Returning to 1980-something in a much different role

Most Rick Springfield fans have probably already seen his guest appearance as the owner of “Gary-okes” on “The Goldbergs,” which aired on Oct. 10 on ABC. (If not, it’s on Hulu.)

In the show, he played Erica’s new boss and sang “Jessie’s Girl” with Beverly Goldberg.

Here are a few photos I took while watching the show on the night it aired.

The image showing “Gary” talking to “Erica” reminded me of the photo below from “Ricki and the Flash,” although in RATF, he was a boyfriend talking to his girlfriend about their children and during “The Goldbergs,” he was a boss talking to his employee about her mom.

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I liked his Gary character and it would be nice if it was a recurring role. I wonder if the name was intentional or a coincidence. (The real name of “Jessie” in “Jessie’s Girl” was a guy named Gary, in case you weren’t aware.)

Besides the duet of “Jessie’s Girl” between Gary and Beverly, the majority of the song played in the background during part of the show, which is probably a nice royalty hit for RS.

In the future, when I think of Rick Springfield’s appearance on “The Goldbergs,” I’m pretty sure I’ll remember that I saw him in concert the night before he filmed it.

Here’s the real songwriter of “Jessie’s Girl” playing his song at a real concert the night before he played the owner of a karaoke bar singing a karaoke version of the song at a karaoke bar on a TV show.

I prefer the real thing rather than the ’80s TV version (although I loved the authentic ’80s version when it was the ’80s), but it was a fun show to watch and my kids have gotten hooked on “The Goldbergs” so we’ve been catching up on the past three seasons.

According to an Instagram post,the jacket RS wore during part of the show was a replica of the jacket he wore in the “Jessie’s Girl” video back in 1981.

Rachel J Leathers said in her post:

The highlight of my week is to finally show the jacket I made for Rick Springfield for “The Goldbergs”. It was a replication of a jacket he wore in his video, “Jessie’s Girl” (remember that?). I used to drool over Rick in the 70’s, so this was a fun one! The snaps had to be done at the studio as my tools failed me. (Time for a kick press!) Thank you @jennifmarl and the crew!

Pretty cool, eh? In interviews about the JG video, RS has said that they filmed it quickly without a permit and weren’t even sure why they were filming it (it was before MTV). Fun fact: “Jessie’s Girl” was the #1 song when MTV started. So it’s pretty funny that 30-something years later somebody is recreating the jacket he wore.

It’s also cool to think that the guy in the “Jessie’s Girl” video who was feeling a bit discouraged that he hadn’t hit it big yet would have his jacket recreated 30-something years later by a designer for a TV show where he would be playing a character named after the guy who became a character in his #1 hit song that he didn’t know would be a hit song when he recorded the demo in his living room using his ottoman as a drum. I know that’s a really long sentence, bur hopefully you get my point. #followyourdreams

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Rick Springfield on The Goldbergs

RS poster on Goldbergs

After I heard that Rick Springfield was going to guest star on “The Goldbergs” this season, I thought it would be a good excuse to familiarize myself with the show.

I don’t usually watch much TV except when I fold laundry so I tend to work my way through one show at a time. I’m all caught up with “This is Us” and am excited for the new season. Other shows I watched my way through include “Nashville,” “Parenthood,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” (We go through lots of laundry.) I’d never watched “The Goldbergs” before, but it was on my radar as one to check out.

So far I’m a few shows into the first season and it’s such a fun show, like “Wonder Years” for my generation. An entertaining ’80s nostalgia experience filled with so many references from my childhood. My sons have gotten into it, too, which gives me a chance to relive certain memories and pause to note subjects like records, VCRs and video stores and what rewinding a video means.

Tonight we took a moment to watch the Life Cereal commercial with Mikey while watching an episode that covered the rumor about him dying after a combination of Pop Rocks and soda made his stomach explode. It’s fun to be reliving these snippets of my childhood memories with them. When I was the age that my oldest son is now, my Tuesday nights were filled with “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” and “Three’s Company” – and watching this show reminds me of that, although we stream it through Hulu whenever we want.

One of my favorite parts of the show is at the end, when they show the clips of videos that the show’s creator, Adam Goldberg, filmed when he was a kid. They feature his real-life family members and friends and often relate to the theme of the episode.

