Air Supply playing sold-out show at Riverside Casino Event Center

via The Gazette

Air Supply couldn’t be busier on the eve of its 50th anniversary.

The rock duo, which formed in Australia in 1975, is working on a biography.

“(Vocalist/guitarist) Graham (Russell) has done his version, but I’ve yet to complete my part,” vocalist Russell Hitchcock said while calling from his Huntington Beach, Calif., home. “We have a lot on our plate.”

A bio pic is also in the works, and the duo is touring as hard as ever. Air Supply, which will perform a sold-out concert Friday, June 14, 2024, at the Riverside Casino Event Center, is in the midst of a 150-date jaunt

“We’ve done at least that amount of shows every year since the ’70s,” Hitchcock said. “It’s what we do.”

Prior to the duo’s American gigs, Air Supply toured Latin America and will perform in Asia before 2024 concludes.

“We’re so lucky to have devoted fans that have been with us forever,” Hitchcock said. “They are loyal since it’s not that they just like our songs, they love our songs.”

The catchy, sweet ballads propelled Air Supply to the top of the American charts during the ’80s and the rabid fan base has never let go of the hit parade.

Air Supply has sold more than 100 million albums, buoyed by eight top-five hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Lost in Love,” “All Out of Love,” “Every Woman in the World,” “The One That You Love,” “Here I Am,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Even the Nights are Better” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” enabled Air Supply to become one of the most successful acts of the ’80s, despite receiving little media coverage.

“I’ve always been anti-Rolling Stone (magazine) since they never mentioned us, even when we were one of the biggest groups in the universe,” Hitchcock said. “You couldn’t get into that magazine back then unless you were Elvis Costello or Bruce Springsteen. You weren’t valid if you weren’t in Rolling Stone. We weren’t on the (Rolling Stone) top 100 greatest singers list. Beyonce is number 5. Please. God bless her, but no way Beyonce is in the top 100, in my opinion.”

(Actually Jay-Z’s better half is ranked at number 8 on Rolling Stone’s latest list from 2023)

Hitchcock, 74, admits that he doesn’t listen to much contemporary music, but he raves about Taylor Swift.

“I’m a big Taylor Swift fan,” he said. “I watched her concert film and I was blown away. She is a brilliant lyricist, a great storyteller. Taylor opens herself up, and to her credit, doesn’t give a crap about what anyone thinks. It’s a very (gutsy) thing for someone so young.

“Compare her to Beyonce and you see that Beyonce has 15 songwriters. … Taylor writes all of her own material with one producer. There’s no comparison as far as talent is concerned,” he said. “Beyonce is great. She markets herself in a brilliant manner. I don’t begrudge anyone’s success. I believe we should all support each other in the music industry, which is such a small community.”

However, Air Supply has been a butt of jokes during its career. During a recent chat with KISS’ Gene Simmons, I asked the business-minded bassist about pyrotechnics. “Where do you think that came from — Air Supply,” Simmons replied.

“That’s very funny,” Hitchcock said.

Air Supply never lost its sense of humor or vulnerability in song. Russell and Hitchcock always laid it out via love songs.

“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Hitchcock said. “But that’s what my favorite recording artists have done.”

The Beatles, who Hitchcock caught in Melbourne in 1964, changed the laid-back Aussie’s life.

“Before I heard the Beatles, all I heard at home was Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and singers like that,” Hitchcock said. “And then I saw the Beatles in this 10,000-seat arena, and it was sheer pandemonium.

“There was no band like them. They changed everything. They changed clothing, hairstyles, the language and of course, music. The Beatles changed the world. Part of the reason they changed the world is because they had the songs, and many of those great songs are love songs.”

Love songs aren’t as ubiquitous as they were a generation or two ago. Many contemporary songs are about “things” as opposed to “people,” and Hitchcock has noticed.

“It is different today,” he said. “The ’60s were great. The ’70s were amazing and the ’80s were terrific. Things went south for me at the beginning of the ’90s. There was Nirvana, who had some really great songs, but it wasn’t cool to be happy anymore. You had to be angry.”

Hitchcock is in a terrific mood, particularly when he belts out Air Supply’s feel-good love songs.

“It’s a great time for Graham and I,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve been at this for so long and we’ve never had an argument.”

Hitchcock and Russell sound like Paul and Linda McCartney, who claimed to have never fought.

“That’s a funny comparison,” Hitchcock said. “But it’s true. We really enjoy working with each other or we wouldn’t still be doing this all these years later.”

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