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第二十一章:Runs With The Wild (1997-1998)

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Chapter Twenty-One: Runs With The Wild (1997-1998)

Irving Azoff

      Giant Records experienced a major shakeup in the mid 90s, and was a much different company by 1997. The head of Giant Records, Irving Azoff, was not happy with the shifting management at Warner Bros., which included the removal of Warner co-chairmen Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin. In an attempt to revive his company, Azoff replaced most of his staff and changed the Giant name to Revolution in March of 1996. But the Giant name continued to appear on releases created prior to the changeover. The company’s Nashville division, and a few other artists including Air Supply, kept the Giant logo indefinitely. The announcement of the name change came after the company re-signed new deals with Warner and WEA in the U.S. and BMG internationally, under a pact that extended into 2000. Revolution focused mostly on alternative country and singer-songwriter rock artists.“It was a combination of the A&R department, me and Irving,” said Revolution’s senior creative executive Missy Worth. “We really felt that we wanted to start anew entirely, and it starts with the name.”

      Giant had stretched itself too widely in the early 90s, and many of its artists left the label after releasing just a single album. In some cases, label politics prevented the release of follow-up albums, which ended up never being released. Air Supply’s contract with Giant called for seven albums, thus three remained. Unfortunately, there was very little money allotted to promote Air Supply’s next record in North America, despite the best intentions of Azoff, who considered himself extremely loyal to his artists.

      Air Supply toured Southeastern Asia for most of January, including a New Years Eve performance at the Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The event featured several performers and a dinner to help raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation. Air Supply took the stage at 11 p.m. and got mostly rave reviews from local music critics, although some expected something new since Air Supply were now frequent visitors to Malaysia:
      The crowd went wild and it seemed to be an almost impossible task to make them settle down. The rendition of the ballads - especially the more familiar ones like ‘Every Woman In The World,’ ‘Sweet Dreams,’ ‘Even The Nights Are Better’ - was brilliant. Russell’s silken vocals sounded the same after all these years. But there was really nothing special about their show. Their 45 minute performance was like all their previous concerts. But to those at the hotel’s plush ballroom, that didn’t matter at all. When the duo were set to leave the stage, they screamed for the show to go on. - Hafidah Samat, New Straits Times

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Rex Goh & Chris Pellani - Asia '97

      The tour of Asia in 1997 included the return of Rex Goh on guitar, and was the first overseas tour for drummer Christopher Pellani. Pellani had played concerts with Air Supply during the U.S. tour in 1996. He was considered an exceptional percussionist, and was chosen as one of ten outstanding drummers in BAM Magazine’s November 1993 article on ‘Unsung Drumming Heroes of Los Angeles.’ Pellani and Air Supply bassist Cliff Rehrig were once members of a pop band called Planet 10, who released an independent album in 1990 titled ‘Birdhouse.’

      Meanwhile, Rex Goh was having his own success; he played guitar on the first two hit singles from Brisbane based band Savage Garden - ‘I Want You,’ and ‘To the Moon and Back.’ In May of 1997, ‘To the Moon and Back’ was the most played song on U.S. radio, and the self titled debut album eventually sold over 18 million units. Goh’s tour of Asia with Air Supply in 1997 was not his first reunion with the band. After leaving the group in 1978 to study jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, he rejoined in 1980, and was a vital part of Air Supply for three years. After leaving Air Supply in 1983, Goh formed the band QED, a New Wave trio which included singer Jenny Morris and bassist Ian Belton. Their first single, ‘Everywhere I Go,’ reached #5 on the Australian Top 40. “After leaving Air Supply, I had to do things,” said Goh. “I wanted to get back into a band badly, but not just any top 40 band. I had to do something original. I matured with Air Supply up to a point. You mature with everything you do. When you do a new thing, you sort of mature with that new concept, and once you’ve had enough of it, like me, you move on to something new and develop that within yourself.”   

      Perhaps the highlight of the Asia tour was Air Supply’s first visit to Vietnam. Although they were not the first Western band to play communist post war Vietnam (Bryan Adams played Ho Chi Minh City in 1994), it was still considered a rare and somewhat risky experience. Bryan Adams witnessed some shocking events during his concert when police used electric cattle prods for crowd control, and the ballroom’s one and only door was locked and fortified so that no one could enter or leave during the show. Another challenge of performing in Vietnam was that all the stadiums and venues in the country were meant for the people, and so their use was almost always free. Artists had to work with the promoters and government to determine how much to charge the public, who mostly live in abject poverty. These conditions made it very difficult for bands to make money in Vietnam, so there was little incentive to tour. Regardless, Bryan Adams opened the door and other acts soon followed, including Leo Sayer, Lobo, and John Denver. Air Supply was one of the first bands to perform in North Vietnam, when they played to a sold out crowd in Hanoi. “We got to see a lot of the city and the Hanoi Hilton Hotel, which was really depressing,” said Russell. “They are wonderful people [in Vietnam], but the place is just starting to pick itself up and get into this century.”

      Air Supply were not sure what to expect from the crowds in Vietnam because their music was never officially released in the country. Up until 1997, Vietnam had no official distributors of music, so all existing CDs and cassettes were pirated copies brought in mostly from China and Thailand. It was not easy for some fans to find these pirated CDs because they were mostly sold in flea markets in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. When PolyGram and EMI struck deals to distribute music in Vietnam in 1997, many Western artists knew the potential revenue a population of 74 million could generate. Not surprisingly, the Vietnamese fans who attended the Air Supply concerts knew almost every song and erupted when they performed the Asian hit ‘Goodbye.’

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3-Track CD Single - EMI

      When Russell was in Australia in 1996, he was invited to sing with fellow Australian singers Judith Durham and Mandawuy Yunupingu on a remake of the popular and patriotic song ‘I Am Australian.’ Charles Fisher, who had produced Air Supply in the late ’70s, produced the track and arranged for Rex Goh to play guitar. “It’s very Australian,” said Russell. “It talks about Aborigines seeing the tall ships arrive from England. Being a prisoner on the ship and how hard it was to defeat the land. It’s a very pretty song, although it might never be heard in America.”

