A new TV pilot: ‘It’s a Lot’

A new pilot episode of a show starring Rick Springfield is currently in the screening process!

The pilot of “It’s a Lot!” is a sitcom written by standup comedian Dan Rosenberg, who plays a used car salesman who is the son of a famous rock star who is bankrupt after six divorces (played by RS, of course), according to an an article in The Times.

According to the article, the idea for the show came to Rosenberg after attending a RS concert in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. He met RS backstage in 2012 after purchasing a guitar for a meet and greet and got a chance to share his pilot idea with him. RS encouraged him to keep trying but he almost gave up before a chance meeting with Barry Katz, a comedy-manager who liked the idea and agreed to help with the pilot. Soon after, Rosenberg got another backstage pass to hand RS “a hard copy of the pilot and a thumb drive of the next nine rough draft episodes” and RS agreed to film the pilot episode.

Isn’t that a cool story about never giving up?

According to the article, the next step after the screening process is trying to get the show picked up by a streaming service. I personally think there’d be lots of people who would be interested in watching!

For more information about the show, visit danrosenberg.com/itsalot

Remembering a fellow RS fan

About six years ago, a fellow RS fan put together a fitness competition, where fans could “compete” against each other through fitness competitions. During one of these 2017 fitness challenges, she set up two-person teams and the team who got the most steps in over a two-week period won a prize.

I was paired up with Jenni and we ended up winning the challenge (and the prize) – 379,921 steps in 14 days. During those two weeks, we exchanged encouraging FB messages and she was always so kind. At the end of the challenge, I received a prize package that included an item from the coordinator’s personal collection – a signed “Speak to the Sky” 45 record (thank you, Tracey!!). An example of Jenni’s kindness is that Tracey only had one copy of this 45 and Jenni had told her to send it to me because she already won a prize package and already had a lot of signed items.

Another time, a couple of years earlier, I had mentioned in this blog how I heard that RS had played a new song at a Stripped Down concert and I mentioned how badly I had wanted to hear it. Jenni happened to be at that concert and had a video of him playing that song and she sent me the video (and her permission to share it), which is another example of her kindness, especially since we didn’t know each other at all at the time. (See the post here, although the link to the video is no longer active.)

We haven’t corresponded much, but we’ve been Facebook fans since then and occasionally liked each other’s posts. She had been experiencing some serious health issues and sadly, I found out that she died earlier this week. She was an administor in one of the RS FB fan groups and had lots of friends in the group. Rowdy Ron is holding a raffle on a special tribute radio show on Feb. 5, which will include raffle items for those who donate for the memorial GoFundMe for Jenni (Milton Hall), to assist her family with expenses.

Sending strength and comfort to all of Jenni’s family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace, Jenni. Thank you for all your kindness.

The final Rick Springfield + friends get-away scheduled for Oct. 5-9

The announcement has been made. Tickets have been purchased. Fun is to be had.

(For lots of RS fans anyway, not necessarily me, unfortunately…)

Last week, the RS team announced that the “Final Rick Springfield + Friends Getaway” has been planned for Oct. 5-9 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The all-inclusive event will feature musical guests John Waite and Mr. Kite & the Hendersons (a Beatles tribute band that includes RS), special friends Doug Davidson and Eric Martsolf and host Mark Goodman.

The event includes live performances, meet & greets, Q&A, drinks with RS and additional evets. Sounds incredible!

This “final” trip was originally scheduled at this resort for November 2019 but a few months before that several American tourists became ill or died while visiting the Caribbean country so the RS team decided to move it to Hard Rock Cancun, Mexico in May 2020 instead. And well, you can guess what happened to that 2020 plan.

Hopefully everyone who was expecting to attend the trip in 2019 will be able to head to Punta Cana this October, along with everyone else who wishes to go. The timing isn’t great for me as we have a big family event planned the following week, so I’ll have to rely on social media posts to experience the trip.

I’m not loving the “final” part of the trip name. It sounds so final. Like they’ll never be another opportunity to hang out with RS at a resort again. I totally understand, it’s a lot of work to put on something like this and pretty exhausting for all involved. But still, “final” sounds so final.

