Rick Springfield Interview: Rock Superstar on Stalkers, Social Media and Disappointing Meeting with Sir Paul McCartney
Image attributed to Rick Springfield
Born Richard Lewis Springthorpe on August 23, 1949, in Sydney, Australia, Rick Springfield is a songwriter, singer, musician, and actor.
In the music world, the artist is probably best known for the 1981 #1 single “Jessie’s Girl.” The single was certified Gold and went on to sell close to two million copies in the United States alone.
“I have a lot of female fans and women really aren’t known to shoot people as much as men are so they are not as aggressive. But, I’ve had detectives put on me and things like that to see where I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m going.”
Springfield won a Grammy in 1982 for Best Male Rock Performance for “Jessie’s Girl,” was nominated for a second Grammy in 1982, and a third Grammy in 1983.
The 1983 album, “Living in Oz,” went platinum because of the hits “Human Touch,” “Souls,” and “Affair of the Heart.” That same year, Springfield also won an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist along with John Cougar Mellencamp.
Springfield’s 1984 single, “Love Somebody,” was his last top ten hit in the U.S. to date, reaching #5 on the Billboard singles chart. The performer then took some time off for the birth of his first son, Liam, and to spend time with his family.
From 1999 onward, he has had several concert tours throughout North America. In 2004, he released the critically acclaimed album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” on his own Gomer record label.
Springfield’s first studio record since “S/D/A/A” was “Venus in Overdrive.” released in July of 2008. The CD took him and bassist Matt Bissonette 32 days to record and peaked on Billboard at #28.
Earlier this year Springfield released “My Precious Little One,” a set of original lullabies penned by the singer over twenty years ago for his children.
This summer launched a tour all across the country, which include arenas, fairgrounds, and casinos. The itinerary also includes the performer’s 2nd annual Rick Springfield & Friends Cruise slated for November 12-16.
As an actor, Springfield originated the role of Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama General Hospital from 1981-1983 and then returned to play the character (and dual role of Eli Love) from 2005 until 2008. He is currently filming four episodes of the hit Showtime TV series Californication.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Rick, how’s the tour going?
Rick Springfield: Great. It’s been really fun.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): We’re looking forward to seeing you in Montgomery. Will you be singing songs from the new “My Precious Little One” CD?
Rick Springfield: Not really because it doesn’t really translate live, you know? But, I’m very proud of that record – it doesn’t really fit with our rock ‘n roll shows, so it’s kind of hard to throw them in there.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You wrote them for your kids over 20 years ago.
Rick Springfield: Yes I certainly did.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tell me about your songwriting process. Do you come up with the lyrics first or the music first?
Rick Springfield: It really depends. Usually I get a title idea or a song approach idea … usually it’s sitting down just noodling with it. Sometimes I’ll get inspirations, but that’s really just a gift. You never really know when that’s going to happen (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Some of your songs have a reggae influence.
Rick Springfield: Yes, I always default to reggae if I can’t think of anything. I love reggae.
Actually we’ve done a whole reggae album of all of the old songs for the Rick Springfield Cruise that leaves from Miami on November 12 and goes down to Cozumel for five days. Every person that comes on board gets a free CD of these songs done in reggae. They really came out great and I’m really excited about it. They’ll only be available on the cruise.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I was going to ask you about the cruise … and actually, my birthday is mixed in between those five days …
Rick Springfield: Oh (laughs). Well, it’s really a unique thing. Richard Marx is a musical guest and I’m doing the whole “Working Class Dog” in one set and in another one we’ll sing requests. We do a songwriter session where Richard and I will sit down and just answer people’s questions about songs.
It was so much fun last time I really am excited about this one.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There is a lot of interaction between you and the fans?
Rick Springfield: Yeah and that’s what I wanted it to be. I didn’t want it to be just me coming out and playing a couple of the same sets. Everything is really different. We end up playing a beach show on the beach at Cozumel and we all go swimming.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well, that just may be the way to spend my birthday (laughs). I heard you’re great friends with Doug Davidson (who plays Paul Williams on The Young and the Restless).
Rick Springfield: I’m seeing Doug tonight, as a matter of fact. We’re going out to dinner and he will be on the cruise. Actually we’re doing an NBC Christmas Special where we’re playing some of the songs from my new Christmas CD, and his daughter Caly will be playing violin on it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will Eli Love or Noah Drake come back to General Hospital anytime soon?
Rick Springfield: No, kind of with the advent of stuff happening now like the whole Californication thing I’m focusing more there. I went back to General Hospital for a little bit and it was fun for a while but nothing is planned there for the immediate future.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have done four episodes of Californication. Would you say that your character is similar to Rick Springfield in his 20s or 30s?
Rick Springfield: No, I don’t think I was ever that much of a jerk (laughs). He’s pretty out there. I’ve done some of the things, but he’s pretty full on and it’s fun to play against character and against type like that.
I was very happy to do it. I went up and read for the part – they were looking for somebody and they read a whole bunch of people and I guess I just got the gig.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’re also writing an autobiography … how truthful will you be?