I’ve spotted the Rick Springfield poster on the wall of Erica’s bedroom and the episode I watched last night showed a newspaper article announcing a Rick Springfield concert.

RS on the Goldbergs

RS is scheduled be in the Oct. 10 episode, playing a character named Gary, who is the owner of a karaoke bar and Erica’s new boss. Since I’m still watching the first season, it will be interesting to see the cast five years later.

I wonder if there’s a reason his character’s name is “Gary.” Will there be a reference to “Gary’s Girl”? (aka the original subject of “Jessie’s Girl”). Will somebody be singing “Jessie’s Girl” at the karaoke bar? (It’s thought to be one of the “ultimate” karaoke songs.) Will the karaoke bar have stained glass? (RS wrote “Jessie’s Girl” after being infatuated with a girl in his stained glass class who was originally “Gary’s Girl.”)

I guess we’ll find out on Oct. 10!

Comic Book Heroes-45 years ago

After I learned that today is the 45th anniversary of the release of Rick Springfield’s “Comic Book Heroes,” I grabbed my CBH CD as I headed out the door to listen to it on the way to work.

It’s been awhile since I listened to it and I belted out the “Na, na, na, na na”s as I sped down the freeway.

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Check out this cool video of the promo for this album, a cute 24-year-old Rick Springfield with his Australian accent:

The song he’s singing in this video is my favorite from the album. I’ve always especially loved the line “And if I get to be a star, or maybe nowhere near that far…” because by the time I heard it (I was 4 when it came out, so it was several years later), he was already a star and I loved that he got to be where he wanted to be.

Now I kind of see that song as a love song to his wife, although he didn’t know her at the time (she was about 12 at the time – he wouldn’t initially meet her until a few years later – although he did say once – maybe in “Late, Late at Night”? – that she did have a small poster of him on her wall when she was younger, which is so adorable). But she has stuck by him through all his ups and downs and obviously believes in him.

I wonder what RS would say about this video – would he still have decided to wear that shirt if he knew it would live on forever on YouTube?

Seriously though, what a great album. So fun to sing along to and I even remembered most of the words. And that accent…

The party ended when I picked the kids up from school though. “What are you listening to, Mom?!” They’ve developed their own musical tastes by now (not like a few years ago when they would just listen to whatever I put on). Their tone changed when I told them who it was and listened a little more intently, but only to one more song before requesting something else.

After knowing who it was, my 10-year-old said he could sometimes tell it is RS’s voice, although he noted that the music sounds so different from other RS songs.

The other songs that move me from this CD are:

“The Photograph” – such a sad song, even today it made me a little teary-eyed – and “Born Out of Time” – because in my young teenage mind, that’s how I felt about RS because of the 20-year age difference. If only…

So weird that in this video he’s 25 years younger than I am now.

A good mail day

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I received a nice little present in the mail today – this cool little sticker from the organizers of the Rick Springfield Birthday Campaign. Each year this group of fans raises money for RS’s charity of choice and fans also donate prizes. This is such a cool project, which has raised more than $100,000 since 2007.

So far this year, since Aug. 15, the campaign has raised, as of today, $12,321.69, plus RS’s Facebook page campaign has raised $3,020. All funds go to help dogs through the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation.

Learn all about the campaign at happybirthdayrick.com (plus you can see a cute video of his birthday song at a recent concert on the site’s home page). The campaign runs through Sept. 23. There are lots of great prizes, with the grandest of all being a backstage pass at a future show. Other prizes include original RS drawings, CDs, signed photos and lots of RS-related merchandise and memorabilia.

It was a nice surprise to get this today of all days because I checked the mail after I got home from the monthly songwriting workshop I attend and the song I brought today received the best feedback from all the songs I’ve brought so far. Not that there’s necessarily any connection between the two (outside of in my own head), but it was icing on the cake.

I also have something to add to my last post- besides the songs, books, movies, TV shows, rock concerts, solo storytelling acoustic shows and symphony shows, recent interviews have also disclosed the potential for MORE:

From telegram.com in Worcester, MA:

Besides touring and performing live, Springfield, who just turned 69, has plenty of other things going on. A second novel is in the works, for example. A new album is “starting to come together.” A Broadway musical could be said to be just waiting to happen.

