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Even a successful band like Air Supply had very lean times

  • Air Supply will be performing in concert at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. Air Supply had such hits as "All Out of Love," "Sweet Dreams," and "Even the Nights Are Better."
    Air Supply will be performing in concert at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. Air Supply had such hits as "All Out of Love," "Sweet Dreams," and "Even the Nights Are Better."
Published January 17. 2012 05:01PM

Air Supply, the duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, emulate success.

The duo has been recording albums for 36 years, have had numerous songs in the top 10 including the '80s hit "All Out of Love," and have traveled around the world, including performing before 17,000 people in Cuba and playing before such worldly figures as Prince Charles and Imelda Marcos.

Air Supply, originally from Australia, makes a stop at Penn's Peak on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $35.

It's a return visit to the Peak for Russell and Hitchcock.

In a phone interview with Hitchcock from his home in California, Hitchcock said, "We've played (at Penn's Peak) two or three times. It's beautiful. It's one of the places we really like and it's a real treat to be back there."

While success has certainly been good to Russell and Hitchcock the past 20 years or so, things weren't always that way.

The two men met on May 12, 1975, the first day of rehearsals for "Jesus Christ, Superstar" in Sydney, Australia. They become instant friends with their common love for The Beatles and singing.

Hitchcock said he was really impressed with the song-writing abilities of Russell.

The duo began performing wherever they could, whether it be pizza shops, local pubs, or coffee bars.

"We were on the poverty line for a long time and we didn't have much to look forward to," Hitchcock recalls. "Between the '70s and '80s, we couldn't afford to tour because we couldn't pay anybody. We had no money."

To buy food and continue promoting their music, Hitchcock said he took on such jobs as writing jingles for commercials and doing room service in motels.

"We just did whatever we had to do to earn enough money to get by," he said.

Russell claimed on a 1995 DVD that he and Hitchcock were so poor, that they were reduced to checking the backs of hotel sofas for change so they could buy bread to make toast.

"We wanted to continue our vision to be successful because I know we had great songs," Russell said.

And they persevered. They recorded their debut album, "Air Supply," in 1977 which achieved gold in Australia.

In 1980, they did a bio tour which consisted of "seven guys who basically did colleges."

Then success began shining on Russell and Hitchcock "and we started making decent money," he said. But it came through hard work.

"We would go on the road in February after making an album and be on he road to December. Then we'd go back in the studio and start all over. Since 1975 we've been on the road to some degree," he noted.

In 1977, Air Supply made its first visit to America, and toured as the opening act for Rod Stewart.

The stop in Jim Thorpe is the first of their 2012 tour, which eventually includes visits - besides cities all over the United States - Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil.

Hitchcock said one thing different today than when the band had its best success was that it is more difficult to have their music played on radio stations.

"It's impossible for us," he said. "Since the late '80s, we can't get played on radio with any new things. It's too bad because Brian Russell is such an incredible song writer."

Hitchcock added, "The whole music industry, the way it was when we were successful, is totally different. We've certainly succeeded in spite of radio. We've always been a touring band."

Asked what advice he would have for a youngster hoping to make a career in the music industry, he said, "If you have talent and ability, work hard. You've got to be prepared for the hard times and rejection."

He continued, "Something we didn't do, you must surround yourself with good people, including a good manager. Also, never sign anything without having someone look over it."

Other hits by Air Supply besides "All Out of Love" include "Lost in Love," "Every Woman in the World," "Sweet Dreams," and "Making Love Out of Nothing At All."

Asked what can be expected at their Penn's Peak show, Hitchcock said, "We will be playing two or three songs we haven't played there before. It will be new stuff from an album we recorded last May."

He also pointed out that Air Supply has a new lead guitar player "who's really great."

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the Penn's Peak box office, through Ticketmaster, or at the door on the night of the concert.

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