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2004-11-02 It's `All Out Of Love' as tenors get lost on New England lanes

Almost every song in the world deals with the theme of love. Whether it be the love of a partner, a loved one, one's country, a Deity, or peace, over 90% of the world's songs deal with the vagaries of love. "Air Supply" claim that singing about love is the main reason for their longevity.

 

Each album in their ongoing musical exploration of love continues to break new ground. Graham Russell from Nottingham and Russell Hitchcock from Australia met while appearing as two stratospheric singing apostles in "Jesus Christ Superstar". Here were two close friends with distinctive solo voices which happily blended, in unison or harmony, as one voice, creating that recognisable "Air Supply" blend. The unique sound was then wrapped in dramatic string arrangements, going on to score many Number 1 hits worldwide.

 

"Lost in Love", "The one that you love" and their calling-card "All out of love" were huge hits for the group in the 80s, and the band continue to sell out arenas from South America to the Far East. The Celtic Tenor's 4th album on EMI will include several guest artists, including Samantha Mumba, Brian Kennedy and the aforementioned Air Supply. On a recent tour of North America, we flew from Montreal to Hartford, Connecticut. The tiny `10-seater' had no air stewards, and as the captain came around personally informing us of the safety procedures, it all began to feel very rock `n roll, except that in my case the Cocaine and Southern Comfort was replaced by a Twix and a Diet Coke.

 

That evening, after we checked into our Hartford hotel, the best that seemed to be on offer was a local branch of "Taco Bell". I knew I was in the USA when I spotted the cashier's microphone appearing from beneath her baseball cap, and she relayed to her colleagues by the microwave exactly what I was planning to gorge - "One extra- large `now-even-bigger' Grande Combo Deluxe Supreme with creamy Garlic sauce, one large Buffalo Fries, and a Diet Coke!" The following morning, we were picked up by the incredibly affable Graham Russell and his ultra-cool musical director/producer Jonni.

 

We drove to `Studio Unicorn', a quaint little set-up in the heart of the New England countryside. I was first to don the headphones, and before I knew it, I was belting out the melody of their greatest towering love ballad - "All out of Love" - a song I had serial- snogged to at 1980s discos. As I laid down my line, through the glass partition I could see the smiling faces of a band who had been one of my main musical inspirations as I was growing up, and now they were guesting on our album. Graham has his own record label - "A Nice Pear Records" - I am sure there is a little play on words there.

 

When you are signed to a big label, money is slow to trickle through, but when you write the songs and own the label, your bank manager is your best buddy. Russell lives in L.A. ; Graham lives in Utah, where he has his own mountain studio. After a successful, fun and creative day in the Connecticut studio, we happened upon a beautiful restaurant - a converted opera house - in the town of Bethel, nextdoor to "Nelson's Hardware Store"!

 

The Swordfish Niacoise was perfect, and after a quick medley for Bethel's Lady Mayor, it was time to make the 10-minute drive back to the hotel. Sadly, no-one had thought to ask for directions. As we drove past 34 Dunkin Donuts, 26 McDonalds, 18 Burger Kings and five `Rapid Lubes', we began to become rather hysterical. The semi- psychic and rather `alternative' Graham had us `willing' the hotel to appear, but after 90 minutes we were now aimlessly driving around dark and lonely New England lanes.

 

A brief toilet stop became necessary, and as we stepped out of the people-carrier, a startled possum scuttled into the undergrowth. The hypnotic pulse of the evening crickets was the only sound. Admitting defeat, we called the hotel, where Phyllis - the helpful receptionist - remained on the cellphone to guide us home. We sang over the cellphone to keep spirits up, and when we eventually arrived spontaneously broke into "We're all out of love, we're so lost without you."Visit www.airsupplymusic.com