In an interview in The Daily Times in Blount County, he mentions that he plans to re-record his older hits with a symphony orchestra and then write his next record. Plus there was an article in Guitar Player that gave a great review of “The Snake King” – and of his guitar playing.

In other news, RS shows what a great friend he is to his BFF Doug Davidson:

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Many RS fans have a personal connection with Doug Davidson since he’s been on the RS fan trips (for me it was because he replied to my fan letters to him when I was in high school). It saddens me to hear how he’s been treated and wish him only the best. I can’t even comprehend of Y&R existing without DD – he was always my association with the show.

I hope this freeing up of his schedule opens him up to an INCREDIBLE opportunity. Maybe RS can write a new show or movie they can work on together – judging from videos I’ve seen from fan trips, it looks like they would have a blast (and they could probably sell tickets to the filming since they are so hilarious together). Since they met in an acting class all those years ago, wouldn’t it be so cool if they could team up for some sort of acting project all these decades later?

An impressive catalog of songs (and more)

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After listening to some of the special Labor Day Rick Springfield radio show put together by the Facebook Group Rick and the News Flash, I’m once again blown away by all that is Rick Springfield.

Obviously I’m a fan of his work, but I think even if I wasn’t I’d still be impressed with all he has done in his life.

Even if you just look at the number of songs he has written, co-written, collaborated on, recorded and performed  (see this list of songs on the Rick Springfield and Us site), it’s impressive.  Five decades of songs! One of the fun things about these kind of all-day musical RS shows is listening to all the variety of songs he’s done through the decades. From the seventies ballads to the power pop of the 1980s to “Rocket Science” country to “The Snake King” blues. So many great songs. I could sing along to many of them, and there were even a couple that I hadn’t heard before.  (Those I wasn’t as fond of were the remixes, such as the reggae version of “Celebrate Youth” or some dance mix versions of songs I usually really enjoy.)

Then of course there are all the acting roles, the next being a guest spot on ABC’s “The Goldbergs.” When I first heard that he was going to be on that show, I wondered how that was going to work, as the 80’s version of him is on a poster in the teenage girl’s room. Would it be a look into the future of Erica being a grown-up mom at a Rick Springfield concert in 2018?

I didn’t have to ponder the possibilities very long as he announced his guest star role at his Aug. 21 concert in Phoenix and by Aug. 23 the official announcement was made by Entertainment Weekly.

Springfield, whose recent television credits include Supernatural and American Horror Story, will play Erica’s new boss, the owner of a karaoke bar called Gary-oke’s. “At last I get to play a guy from the 80s,” Springfield says. “I’m excited to guest star on The Goldbergs and return back to 1980-something!”

The episode he is on is supposed to air on Oct. 10, according to an Instagram post by Wendi McLendon-Covey, who plays Beverly Goldberg on the show. There’s also a picture on his own Instagram page of him from the day he filmed the show (on his birthday) – they got him a birthday cake, which I thought was so sweet.

In addition to his long list of songwriting credits and acting roles, he also has two New York Times bestseller books – his autobiography (“Late, Late at Night”) and his first novel (“Magnificent Vibration”).  (The sequel is in the editing process, according to recent interviews.)

But that’s not all. He still, at age 69, tours regularly, with about 100 rockin’ shows each year. Full-band shows with his awesome band, solo acoustic storytelling shows (although there seems to be less of those this year) and shows with symphony orchestras.

AND – and this is an important factor – he seems to be a really good guy. There are often pictures that he takes with people who run into him at airports, hotel lobbies, restaurants (but if you see him in a restaurant, don’t interrupt his meal, that’s just common courtesy) and this past weekend in a Kroger’s grocery store. When people meet him, part of the post usually includes a note about how nice he was.

A recent article in the Indy Star was about items that performers request before a show at the Indiana State Fair. RS’s request? According to the article, his request included “three microwavable organic brown rice bowls, one small bag of peanut M&Ms and two dozen ‘inexpensive, supermarket-quality red roses.’ ” So thoughtful – if fans forget to bring red roses – or are not allowed to bring them to the venue – they still get to witness a rose explosion. BYOR.

