Under a magnifying glass

There’s been a lot of Rick Springfield headlines this past week as we get closer to the Jan. 26 release date of “The Snake King.”

Unfortunately the headlines are not about how this underrated talented musician often pegged as “an ’80s icon” is releasing a new CD – his 19th studio album, with eight of them after the ’80s –  in a different style (blues) and totally rocked it. Besides those written by actual music reviewers, who all have given “The Snake King” wonderful reviews thus far, all the other articles have focused on his recent interview with SirusXM, in which he revealed that he came close to committing suicide last year. Basically many different websites published the same article over and over and over again with different headlines, but all saying the same exact thing.

That was definitely the most shocking part of the interview, especially to fans who have followed his career closely and have recently seen him in concert. It was heartbreaking to hear that his struggles with depression are not just something that he talked about in his 2010 autobiography but something that he is still dealing with today, among his touring (about 100 concerts each year), filming TV shows and interactions with adoring fans.

I think he is brave to talk about it and am impressed that he has such strength to share something so vulnerable and then that weekend was able to return to the stage to give entertaining, rockin’ performances. I hope him sharing his experience will serve as an inspiration to many people who are dealing with depression and that his performances continue to raise his own spirits.

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Celebrities are often under a magnifying glass, with the media often focusing on one specific element, which sometimes can be a good thing and other times not, depending on the situation. In this case, the good thing is that acknowledging the impact of depression on his life will increase awareness about the severity of the disease and help those who also suffer it not feel alone. Additionally, it may help others better understand the disease and how it may affect their loved ones.

These past couple of days I’ve been reading articles about Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, who RS referred to in the SirusXM interview. Both of them were such talented singer-songwriters who fought their own battles with depression, often depicted in their song lyrics. So far, we’ve heard a few of the songs of “The Snake King”: “Little Demon,” “Land of the Blind,” “Santa is an Anagram” and “Jesus is an Atheist.” One song title in particular, “Suicide Manifesto,” is what prompted the interviewer of the SiriusXM interview to express concern and led to his revelation about what he was feeling last year when he wrote it – admitting that he was in a dark place.

As I mentioned in the past post, it’s amazing how someone who feels such darkness can bring so much light into the world. Chris Cornell’s children and a variety of musicians and actors recently released a public service announcement about “The Promise” campaign. Cornell wrote and recorded “The Promise” for a film of the same name that addresses Armenian genocide. He donated all the proceeds from the song to the International Rescue Committee, a charity that responds to humanitarian crises by helping to restore health, education and economic well-being to people stricken by conflict. Sadly, he’s not here to see the good work he generated.

Bennington’s band, Linkin Park, did a lot of charity work, raising money for hurricane victims and tsunami victims, as well as for the MusiCares MAP Fund, which helps recovering addicts. Bennington committed suicide on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.  Bennington would have turned 42 this year, on March 20; his widow is planning a birthday tribute for him.

Both of these musicians turned to songwriting to get them through difficult times and those songs helped countless others get through difficult times of their own. Their music will live on.

Although I wish RS didn’t have to deal with “Mr. D” (his depression) at all, I pray that he finds the strength to get through the difficulties that comes along with it. Sure, I hope to hear new music from him and see him in concert again and maybe even have a conversation with him someday, but above all, I just want him to be OK for his own sake and for his family’s sake.

(At least we know he’s happy tonight, as he’s judging a dog show for rescue dogs so he’s getting some dog therapy. The 2018 American Rescue Dog Show will air on the Hallmark channel on Feb. 12.)

 

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