I don’t think many people are sad to say goodbye to 2020. To say it’s been a harsh, turbulent, devastating year for so many people would be an understatement.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to take a few moments to share some of the brighter spots from this past year (in RS fandom) because I think we can all use some joy right now.
Zoom Happy Hours
At the beginning of the year, when there were still live, in-person concerts and in-person meet-and-greets, the idea of concerts and meet-and-greets being anything but in-person would have seemed incomprehensible. Back in a world where unmasked crowd interactions for “Human Touch” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” weren’t considered potentially life-threatening.
But midway through 2020, the RS team introduced Happy Half-Hours on Zoom, as part of a Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum promotion (the new partnership with Sammy Hagar was announced earlier in the year). A handful of fans were selected each week to hop on a Zoom call with RS, who graciously answered fans’ questions and transformed many back into grinning 12-year-olds (which likely would have happened to me).
Although I did send the required email to participate (perhaps a few times), I was never selected, but anytime I received a notification that the happy half-hour highlights video was shared on the RS Facebook page, I immediately stopped everything to go watch it (which wasn’t that difficult as I was home nearly every time the notification showed up on my phone…) It was fun to learn more about RS in a more relaxed setting, such as how he’s spending his time while being home so much, the different projects he was working on and his answers to so many great fan questions.
Video songwriting series, new songs
Early on in the pandemic, RS created a couple of parodies of his songs: “No Human Touch” and “Glove Somebody.” Then he did a series of pretending to teach viewers how to play “Jessie’s Girl,” where he was interrupted each time by technical difficulties or natural disasters or other emergencies.
Apparently he stole the “Jessie’s Girl” series idea from Vance DeGeneres, who called him out on that, which led to them doing the 29-episode miniseries “The 60-Second Guide to Songwriting With a Partner” that started out as a joke but then turned into a great song, “The Wall Will Fall” and all the proceeds raised went to a COVID-19 charity. It also became a cool video that included a bunch of their friends and family. (One of the RS fan Facebook pages created a version of the video that included photos and videos from RS fans, so now I can officially say that I was in a Rick Springfield video! Unfortunately the video wasn’t sharable so it exists only that fan page, but it was really well done!)
The sequel to the video series, which was heavy on sock puppets, resulted in the song “Welcome to Your Bright New World.”
In addition to raising funds for those affected by COVID-19, as mentioned above, RS participated in other fundraisers throughout the year, beginning in January when the Rick Springfield Merch site had a T-Shirt Fundraising Drive for Australia to raise funds for animals injured in the Australian wildfires. Additionally RS and Richard Marx held a pre-pandemic live-stream concert to raise funds for Australia fire relief.
RS participated in other fundraising efforts as well this past year. His fans also got into the action, with those behind the fan-led birthday campaign bringing it back for another year to raise funds for the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation. The campaign raised nearly $22,000 in five weeks.
He also shared how he was coping with the pandemic as part of a Child Mind Institute project.
Despite the pandemic, RS kept super busy. Not only with writing lots of songs and finishing up “World on Fire,” his sequel to “Magnificent Vibration,” but a few other fun surprises popped up over the past few months. He was a featured guest on “I Can See Your Voice“; appeared in the video of the “Jessie’s Girl” sequel, “Jessie’s Girl 2” by Coheed and Cambria; and did some live-stream interviews, including a Thanksgiving Virtual Town Hall with Mark Goodman on Sirius XM. He also appeared in a voting campaign video and on an episode of Richard Marc’s “#SocialDistancing” video series.
He also got to perform live on Catalina Island for Sammy Hagar’s birthday, at an outdoor sail-in concert, and an object from his collection was used in a Titanic exhibit at a museum on Catalina Island. He also played lead guitar on the song “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” by Ups and Downs. According to the the video description on YouTube, the video is a virtual tour of the band’s living rooms in different parts of Australia, with “Rick’s video filmed at a secret location in the U.S.” although to anybody who has watched all the other content listed on this post, it’s obviously his home studio.
Earlier in the year, he was also an an episode of “The Song” and there was a premiere of the documentary “Orchestrating My Life.”
Things to look forward to
In the happy half-hours, RS provided updates on his new audiobook “World on Fire” and it was officially announced that it will be released on Audible on Jan. 28, 2021. (Rumors are that it will eventually be released in a book format, too. I’ve also heard rumors that the film “Traces” is supposed to finally come out in 2021 – it was originally slated for a 2016 release – but haven’t been able to find confirmation for that yet.)
And of course there’s hope that it’ll be start being safe at some point in 2021 to have in-person concerts again. And maybe even the rescheduled last fan trip.
During the happy half-hours, RS also referred to some “anonymous” musical projects he’s been working on. Not quite sure what that means. Is it that he appeared as a featured guest on some more projects by other artists or are there songs being released on Spotify under a pseudonym and someday we’ll hear a singer that sounds like him but is listed under some other name? Hopefully 2021 will be filled with happy surprises.
To keep this in line with previous year-end posts, here’s the stats for this year, as of this posting: 8,326 views from 5,767 visitors bringing the all-time total to 57,881 hits (as if anybody is following that information).
What else did I miss from this year?
If you want to start 2021 off with RS, he’s doing a New Year’s Day live stream of his first recorded Stripped Down concert. Learn more on his site here.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and brighter 2021!
May 2021 be more “Rocket Science “and “Greg” and less “The Snake King” and “Pastor Charles.”
(Translation: “Rocket Science” has been referred to as RS’s happiest album and “The Snake King” as his darkest. “Greg” is RS’s very likable character in “Ricki and the Flash” and “Pastor Charles” was an extremely creepy, disturbing character on “American Horror Story.”)