Hope everyone enjoyed the nice long weekend – yay for those who got to go to the RS shows in Vermont, Indiana and Ohio over the three-day weekend (apparently one of shows took RS and the boys 11 hours to get to because of a cancelled flight!) Now they get to go home to their families and have a little rest before the next weekend of shows. Such dedication!

Here’s a nice review – and lots of pics – from one of these recent shows, from bigshotconcerts.com.

His catalog of songs stand the test of time and still sound great played live. Tunes from the earlier part of his career are upbeat and anthemic. The newer tunes have a bit of a dark edge to them, showing that he continues to evolve as a musician. From working class dog to the snake king, Rick Springfield still has plenty of bite in his music.

Concert in the Round: Phoenix 8-21-18

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Something about last night’s Rick Springfield concert at the Celebrity Theatre was really special. Although I’ve seen RS live more than a dozen times (yesterday was #13), last night’s show had an incredible energy.

Maybe it was just me, after all it has been more than two years since I’ve seen a show in person, or maybe it was the venue, where the stage rotates in the middle of the audience, making it feel like a big party.

I feel like we saw a different side of RS and the band (literally, as there are times when the front of the stage set is facing the opposite direction and you get the rear view. One woman behind me commented on how shiny Jorge’s hair is. “I’d like to know what kind of hair products he uses,” she said. That likely never would have come up during a show on a typical stage.)

RS’s band performed with Tommy Tutone, the opening act, and Greg Kihn, who seemed so excited to be there. It was cool to hear his songs live, songs that I remember from MTV days in the 1980s, but I also liked his song, “The Life I Got,” which is from his new album, “Rekihndled,” his first album in 21 years.) Loverboy was the third set of this “Best in Show” lineup.

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A “backstage” view during the rotating stage show (during the Tommy Tutone set).

The RS band did a great job backing up Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn. I’ve always appreciated how talented they all are, but this time I noticed them even more because during the times RS was facing the other side of the room, it was fun watching the other band members – guitarist George and drummer Jorge tossing drumsticks to each other and bassist Siggy jumping around the stage in his “Devil” hat (in the school colors of Arizona State University, whose mascot is the Sun Devil). I saw keyboardist (and guitarist) Tim give a high-five in the audience, too.

RS and Siggy really played the whole round stage thing so well, running around and climbing on amps. It looked like they were having so much fun.

This show was also the first time I heard any of “The Snake King” songs live – he played “Little Demon” and “Voodoo House.” I got a great video of the “Hey-ya Hey-ya yo”s, complete with the kicking of the stool (I’d be careful with that move, RS, it got a little too close to the edge of the stage and the woman in the front row did NOT look happy – she was directly in front of me, across the stage, and I saw the look on her face.) But I cut that part from my posted video because it also had some fan climbing on the stage appearing to collect rose petals and she ended up getting escorted out so I don’t want to embarrass her.

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In the Voodoo House. Hey-ya, hey-ya yo!

That portion of the song also contains my perceived eye contact moment – when he reaches his arm out to the audience and sings “Hey-ya, Hey ya yo!” I think I instinctively waved back, but felt silly afterward.

The “Don’t Talk to Strangers” bit was adorable – he is so cute with the kids on the stage (and he noted the irony that the song is called “Don’t Talk to Strangers” as mothers hand off their 3-year-old to a stranger.) The front of the stage was facing the other direction during that whole bit so I didn’t get any photos of it, but it was so cute.

During the medley portion of the show, he sang part of “Bruce,” which was the first time I’d heard it live so that was a treat. He also threw in “867-5309” because “everyone thinks it’s my song.” That was especially funny, of course, because we had sung the song along with the original songwriter earlier in the evening.

We also got to sing “Happy Birthday” to him and since this show is the last one before his actual Aug. 23 birthday, that felt special, too.

The BIG omission of the show was that there was no “Human Touch” – no mention of the song at all and no journey out into the audience. I’m not sure if it was the venue or the timing (at one point he mentioned that he’d be heading straight to the airport after the show and had to get up at 4 a.m. to film an episode of “The Goldbergs” the next morning), but it was weird to not have that song part of the show.

