Air Supply’s Graham Russell Dishes On Four Successful Decades, The Secret To The Band’s Success And What Keeps Him Inspired

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Air SupplyPhoto Credit: Air Supply

One of the most beloved ballad bands is returning to The Hanover Theatre in Worcester tonight. More than 40 years after their hit love songs like “Lost in Love,” “All Out Of Love,” “The One That You Love,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” became overnight smash sensations, Air Supply is back in Massachusetts and stronger than ever.

When Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock met back in 1975 at rehearsals for “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney, Australia, they became instant friends with their common love for The Beatles. After signing with Arista Records in 1980, “Lost in Love” became the fastest selling single in the world. Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply equaled The Beatles’ run of consecutive top five singles. The albums “Lost in Love,” “The One That You Love,” “Now & Forever” and “The Greatest Hits” sold more than 20 million copies. “Lost in Love” was also named Song of the Year in 1980, and, with the other singles, sold more than 10 million copies. The duo was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

Air Supply will be returning to Massachusetts on May 10 to play at Plymouth Memorial Hall.

Air SupplyPhoto Credit: Air Supply

We caught up earlier today with the Australian’s band’s founder and songwriter, Graham Russell, to talk about the band’s successful longevity, what inspires him to continue and why he thinks he has the best job ever.

You have enjoyed more than four decades of success.  Did you ever think Air Supply would have such a lasting impact on the music scene?

No, never. When we started out, I thought we would last a year, maybe two.

What do you think then has been the secret to the band’s success?

Russell and I joke about it. A lot has to do with the fact we have no competition. I want to write and he loves to sing. We’re just portraying ourselves. The easiest thing to do is just be yourself. It’s not like an actor that has to portray someone else, which would be difficult.

Tell us about your new album.

We talk to a lot of people at shows and always ask why they keep coming to the show. We meet a lot of people at the meet-and-greets and we get a lot of different answers, but people say when they sit in the theater, it’s very electrifying. They tell us it’s an experience they love to watch and when they get home, they are still talking about it. Our albums are just a way of recreating that experience for them.

Air SupplyPhoto Credit: Denise Truscello

Who inspired you as a singer and songwriter when you were getting started?

That’s very simple – John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I was very lucky to grow up listening to The Beatles. There was a show on Tuesday afternoons at 5 p.m. that was on called ‘Pop Goes The Beatles’ and I would dash home to listen to it. I saw them live and my whole life changed. Lennon and McCartney are the greatest songwriters of all time, in my opinion. My parents used to love musicals when I was growing up as well, so I was exposed to masters of song at a young age.

What inspires you now to continue?

My goal now professionally and musically is to just give a great show. I want to be the best I can be, and realize I have the greatest job in the world. I get to travel and sing. I look at everything as an inspiration. Whether I am in Dublin or Rio, I love to take a walk and see the area, but when I wake up, the show is always on my mind. You’re kind of restricted in terms of time to see the city because you really need time to concentrate on the show.

Back in 1975, you met Russell Hitchcock during rehearsals for “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Did you ever think you would still be here more than 40 years later?

No, not at all. It’s strange because Russell and I have a unique relationship. When we’re not working, we never see each other, and when we do see each other, we have a lot to catch up on talking about our social life, home and everything else. It has been great working with him.

What are you looking forward to seeing most when you are in Massachusetts?

The last time we played at The Hanover Theatre was with Rod Stewart back in 1977. That was our first time in Massachusetts, so it’s really kind of cool to be back playing at the same venue.

Graham RussellPhoto Credit: Graham Russell

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