      ‘I Am Australian’ was written by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers and Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers in 1987. Its lyrics and message became so popular that it is often considered an alternative to the official Australian National Anthem. Judith Durham wanted to release a new version of the song after Independent Queensland MP Pauline Hanson used an earlier version to launch her One Nation party. Songwriter Bruce Woodley had asked Ms Hanson to stop using the song at her rallies, saying she ignored its message promoting multiculturalism and Aboriginal reconciliation. Durham said she hoped ‘I Am Australian’ would bridge the divide in the community. “This song is not meant to be about politics,” she said. “But the release of the song it timed to celebrate the anniversary of Aboriginal Australians being recognized as citizens and allowed to vote. We hope this song will unite people who feel that there has been a division between Australians.” There were several versions of ‘I Am Australian’ released in Australia, but none did as well as the 1997 release from Judith, Russell and Mandawuy. EMI Australia released the song on May 26 as a 3-track CD single (‘Radio Single Version,’ ‘Band Track’ and ‘Little Australian Version’), and it quickly climbed the national charts, reaching a high of #17. Judith later included the song on her 1998 album titled ‘Always There.’

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A Nice Pear & Air Supply Logo

      There was much activity at Graham and Jodi’s Utah home/studio during the summer months. The next album was being mostly recorded and produced there. It was the first Air Supply album recorded at Graham’s new studio, which he named Runs With The Wild. In keeping with the momentum of moving Air Supply into a self contained unit, Graham, Jodi and Barry Siegel created a production company called A Nice Pear Inc. With the ongoing concern over the struggles at Giant, and the lack of support they were receiving from the label, Graham hoped to promote and release Air Supply material under his own label in the future. He insisted that despite his desire to start fresh under his own label, Air Supply would not quickly release inferior records to simply fulfill their obligation to Giant Records. New records would only be released when the band felt they had something important to say and share with their fans.“You have to earn the right to produce,” notes Russell, “and Graham has done so. This new album will be our 17th album in the 22 years that we have been together, and he has written about 95% of every album, which is quite an accomplishment.”

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Vegas Tour Shirt - 1997

      Air Supply hoped to release their next album in the summer, but it was still a few months away from being complete. One of the songs in pre-production was the band’s first ever instrumental track called ‘Once.’ “That piece was written by Jed and Graham and actually had lyrics,” said Russell. “Graham usually goes into the studio and sings the song and puts down a rough vocal for me, and I will go do my thing with it. So he went into the studio to sing the lyrics for this piece, and when he came out I said, ‘I don’t think we should have any lyrics on this song because it’s too pretty. I think the words are getting in the way.’”

      The recording process was a reunion of sorts. Larry Antonino, Michael Sherwood, Michael Thompson, Guy Allison and Rex Goh all contributed in the making of the album. “Rex played guitar on this record,” says Russell. “We actually hooked up with him the last time we were in Australia, and then he toured Asia in January with us. We have always thought the world of his playing, so why not see if wants to do some stuff on the album. Michael Sherwood was a member of Air Supply a few years earlier. He, Graham and myself seem to have a nice blend when we sing together, and when we were doing the vocals for our new album, someone said we should try and do something like the Eagles and Bee Gees kind of sound (the beejeagles).” As the album neared completion, new artwork was conceived and photographed in the Uinta Mountains, in Utah. “The album is to be called ‘The Book Of Love,’” said Graham. “Fourteen tracks have been recorded, and it will probably be narrowed down to twelve or thirteen. ‘The Book Of Love’ came from a poem I was writing once again in a dream. I woke up and could remember it exactly.”   

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Photo Courtesy of Debbie Cooper

      Air Supply wrapped up their summer tour of the U.S. in October. Despite not having any recent hits in North America, concert attendance was considerably strong, thanks to an obsessively loyal fan base. They performed mostly at smaller capacity venues like casinos and summer festivals, with larger arena and stadium concerts of yesteryear now reserved for Asia and Latin America. Casino concerts can be a mixed blessing because they often have plenty of half-hearted fans, who come mainly to gamble and catch whatever show happens to be playing that night. These fans want to hear the hits and nothing but the hits. This became painfully obvious during the U.S. tour, as crowd excitement dropped whenever a new or unfamiliar song was performed. Air Supply had no intention of playing just their hits because they enjoyed creating new music and most certainly did not consider themselves to be a washed up band. “We’ve never been ones to live in the past,” says Russell. “We’ve played material off every CD we’ve ever released. We don’t ever want to be considered retro or nostalgic or any of those horrible terms.”

      In two performances at Kewadin Casino’s new Dreammaker’s Theater recently, over 800 fans witnessed the high energy performance and light show of Air Supply. [They] performed many of the Top 5 classics such as ‘Marking Love Out Of Nothing At All’ and ‘Lost In Love’ as well as some of their new songs like an upbeat South American-style song entitled ‘We The People.’ Air supply continuously kept the crowd in the performance by encouraging them to sing along, blowing kisses in the air to adoring fans, and near the end of the performance bringing one fan up on stage to be serenaded by the song ‘The One That You Love.’ The performance was also highlighted by an exciting piano solo that ended with the crowd in a standing ovation. The group is expecting a new album, ‘The Book Of Love,’ to be released in November or January. - Elissa Gray, Evening News
Finding the perfect set list was a real challenge for the band. In a sense, they had become prisoners to their own hits, created from their massive early success and the refusal of North American radio to play their recent singles. “It really is a mystery to us,” ponders Russell. “We have been around a long time, and have had lots of ups and downs in our career, but we still produce good music. When you look at stuff on the radio anywhere in the world now, and play some new Air Supply material, it’s as good as anything out there. But it just can’t get played.”

      Radio had turned on Air Supply, but the duo were still much admired and recognized in the U.S. “I can’t go to an airport, seven times out of ten, without someone saying, ‘You look like the guy who used to sing with Air Supply,’” claims Russell. “People pursue the conversation, and they’re surprised to hear we’re still making records. It’s frustrating. This is 22 years this year we’ve been working together, and we obviously know the ins and outs of the business. It’s pointless getting upset over something you can’t control.”  