Here’s a compilation of some of my videos from the show:

Alas, there was also no personal RS encounter for me this time around. I saw a group with Backstage Pass lanyards gathered by the downstairs bar and looked for an opening, but came up with nothing. I resorted to asking someone at the radio station display if they were giving out any meet & greets that evening and she kindly responded, “No, I think we’re all out,” but the look in her eyes was, “You’re kidding, right?”

I had parked in the back part of the parking lot and saw the band (with Jorge and his long, shiny ponytail) walking toward a white van as I walked to my white (mini)van, but my favorite rock star was nowhere in sight. I waited a few minutes longer just in case (there were a few people hanging around), but it soon cleared out so I headed home.

Here are more pics:

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Rick Springfield’s band backing up Tommy Tutone. “867-5309”

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Side view of the rotating stage

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The opposite side view of the rotating stage

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Facing the front of the stage, with a zoom from the ninth row.

 

 

Reflections on the morning of the show

This morning, during those precious moments between waking up and the alarm blaring – prompted by loud thunder and a burst of light flashing behind the sliver between the curtains – I reflected on how much has changed since last time I spent an evening with Rick Springfield at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theatre.

That evening was in 1999. I recently returned to Arizona after separating from my then-husband and I was at the concert with my best friend from high school, who has gone to several RS concerts with me, both before that night and afterward.

Between now and then, I’ve remarried and had three children so my life has changed dramatically.

But the change is not just on a personal level, of course, the world has changed tremendously, too. That was a time when you could meet loved ones at the airport gate, welcoming them the moment they disembarked the plane. A time when “You’ve Got Mail” was exciting instead of overwhelming. When you’d discuss news or TV shows with co-workers the next morning instead of attacking strangers on Facebook or Twitter if you don’t agree with them.

Back in 1999, before “Late, Late at Night” revealed Rick Springfield’s “darker side” and he was just our favorite crush from the ’80s, his shows were a nostalgic visit back to a simpler time. A fun evening out that transported us back to our pre-teen or teenage selves.

That experience is even more important today. As RS fans from the ’80s have evolved from prepubescent to premenopausal through the years, most have experienced darker times in their own lives, too, which strengthens their connection to their favorite rock star. It turns out that by sharing his own “darkness” with others, and sharing his own therapy (i.e. performing energetic concerts) with his fans, he both comforts them during their rough patches and transports them back to those fun times, away from adult responsibilities and worries, if only for a few hours.

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My last RS show before tonight: July 2016.

Rick Springfield is in my state!

OK, I know this may sound a bit ridiculous coming from somebody who is nearly 50 years old, but RICK SPRINGFIELD IS IN MY STATE! WHOO-HOO!

Tonight he performs in Tucson and I’m in Phoenix, but we’re in the same state! He’s actually been here since yesterday, according to his Instagram post yesterday. In fact he’s posted a few pics these past couple of days. It’s fun to see the goofy, tourist side of him.

He’ll be in Phoenix on Tuesday night – that means FOUR days in my state. That’s a long time for someone who is always running around the country on tour. Will he be in Tucson Monday on his day off or in Phoenix? Should I be running around to visit all the Starbucks in the area on Monday and Tuesday hoping for a glimpse?

(I’m only joking, I hope you know. In reality I’ll be shlepping kids to and from school and going to work. But it’s still fun to think about.)

His Tuesday night show is at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, which is a cool intimate venue where the stage is in the middle and turns around during the show. The last time I saw him there was in 1999. Tommy Tutone will be opening (my 8-year-old was just singing 867-5309 this afternoon, coincidentally.) I remember Greg Kihn songs and videos from MTV and they were always a lot of fun to sing along with and Loverboy of course has some great tunes, too. Should be a fun evening!

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Here’s the inside of the Celebrity Theatre (Pic courtesy of Celebrity Theatre)

I’m not quite as close to the stage as I have been in the past, but my ticket is in the ninth row. Definitely a potential Human Touch Zone if he gets off the stage in the right place. I wonder if the spinning stage makes performers dizzy?

‘The Birthday King’ to raise funds for dogs

This year’s Rick Springfield Birthday Campaign kicks off today! For details, visit: happybirthdayrick.com.

