performing Jesus Christ Superstar and recording some demos and went through many alternatives. One morning, Graham Russell said he had a dream of a billboard with lights around it and the saying, “Air Supply” and so the name was set.
Last year, Air Supply received an award from Priscilla Presley for music excellence. Hitchcock said, “It was incredible, there’s a G’Day USA that gives three awards out for Australian talents. One honor is for a movie, another for entertainer (ex. Olivia Newton -John) and one goes to sports. The award gave us a little bit of a higher profile; which is great.” Hitchcock has known Presley for 300 years.
In 1988 for the Australian Bicentennial, Who’s Who in Australian talent featured Air Supply. Hitchcock and Russell were able to chat with and enjoyed performing for Prince Charles and Princess Diana at this event.
When I asked Hitchcock if he ever imagined to be singing together with Graham so long, he immediately replied, “Not ever! We figured maybe for four or five years. We have had our career as long as the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.” Wondering how it feels that people love Air Supply for so many years after they first became famous, Hitchcock responded, “it is a wonderful thing that started years ago, people are still interested in our music four generations in.”
I had read that Russell and Hitchcock never had a fight in their 38 year of singing together, so I asked Hitchcock about their ability to work so well together. Hitchcock explained, “No reason to disagree, I am the lead singer, Graham is the songwriter who doesn’t want to be the lead singer, we agree on the way Air Supply should go, we have a great respect for each other, we have had a compatible fantastic singing relationship.” I wondered if Air Supply accepted other song ideas from individuals, “we do, but very heavily loaded with Graham’s talent, usually original as Graham writes songs daily!”
Seventeen albums, eight compilations later and six DVD’s, a new EP is due out any day now. “There are still some vocals on a few songs to work on, but it sounds great. “Desert Sea Sky” is a dance track.” Hitchcock was very excited about that one. Another fun tune is “Dance with Me;” which is currently included in all shows, because “it is a popular song to perform live.”
Hitchcock knew that he absolutely had to sing while performing in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” That was “definitely the moment” for him. There have been a bunch of favorite venues throughout the years that stand out. “A bunch of favorites; Fallsview is a beautiful place and venue, Westbury, New York, Hong Kong, Argentina and California, but too many to single one out.”
When they are in Niagara Falls, “two or three times, we always try to go on the boat when we get a chance to. There isn’t too much time for sightseeing, although we spent a few days in the Cayman Islands lately, we have seen most of the world, Japan, etc.,” Hitchcock said. “We fly in one day and leave the next; hardest part of life on the road is the traveling (currently security measures make it very boring) and being away from loved ones.”
“I missed out on my daughter’s special occasions; birthdays, graduations, sporting events – that is very hurtful to me,” he added.
Many band members have come and gone since the formation in Bitchfield, England of Air Supply in 1975. Currently, most bandmates have been with the band ten years and under. In the works is a musical based on Air Supply and their music appropriately titled, “Lost in Love.” Hitchcock said, “For Graham’s songs to be heard . . . I hope it is realized in the not too far distant future!”
The greatest part about performing live is “the audience, it is exciting every night, always different, never know what to expect!” He praised their fans, “great fans since the beginning, some core people come to every show! Fan on any level, we wouldn’t be here without our fan support!”
His favorite group, other than the Beatles, is ACDC who Hitchcock still listens to today, along with his favorite album, "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart's Club Band."
When questioned about any plan for retirement? “No – still perform at high level, love what we do, people still come to see us, it has been a great career, we will continue it. In two years it will be ‘40’ years. We’ll see what happens then,” Hitchcock said.
Most fans likely hope they never will quit, for then the world just might be ‘all out of love!’
The band is set to perform at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ont., at 9 p.m. Oct. 11 and 12.