Random thought: On rickspringfield.com, the ad for the trip says “One Last Kiss!” but it’s not on the trip website, rickspringfieldgetaway.com/. I wonder if “One Last Kiss” is a song off the album he’s working on? If I can’t look forward to the fan trip, I can at least look forward to some new songs, right?!

Working Class DJ celebrates 100th show with tribute to Matty Spindel

This past weekend’s Working Class DJ show was a tribute to Matty Spindel, who was Rick Springfield’s sound master and friend. During the show, RS played songs by some of Matty’s favorite artists and said he may do another one that features songs that Matty worked on. (For example, he won a Grammy for Album of the Year for his work on Supernatural in 1999.)

RS mentioned that it was also the 100th Working Class DJ show, which I can’t independently verify but its second anniversary is coming up on Jan. 22 so that sounds about right. (This also means that it’s nearly the second anniversary of me getting the SiriusXM app, hmmm, coincidence?) Since the shows appear on the SiriusXM app for only a couple of weeks, I haven’t seen a full list and I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but it’s always nice to have that weekly dose of RS available.

He’s been able to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a DJ (which he mentioned in his first show) and fans get to hear from him once a week. Win/win.

Anyway, it was a heartfelt tribute to Matty and I think he would have appreciated it.

2022 Recap

A quick note to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

When I think of 2022 in terms of this blog, only two things come to mind – the “Working Class Dog” tour and the loss of Matty

The “Working Class Dog” summer tour with Men at Work and John Waite celebrated the 40th anniversary of the album and there was also a new box set and two live streams. There were also several weekly doses of the “Working Class DJ” show on Sirius XM.

In Australia, there was a musical performance based on “Late, Late at Night,” RS’s autobiography, which was also pretty cool. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to see that at some point.

The loss of Matty Spindel came as a shock, as everything seemed to happen so quickly. We saw him in the living room concert (filmed in 2021 but released in 2022) and then there was a Facebook post in October announcing his death. He was such an important part of RS’s life that it’s still difficult to comprehend that he’s gone.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot these past couple of weeks as my uncle died from pancreatic cancer earlier this month. There have been so many reminders that while we welcome 2023, we have no idea how it will go or if we’ll be around to bid it farewell a year from now. I just want to sit here with those I love and am trying to focus on all those beams of light and goodness that exist out there.

In a past interview, RS mentioned that he expects his new album to be released sometime in March so that’s something to look forward to in the New Year (and hey, there’s also the fan trip that was recently teased!)

Clink! Here’s to a wonderful 2023 for you all. (That was a little toast with Beach Bar Rum Redhead Macadamia Nut.)

A post of gratitude

By the end of last week, I felt depleted. I won’t go into details, but I was wiped out. I’m guessing most people around my age can relate – concern about older relatives, worries about children, a busy week of work, inflation and parent-teacher conferences. On Friday evening, I found myself just lying on the couch staring at the ceiling with no will to do anything else.

Then I mindlessly started scrolling through Facebook looking for some inspiration and noticed some random posts about Rick Springfield. Asthma? A pilot? What did I miss?!

After a brief investigation, I realized that I’d missed the Talk Shop Live chat promoting the “Working Class Dog Deluxe Box Set – with Autograph.” Since I already bought the 40th anniversary CD/DVD and the tour book, and because it was such a busy week, the chat wasn’t on my radar.

Luckily the replay was available because watching it totally turned my evening around. Not even one minute in, I was already laughing. And then he mentioned that there are 20 SONGS that he’s been working on for his new album (though he’s not sure if they’ll all make it onto the album.) He didn’t say much about the songs, only that they’re “very different.” Hmmm… I wonder what that could mean? He estimated that it would come out in March or April 2023 and also shared that they are planning the final fan trip! (The previous last fan trip was cancelled due to COVID.)

He also answered lots of fan questions and shared his memories about recording “Working Class Dog,” talked about his jukebox and his Grammy (which he stores inside his jukebox), shared some life philosophy as it relates to owning objects, his earliest childhood memory, Las Vegas, his collections (including the “Star Wars” collection he no longer has), the symphony shows, and the songs that didn’t make it on the WCD album. He also sang “Happy birthday” to someone on the chat because that always seems to happen during a RS Q&A of any sort.