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Comcast Exclusive - 1997

      Air Supply and television cable provider Comcast joined forces with the intention of releasing a reissue of the ‘Greatest Hits Live’ album in North America. The 1996 ‘Greatest Hits Live... Now and Forever’ CD sold quit well in the States, but it contained fewer tracks than the international version. Comcast believed that a revised version, containing the entire Taipei concert would be popular with fans. To help promote the project, Comcast sponsored a live Air Supply concert in August from the Pier 6 Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland. On September 7, Comcast televised a recording of the event, omitting a few of the newer songs that they had performed, and including an interview with Graham and Russell and a twelve minute version of the song ‘Someone.’ “Tonight is very special for us because it’s a concert being filmed in conjunction with releasing our Greatest Hits album that we did in Taiwan a few years ago,” said Russell. “This is a chance for our fans and people who enjoy music to pick up an album. Comcast has made this available to everyone in the U.S., and it’s very exclusive. There are some songs on this album that were not released in the U.S., so it’s peoples first opportunity to hear the whole concert that was performed in Taipei. We thank Comcast for getting involved with us and helping to expose it to the world.” The CD was to be called ‘Air Supply’s Greatest Hits,’ but it was never released because Comcast and Giant could not come to terms on a distribution deal.

book of love edit.jpg

      Giant Records released Air Supply’s new album, ‘The Book Of Love,’ in North America and other regions on November 21, 1997. There was very little hype or promotion surrounding the album in North America. Giant was in no position to support the band like Arista had done in the 80s. Musically, ‘The Book Of Love’ was unlike any previous Air Supply record. Consisting of ten songs, of which two are almost entirely instrumental, the album was a departure from the bands trademark sound of highly produced and orchestrated power ballads. The first two singles, ‘So Much Love,’ and ‘When I say,’ both featured an acoustic feel with haunting melodies. With the exception of the mid-tempo song ‘We The People,’ the entire album was like the two singles. The album revealed a more serious side to Air Supply and also to Graham’s lyrics. ‘Mother Said’ is an autobiographical song that Graham wrote about the passing of his mother, and it has become a favourite for many Air Supply fans. The song was first heard in 1996 when it was included as the hidden bonus track on the ‘As Close As This...’ CD ROM. “I think anyone who likes Air Supply will enjoy the new record,” said Russell. “We are doing some things that are a little different for us. Different rhythms and feels for songs, and obviously there are a lot of ballads on the record because that’s what we do. We like to think that with every record we’ve matured a bit.”

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‘Strong, Strong Wind’ Video (Giant Records 1997)

      Giant and BMG released ‘The Book Of Love’ internationally in early December, and it was promoted quite heavily in some countries. The CD featured an additional track called ‘Strong, Strong Wind,’ which was not included on the North American release. The song was written by Diane Warren, who had sold the North American song rights to American rock band Heart; they released it as a single, and later included it on 1998’s ‘Heart - Greatest Hits.’ Air Supply released ‘Strong, Strong Wind’ as a single in some parts of Asia with an accompanying music video. The video was filmed in Dallas, Texas on November 13, and it helped propel the song into the Taiwan and Hong Kong charts. On December 31, ‘Strong, Strong Wind’ was #1 in Hong Kong. ‘The Book Of Love’ failed to have any singles reach the North American charts, and many fans in this region were confused and disappointed that one of the strongest tracks (‘Strong, Strong Wind’) was not included on the CD.

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Air Supply Website - 1997

      Air Supply fans were able to communicate with one another in 1997 thanks to emerging Internet tools such as forums and chat groups. The revamped Air Supply website, which won Site of the Week in the 34th week of 1997, featured a clipboard which fans used to discuss all things related to the band. A topic of debate was people’s reaction to ‘The Book Of Love.’ Some fans said that, upon first listen, they were somewhat disappointed because the music was too melancholy and even spooky in parts. Others ranked the album as their favourite Air Supply record. There was also discussion about the apparent change in Russell’s voice. There was now a slight raspyness in his upper range, which was also noticeable in the live shows during the second half of 1997.

      Despite the benefits of the clipboard, the negativity from a small minority of fans soon forced its closure. Air Supply issued the following statement:

      As far as the website is concerned, it has been a giant headache for us. We are still speaking with a number of people about its reorganization. We plan to shut down the clipboard for a short time, but maintain the site. There is still far too much negativity and vitriol posted by a few disgruntled fans who, unfortunately, spoil it for the majority of you who use it as a positive means of communication.

      Much of the negativity on the clipboard centered around incidents involving the lifetime backstage passes sold through the fan club. “For varying reasons it is impossible for us to have fans backstage at every concert,” said Russell. “Graham and I will now be directly involved with the fan club, starting with some major adjustments. We are requesting that those who hold lifetime backstage passes, please return them for a full refund. Rather than hurt anyone’s feelings, we are terminating the backstage pass concept. After the ‘Elgin’ incident, it was obvious that it is impossible to honour these passes at every show.” The Elgin incident occurred years earlier in Elgin, Illinois, when disgruntled Air Supply fans created a ruckus after learning that there would be no meet and greet after the show. A group of fans went so far as to block the band’s limos from leaving the theatre, and shouted angrily when they eventually drove off.

