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.
❤️XOXOXOX
Rick

(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

‘Working Class Dog’ in Phoenix

Last night I attended my first Rick Springfield concert since the pandemic began, at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

It was a little bit surreal, like the past 2 1/2 years was a bad dream because how could it be that this type of communal gathering ceased to exist for so long? RS was in full rock-star mode and it was a celebration from the moment the first note played, as RS and the band rocked that revolving stage like no other.

I hadn’t splurged on tickets in the first few rows this time because just days before the show was announced, I had splurged on last-minute Billie Eilish tickets at a local stadium. That particular splurge meant two tickets (one for me and one for my oldest son) way up in the nosebleed section and since each far-away ticket was about the cost of one front-row ticket for RS, I wasn’t able to do that again a few days later. But, I thought, that was OK, it would be enough just being at the concert since it had been so long since I saw him in concert (June 2019). (In case you were wondering, the Billie Eilish show was amazing, even so far from the stage.)

Of course, once I got to Celebrity Theatre last night, I wished I had splurged because although our seats were fine (it’s a fairly small venue), it was a whole different experience from the previous shows when I was near the stage.

It was my husband’s first RS show in awhile – he was at a show years ago with two of our sons (when they sang “Don’t Talk to Strangers” with him), a Stripped Down show in Tucson (when we briefly met RS after the show) and on an overnight in Sahuarita, Ariz., when I kind of left him back in our seats when I found an unoccupied spot by the stage (and we stayed at the same hotel as RS and the band). So he was a good sport to go with me again and he had a great time and was so impressed by how RS and the band rocked from the second the show started.

Display in the Celebrity Theatre’s downstairs lounge

Although it felt more like I was watching the show from afar this time around, I was overwhelmed by a strong sense of gratitude to even be there at all and appreciated all the aspects, from the rose explosions to the lighting and sound. During the pandemic, I wondered if the opportunity would ever return. And yet there they were, RS and all of the band members, surrounded by other fans as excited to be there as I was.

A couple of my favorite moments were hearing “World Start Turning” and being able to sing “Happy Birthday” to him again. In 2018, I was in the very same theater two days before his real birthday (Aug. 23) and it struck me how much the world has changed since we were “together” in that space last. He mentioned how he just finished filming “Gonzo Girl,” a movie with Patricia Arquette and William Dafoe. (During the 2018 concert, he told us that he was going to film an episode of “The Goldbergs” TV show the next day, if that puts things in perspective for anyone.)

RS played third, after John Waite and Men at Work, so the encore came after 11 p.m. I probably shouldn’t confess this here, but since it was a school night/work night, I decided last minute that we should leave during “Jessie’s Girl” because I’ve heard it a gazillion times, saw him perform it live lots of times and remembered that getting out of the parking lot after the Billie Eilish concert took nearly an hour. Plus I knew there was no chance of possibly “running into” RS after the show (although I did briefly run into drummer Jorge in the audience before the Men at Work set) because it was so late. So, ignoring the impulse to stick around for a slim possibility to meet him again (like I did back in 2016 when I was able to get a selfie with him before he climbed onto the bus and rode off into the night), we headed out the no-re-entry doors to the parking lot across the street as the pre-Jessie’s Girl video began and were home about 20 minutes later.

Of course it was my loss because, as I learned this morning after the fabulous Rick and the News Flash Facebook fan page posted a beautiful video of that very performance, he returned to the stage shirtless. So even though I missed seeing it live, I was relieved I still got to experience the full concert (and had a better view of the encore then I would have if I stayed in my seat).

When I woke up this morning, I felt a sense of calm. Although last night was another missed opportunity of meeting RS and possibly putting the words together to tell him the impact he’s made on my life, I thought about the dream I had before waking up.

In the dream, I was in a dining room of a house with RS and my husband and a few other people. RS mentioned to the people in the room that I was married to both him and my husband. Even in the dream I felt a little unsure how this would work (both logistically and morally), but was thrilled that he would even say this. I offered to make him tea and he chose a pack of tea leaves from a big colorful box with a brown kangaroo on it. I wasn’t sure how to use his fancy tea infuser so he showed me and I made a cup of tea for both him and my (real-life) husband.

Weird, I know, and I have no idea what that could mean, but as I said, being able to have that encounter with him even only in my dream made me feel peaceful.

