Air Supply to play at Hollywood Casino on June 21Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was 38 years ago that Graham Russell met Russell Hitchcock on the first day of rehearsal for “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney.
“Once we started to talk to each other, we realized we had a lot of things in common. He loved The Beatles and so did I,” Russell recalled. “We had the same name, which was kind of weird.
“So we just became really good friends straight away, and it wasn’t long before we realized that something was going to happen, that we were going to sing together.”
Later that year, they formed a band.
“We needed a name because we had a record coming out in ’75 and it needed to be pressed, and we said, ‘Well, whatever we come up with the next morning, we have to go with,’” Russell said. “That night I had a dream about a massive billboard, and all around it were all these flashing lights, and in the middle of the billboard were two words: Air Supply.”
The group initially found success in Australia.
“We just didn’t want to be the biggest band in Australia — we were at that time — we wanted to be the biggest band in the world. So we got in the trenches, we just dug in, and we wouldn’t give up,” Russell said during a call from his Utah home.
“And then when things started to happen, we were ready for it. I mean, we didn’t expect that much success, you know, we had nine Top Fives in a row, and it was unbelievable.”
Air Supply was unstoppable in the early 1980s with a string of hits: “All Out of Love,” “Every Woman in the World,” “The One That You Love,” “Here I Am,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Even the Nights Are Better,” “Two Less Lonely People in the World,” “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.”
It all began in the States with a song Russell said he wrote in 15 minutes: “Lost in Love.”
“We were really lucky because when ‘Lost in Love’ came out, it was a new decade in America. It came out in January, and people were ready for something different, you know. I think every decade they are,” the singer-songwriter-guitarist said. “We just happened to be there at that time, and people just caught on to it. I think its simplicity and its real, genuine feeling is what they caught on to.”
He also credited Hitchcock’s singing.
“Russell’s vocal is just profound at the end; we never planned that. … Russell just happened to jump up the octave at the end. I remember being in the studio and we went, ‘Oh my God, that’s just awesome.’ ”
Last year, the group released “Live in Jerusalem,” which featured a new single, “Sanctuary.”
Russell also has written four new songs for a new musical, “Lost in Love.” The show based on Air Supply’s hits was written by Melissa Bell, and the cast includes Andrea McArdle, who was the original “Annie” on Broadway, and Constantine Maroulis and Justin Matthew Sargent, who were in “Rock of Ages.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of an Air Supply musical, but we were always waiting for the right person to come along with the right story. I was really guarded against having a jukebox musical,” Russell said. “I wanted a profound story, and that’s what we have.
“It’s been coming for two years and we’ll have the final reading soon and then it’ll go to the next stage, which will be full-on rehearsal.”
Air Supply will take the outdoor stage at the Hollywood Casino Toledo at 8 p.m. June 21. Tickets are $30.