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Orleans Hotel - 1998 (Courtesy Laurie Frank)

      Regardless of what Air Supply fans were saying, music critics who were clearly not fans themselves, were quite impressed with the new album:

      ‘The Book Of Love’ is a serious attempt by Air Supply to regain their position as pre-eminent adult contemporary artists. During the early 90s, they released a couple of records that went ignored, but none were as carefully-considered as ‘The Book of Love,’ which places them squarely in the 90s pop tradition, instead of finding them stuck in the 80s. That alone makes the album worthwhile, but it doesn’t excuse the uneven songwriting. There’s a few songs that are sparkling updates of the Air Supply formula - ‘So Much Love’ and ‘When I Say,’ appealingly melodramatic and sappy ballads that work - but there are more that simply fall flat. Still, the very fact that some of ‘The Book Of Love’ works makes it Air Supply’s best record in nearly a decade. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

      On November 20, Graham and Russell travelled to India for a four-day promotional tour in support of their new album. Air Supply’s popularity in India was at an all-time high thanks to promotional work by BMG and Crescendo Music, and also Air Supply’s performance at the 1996 Channel [V] Indian Music Awards. At a press conference in Mumbai, the duo said that India had some of the finest supporters for their music in the world, and that this prompted them to come here for the album release. “We took six months to make it, and are very proud of the album being released here,” said Graham. On December 7, Graham and Russell continued their promotional tour with a four-day stop in Malaysia. This included several radio interviews and an in-person visit to Tower Records in Kuala Lumpur.  

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Fan Q&A Session (Courtesy Laurie Frank)

      Upon returning to the States, Air Supply prepared for a December 20 holiday concert at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Illinois, when an opportunity for an extensive Australian tour arose. They rescheduled the Illinois show and travelled to Australia to play most of the major centers, including a New Years Eve performance at the Sydney Harbour Casino. As 1997 drew to a close, Air Supply’s tour schedule showed no sign of slowing down. “From here we go into Melbourne and finish in Australia on January 12 [1998],” said Russell. “We then go back to Los Angeles for about five days. We then fly to Singapore for a couple of shows and then back to Los Angeles for two more in January. Then we start an intensive Asian tour on March 1.”

      The tour of Australia got rave reviews, especially from the media who were critical of the band during their previous tour in 1996:
      Clearly there was nothing wrong with the crowd at the Hilton, for they lapped up Air Supply’s 90-minute show, from the tunes to the stage banter to the digs at the media. The duo’s support might be waning in Australia (Asia is their big market now), but those who have stuck by them are as staunch as ever. Opening with the title track from their 1993 album, ‘The Vanishing Race,’ Hitchcock and Russell started on a rock-flavoured note, backed by a local three-piece ensemble. Two decades of performing experience haven’t been wasted on the pair, and Air Supply quickly slipped into a triple bill of their best-known fare - softer, romantic ballads. ‘Here I Am,’ ‘Even The Nights Are Better’ and ‘Two Less Lonely People’ all drew a predictably warm response from the crowd, and Hitchcock and Russell began to hit their straps. Russell acknowledged the act’s romantic reputation, saying he and Hitchcock only recognized it 10 years ago - about a decade after everyone else had. ‘It’s a handle we’ve grown accustomed to, and we rather like it,’ he added, albeit defensively. It was a relief to hear them accept that mantle, unlike their last Australian concert tour in 1996, when they half-pretended to be a rock band. No one wants Air Supply to go grunge. - Darrin Farrant, The Age   

      On January 31, 1998, Air Supply hosted a fan club gathering at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, California. The afternoon event preceded two sold-out concerts and included fans from all over the world. After a lengthy Q&A session with the band, fan club president Simon Russell raffled off several items, including 8X10 photos, CD singles, tour jackets and promotional ink drawings of ‘The Book Of Love’ CD cover. Fans who attended the concerts heard Air Supply perform the song ‘Sunset,’ which had not been part of the set list for many years.

      After five years in Arizona, Russell moved back to Los Angeles after his relationship with Rebecca ended in 1996. The pain caused by another failed relationship was evident in concert when Russell told the audience that he was to blame. He proceeded to sing ‘Daybreak’ with tears in his eyes. Graham and Jodi returned to England to further their studies with historical author Graham Phillips, including additional research for the Robin Hood project.

May, 1998 Concert Set List:
1. The Vanishing Race              2. Lost In Love
3. Here I Am                              4. Even The Nights Are Better
5. Two Less Lonely People        6. Someone
7. Mother Said                            8. Don’t Be Afraid
9. Sweet Dreams                      10. Every Woman In The World
11. The One That You Love      12. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
13. We The People                   14. All Out Of Love

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'Daybreak' CD Single - Thailand

      Air Supply completed a tour of Asia in March of 1998, where they released ‘Daybreak,’ the final single from ‘The Book Of Love.’ It failed to chart in the few Asian countries that it was released. In April, the band began a lengthy tour of the U.S. They performed at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in May, a location they would return to frequently. The set list for the 1998 tour included most of Air Supply’s biggest hits from the 80s, but also a few songs from the new album, including ‘We The People’ and ‘Mother Said.’ The live show focused less on new material compared to earlier promotional tours in support of new albums. Air Supply performed a new song in the fall of 1998 called ‘The Scene,’ giving fans hope that a new album might be on the horizon.

      Audience members, a preponderance of whom were female and fortysomething, came out to hears songs beloved ever since they were recorded in the early 80s. All such wishes were granted as the Australian group played nearly every hit in its catalog in the 11-song set, beginning with its first big hit, ‘Lost In Love.’ Hitchcock’s voice still rings with a familiarity that hearkens back to the band’s halcyon days, though it has clearly lost some of its fullness. The stage show was not what might have been expected, full as it was of rock-oriented trappings. Graham Russell adopted the Pete Townshend guitarist’s hop for the evening’s big energy number, ‘We The People.’ He also walked among the crowd during an atmospheric if less than proficient guitar solo, wherein he stopped at a nearby table to drink from an audience member’s wine glass. - Thomas Kintner, The Hartford Courant

      80s music experienced a resurgence in 1998, thanks in part to movies such as The Wedding Singer. Air Supply’s biggest hits from the Pac-Man decade were suddenly hip again, as a wave of nostalgia swept across North America. It was not uncommon to hear ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’ on the radio again, sharing the airwaves with the most popular bands at that time, such as the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. When asked what it felt like to be hip again, Russell laughed and replied, “First of all, we were never hip. So I guess it feels great. I’ve always thought that music and fashion were cyclical.” Russell admits to watching Spice Girls videos and listening to their music in his car, largely because his 10-year-old daughter Sydney is crazy about the British all-girl band. “I quite enjoy it,” he said. “Except when I have to hear a Spice Girls song six times in a row!”