Rick Springfield: Well, I’m going to tell the truth in it. I’ve led a pretty insane life starting from when I was a kid. I’ve been traveling the world since I was nine years old so there has been a lot going on and I’ve certainly done a lot of things.
I certainly won’t hold back … you know, that’s the whole point of these things. If you’re going to lie or not tell the truth, I really don’t see the point of writing a book.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Can you share anything from the book?
Rick Springfield: Well, there was a time I was in Viet Nam, over there playing for the troops. I went home with this girl from a bar in De Nang and when I was done I said, “I’m going back to the base now.” She threatened to kill me if I left. So, I decided to stay the night.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did she have a weapon?
Rick Springfield: I’m sure she did. Everybody was VC at that point. You would never know who was who.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How about a movie about your life after the book?
Rick Springfield: (laughs) I don’t know.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): And any ideas of who might play yourself?
Rick Springfield: Ah yeah, I’d do pretty good at it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you enjoy performing on stage more than on TV or in films?
Rick Springfield: I love performing and I love writing. I consider myself a writer first, but I love it all. It’s all gotten more exciting as I’ve gotten older.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Obviously “Three Warning Shots” (off of the “Venus in Overdrive” CD) was written about John Lennon’s assassination. Why did you wait 30 years after Lennon’s death to write it?
Rick Springfield: I think because there was some talk of what’s his name getting out or getting paroled or something and that made me really angry. I’ve been thinking a lot about him. I’m a big Beatles fan and I think I was talking about him with someone and the idea for the song just came up.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you ever meet John Lennon?
Rick Springfield: No, I’m sorry to say that I never met John. I did meet Paul and George. For me, it really wasn’t an issue. I was never really big on trying to meet people because they always disappoint. I met Elvis and he was very nice. But, Paul McCartney preferred my wife, so that was kind of disappointing.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Gunnar Nelson had a recording session with Cat Stevens and Paul McCartney, but didn’t get to meet Paul in person.
Rick Springfield: Oh bummer. That’s too bad. Yeah, Paul was really nice, but my wife’s really hot and I think he’s a bit of a ladies man, ol’ Paulie. It was when Linda was still alive so she started talking to me so that made up for it (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you ever had any problems with stalkers?
Rick Springfield: I think everybody has at some point. Nothing serious, no … but I mean, you always get concerned about certain ones.
I have a lot of female fans and women really aren’t known to shoot people as much as men are so they are not as aggressive. But, I’ve had detectives put on me and things like that to see where I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m going.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you think that the age of social interaction on the Internet; i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc., might make it a little easier for celebrities to be found?
Rick Springfield: Not really because there’s no real way to kind of backtrack on those things. You know, if someone twitters, you really can’t kind of trace it back and talk to them. It’s kind of a one-way thing. I’ve never really had any problem with that. You know your email is out there and occasionally I’ll get letters and stuff but most of the time people are pretty cool about it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you generally have a good relationship with the fans?
Rick Springfield: The ones I’ve met have been so amazing. I’m really humbled by it, you know?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You had a special relationship with a little girl a few years ago. Tell me about Sahara.
Rick Springfield: Yes, she was a beauty. Her mom was a fan when she was a little girl and she started bringing Sahara to concerts when she was five years old. She was just one of those kids that just lit up a room. I fell in love with her.
All three of us would hang out and just have a great time. Her mom had been in the music business and so she could handle it … wasn’t a crazy fan or anything. She became almost like family, then she got sick out of nowhere and died a year later. It just tore everybody up, all the people in the band … everybody.
We did a couple of benefits to raise money to help her and we’re still doing things to help in her name to benefit the people who helped her in her life. The song was in memorial to her. She was just a beautiful person.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I can’t really listen to “My Father’s Chair” without being sad. What are some of the special things you remember about your father?
Rick Springfield: He was just a real loving guy. He was an army officer that never brought the army home and he was the one that was kind of the “huggy” one of the two.
My mom was a kind of disciplinarian and my dad was the kind of the real loving one … not that my mom wasn’t loving but she was always busy keeping us all in line (laughs). But, he was a great guy.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There is also a theme of Catholicism in some of your songs; in particular, “Like Father Like Son.” Were you raised Catholic?
Rick Springfield: Yeah pretty much.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The song doesn’t really embrace the Catholic faith.
Rick Springfield: No, I had issues with my upbringing. I’m really kind of more Buddhist than anything at this point if I had to pick a specific religious path, but it’s more spiritual than anything. I mean, I still have crosses all over my house, so it’s still in my soul … you know, how I was raised. But, I have my own issues on how I was brought up.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you do anything special for your 60th birthday in August?
Rick Springfield: Yeah, I stayed alive. I thought that was pretty special (laughs). I really don’t like surprise parties, but I had a little one that was fun with some hardcore friends.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will you have some time off after the concert in Montgomery?
Rick Springfield: I don’t know. I hope not, I like working. I mean, we’ll still be doing stuff in the studio and acting and writing.
We’re just doing a new mix on … we re-recorded “Jessie’s Girl” so we could own the master and that sort of thing, so we’re just doing a new mix on that now in the studio. We may possibly release a new CD in April or May of next year.
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