He also paid tribute to Matty Spindel a few times (he mentioned that he wrote one of the songs on the new album about him – and that Matty did most of the engineering on this album before he died). In passing, he mentioned that he’s in a movie called “Gonzo Girl” and a pilot of something. (It was a very brief mention, no details.)

Lest we forget the reason for the live chat, here’s what’s in this box set: Colored Vinyl LP, the CD/DVD of he and his band performing the WCD songs (in order) in his living room , a rarity CD (which includes the demos and songs that didn’t make the album), guitar pics, replicate laminate, a tour book and a signed postcard. Learn more and watch the chat here.

There was lots of great stuff during this chat – including an attempt at playing his song “Motel Eyes.” After watching the live chat, which was about an hour, I felt so much better.

It being Thanksgiving week and all, I just wanted to express my gratitude to RS for raising my spirits and for sharing himself like this with his fans. Not only has he continually put out great music all these years and performs incredible concerts, he provides that connection to the past and reignites a sense of exuberance that doesn’t often appear in day-to-day life.

I’m also grateful that in exploring my fascination with him through this blog, I also reconnected to my love of songwriting and that’s led me in a whole different direction than when I started this blog eight years ago. (In the chat, RS knocks Spotify, which I totally understand because it really sucks for musicians who make a living from their craft, but for someone like me whose songs generally go unheard by others, I was really excited to release two songs on Spotify this year. Since 100,000 songs are uploaded every day to Spotify and other digital service providers, it’s still likely that they will go unheard, but at least they’re out in the world now so someone may hear them.)

As of today, the replay of the chat is still available (as is the “Working Class Dog Deluxe Box Set”) so if you could use a dose of RS in your day today, you may want to check it out.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Las Vegas residency, action figures, tribute shows and a new album

Recent RS news includes a Las Vegas residency (starting with two shows, which doesn’t really sound like a residency, but according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, RS may be exploring the idea to have a Las Vegas residency, similar to what Sammy Hagar (his Beach Bar Rum partner) did in 2021 and 2022. “This is a thing where I want to test it out, see how it goes, see if I can stay in one place for a while,” he said in the article, “Rick Springfield brings another ‘residency’ to Las Vegas.”

These shows are March 25-26, 2023 at The Strat:

With top hits spanning across multiple decades, Rick Springfield delivers an unforgettable, electrifying performance and his loyal fans and fans of rock and roll will travel far and wide to see him perform live,” said Adam Steck of SPI Entertainment. “Both shows will focus on Rick’s anthemic hits and deep cuts, and we can’t wait for him to rock The STRAT!

There’s also a mention of his new (18-song!!!) album scheduled to come out next year with one new song title, “Come, Said the Girl.”  Whoo-hoo, can’t wait to hear more about that. I imagine it’s a bittersweet process, with the recent loss of Matty. RS is dedicating a few of the Working Class DJ shows to Matty’s memory and said on a recent show that he’s putting together a show with some of the records that Matty worked on.

The article also mentioned EFX, the show where RS had his last Vegas residency in 2000-2002. I’m disappointed that I missed that period of RS fandom as I would have liked to see that show. In my dream last night, after reading the article, I went to a RS concert but instead of the normal rock concert, it was a full theatrical performance with costumes and songs I didn’t recognize, so maybe my brain was trying to re-create the experience for me. Thanks for the attempt, brain.

RS’s keyboardist Tim Gross and his wife Melissa Neiderman started a YouTube show “PS Good News,” and recently posted their second episode which included a fan gift of action figures of RS and all the band members some inside scoop on the recent tour.

A Tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis

At a recent concert, Rick Springfield paid tribute to musical legend Jerry Lee Lewis, who died on Oct. 28, by performing “Great Balls of Fire.”

Here’s a flashback from a 2016 fan trip, where he sang the song, with Tim Gross on keyboard and sharks swimming in the background:

I saw Jerry Lee Lewis perform live in June 1999, at the same venue I saw RS perform about three months later that year, in September 1999, so they’ve shared the same stage in the past. (Actually, probably many stages, since they’ve probably toured many of the same cities through the years.) This was also the venue where RS performed during his most recent concert in Arizona this past August, at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

I don’t remember much about the Jerry Lee Lewis concert (it was back before I had a cell phone and I don’t have any pics or videos from that concert), but that it was cool to hear him performing “Great Balls of Fire” live. I remember expecting him to start jumping around and playing the piano with his feet (as he did in performances in his younger days), but he appeared to be pretty frail, although he was only 64 at the time. (My perception of age has certainly been skewed seeing RS perform these past few years, as his energy on stage at age 73 is amazing.)

