(Feature photo credit: Denise Truscello)
Russell Hitchcock never imagined that his May 12, 1975, introduction to Graham Russell would’ve produced a lifelong friendship and massively successful musical partnership.
“I can’t believe we’ve been together 48 years,” said Hitchcock who along with Russell are better known as Air Supply and will be at the Columbia County Performing Arts Center July 8. “I thought we’d be together four or five years, and that would be good.”
Instead, their career has taken them to places they never dreamed possible. They’ve played with symphonies including at the famed Sydney Opera House and performed for the likes of Princess Diana (who reportedly loved their music) and King Charles as well as presidents and hundreds of thousands of devoted fans.
“The bottom-line reason we’re still here is the dedication of our fans that have been with us through thick and thin and come in droves to see us,” Hitchcock said. In fact, the past two years have been among the most successful ones business-wise in their entire careers.
The two met at rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar in Australia. They became fast friends, sharing a love of The Beatles, who both had seen perform live in 1964.
“They are our inspiration – our only go-to band ever,” he said.
After finishing Jesus Christ Superstar, they took to the road. Their first tour was as the opening act for Rod Stewart in 1977, and they’ve gone on to produce songs such as All Out of Love, Lost in Love, The One that You Love, Sweet Dreams, Even the Nights Are Better and Making Love out of Nothing at All.
They had seven consecutive top-five singles equaling The Beatles. And their albums Lost in Love, The One That You Love, Now and Forever and The Greatest Hits sold more than 20 million copies.
Hitchcock said he’s watched as members of that first generation of fans have shared Air Supply’s songs with their children and now their grandchildren.
“When it first started, the second and third generation felt a little bit weird because it made you think about how old you were, but it’s amazing and very flattering to think that people even took the time to play our music to another generation and it probably wasn’t their favorite genre. And for them to take such a liking to it and see shows of their own volition is amazing,” he said.
While they will play those early hits at the July 8 concert, Hitchcock said they continue to produce new songs and are working on a new recording that should come out mid-2024, but there’s no rush to it.
The recording is coming together in smaller sections with songs recorded during breaks in their touring schedule.
“It’s going to be finished when it’s done, but more importantly when it’s right,” he said.
One new song is called Be Tough, released in December 2022.
“I think it’s one of the best songs Graham has written. Lyrically, it gets me every time we sing it,” he said. “It’s quite deep for an Air Supply song. The first time we play it for audiences there are tears.”
At the heart of the song is hearing people rather than making assumptions and judgements based on what they see. The video for the song shows couples wearing blindfolds and talking, sharing their feelings without looking at the other person and then connecting when the blindfolds are removed.
And when it comes to assumptions, Hitchcock warns that people shouldn’t make any about what an Air Supply concert is.
“A lot of people have the misconception that we are very quiet and reserved with the content of music being mellow, lush arrangements and harmonies. Certainly, we have the arrangement and the harmonies still down, but it’s a heavy energy show. We’ve always considered it to be a rock ‘n’ roll show. We’re on the other end of the spectrum from Megadeth, but it’s very loud, very energetic. the young guys in the band make us look good, and we’re proud of it,” he said.
Hitchcock said at the end of the night he and the rest of the band will know they’ve given their audiences an experience they will remember because they refused to hold back.
“People pay quite a bit of money to see us. They could’ve gone to a lot of other shows for us to just go through the motions or not be interested,” he said. “I’ve walked out of a couple of really famous people’s concerts because they didn’t do anything. I may well have stayed home. But I think people will be pleased.”
For tickets, go here.
Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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