Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
Air Supply is celebrating their 46th years as a touring and recording band. Lead singer Russell Hitchcock takes a few minutes to talk about stories from the road, that hard reality of the music business and songs he never though had the change to be hits.
We asked Russell about all the amazing player that have been with Air Supply and why didn't they keep the original 80's lineup?
RUSSELL: You know, we never expected to lose anybody, quite frankly. However, we were managed by Don Arden for a bit, who managed Black Sabbath and Ozzy and ELO. If you read anything about him, he was a character. He said to us, you know, you guys need something different now, If you’re going to move forward. I’m not telling you, but I’m suggesting that you look for a bit of spark, a bit of fire, a bit more aggression. We took that to heart and we made some tough choices. Ideally, I loved the guys in the band. I still keep in touch with David, occasionally on Facebook and Rex. Obviously, Frank was very responsible for the early arrangements, all the strings and a lot of vocal arrangements. Ralph doesn’t talk to me anymore for some reason, I don’t know why. But, you know, we had to move on. It’s not just a player that plays well, they’ve got to fit in with the band and the crew. The public engagements and waitresses, and waiters, and everybody, because I’ve said this to the guys every go around. I said, when you leave the house, you’re on my dime. That’s the bottom line, until you get back home, you’re on my dime. So you better represent us to the best of your ability and be polite. As I said, ‘if you guys screw it up, you can go somewhere else, you can quit the band or get fired and join somebody else, Graham and I can’t, this is us. This is our brand and this is what people expect from us. We expect the same from you.’ So it’s a tough juggling act, you know?
While certainly in the 80s, we were no angels. We didn’t go to the right parties. We didn’t get arrested for throwing TVs through windows or doing cocaine or any of that stuff. You know, our choice was probably a few too many cocktails, that was it. That was our business privately. I think probably we suffered a bit from not being, you know, semi bad boys.
We also asked him about touring in the early days with Rod Stewart and if they were able to learn anything from him?
RUSSELL: Well, what we learned from Rod was how to present yourself on stage, how to interact with an audience, how to control what they feel during the show. It’s not just a show for us. It has a beginning and a middle and an ending that is supposed to work separately, but in accordance with each other. We learned about production, lights and sound, the business side of things. We got our punctuality from Jesus Christ Superstar. We learned about treating people well. He taught us a whole bunch of stuff. We watched every show. I think we did 60 shows with him. We watched every show without missing one because every time you’re watching, you saw something different or something new. He was a tremendous influence on what we do.
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