My only other knowledge of Jerry Lee Lewis comes from “The Million Dollar Quartet” and Dennis Quaid’s role in “Great Balls of Fire,” so I don’t really have much more to add here except appreciation for his musical contributions to the world.

Speaking of works of art based on musician’s lives, the “Late, Late at Night” musical based on Rick Springfield’s autobiography, is still going strong and is scheduled to be performed in Sydney, RS’s birthplace, on Nov. 11. (The playwright Kieran Carroll was recently interviewed on the Radio Carrum podcast.)

Sad news

Sad news from the RS family this afternoon, as posted on Rick Springfield’s Facebook page:

I never thought I’d write this but to all who knew our amazing front-of-house mixer and my studio master of sound for my last 12 albums, Matty Spindel, it’s my heartbroken duty to tell you that he has gone home today and is in no more pain. He passed at 1 pm from pancreatic cancer. Anyone wishing to honor his memory please donate to your local animal welfare, Matty loved animals. Here is the last photo taken of me with our great friend, master mixer, brilliant sound man, crappy Monopoly player, and chocolate doughnut lover… And lover of all things with four legs. May the angels welcome him with open arms. God bless your spirit my dear friend.

(photo courtesy of Windy Wagner who was at our last session with Matty at the Black lagoon)

So heartbreaking – condolences to all his family and friends.

He’s been such a big part of RS’s life for so many years – working on his albums and his tours – his presence was just a given on RS projects. He also seemed to be sort of a meet-and-greet (both the official and unofficial ones) gatekeeper, as he was there two times when I was able to meet RS after a show. Once he was keeping the line moving and once he reminded a small group of fans waiting for RS after the show that the band needed to go eat.

I found one picture that I took after a March 2015 show in San Tan Valley, Arizona:

I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think this is him at work – at the Vegas show in October 2015.

And I think he may be in this video as well from that night.

Although he was known among RS fans as somebody who did NOT like his photo taken, he was an incredible photographer and occasionally shared his photos (often travel-related) on social media.

It’s heartbreaking that he had to go through pancreatic cancer, a brutal disease that often isn’t diagnosed until after it spreads too much to effectively treat. (My mom died shortly after she turned 52, six weeks after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.) I hope he wasn’t in too much pain and that he was surrounded by loved ones to know how much he was appreciated.

There’s an interview with him back from the Karma tour, which is in the rickspringfield.us archives, which gives you an idea of his sense of humor – read it here.

Thank you, Matty, for all the great mixing for so many of the albums that RS fans enjoy and for all the great sound at RS shows through the years, as well as being a source of support and love for the RS team. You will be missed.

A good mail day: 40 years of memories

My tour program for the Working Class Dog 40th Anniversary Tour arrived in my mailbox today – whoo-hoo! I didn’t even have to wait long, as I ordered it on Monday and today’s Thursday. Thank you to the Rick Springfield Official Merchandise Team – who we learned more about this week.

Valleyspotlight.com posted an interview with Kym Vross, who designs and manages RS merch. Turns out that she’s a longtime fan, too, who started out years ago doing some work for the RS fan club. Because she started as a fan, she fits the demographic that RS merchandise serves and she certainly scored with the tour program. I won’t give the content away here, since I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone when they receive their own, but there are lots of fun photos and it begins with a “personalized” note, which is fun to read and kind of reminds me of the record album that came with the original RS fan club back in the 1980s. You can see a couple of pages on the RS merch page.

You can also see a glimpse of the tour program in the video interview with Kym, which is available here.

This visual chronological timeline of RS’s career brought back lots of memories (many of which are included in posts from the past eight years of this blog.) Although much of the information is not new (after reading his autobiography and generally following his career all this time), it was fun seeing the photos from all the different stages of his career – and seeing it all laid out over 28 pages is a clear reminder how extensive and impressive his career is.

Flashback to 20 years ago, to the tour book for the 1982 Sweat for Success Tour