A celebrity’s life

I wonder what RS thinks of his fans. He seems pretty accessible to them, with the meet-and-greets, sound checks and fan appreciation vacations. And he has said in interviews that he really appreciates them now even though he may not have as much in his younger days. And, as documented in the documentary “Affair of the Heart,” it definitely seems genuine.

But I wonder what it must be like to have that type of celebrity – to have the realization that if you’re having a bad day and snap at somebody, it will permanently cloud their judgment of you forever. And if your name comes up in a future conversation, they’re likely to say, “Oh yah, I met him once, what a jerk.” It’s not fair but it’s human nature, I guess, to have different expectations for celebrities, as if they should be infallible.

Whenever I’m at a sporting event (which isn’t very often), I’m always intrigued at the way people yell so freely at the players. “You idiot, didn’t you see the ball!?” “They should get rid of you!” “You suck!” I can’t help but wonder how these same individuals would like it if they had somebody following them around at work commenting on their every move. “You idiot, it’s not their, it’s they’re! I can’t believe you sent that email!”

And even on the other extreme: Imagine how tiresome it would be to arrive at your office each morning to be greeted by a crowd of people snapping pictures of you that will be posted all over the Internet in the next 10 minutes. Even if the swarm was filled with admiration, I’m sure there must be times when it becomes too much. I guess that may just be the “price” of celebrity that goes along with making millions of dollars for doing something you love.

flickr pic-fans

Rick Springfield performs in concert in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 5, 2012. Photo by Mike Morrow/Flickr

It must be strange to meet a person for the first time and have them know so many personal things about you when you know nothing about them. (I think a non-celebrity gets a little taste of this sometimes because we as a society now divulge so much personal information on social media that people who you hardly know but are “friends” with on Facebook know how you spent your summer vacation and if it comes up in conversation during a chance meeting at the supermarket it feels a little strange.)

Social media has changed the relationship of celebrities with their fans, too. (Here’s an interesting article on “super fandom.”) Not only does it allow for a direct line from a celebrity to his or her fans (and maybe the opposite direction, too), but also from fans to one another – such as on Facebook fan pages.

RS fans are a very devoted bunch. It’s very apparent from reading through Facebook posts and searching #rickspringfield on Twitter that he has many admirers. (I hear there are even blogs devoted to him…) Does it ever freak him out a little? I wonder if he ever reads through his fan pages to see what they’re saying and, if so, what he thinks about it.

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Saturday Night Springfield Special – Part 2

OK, so it was more than seven hours straight of Rick Springfield songs. To anyone out there who thinks of him as a one-hit wonder: pffft.

Really though, wow, it was so  much fun! Not only because it was hours and hours and hours of great music by my favorite inspiration but also the chatting on the Facebook page, the feeling of connection with other RS fans. For instance, when that horrible Disco dance mix of “Our Ship’s Sinking” was on, my response to my husband was, “What is this?!?!” and it got similar responses from others on the page (including Rowdy Ron, who ended up interrupting it in the middle to play the good version). Some of the fans donated items for various giveaways, which was really nice (even though I didn’t win any of them.)

What was really cool about this evening was the mix of songs, from the 70s to 2012 plus the I-know-every-single-word-of-this- song ones to the ones I’ve never heard before. Thanks to those at Rick Springfield & Us for being such a great resource for lyrics and to find which songs were on which albums. The number of songs written by RS – in so many different styles – is so impressive.

With DVRs, Netflix and the plethora of ways for people to get their entertainment these days, all too often people only share moments with those in the room rather than it being a collective experience. I remember as a kid going to school and discussing whatever show or movie was on TV the evening before. It’s much more rare to do that today because there is probably someone in the room who DVRd it and hasn’t watched it (“spoiler alerts” didn’t exist back then). Rather than everyone sharing something enjoyable, it seems that it’s all the distressing news that generates conversation now because it’s only the breaking news we all hear at the same time. So it was nice to share something so positive with people around the world who also enjoyed the same thing.

So thank you, Rowdy Ron – and that was a perfect song to end the show: “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

Good night!

Saturday Night Springfield Special

For the past few hours – about four so far – I’ve been listening to the Rowdy Ron “Saturday Night Springfield Special.” What a great show  – hours and hours of Rick Springfield songs, including some I haven’t heard in years and others I’ve never heard. So fun to be listening along with so many RS fans around the world, many who are commenting on the Rowdy Ron Facebook page. I usually don’t do these kinds of things, where I stop everything to participate but how can I not? (Thank you to my husband, who did the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” reading with my oldest son tonight so I could sit in the office and listen to RS songs… I wonder if he’s starting to worry about this latest obsession. He’s been very patient so far but still I wonder…)

It was also interesting to hear from author Lisa Cownie and photographer Kris Fluck of the new book coming out in 2015: “Sharing the Stage: The Journey that Brought Us Together.” It really is incredible how many people RS has inspired (and how many songs he has written)!

