Air Supply’s Russell Hitchcock describes his strange experiences with Jim Steinman -
Air Supply perform at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda on Wednesday 8 June 2016.

Air Supply photo by Ros O'Gorman

Air Supply’s Russell Hitchcock describes his strange experiences with Jim Steinman

by Paul Cashmere on March 6, 2019

in News

When Air Supply made ‘Making Love Out of Nothing At All’ the experience was completely different from what the ex-Melbourne band was used to.

Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell had already achieved international success with a succession of hits, especially in the USA. Along with Men At Work they were one of Australia’s biggest exports when fate brought them to Jim Steinman, the creator of Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’.

Russell Hitchcock told that it was a somewhat strange, bordering on the bizarre experience. “Certainly it was intimidating because of his work with Meat Loaf,” Russell said. “We flew to New York to meet him to see if we liked each other. I found him to be a real eccentric person. He wanted to meet us at an ice-cream parlour in Manhattan. It was the middle of summer and he was wearing his motorcycle gloves that came up past his elbows”.

He continued, “he presented the song to us. The version he played us was 15 minutes long. We said you have to cut this down because radio won’t play it. We needed to get a studio in New York to record it. We didn’t know that he had hired Bruce Springsteen’s band to play on it. Max Weinberg played the drums and Roy Bittan played keyboards. Rick Derringer played the guitar solo. We weren’t used to being in that kind of company. We were quite new on the scene”.

The decision to record with Steinman was a good idea. The song spent three weeks at number two on the US charts.

Steinman has a very orchestrated way of recording so it is no surprise that those early Steinman sessions align with what Air Supply is about to do next, an Australia tour with the orchestra. Russell says they have done it before. “We probably do a couple of dates a year so we are familiar with the whole setup,” he said. “Ours is very lush orchestrations. It lends itself to that background and obviously, it sounds great. I think we played with a symphony in Australia maybe 10 years ago. It has been a while”.

He says he likes working with something different and the orchestra format works for them. “It’s easy for us. The sense of melody and harmony, it’s an easy fix,” he says. “If we get a chance to play with a symphony, like the Atlanta Symphony a few years ago, we show up, learn the charts, the lights go out and we’re ready to go. It looks great. I don’t have the strings in my ear monitors, but it feels great. It looks great. It makes us look like we have some sort of class”.

Not all of the show will feature the orchestra. “We play a couple without the orchestra,” he says. “The rock and roll set we typically do at the end of the show. Graham does a solo spot as well during the show. ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Here I Am’, ‘Two Less Lonely People’ and ‘Even the Nights Are Better’, all the hit songs are all presented with the orchestra”.

Air Supply with tour Australia and New Zealand for David Roy Williams starting April 23 in Brisbane.

Air Supply dates

23 April, Brisbane, QPAC
24 April, Melbourne, The Plenary
26 April, Sydney, Opera House
28 April, Perth, Astor Theatre

30 April, Auckland, Bruce Mason Centre

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