“The Birthday King” campaign runs today through Sept. 23, 2018 and all funds go toward the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation.

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This year’s logo

This is the 11th year of the campaign, which has raised more than $100,000 since 2007. Learn more about the campaign’s history here. Last year’s campaign, for RS’s 68th birthday, raised $17,068.68. Learn how to donate here.

The grand prize is “The Backstage Extravaganza.” Not sure exactly what that is, but it sounds exciting! Each $5 donation gets one entry for the prize drawings. Math isn’t my strong suit so check here for all the details about the prize drawing. The prizes aren’t listed yet – besides the (cue extravagant music here) “The Backstage Extravaganza.”

Thank you, RS Birthday Campaign project team and all the fans who are donating prizes!

Side note: Did I mention that Rick Springfield will be a few miles away from where I am right now in SIX days?! Fourteen minutes away. 11.2 miles. I couldn’t resist buying a ticket even though I couldn’t find anyone willing to spend the money to go with me (when you’ve seen your favorite rock star six times in less than four years, sometimes you run out of concert-going buddies to go with if they don’t feel the same way.) But my birthday was last week so this is my birthday present to myself!

Four-year anniversary of this blog’s first post

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With all this week’s juggling between two of my kids still being home for summer vacation but still needing to get all my work hours in, the anniversary of this blog slipped right past me. Since I’m not one to miss the opportunity to celebrate anniversaries and milestones, I still wanted to mark the occasion, even if it’s a couple of days late.

When I wrote the first blog post on Aug. 8, 2014, I had NO idea of the impact that my returning RS crush would have on my life. I had just finished reading “Late, Late at Night,” which had rekindled some memories of my high school crush and I was just starting to catch up on the past 15 years of his work. I even found my 1982 diary, which marked my very first year of RS fandom.

Shortly after that, he was coming to town and I got to briefly meet him. Then I saw him about six more times after that, the last one being in July 2016.

He’ll be here again in a couple of weeks, but I’ve yet to get tickets. After being in the first few rows for the past few concerts, I’m hesitant to get the cheaper seats further back but closer tickets for this particular show are very pricey and I don’t have anyone who is willing to spend that kind of money on tickets. If I’m not in the potential eye contact zone or the “Human Touch” zone, then what’s the point, right?

(I’m kidding of course, though it’s really a different show based on where your seats are.) Sometimes the “Human Touch” zone goes pretty far out in the crowd, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes some fan knocks him over and bloodies his leg and he doesn’t get past the first section. I guess I’m still a little bitter over that. (See “What happened in Vegas” for context.)

Anyway, where was I?

Oh right, I was marking a milestone.

Here are the stats: As of today, there have been 354 posts (including this one), 19,163 visitors and 33,425 views. The date with the best views ever was Jan. 16, 2018, right in the midst of all the promotion for “The Snake King.”

Some of my highlights since I started this blog, besides the concerts and brief RS encounters, are, in no particular order:

  • Interacting with fellow RS fans.
  • When Doug Davidson (RS’s best friend) followed me on Twitter and liked one of my tweets. We were “pen pals” when I was in high school, so the tweet like was pretty exciting.
  • Having the link to the blog added to the “We Love Rick Springfield” fan site (which is sadly no longer around) and to the Rick Springfield and Us site.
  • Listening to Rowdy Ron’s Springfield Special shows (the next one is Aug. 25).
  • Participating in the GetRick Fit challenges
  • Having a phone conversation with music producer Jeff Silverman (after hearing an interview with him on a Rowdy Ron radio show) who was SO encouraging about my songwriting and who suggested I get in touch with the local songwriters association, which I did, and have learned so much from their programs over the past year and a half or so. Even if he was just being nice after listening to some of my songs, I really appreciate the encouragement.
  • Starting to write songs again after a 10-year hiatus, beginning with “My Rick Springfield Crush Revival”

(Hopefully my guitar playing has gotten better since then. I have learned more chords at least.)

So that’s that. Four years of My Rick Springfield Crush.

In case you’re interested, here are the links to past anniversary posts (looks like I missed doing one in 2017.):

“What a Year”

“Notes of Nostalgia”

Thanks for reading!