With sweeping, orchestral hits like Lost In Love, All Out Of Love and Makin’ Love Out of Nothing At All helping propel the band to sales of more than 4 million records in the early 1980s, the group is experiencing a resurgence of sorts this century.
The word resurgence is a tricky one, however, as Air Supply members Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock could rightfully argue that they have continued making music over the past 30-plus years so they are simply continuing their career.
Since first rising to international stardom more than three decades ago, Air Supply has remained active on the touring circuit. The group has continued to nurture its fan base (which reportedly includes Gene Simmons, as well as Al Pacino), regularly performing more than 100 dates each year throughout North America, China, Malaysia and Korea.
Air Supply will perform at Casino New Brunswick tomorrow night starting at 8 p.m. The show will mark a return to the Hub City for the band, having performed at Moncton Coliseum in the early part of the 1980s.
Despite some published reports stating the duo had gone their separate ways when their success waned in the latter part of the ’80s, Graham Russell says nothing could be further from the truth.
“Russell and I have never had so much as an argument, let alone split up the band,” he says. “Air Supply has always been our primary focus, however it hasn’t stopped us from pursuing separate endeavors in the band’s down time.”
Some of those outside projects have included everything from solo records to a children’s ballet and, according to Russell, have been important to keeping things fresh in Air Supply.
“On average, we spend 130 dates a year together as a band and having something else on the go not only keeps Air Supply fresh but it also lets us recall how important Air Supply is to both of us.”
Even after 30 years, fans of the band are a dedicated crew. Air Supply’s 2010 record Mumbo Jumbo had two of its singles (Dance With Me and Faith In Love) enter the Billboard Top 30 charts, the first time the duo has been on the charts in more than 17 years. Since the Billboard charts are generally seen as the meter on which musical success is measured, no one was more surprised by their chart appearances than the band itself.
“We didn’t make Mumbo Jumbo with the intent of having two Top 30 hits,” Graham says. “It was a labor of love; making a record because we felt we had some great songs. That was our only motive. It was such a pleasant surprise to us, though. Even though we have been around for 36 years, we still do not take anything for granted.”
Asked if the group will look to follow up on the success of Mumbo Jumbo, Graham says that he cannot see another record on the horizon anytime soon.
“I have a musical that is going to be opening and for the foreseeable future, that is going to be my focus for composing. We do not feel compelled to rush making a new album because we had some success with our most recent one. But on the other side of the coin, we might wake up tomorrow and decide to go for it.”
The fact that Air Supply is a band that goes with the flow, living with a lack of a precisely defined schedule does not seem to bother Graham in the least. Perhaps rolling with the ups and downs of the music business for the past 36 years has allowed the musician to not sweat the small stuff. As the saying goes though, nothing lasts forever. It is a fact that Graham acknowledges but does not seem overly concerned with.
“I really can’t see us stopping now,” he says. “But I think there would be a few reasons why we would consider stopping.
“The first would be if we couldn’t physically do it anymore. When we perform, it is a very energetic show and I would hate to think about walking onstage with a cane. The second reason would be if people stop coming to see us perform. And lastly, if we stopped having something fresh to offer, that would be a huge reason to stop.
“Right now though, it is like we have a second lease on life. We are in a very good place socially, physically and emotionally. We are both very happy with what we have achieved and where we are at.
If everything did stop tomorrow for any reason, there is no doubt in my mind that we would look back and say it was a great run while it lasted.”
Article published in February 16, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript