Take a breather

Air Supply’s Russell Hitchcock on hits, misses and Australia

Union Leader Correspondent
May 09. 2018 12:56PM
Air Supply had a string of hits in the 1980s, including “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” “All Out of Love,” “Every Woman In the World,” “The One You Love” and “Here I Am.” 
If you go...
WHO: Air Supply

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St., Keene

TICKETS: $69 to $98

INFO: thecolonial.org; 352-2033

Though the Australian rock duo Air Supply got labeled as soft rock with early epic rock ballads including “All Out of Love,” singer Russell Hitchcock says make no mistake, he and guitarist Graham Russell are all rock band.

Anyone at the band’s show at The Colonial Theatre in Keene Saturday night will find the experience more a cross between Metallica and Crosby, Stills & Nash concert and less like Andy Gibb or Dionne Warwick, Hitchcock said.

“I don’t like the term ‘soft rock,’ ‘cause we’re not that,” he said, though he admits the band was pegged as such due to some of their earlier hits. “I always thought, even today, that we are a rock ‘n’ roll band, and I stand by that. It does annoy me.”

The pop-rock duo topped the charts worldwide in the 1980s with a string of hits — “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” “All Out of Love,” “Every Woman In the World,” “The One You Love” and “Here I Am.”

Hitchcock said he and Russell have essentially been on tour together since they met 43 years ago. At that time, they were in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney, Australia.

They became fast friends over their mutual love of The Beatles and began playing out after shows wherever they could — pizza parlors, coffee bars, night clubs, with just their two voices and Russell’s guitar.

“It was a very deep connection when we met in 1975,” Hitchcock said.

They soon had a record deal, which lead to Air Supply opening for Rod Stewart across Australia and then throughout the United States and Canada.

However, when they returned to Australia they were victims of “tall poppy syndrome.” At that time Australian culture fans would drop entertainers they felt had been nurtured in Australia only to leave for success overseas. Hitchcock said their Australian fans considered them traitors.

“We were dead in the water,” he said.

However, during this down period, in 1978, Russell wrote their most famous hit, “All Out of Love.”

Hitchcock remembers well the first time he heard the song.

“I said, ‘This is going to be a monster, if we can get it out,” Hitchcock said.

They did, and it was. (And in 2013 the Australian Recording Industry Association inducted Air Supply into its Hall of Fame.)

Even today the song is creating new fans for the band. It has been featured in several movies and is currently in the new “Deadpool 2” trailer (with Ryan Reynolds as the crass superhero).

“Somebody texted me and said, ‘Check out the ‘Deadpool’ trailer. The very first thing you hear in the trailer is our song. It’s so amazing,” he said.

Hitchcock said the song still sounds great even when you hear it at the supermarket.

Air Supply also builds its fan base through word of mouth, he said, and from generation to generation as grandparents bring their grandchildren to concerts. Hitchcock said he is often surprised when he sees teenagers who look like they are dressed for a Beyoncé concert show up as well.

“We have an audience that is literally 6 to 60, and it’s amazing to me. I’m not sure how it happens,” Hitchcock said.

When performing, he is focused on engaging with people in the crowd.

“We’ve very proud of the fact that we have a very great connection with the audience,” Hitchcock said, whether during a show or being stopped on the street.“We have fans all over the world. I’ve never refused a photo or an autograph.”

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