It’s been more than 40 years, and the members of soft rock duo Air Supply are anything but “all out of love.” For the fourth time in the past eight years, legends Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock will be taking the stage in Israel – three stages, in fact, performing shows in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.
“We always have a great time there, and the fans have been great to us,” Hitchcock says in a recent phone interview. “It’s a beautiful country, love the food, love the wine. It’s a pleasure to be there every time.”
The Australian performers are best known for their soaring power ballads that were huge hits in the 1980s, from “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” to “Even the Nights Are Better” and “Two Less Lonely People in the World.”
While Air Supply continues to head to the studio to record new music – the band released Across the Concrete Sky in 2003 and Mumbo Jumbo in 2010 – they know it’s the classic hits that keep people coming back.
“I can honestly say there’s not a song in the show that I don’t look forward to playing,” Hitchcock says. “Of course when you play a hit like ‘Lost in Love’ or ‘Sweet Dreams’ and you see the response from the audience, it just reinforces how good a song it is.
Occasionally we’ll give a song a rest if it’s time to put it on the shelf for a few months, but they always come back because they’re classics, in my opinion.”
But none of that keeps Russell, the songwriter of the duo, from continuing to churn out new material.
“Graham is a songwriter, and he writes something pretty much every day,” Hitchcock says. “He’s always backstage before the show playing something. On very many occasions, if we’re working back to back, he’ll come in and say, ‘I wrote this last night, what do you think?’ He can’t help himself, and that’s a compliment. We’re just driven to play new music.”
The duo pretty much never stops recording or performing.
“I just don’t want to be considered ‘Oh that’s a band from the ‘80s and that’s all they do,’” he says. “We just want to move along and be as creative as we can because that’s what keeps us going. Not just the old songs but the excitement of listening to new material that Graham has written, and the band getting involved and just producing something new is always a great feeling.”
With the crazy tour schedule they keep, it would be easy to refer to the pair as workaholics. In November alone, the duo will be performing shows in Texas, North Carolina, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and, of course, Israel.
“We’re very lucky to be around for this long,” says Hitchcock. “The schedule we keep is very hectic.
Obviously, we love what we do. I love working with Graham and the rest of the guys with the band, and we get to play great songs every night. I can’t think of doing anything else. In fact, we had a break over Christmas last year for about three weeks, and I got a bit twitchy after about 10 days – it’s in my bones to be on the road.”
After their busy November schedule, culminating in three shows in Israel, they’ll head straight into December with concerts in Guam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan before taking off the last two weeks for the holidays.
Hitchcock, 67, and Russell, 66, rarely take much time off – and they’ve been at it for more than 40 years – without even a disagreement.
“People find this really hard to believe, but we’ve never had a disagreement in 41 years,” says Hitchcock. “I love working with him in a studio and on stage. We have great respect for each other.
“I don’t want to write songs, he doesn’t want to be the lead singer, so we don’t step on each other’s toes,” he continues. “We were both brought up in working-class families, we both love The Beatles, we both like the same foods, we have the same sense of humor – sarcastic British. On so many levels we connected when we met on the set of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1975.”
And even after a busy four decades performing together, there are still some places they’d love to cross off their bucket list.
“We’ve never toured extensively in Europe; we’ve only played in England, Ireland, Germany and Italy, so I’d like to do that,” Hitchcock says.
“I’d like to do a big tour there. And No. 1 on the bucket list is to play in Moscow in Red Square – that would be awesome.”
Air Supply will perform on November 24 at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv; November 25 at the Haifa Municipal Sports Complex; and November 26 at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. Tickets range from NIS 199 to NIS 699. For ticket information, visit www.eventim.co.il or call *9066.