Anyway, RS and the band are off for a few more shows of this Working Class Dog tour and then once that’s over, perhaps we’ll hear more about the album he’s been working on!! To all the RS fans headed to upcoming shows – have fun!

Update on Aug. 31
I thought I’d share a video from the Aug. 29 show that I found on YouTube since I initially posted this. Thank you for sharing, you had a much better view than I had!

Time for the living room jam

Although I purchased the 40th anniversary CD/DVD set of “Working Class Dog” when it initially came out in June, I finally got around to watching the DVD of RS and the band performing the album in his living room. Not because I didn’t want to earlier, but because none of our devices have disk drives anymore and we don’t have a DVD player set up so I needed some technical assistance to make it happen.

Now that we’re just about to get started on a really busy time because school has started, I decided today’s the day. I had to watch it in the office/recording studio because that’s where the XBox is and that’s the only device that we have left that plays DVDs.

The XBox setting on the TV is what I use when I use the TV as a monitor for my Mac-Mini when I record my songs. So before I started watching, I needed to find the remote for the TV and the small remote for the device that switches the TV connection between the Mac-Mini and the XBox.

Next I took out the Plants vs. Zombies DVD that was in the XBox, inserted the “Working Class Dog” DVD and was ready for an afternoon living room concert.

However, nothing happened when I used the remote to hit play and learned that I actually needed the XBox controller to watch it. Ugh! Where is the XBox controller?! My 12-year-old said he had one in his room and benevolently ran to his room to retrieve it and even plugged the USB into the console for me. Finally, three remotes and an XBox controller later, I was ready to watch it!

All that rambling is a way to explain that it was well worth the effort.

Random thoughts while watching:

This film really captures the time period so well – with RS and the band members greeting each other after not seeing each other for 13 months due to the pandemic. You really get a sense that in addition to enjoying playing music together, they also genuinely enjoy spending time together.

Since it was filmed in his home, you get to see parts of his house, which was cool.

There were shots of his wife, Barbara, watching the band play, which were really sweet. Especially when you think of their history together – that she was actually working at Studio City when he originally recorded the album there, before they started dating.

The DVD not only shows RS and the band performing “Working Class Dog” in the order the songs appear on the album, there are also shots showing conversations with RS and band members and some interview clips of RS (including one where RS says this is the first time he’s played all the songs from the album since 1981 when he recorded it.)

The band also had a toast before playing “I’ve Done Everything For You,” so he was able to get a product placement in for Beach Bar Rum (the company he owns with Sammy Hagar, who wrote that song). (The toast was “To dogs,” which I’m sure my dogs appreciated, as they were in the room with me while I watched it.)

Kudos to the band for doing such a great job learning and playing all the songs and to RS for remembering all of them after so many years {since he hadn’t played so many of them for decades) and for sounding so good!! The singers sounded great, too.

While I have heard some of the songs live in past concerts, there were some I hadn’t heard before and it was especially cool to hear “Red, Hot and Blue Love.” The performance of “Inside Sylvia” was beautiful, too. (I had heard it live in the solo acoustic show, but that was on a guitar app so it had a different feel.)

RS and the band looked like they were having so much fun performing together – as they do in the live shows. Also included were performances of hits after “Working Class Dog,” too, which are typically included in live shows.

Watching it is also a reminder of the time lost after everything shut down and that feeling of not knowing how long it would last. The last show they played together before filming this was March 7, 2020 (coincidentally exactly 5 years – to the day- after I met him during a meet-and-greet after a concert, which was the first time I had seen him after a 15-year hiatus.) The WCD concert was filmed in RS’s living room in April 2021.

It’s such a relief to know that we are all able to come together again at concerts and it makes me even more excited to see them live in concert later this month!

40 years ago this month

As we await the release of the 40th anniversary special live edition of “Working Class Dog” (on June 17) and the summer tour that starts Aug. 5, I was pondering the fact that it’s been 40 years since I first heard the album.

And then it struck me – my youngest son, who turned 12 earlier this month, is the same age I was when I first became a Rick Springfield fan. What the *#@!&?

None of my sons are obsessed with anyone as I was at that age. Did my parents think it was weird that my walls were plastered with posters of somebody who was 20 years older than me?

My oldest son is a big fan of hip hop and my younger sons have a playlist of music from video games, but there’s nothing that compares to my teenage obsession of my favorite rock star. My kids are much more obsessed with playing online video games with their friends than they are following any particular artist fandom.

