Wednesday, April 25, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on February 19th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 50

A breath of fresh air

Singer Russell Hitchcock talks about the music of yesterday and tomorrow


Music acts have a difficult road to travel. Actually, when you’re a band like Air Supply—touring for about 130 to 150 shows a year—it’s more like scores of roads to travel.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges popular musicians face is striking a balance between playing the hits that first generated adoring audiences and continuing to produce new material.

Awesome Aussies
Russell Hitchcock (left) and Graham Russell (right) bring their distinctive sound to the Central Coast for a Feb. 21 performance at Chumash Casino.
Australian-born singer Russell Hitchcock—whose distinctive tenor narrates writer, singer, and guitarist Graham Russell’s songs about life and love—said their career was at an all-time high in the mid ’80s. Everyone knew their songs, from “Lost in Love,” to “All Out of Love,” to “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.”

Sense a pattern in those titles? The bewildering nature of the human heart is an endless source subject. But if perplexing love is an unchanging reality, the music industry is anything but.

“When we started … in Australia, you’d be on the road playing a club … and you’d run into guys from AC/DC or Midnight Oil or people that had nothing to do with the kind of music we were playing, but there was a great sense of friendship or camaraderie there because everyone was happy to be working,” Hitchcock told the Sun. “And that went away.”

He said he feels that the business today is very competitive, very dog-eat-dog—an attitude that can generate negativity in the industry. Plus, tastes change, and the musical gatekeepers make decisions about what gets airtime and what doesn’t.

“It’s been impossible for us to get any kind of new material on the radio,” Hitchcock said.

Undaunted, Air Supply promotes new material—they have 25 studio CDs in all—at live shows and online. They play new songs, and sometimes ones that haven’t yet been recorded, in addition to their classic material.

One for you
The duo’s new single, “Sanctuary,” was “inspired by the thought that everyone needs a place to go to at the end of the day. … The walls can be real or in your imagination, as long as you have the place that is yours alone,” according to
“We obviously play songs people want to hear and they pay to hear,” Hitchcock said, “but we’ve never rested on the success we had during that period of our career.”

He later explained that they “never wanted to be just considered a nostalgia band or an ’80s band.”

So they’ve continued to write and tour. Their most recent single, “Sanctuary,” explores the idea of making a place for yourself to be alone. That can be a literal solitary space, or it can be metaphoric. In explaining his own performances, Hitchcock tapped into the idea that sanctuary is where you make it.

“I get involved in the songs passionately on stage, certainly,” he said. “It just happens. You’re in an environment where the house lights are out, you’re in a little ball of light yourself. Sometimes it feels lonely there, even though you know there’s however many people watching you, and I just go into my own world there. I can’t explain it.”

The passion he delivers, coupled with Russell’s lyrics and some tight production, still brings in the crowds. Hitchcock explained that Air Supply has toured every year since they began. Those tours take them mostly to North America, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, though the band does go around the world. They recently released a 2012 live album and video—available at and at shows—recorded in Israel.

There’s also a Broadway-style musical based on their canon, Lost in Love, in the works.

“The bottom line: I’ve got nothing to be unhappy about,” Hitchcock said. “I have a career that’s spanned 40 years. I work with my best friend. … I see the world. I have a beautiful, healthy daughter. I’ve got nothing to complain about.”

Air Supply plays at 8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Chumash Casino Resort. Tickets range from $25 to $45. For more information, visit

On the spiritual side

A Purim celebration and praise concert featuring the live music of Vince and Deborah Kline is Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. at Orcutt Presbyterian Church, 993 Patterson Road, Orcutt. More info: 878-2431,,

Sharing the music
O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub holds an open mic event every other Tuesday including Feb. 26 from 8 to 11 p.m. with signups between 7 and 8 p.m. The open mic is for live music, no poetry, and no rap unless accompanied by live musicians. The pub is located at 633 E. Main St., Santa Maria. More info: 925-0658.

A mic open to all
Lucia’s Wine Co. offers an open mic featuring wine, poetry, and live music on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the tasting room, 126 East Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: 332-3080.

Maverick music

The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including the rock music of The Coastal Kings on Feb. 22 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Sean Wiggins and friends is Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. Sean Wiggins and Lone Goat perform live country music on Feb. 23 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs.” “Tales from the Tavern” features Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks live on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or

Contact Executive Editor Ryan Miller at Calendar Editor Joe Payne compiled the listings; contact him at

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