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Air Supply has plenty of love left

Air Supply’s Graham Russell, left, and Russell Hitchcock will chat with you at Friday’s show (if you buy the most expensive tickets).

Photo courtesy of Air Supply

Air Supply’s Graham Russell, left, and Russell Hitchcock will chat with you at Friday’s show (if you buy the most expensive tickets).

When the Stuck in the '80s squad of Steve Spears and Sean Daly announced they were interviewing Air Supply's Russell Hitchcock for a podcast, initial response from readers was mockery, laughter.

But a funny thing happened on the way to full emasculation: In the dark recesses of blogs and Facebook, people whispered that they actually adored such heart-sleeved ballads as Lost in Love and Every Woman in the World.

Yeah, that's what we thought.

It takes a real music fan to appreciate the weepy, well-coiffed Aussie duo, which plays the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on Friday.

You think the Supply is wussy? They once opened for AC/DC!

You think the Supply isn't vital? Even at 60, Hitchcock still hears from fans who were either (1) conceived or (2) practicing conception with All Out of Love on the radio.

You can't get enough Air Supply, and the sooner you admit it, the sooner you can enjoy these revealing excerpts from the newest Stuck in the '80s interview. To hear the full podcast, go to blogs.tampabay.com/80s.

So Russell, when you're doing a meet-and-greet, how many fans say that they were either conceived, or their children were conceived, during an Air Supply song?

Let me put it this way: I'd like to have a dollar for every time that happened and then we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'd be in Monaco.

You guys could pitch the woo for sure. In the '80s, you had these great balladeers who weren't afraid to cut open a vein: Air Supply, James Ingram, Jeffrey Osborne.

I think it goes back before that. That period of time — the late '60s through the early '80s — everything seemed to be optimistic. Everybody was friendly. Everyone was open. It was just a great 20 years there. And then in the mid '80s, the music business certainly turned from having the emphasis on music to the emphasis on business. I think it lost a lot of its heart then.

But Air Supply survived!

These days, the world obviously isn't in such a great space. There's violence everywhere, the economies worldwide are screwed. There's a lot of pessimism. And I think one of the reasons why we've continued to perform at a high level and had the career we've had is because we do give a respite to that. It's not gloom and doom. It's positive. It's romantic.

Does the thirst for '80s nostalgia help your cause?

Everything is in cycles. A few years ago people were wearing clothes I wore in the '70s and thinking it was original. But there's nothing out there that is original. Things that are good, their time will come again and again and again. We've had probably three or four careers in the last 35 years. We're very proud that we're still here. We're still standing. We're still doing it well.

We heard you opened for AC/DC back in Australia in the late '70s. Talk about a culture clash.

We stayed in the same hotel in Melbourne once. I remember going to the laundry in a hotel to do some wash and Bon Scott was in there. He was pressing his jeans and we just shot the proverbial you-know for a half-hour or so. It didn't matter what kind of music you played then. There was no competition or animosity from one form of music to another then. Certainly Australia was a great place in those days. It really nurtured and helped all the bands you've heard of since then become successful.

On the song All Out of Love, you famously held the final note for 20 seconds. How's your time these days?

Ah, it's probably 15 or 16 seconds now. Not bad for an old guy.

So Spearsy here is bringing a date to the Air Supply show and she really wants to hear either Chances or Goodbye — if you know what we mean.

I got you, dude. No problem.

Steve Spears and Sean Daly are co-hosts of the Stuck in the '80s podcast. E-mail them at stuckinthe80s@tampabay.com.

>> Fast Facts

An Evening with

Air Supply

Friday at 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, (813) 247-2555. Buy-one, get-one tickets are $27.50, $37.50

and $67.50. Top-price tickets include a meet-and-greet with

the band.

Air Supply has plenty of love left 08/19/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 5:30am]

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