I remember waiting for the monthly teenybopper magazines to come out (Tiger Beat, 16, Teen Beat, Bop, etc.) so I could learn more about RS and add a new poster to my wall. I’d sit listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show with a handheld tape recorder so I could record my favorite songs. My kids can pretty much listen to whatever song they want at any time and, if they had a favorite rock star, could follow them on Facebook or TikTok or whatever else and learn about what they were doing as it happened. Yes, being a fan was very different in the ’80s.

Although I’m feeling a bit old thinking about this, I also realize how lucky RS fans are that their favorite rock star is still putting out new music and performing all these years later. It’s pretty cool to be able to relive the excitement even after 40 years and 14 shows (See “A spritz of happiness at Wild Horse Pass” to relive that vicariously.)

OK, I’m going to do a little more math here.

I became a Rick Springfield fan in 1982, which was 40 years ago, with the first mention of him on May 15 in my 1982 diary. (So that’s actually 40 years ago this month, wow. ) I was 12 at that time, then turned 13 that summer. My two younger sons are currently 12 and 13.

My first RS concert was in September 1983, 39 years ago, when I was 14. RS was 34. I have tickets for my 15th show this August and my oldest son is 15. My second show was in October 1984, when I was 15.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but thanks for bearing with me as I process this information.

Hangin’ out with Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield fans got a chance to hang out live with him in his home studio yesterday, as part of the promotion for the the 40th anniversary of his Working Class Dog album.

That would have been totally unimaginable 40 years ago. The very thought of doing that would have blown my teenage mind. Just him and about 2,000 fans who had a chance to ask him questions live. Pretty cool.

If you missed it, it’s still available here at talkshop.live- at least on the day I’m writing this. Quick, stop reading this now and go watch it!

He’s very entertaining. He talked about the upcoming summer tour and the next (and last) fan trip (in development, probably 2023 though no date or other details set yet), shared stories from his career and sang a song (“Jessie’s Girl”).

Topics included how he recorded ‘Working Class Dog’ in the wee hours of the night between paying customers; his vocal warmup technique (which includes a PSA about tea tree oil dissolving Styrofoam); Keeper of the Purple Twilight from “The Outer Limits,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”; the sequel of ‘Jessie’s Girl” (yes, ‘Tonight’ on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” is a sequel and has a different outcome than in Coheed and Cambria’s version); drummer Jack White; the cancellation of the Zoot tour; and whether any acting or writing projects are in progress. And of course because this was a live Q&A, it was required that someone ask him if he planned to ever return to “General Hospital.”

He also described the stickers he has on an Australian guitar that he decorated to look like a suitcase, noting that they represent things that he likes: Tutankhamun, Australia, hot girls, Ganesh, Apollo and a magpie.

And of course a fun shoutout to my 13-year-old self, he even said my name! (He was talking to someone else with the same name, but that’s not relevant in this case.)

He also shared his feeling about recreating the photo on the back of “Working Class Dog.”

Also this week was the release of the video of “Jessie’s Girl” that was filmed with the band in his living room for this 40th anniversary celebration. Hi there, band members!

Speaking of RS band members, there was also a fun interview with bassist Siggy Sjursen on “PS After Dark with Tristan Rogers,” which also features keyboardist Tim Gross.

New ‘Working Class Dog’ CD/DVD

In case you missed the latest Rick Springfield news, here’s an update: Presales are happening now for the “Working Class Dog 40th Anniversary Special Live Edition CD/DVD” and RS will be on talkshoplive this Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern to talk about it.

Here’s the description of the CD/DVD, which features Ron on the cover like the original album, but with an updated picture of RS in the pocket (like as in 40 years later, as in last year.)

 In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog, ” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of it’s 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody, ” “Don’t Talk to Strangers, ” “State of the Heart, ” and “Affair of the Heart.”

Learn more about this here.

I’m excited about this because it’ll be fun to hear the new, live versions in order as they appear on the album, as originally heard 40 years ago: 1. Love Is Alright Tonite, 2. Jessie’s Girl, 3. Hole in My Heart, 4. Carry Me Away, 5. I’ve Done Everything for You, 6. The Light of Love, 7. Everybody’s Girl, 8. Daddy’s Pearl, 9. Red Hot & Blue Love and 10. Inside Sylvia.

But I’m also eager to hear more about the new album he’s been working on, too!