hitchcock 发表于 2013-4-8 04:51
译文: <转载请注明空气补给中文网>
     Giant Records在90年代经历了一次重大的变动,直到1997年这已经变成了一个完全不同的公司了。Giant Records的老板Irving Azoff并不满意在华纳公司的管理,华纳副主席Lenny Waronker和Mo Ostin离开公司。为了恢复公司运作,Azoff更换了公司大多数工作人员并且在1996年3月把公司名字"Giant"改成了"Revolution"。但是Giant的名字继续保持到更换结束。这个公司的纳什维尔分部和其他一些艺人包括Air Supply继续无限期使用Giant的商标。公司名字更改的公布之前和美国Warner和WEA和BMG国际部签约。Revolution更多的关注另类乡村和摇滚艺人。“这是和A&R部门的结合,我和Irving。” Revolution的高级创意总监Missy Worth说。“我们的确很想重新起航,用新名字开始。”

  Giant在90年代把他的业务范围铺展了过于广,许多艺人在离开这个厂牌前只有发行了一张单曲。在某些厂牌政策里保护接下去发行的专辑。Air Supply和Giant的合同包括7张专辑,因此3张得到了保留。不幸的是,几乎没有财力来给Air Supply在北美宣传下一张专辑,尽管Azoff极力想保护他旗下的艺人。“我总是很专业的。” Azoff说,“我不会保护任何人。我们总是尽可能做对艺人有利的事情。”
      Air Supply在1月份在东南亚巡演,包括在吉隆坡Sunway Lagoon酒店的新年演出。这次演出邀请了一些艺人包含了一顿为国家肝病基金做筹集的晚宴。Air Supply在11点登台,得到了当地乐评人热烈的好评,尽管由于Air Supply经常来马来西亚演出,所以希望有一些新的歌曲演唱:

  歌迷们接近疯狂。演绎了情歌 - 特别是那些熟悉的歌曲 ‘Every Woman In The World’ ,‘Sweet Dreams’ ,‘Even The Nights Are Better’ - 太惊艳了。Russell那丝绸般的嗓音听起来这些年都没有什么变化。但是他们的演出没有什么太特殊的地方。45分钟的演出跟他们之前的演唱会一样。当双人组合准备离开舞台的时候,听众们尖叫着。- Hafidah Samat, New Straits Times
      1997年的台湾巡演邀请了Rex Goh回到乐队表演,第一场海外演出有鼓手Christopher Pellani参加。Pellani和Air Supply一起在1996年参加了美国巡演。他被认为是个非常杰出的鼓手,1993年11月的BAM杂志撰文 ‘洛杉矶鼓手英雄’ 把他列为10大杰出鼓手。Pellani和Air Supply的贝斯手曾经都是一支流行乐队Planet 10中的成员,在1990年曾经发行过一张独立唱片名叫 ‘Birdhouse’。

      同时,Rex Goh的个人生涯获得了成功,他于1997年5月在布里斯班乐队野人花园Savage Garden的两支单曲里演奏 - ‘I Want You’ 和 ‘To the Moon and Back’。 ‘To the Moon and Back’ 在美国电台播放率居首,而他们的同名专辑甚至卖出了1千8百万张。Goh和Air Supply一同于1997年在亚洲的巡演并不是他和乐队的首次重聚。在他1978年离开乐队在新南威尔士悉尼音乐学院学习爵士乐后,1980年他又重新加入乐队,在接下去的三年内他成为了Air Supply最重要的一员。 早1983离开Air Supply之后,Goh组建了自己的乐队QED,一支新浪潮三人乐队,包括了歌手Jenny Morris 和贝斯手 bassist Ian Belton。首支单曲 ‘Everywhere I Go’ 达到了澳大利亚Top 40的第五位。“在离开Air Supply之后,我有很多事情要做。” Goh说, “我想要去一支普通乐队,而不是任何在Top40之内的乐队。我想要做一些原创的东西。我与Air Supply一起成长,成熟。一旦你足够成熟与拥有许多新概念,你就有足够的动力来通过自己的能力前进。”

      亚洲巡演的最亮点可能是Air Supply首次访问越南。尽管他们并不是第一支西方乐队在共产主义国家越南演出 (Bryan Adams 于1994年在胡志明市演出),这依然被认为是有风险的行为。Bryan Adams在当时目睹了一些震惊的事件,警察用催泪弹弹控制人群,舞厅唯一的门被紧锁,演出中没人能够进出。在越南演出的另一个威胁是所有的体育馆和场馆都对人们很刻薄。艺人不得不和主办方和政府合作来决定控制公众,大多人们都生活贫困。这些情况都导致了乐队很难在越南演出赚到钱,所以没什么艺人有前来演出的动力。不论如何,Bryan Adams开启了这扇大门,之后有更多的艺人跟进来演出,包括Leo Sayer,Lobo和John Denver。Air Supply是第一支在北越演出的乐队,他们在河内的演出票全部售完。“我们看了很多,河内希尔顿酒店,令人很沮丧。” Russell说,“越南人都是很好的,但这个地方实在是太差了。”  

     Air Supply不知道现场观众会有如何响应,因为他们从来没有正式在他们国家发行过专辑。直到1997年,越南都没有正式发行过音乐,所有的现存CD和卡带都是从中国和泰国盗版过来的。对于歌迷来说,找这些盗版CD也是相当不容易的,因为他们大多在胡志明市或者河内的跳蚤市场里出售。当1997年PolyGram和EMI谈妥了协议在越南发行唱片时,许多西方艺人都意识到巨大的潜力,可能会有7千4百万收入进账。毫不惊讶的是,那些参加过Air Supply演唱会的歌迷们都会唱每首歌,当他们演唱亚洲金曲 ‘Goodbye’时,全场雷动。

