Interview with Air Supply’s Russell Hitchcock

Russell Hitchcock is one of the two members of the band “Air Supply”, along with Graham Russell.  The band has been around since 1975 and show no signs of slowing down.  They are currently playing over 100 shows per year and still releasing new music.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Russell about Air Supply’s new album as well as his new solo album.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about the new album “Mumbo Jumbo” and its creative process?
Russell Hitchcock: As all of our CD’s recently have taken about 2 to 3 years to put together as we spend a lot of time on the road. Generally what we will do is we record for a few days then go on the road for 3 or 4 weeks then back to recording. The album was a long time coming but it’s the first conceptual album of ours. Graham integrated a great story in the songs. The album is about a young guy who is just trying to find himself in the world today. It was time for us to do an album like this. We are always getting asked how we have changed in the last 36 years. It’s obvious that we are a lot older now and we are a lot more mature about the music we play and how we think about life. I think the album is a very mature body of work. It’s nice to be back in the lime light for a little bit of time.

MG: Can you tell us what you felt being back on the billboard charts for the first time in 17 years?
RH: It’s just a great feeling as we had so much resistance from radio basically after 1987. “Mumbo Jumbo” is actually our 24th or 25th studio album. People were always thinking we broke up. The bottom line was in North America we couldn’t get played on the radio. It’s a really great feeling to be recognized again and to be able to say that we have had chart success spanning over four decades.

MG: Air Supply has been together for over 35 years now. What drives you guys to continue recording and touring?
RH: We have a great passion for performing live together. When we first started we made sort of an unofficial pact that as long as we enjoyed working together still and people wanted to see us we would keep going. None of those things have changed other than we know more about the business now and we are way more experienced on stage. We play around 130 shows a year all around the world, which runs us about 9 months out of the year.

MG: Do you see the band slowing down anytime soon?
RH: I hope it keeps going! Physically and mentally we are both in good shape and we are playing with some fantastic musicians. What it really comes down to is the audiences and their response. Our shows are selling out quite regularly and the response to the old songs is phenomenal and we always are playing new songs in the show as well and the responses to those have been great also. We don’t see any reason for us to slow down just yet.

MG: What do you like most about playing the new songs to the audiences?
RH: I think it’s exciting to play something new and something that you have put your heart into. Graham works very hard at writing quality material and we always want the best vocally we can get out of it. To play something new and getting to see the reactions is fantastic. People always seem really into it. We have a great core of material to build on and we also have a very distinctive way of singing together so we are in good shape from the start.

MG: What can you tell us about your new single which hasn’t been released on any album yet?
RH: We are going to do that and we have two songs in mind but we haven’t picked which one its definitely going to be so I don’t want to tell you too much just yet. We just finished the vocals last week and its going to be a nice surprise.

MG: What can you tell us about your new album “Tennessee: The Nashville Sessions”? How do you feel it differs from your work with Air Supply?
RH: It certainly has a Nashville feel to it and that’s obvious from the musicians playing on the album and the instrumentation that was used. I was offered the opportunity a few years a go by a friend to come to Nashville and record. Finding the time was the hardest part. We listened to around 100 songs before picking 24-28. Originally the producer wanted to release a double album and I told him he was out of his mind! I have had some critics ask why I’m in Nashville being I am not a country singer. I have responded by saying I am a singer and just want to sing all kinds of songs. I have had some good response to a few of the songs. We are currently in the early stages of promotion so we will see what happens. I hope to put some of the songs in our set starting next year.