Got A Tank Full Of Air Supply

Column: Features   |   Date Published: Wednesday, 11 May 16   |   Author: Justin Hook   |   1 year, 1 month ago

     "They’ve said, ‘please don’t tell anyone we like you because we’ll get so much crap’. I’d never bust them."

Most artists and bands bristle about being labelled something they are not. But few bands have suffered the way AIR SUPPLY have. The Australian duo – Russell Hitchcock (vocals) and Graham Russell (guitar) – became synonymous with the dreaded genre-tag ‘soft rock’. Songs like ‘Lost in Love’ and ‘All Out of Love’ became radio staples but deep down, the band just wrote really tight harmonies, not a million miles away form the Walker Brothers or The Hollies.

Put it this way – it’s been an awkward fit for the band, as Hitchcock explains from his home base in Atlanta, Georgia, “It certainly has. If you label someone ‘soft rock’, people get an impression without seeing or hearing you. We have never considered ourselves to be a soft rock band. Ever. Recording-wise, I can see why people get that, but our shows are rock and roll shows.”

And like most Australian bands that came up through the ’70s, they had to prove their mettle on the live circuit. “It’s always something that amused me a bit further down the road. When we started, we’d be on the same bill as Midnight Oil or AC/DC. In those days, there was a sense of camaraderie. Everyone was just happy to be playing music for a living. I don’t know when it all changed, but there came a time when if you weren’t playing a specific type of music, you weren’t cool. ‘You’re Air Supply, you’re soft rock – you suck’.”

Air Supply are about to embark on their first major tour in 40 years, going from extreme north (Darwin) to far south (Hobart) and looking back on their four decades together. Both are content, regardless of the snipes. “First of all, we didn’t really know what we were doing when it all started. We figured maybe two or three years would be good if we could last that long.”

“With every few years we still look at each other and say, ‘wow, can you believe this is still happening?’ It’s a cliché, but without the fans there’d be nothing for us. And we still think we have a lot of gas in the tank.”

Hitchcock is especially proud of never bending to trends or record label demands. “We never succumbed to that kind of pressure. It would have been easier to do something that was in vogue – we just wanted to play our music the way we always have. We’ve got nothing to prove anymore, I’m just enjoying life.”

And a few secrete admirers to boot. “I’ve got a good half a dozen friends who are in very high profile metal bands. And they’ve said, ‘please don’t tell anyone we like you because we’ll get so much crap’. I’d never bust them. I just enjoy the fact I get to do what we do every night – and don’t have to get a real job.”

Air Supply take over Llewellyn Hall at ANU, Saturday June 11 at 7pm. Tickets start at $83.29 + bf through Ticketek. 



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