      1996年当Russell在澳大利亚时,他被邀请和澳大利亚歌手Judith Durham和Mandawuy Yunupingu同台演唱歌曲 ‘I Am Australian’ 。Charles Fisher,曾经在70年代末制作过Air Supply的专辑,他制作了这首歌,并且安排Rex Goh作吉他伴奏。“很澳大利亚化。”Russell说。“歌说的是澳大利亚土著民看到大船从英格兰驶到这里。船上的罪犯,如何艰难地战胜这片大地。真是一首很美的歌,尽管可能在美国永远不会听到它。”

     ‘I Am Australian’ 是The Seekers乐队的Bruce Woodley和The Bushwackers乐队的Dobe Newton在1987年写的一首歌。歌词和其中要表达的意思很快流行起来,被认为另一首澳大利亚国歌。 Judith Durham想要发行一个新版本的歌曲。歌曲作者Bruce Woodley问Hanson停止用这首歌,说她忽略了一些促进与土著文化和解的信息。Durham希望能够用 ‘I Am Australian’ 来制止分裂。“这首歌并不意味一些政治上的东西。” 她说,“希望这首歌能够让人们团结起来。”在澳大利亚歌曲发行了许多个版本,但是没有一首能像1997年Judith,Russell和Mandawuy的那样棒。EMI澳大利亚在5月26日发行了一张3首歌的单曲CD (‘电台单曲版’, ‘乐队伴奏版’ 和 ‘童声合唱版’),很快登上澳大利亚国家排行榜,并且最高到达第17位。接下来Judith在她1998年的专辑 ‘Always There’里收录了这首歌。

      在夏天的那几个月里Graham和Jodi在犹他的家庭录音室里有很多动作。接下去的一张专辑大部分都在那里录制和制作。这是第一张在Graham的新录音室录制的专辑,取名叫 “Runs With The Wild”。为了让Air Supply保持势头,Graham,Jodi和Barry Siegel创立了一个名叫A Nice Pear Inc的公司。由于在Giant持续的挣扎,和缺少支持,Graham希望未来能够用他们自己的品牌来宣传和发行Air Supply的专辑。尽管坚持用他自己的品牌继续音乐生涯,但是由于和Giant的合同,Air Supply可能不会那么快自己发行专辑。“你必须证明自己是正确的。” Russell说,“ Graham也是这么认为的。新专辑将是他们在一起22年来的第17张专辑,他写了他所有专辑里的95%的歌,这真是一个不小的成就。”

      Air Supply希望在夏天发行他们的下一张专辑,但距离完成还有几个月。其中一首歌是乐队第一首乐器伴奏曲 ‘Once’。“那首歌是Jed和Graham写的,事实上已经写了一些歌词。” Russell说。“Graham通常去录音棚唱一些大致曲调给我,我会用我的方式来演唱它。所以他去录音室唱了些歌词给我听,当他声音出来的时候我说,‘我不认为我们应该唱歌词进去,这首歌太美了。歌词会破坏这意境。’”

      整个录音就是乐队重聚的过程。Larry Antonino,Michael Sherwood,Michael Thompson,Guy Allison和Rex Goh都在专辑中贡献了自己的力量。“Rex在这张专辑里弹了吉他。”Russell说,“我们在澳大利亚见过面,现在他和我们一起在亚洲巡演。我们想念他的吉他,所以为什么不试试在专辑中做些什么呢。Michael Sherwood是Air Supply几年前的伴奏鼓手。他,Graham和我一起演唱听起来很棒,当我们在新专辑里一起演唱和声的时候没有人说我们听起来像是Eagles和Bee Gees的声音(the beejeagles)。” 新专辑制作接近尾声,新的专辑配图都在犹他的尤因塔山脉拍摄。“这张专辑取名叫 ‘The Book Of Love’。” Graham说。“14首歌曲,可能最终会缩减到12或者13首。‘The Book Of Love’ 取自我有一次在梦里写的一首诗。醒来后,我居然很清醒的记得它。”

      Air Supply于10月在美国进行夏季巡演。尽管这段时间在美国都没有什么金曲产生,但是演唱会观众依然是热情的,感谢忠诚的歌迷们。他们大多都在小型场地如赌场和夏季节日里演出,大型体育馆的演出现在都保留到了亚洲和南美去表演。赌场的演出可以进行混合,因为很多歌迷都只是想听他们的金曲。这在美国巡演中显得很痛苦,观众对那些新歌或者不熟悉的歌曲完全不感兴趣。Air Supply不想只是演唱金曲,因为他们乐于创造新的音乐。“我们从来不想活在过去中。” Russell说。“我们演唱过过去发行的每张CD中的歌曲。我们可不想被认为是复古怀旧的。”

      Air Supply最近在Kewadin Casino的new Dreammaker剧院的演出有超过800名听众。他们演唱了许多Top5金曲如 ‘Marking Love Out Of Nothing At All’ 和 ‘Lost In Love’ ,也有一些快节奏南美风格的新歌 ‘We The People’ 。Air supply依然在演出中渲染气氛,让观众们一起演唱,对歌迷们飞吻,最后用一首 ‘The One That You Love’ 把演出带向高潮,最后以钢琴独奏结束。乐队的新专辑 ‘The Book Of Love’ 即将在11月或者1月份发行。- Elissa Gray, Evening News

      找到一份完美的演唱会曲目单对于乐队来说是个巨大的挑战。某种意义上来讲,他们已经成为自己金曲的囚犯了,早期巨大的成功和现如今北美电台拒绝播放他们最近的单曲。“这种事情发生在我们身上真是令人不解。” Russell想,“我们经历了那么多,生涯中起起伏伏,但是依然在制造好的音乐。当你看着世界上的电台都播放着Air Supply的新歌,没什么比这个再棒的了。但这就是无法去唱。”

     电台把Air Supply带向成功,但是这个双人组合在美国依旧有很高的认知度。“我没法去机场,10次中有7次都会被人认出, ‘你看起来像过去在Air Supply里唱歌的那个人。'” Russell说,“人们都恨惊讶听到我们依然在出专辑。这太令人沮丧了。22年来我们一直在一起合作,显然我们知道这个行业的起起伏伏。对于你无法控制的这些事情显然你的不安就没什么意义了。”  

