Air Supply lead guitarist and song-writer Graham Russell and lead singer Russell Hitchcock fielded questions in the Gran Mulia hotel Jakarta Monday 6th October prior to their one day concert in the same hotel ballroom on Tuesday 7th.
With a portfolio of 17 songs like “ Making Love Out of Nothing At All” this six-man band with a five-person back-up crew, backed by pushy Indonesian promoter Tommy Pratama and his company Original Productions sold out pretty well every seat and standing space for their 15th tour of Indonesia.
They have played in Lebanon, South Africa, Cuba, Costa Rica, Columbia, Venezuela, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Chile and Argentina. They get around from islands in the sun to conflict zones, singing songs of love to young people, and the young in heart, bringing pop music where people need love not hatred, hope not despair.
Their next round of concerts for the final quarter of the year sound like the itinerary for a hyper-active travel agent with insomnia who can only sleep on airplanes. They are going next to Vietnam, Philippines, Qatar, Canada, Brazil, Chile, the US of A, Australia and hopefully South Korea.
Everywhere in-between the bombs, the kalishnikovs and the drug wars in the barrios in Brazil or the back streets of Bogata, the world still needs to make war on want, instead of on itself.
And the music of love can build the foundations for happy motivated young people to take on the world and make it a better place, pushing hope instead of hatred.
When asked if their music would bring to Indonesia, after the terrorist shoot-out with Noordin M. Top and the tragedy of the Sumatra earthquake, the oxygen of love instead and hatred, they clearly believed their mission was to help bring people together and to live up to the dream of John Lennon, that all you need is love.
Graham Russell, the Air Supply song writer came across as sensitive, intelligent and one of those people who cares about the world, not selling fake friendship or superficial entertainment but really relating to the needs of their fans and young people looking for the way forward in their lives. Even in the search for truth and to find soul and identity.
While Russell Hitchcock the lead singer was strangely reluctant and reticent, almost shy in a press conference but put him on stage with a microphone and a different Russell flies through the air.
Their world view clearly the product of 35 years in the business, with their track record of over 1,500 live concerts, explaining gently to Indonesians that everyone was worried about terrorism and had a problem with it. The international message of their music was about love, inspired by the music of Lennon and the 60´s and that we should come together and believe that we can make the world a better place.
I wondered what they did in their spare time (collecting airline tickets?) when they manage 130 live shows a year and still finding time to get in the studios to make a themed new album with 14 songs called Mumbo Jumbo, about a young man looking for love and truth in a world of lies, to be released in January 2010.
Let’s hope if they get to Seoul in South Korea this year that they will get a chance to sing a song to Kim Jong-il that “All you need is Love”.
Clearly if Kim could join their band and song in a one night concert in North Korea, his song would be “Love, love me do” since his militaristic mumbo jumbo translates into the desperate need for reunification of Korea and to end the suffering of the people of the North, but how to get love to win through ?
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