Dreamt a little dream

Apparently my subconscious mind is now saturated by all the Rick Springfield interviews I’ve been watching/reading lately, as he was in my dream last night. In it we just met and were walking to a studio to record a song (a dream within a dream!). I was very excited, a little nervous and he was very nice.

Then the next part I remember, I was in an airport terminal and was worried because I didn’t remember bringing my luggage from the hotel to the airport. But somebody assured me that I had taken care of it. There were rows of record albums lined up between the rows of chairs of travelers waiting for their flight – like in a record store –  so I found the “S” section and was looking for the new RS album so I could ask him to sign it. But I only found a few copies of “Working Class Dog” but it wasn’t the actual WCD cover, instead there was a different dog on the cover – there was a brown background and the close-up of a distinguished-looking dog’s face. I think it may have been Gomer. I wanted to ask someone working there if they had the new album yet but it wasn’t clear who was working there. I do remember seeing one of the first albums I had though, Shaun Cassidy’s solo album, the one that had the song “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

A light in the darkness

After celebrating eight days of lights (Hanukkah), I’ve had the concept of light on my mind. Each night we light a menorah – first starting with one candle – and the shamash, the one that lights the others each night – and by the last night, all nine candles burn so bright, you don’t even need a flash.

One of the deeper meanings of the holiday is the idea of bringing light to the world and the power of one small flame to create light in the darkness. Thinking of this while looking through the RS lens of this blog and reading some of the posts on the RS fan pages, it appears that RS brings light to so many people who experience darkness. He uses the term “the darkness” to refer to the depression that has haunted him through his life and he’s said that his songwriting is his outlet to working through this darkness. So from this darkness, he creates light for others to help them get through their dark times.

Although most of us don’t have the celebrity power to reach so many people, we do have the power to illuminate the lives of the people in our lives – our families and friends and our community. May we all shine our own light to help illuminate the world.

Assumptions

Our lives are ruled by assumptions, which is necessary to get through the day. The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening – except perhaps in a polar circle but there your assumption would change anyway.

When I was in New York visiting my cousin in December 2000, I made choices based on my assumptions, choosing to visit Strawberry Fields and the Dakota Apartments instead of the World Trade Center, assuming I’d get a chance to visit the latter during a future visit.

Yesterday was a tragic reminder on how we shouldn’t rely too heavily on assumptions. As I was going through my Facebook news feed, a morning routine to check in on the news of the day, a couple of posts stopped me cold. A good friend of a friend was tagged in these posts, with messages like, “You’ll be missed” and “I will never forget you.”

Although I didn’t know him well, we’d hang out when he was in town visiting my friend and he was one of those people that lit up a room and he was so funny and kind. Sometimes months or years would pass until we saw him but when we did, it was like he never left town.

I always assumed that we’d see him again.

After reading through the different posts on his page to try to find out what happened, I saw this one: “Another that has chosen their own timing. I truly hope he finds some sense of peace on the other side.”

As I looked at his smiling Facebook profile photograph, I thought back to some of our past conversations – and remembered only fragments but couldn’t recall any strong indications of an inner struggle. But isn’t that usually the case? Those kind of feelings are easy to hide from those you only see for a few hours every couple of years.

But it is a reminder that we shouldn’t take things for granted, and a reminder that things aren’t always as they appear. Maybe all the smiling holiday photos on Facebook are truly happy or maybe it’s just one smiling snapshot between difficult moments. We don’t know for sure.

Rest in peace, Ben.

Sharing the stage

I recently heard about a new project that a RS fan is working on that sounds so interesting!

Lisa Cownie is a journalist who had an assignment to interview Rick Springfield (how do I get an assignment like that?!) and ended up talking to members of his band and learning about their stories. Two years later, these stories are the basis for her new book “Sharing the Stage: The Journey That Brought Us Together,” which is scheduled to come out in March 2015.

Oh, and the photographer, Kris Fluck is a RS fan, too – she’s the creator of WeLoveRickSpringfield.com.

Learn more about their project here.

UPDATE:

Due to personal reasons of the band members, the author has decided to hold off on publishing the book. See her explanation here. On one hand, it’s too bad because she has spent so much time and effort on this project and I’m sure it would have been wonderful but, on the other hand, it’s totally understandable why the band members are hesitant to divulge that much information about their personal life at this point. A note to the author: You should be proud of the work you’ve done and I admire your integrity in respecting their request. Best wishes on your future endeavors!

Another generation of fans

Since I have “rediscovered” Rick Springfield, I’ve been listening a lot to “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.”  For the past few weeks, it’s either one or the other that is in the CD player in my car so my kids have been listening to them often as well.