      Air Supply和有线电视供应商Comcast想要联合在北美发行重制版 ‘Greatest Hits Live’ 专辑。1996年的 ‘Greatest Hits Live... Now and Forever’ CD在美国卖得相当出色,尽管比起国际板少了几首歌。Comcast相信现在的这个版本依旧出色,这张专辑包含了原始的台湾演唱会中的所有歌曲。为了帮助宣传这个计划,Comcast准备于9月7日在马里兰州巴尔迪莫Pier 6 Pavilion开设一场Air Supply演唱会。这场演唱会被作为一个特别的Comcast节目进行电视直播,包括了Graham和Russell演绎的一个12分钟版本的 ‘Someone’。“今晚对我们来说非常特别,因为这个演出和我们的Greatest Hits专辑联合在一起。” Russell说。“这对于我们的歌迷来说是个良机。Comcast让美国美国歌迷都能够得到这张唱片,而且是独家的。专辑中有一些歌没有在美国版中发行,所以这是人们能够听到台北演唱会完整版的良机。我们感谢Comcast给我们提供了这个机会。” 这张CD叫做 ‘Air Supply’s Greatest Hits’,但却从来没有正式发行过,因为Comcast和Giant并没有就这张唱片的发行达成协议。

      Giant Records于1997年11月21日在北美和其他地区发行了Air Supply的下一张专辑,‘The Book Of Love’。在北美没有什么炒作和宣传互动。Giant无意像Arista在80年代那样支援这个乐队。音乐性上,‘The Book Of Love’ 也不像过去的Air Supply专辑。包含10首歌,其中两首是完全的音乐作品,这张专辑和乐队标志性的声音和弦乐情歌大相径庭。两首最早的单曲 ‘So Much Love’ 和 ‘When I say’ ,都有引人入胜的旋律。除了中板情歌 ‘We The People’,整张专辑的风格和两首单曲都很类似。专辑和Graham的歌词都揭示了Air Supply严肃的一面。‘Mother Said’ 是Graham写的一首自传性质的歌曲,纪念他很早就去世的母亲,这成为了许多Air Supply歌迷们的最爱。这首歌第一次是于1996年的CD-ROM ‘As Close As This...’ 中的隐藏歌曲中听到的。“我想许多喜欢Air Supply的歌迷都会喜欢这张新专辑的。” Russell说。“我们正在做一些和我们过去不同的音乐。不同的旋律,显然会有很多情歌收录在专辑中,因为那是我们擅长的。随着更多的专辑发行,我们也变得更成熟了。”

      Giant和BMG在11月上旬发行了国际板的 ‘The Book Of Love’ ,在许多国家广泛进行了强大的宣传攻势。和北美版不同的是,这张CD包含了一首额外的歌曲 ‘Strong, Strong Wind’ 。这首歌由Diane Warren谱写,她把这首歌的北美版权卖给了美国摇滚乐队Heart,他们作为单曲发行了这首歌,然后包含在了1998的专辑 ‘Heart - Greatest Hits’中。Air Supply在亚洲部分国家发行了单曲 ‘Strong, Strong Wind’,并且加上了MV的演绎 。这支录音带于11月3日在德州达拉斯拍摄,帮助在台湾和香港排行榜上作宣传。12月31日,‘Strong, Strong Wind’ 在香港登上冠军。‘The Book Of Love’ 没能登上北美排行榜,许多歌迷都非常失望,这首强劲的歌曲(‘Strong, Strong Wind’) 没能包含在这首CD中。

      在1997年,Air Supply歌迷终于能够在一起交流了,感谢互联网论坛。Air Supply网站的更新,获得了1997年第34周最佳网站,更新了一个留言板,歌迷们终于能够在一起讨论乐队了。大家都讨论着对 ‘The Book Of Love’的评价。有些歌迷说,第一次听到他们会有些失望,因为音乐太过于忧郁,甚至有些怪异。其他的人则认为这是他们最喜爱的Air Supply专辑。也经常会有人讨论Russell那正在变化的嗓音。高音部分有一些刺耳,这种情况在1997年下半年演唱会时也已经被注意到了。

      尽管留言板有着各种好处,但是一部分消极的歌迷很快导致剪贴板被关闭了。Air Supply发布了如下声明:
      留言板上太多的负面言语有些关于在歌迷俱乐部内出售终身演唱会后台通信证。“很多原因让我们不可能让歌迷在每场演唱会都去后台。” Russell说。“Graham和我现在直接管理歌迷俱乐部了,我们准备开始做一些调整。我们希望那些持有终身后台通行证的歌迷们,请退还给我们,我们全额收回。不如发生问题不如伤害每个人的感受,我们决定终止使用后台通行证的权利。在 ‘Elgin’事件发生后,显然不可能每场演唱会都这样。” Elgin事件发生在几年前的伊利诺伊州埃尔金,歌迷们得知在演出结束后将没有任何庆祝晚会时相当不满,制造了一个骚动。一组歌迷拦住乐队的豪华轿车不让他们离开剧院,愤怒的叫喊着,最终他们把车开走了。

      不论Air Supply的歌迷怎样说,乐评人对新专辑印象很深刻:

  ‘The Book Of Love’ 是Air Supply为了收复过去成人摇滚巨星的地位而作的一次重大的尝试。90年代早期,他们发行了一系列专辑都被忽略,没有一张像‘The Book of Love’ 那样值得思考,这专辑让他们置于90年代的流行风格中,而不是苦陷在80年代里。这使得这张专辑更加有价值,但在歌曲的创作上很不平均。有一些歌依旧是Air Supply模式的 - ‘So Much Love’ 和 ‘When I Say’ 很吸引人- 但更多的确实平淡的歌曲。无论如何,‘The Book Of Love’ 会是Air Supply近10年来的最佳专辑’。 - Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
      11月20日,Graham和Russell去印度作了一次4天的宣传演出,为了宣传他们的新专辑。Air Supply在印度的知名度一直很高涨,感谢BMG和Crescendo Music,1996年Air Supply为印度Channel [V] 音乐大奖作演出。在孟买的一个新闻发布会,这个双人组合谈到印度有世界上对他们的音乐最好的支持者,他们到这里为他们的新专辑作宣传。“我们花了6个星期才来成行,很骄傲新专辑能在这里发行。” Graham说。12月7日,Graham和Russell继续前往马来西亚为他们的宣传巡演作4天的停留。这次包括了一些电台采访和去吉隆坡Tower Records作访问。