I have three sons, ages 4, 6 and 8 and they have all quickly become familiar with Rick Springfield. When I first started playing “Songs for the End of World,” my 8-year-old asked who was singing and I showed him the cover. “Does he look familiar?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “From ‘Late, Late at Night,’ ” which he had seen around the house.

His favorite songs are “A Sign of Life”- because it’s about aliens – and “Our Ship’s Sinking”  – he likes singing the “woah woah woah wo.”

My 6-year-old says he likes all the songs and often instructs me to “turn up the volume” as we’re driving, after I turn it down to ask them questions about their day. The other day he informed me that “In song number nine, Rick Springfield says a bad word.” Fortunately he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of the songs – he was just walking around the house singing, “Six kids keep me buried alive – yah, yah…” (Venus in Overdrive) I didn’t correct him. One of his favorite songs is “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

My 4-year-old has been heard singing, “Victoria’s seeeecret” and “Awaaay, awaaaay” (from “One Way Street”) around the house. He’s also picked up a few new vocabulary words (such as the one in song number 9 mentioned above) so I skip over some songs when they’re in the car. (When he first used that word, I asked him where he heard it – he replied, “from Rick Springfield.”) I always skip “I Hate Myself,” because I don’t want them walking around singing that.

One funny coincidence: last weekend I was home alone doing some work and was listening to a podcast of a RS interview from June on the computer that somebody had posted on a RS fan Facebook page. It was a fun interview during which RS and the interviewers were joking about the number of records RS has sold and at one point joked that they could say there were trillions of them.

A couple of hours later, I was in the car with my oldest son and out of nowhere he asked me, “Does Rick Springfield have billions of songs?” (He hadn’t heard the interview.) The timing was just weird because the interview was still in my mind.

How things can change over time

This week there was a thread on a RS fan page where people shared their RS stories – when they became fans, how aware they were of RS in the ’90s and how they got back to this point (on a RS fan page). It’s pretty incredible to learn about the impact he’s had on so many lives.

The passage of time is such a funny thing. In an interview with RS that I heard recently, he mentioned that at this point he’s lived in the U.S. longer than he had lived in Australia so this feels more like home now. But since the 80s when first becoming aware of him, I’ve always thought of him when I hear something about Australia. I guess it’s kind of like when you think back to a certain time in your life and you think of the people as you knew them rather than who they are today  – such as when I see pictures of the preschoolers I used to teach when I was in college and have difficulty grasping the idea that they’ve grown and likely have children of their own.

Although, this is probably different now with Facebook and similar social media when people keep abreast of people’s lives long after they are no longer an active part of them.

Anyway, when I was reading these fans’ stories, I couldn’t help but think of a young Richard Lewis Springthorpe so many years ago who had no idea what his future was and feeling so bleak about what those possibilities might look like. While he was distressed about his relationship – or lack thereof, as he describes it in his memoir – with girls, he probably could not have fathomed the depth of his success or his impact on people’s lives. “Don’t worry that none of your female classmates seem interested in you, Ricky boy, someday women will be making calendars out of your photos and paying a few hundred dollars for the chance to meet you,” a time-traveler might have told him, if one was able to travel back in time.

Enough with the “Jessie’s Girl” references!

TrueDetectivetweet

Rick Springfield is so damn cool. He (or his social media rep, who knows?) tweeted today about his newest project. In just one year, he’s toured around the country during rock shows, storytelling concerts and book signings and filmed a movie; now he’s shooting a HBO series. When the hell are people going to stop with the “Jessie’s Girl” references? That was 33 years ago! He has recorded more than a dozen albums since then with so many other great songs, written a memoir and a novel that both made it to the New York Times Best-Seller List, acted in numerous TV shows and just filmed a movie with Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep. And he’s the father of two sons and just celebrated his 30th anniversary with his wife. Sure, he’s had his difficulties and challenges – doesn’t everyone? – but his perseverance and stamina is truly inspiring.

Here are some examples of what led to this post:

Rick Springfield, singer of “Jessie’s Girl,” will appear on Season 2 of “True Detective”

‘True Detective’ Season 2 Wishes It Had Jessie’s Girl, Casts Rick Springfield

“General Hospital” star and “Jessie’s Girl” singer joins Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams on HBO anthology drama

‘Jessie’s Girl’ singer Rick Springfield joins cast of ‘True Detective’

Rick Springfield Is For Some Reason In Season Two Of ‘True Detective’

Now that the main cast for the second season of HBO’s “True Detective” has finally been confirmed, fans may be wondering who else will pop up on the anthology series. If you guessed a former ’80s pop star-turned-actor, you’d be right.

Do your homework, guys. Ever heard of Google?