      当回到美国的时候,Air Supply准备了于12月20日在伊利诺伊海默斯文化中心作的节日演唱会,此时一次大规模的澳大利亚巡演的良机出现。他们重新安排了伊利诺伊的演出,并且飞往澳大利亚在各大主要中心演出,包括了悉尼港赌场的新年演出。在1997年行将结束的时候,Air Supply的巡演日程完全没有迹象减慢下来。“从这里到墨尔本,我们将在澳大利亚1998年1月12日结束。” Russell说,“然后我们会回到洛杉矶待大约5天时间。接下来我们会飞往新加坡作几场演出然后在1月份回到洛杉矶再待几天时间。然后我们在3月1日开始紧张的亚洲巡演。”

      The tour of Australia got rave reviews, especially from the media who were critical of the band during their previous tour in 1996:
      Clearly there was nothing wrong with the crowd at the Hilton, for they lapped up Air Supply’s 90-minute show, from the tunes to the stage banter to the digs at the media. The duo’s support might be waning in Australia (Asia is their big market now), but those who have stuck by them are as staunch as ever. Opening with the title track from their 1993 album, ‘The Vanishing Race,’ Hitchcock and Russell started on a rock-flavoured note, backed by a local three-piece ensemble. Two decades of performing experience haven’t been wasted on the pair, and Air Supply quickly slipped into a triple bill of their best-known fare - softer, romantic ballads. ‘Here I Am,’ ‘Even The Nights Are Better’ and ‘Two Less Lonely People’ all drew a predictably warm response from the crowd, and Hitchcock and Russell began to hit their straps. Russell acknowledged the act’s romantic reputation, saying he and Hitchcock only recognized it 10 years ago - about a decade after everyone else had. ‘It’s a handle we’ve grown accustomed to, and we rather like it,’ he added, albeit defensively. It was a relief to hear them accept that mantle, unlike their last Australian concert tour in 1996, when they half-pretended to be a rock band. No one wants Air Supply to go grunge. - Darrin Farrant, The Age

      1998年1月31日,Air Supply在加利福尼亚塞利托斯举行了歌迷俱乐部召集会。当天下午的两场演唱会甚至都全部售完,歌迷来自世界各地。在和乐队的很长一段提问时间后,歌迷俱乐部主席Simon Russell抽出一些奖品,包括了8X10 照片,单曲CD,巡演夹克和 ‘The Book Of Love’ CD 的宣传画。参加演唱会的歌迷将有幸听到Air Supply演唱歌曲 ‘Sunset’ ,很多年来这首歌都没有包含在演唱会曲目单中。

     在亚利桑那居住了5年后,Russell搬回了洛杉矶,他和Rebecca在1996年分手。他含着眼泪唱着 ‘Daybreak’ 。Graham和Jodi回到英格兰向历史学家Graham Phillips学习,为了对罗宾汉计划作更深入的研究。

May, 1998 Concert Set List:
1. The Vanishing Race              2. Lost In Love
3. Here I Am                             4. Even The Nights Are Better
5. Two Less Lonely People        6. Someone
7. Mother Said                          8. Don’t Be Afraid
9. Sweet Dreams                      10. Every Woman In The World
11. The One That You Love      12. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
13. We The People                    14. All Out Of Love

     Air Supply在1998年3月完成了亚洲巡演,他们发行了‘The Book Of Love’中的最后一支单曲 ‘Daybreak’。没能进入那些发行这首单曲的仅有的几个亚洲国家。4月,乐队开始冗长的美国巡演。5月他们在奥尔良酒店和拉斯维加斯赌场演出,这是他们经常回来的地方。1998年的曲目单包含了Air Supply80年代最热门的歌曲,也有几首新专辑中的歌曲,包括了 ‘We The People’ 和 ‘Mother Said’。比起早先时候的宣传演出,这次演唱会里的新歌更少一些。在1998年秋天Air Supply演唱了一首新歌 ‘The Scene’,让歌迷们看到了新专辑的曙光。

      观众大多都是40多岁的女性,来听他们钟爱的80年代的歌曲。澳大利亚组合演唱了11首金曲,从他们第一首热门金曲‘Lost In Love' 开始。Hitchcock的声音依旧响亮,仿佛回到乐队鼎盛时期,尽管明显依旧失去了原有的丰满。舞台表演可能不及预期。Graham Russell用了Pete Townshend的吉他手跳,成为了当晚第一能量。唱‘We The People’ 的时候他也走在人群中,其中他停留在桌子边,喝着一名观众酒杯里的酒。 - Thomas Kintner, 哈特福德新闻报

      80年代音乐开始复苏,感谢一些电影,诸如The Wedding Singer。Air Supply的那些吃豆人时期的金曲突然再次流行,作为一个怀旧浪潮席卷美国北部。不常见地再次在电台听到 ‘Making Love Out Of Nothing At All’ ,和当时最流行的乐队组合一同分享电台,如辣妹组合,后街男孩和N*Sync。当被问及再次流行起来是什么感受时,Russell笑道,“首先,我们从来不赶时髦。所以我想这感觉很棒。我一直认为音乐和时尚一样都是循环的。” Russell承认他也看辣妹的视频,在车里听他们的音乐,很大程度是因为他10岁的女儿Sydney疯狂着痴迷这支英国女子组合。“我也很喜欢。” 他说。“除了我有一次连续听一首辣妹的歌6遍!”
hitchcock 发表于 2015-2-7 17:31
141SFS 发表于 2016-4-18 09:02
98巡演就两首The Book Of Love的歌。。。

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