Introducing ‘Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz’

A recent interview with Noise11.com revealed more information about another new project Rick Springfield has been working on during the pandemic. As he announced on social media earlier this month, RS recorded songs for “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz,” the darker than ‘Snake King’ album about Day of the Dead that he mentioned in interviews a few weeks back, with Russel Morris, a musician in Australia.

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I’m not up on my Australian music scene but Russell Morris and RS go way back – this new interview mentions that RS played guitar on RM’s first album back in 1971 – and RM is the one who is scheduled to tour with Zoot next year (in the 2020 tour that was postponed to 2021 and then 2022.) (Russell Morris is doing the vocals for Zoot, filling in for lead singer Darryl Cotton, who sadly died in 2012 – nine years ago on July 27.)

In the interview, Russell Morris said he was inspired for the album after reading the book “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom (a really good book by the way…). Albom is also the author of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “Five People You Meet in Heaven” and several others. One of my favorite authors!

The article is here. The interview also covers more about The Red Locusts, including some background on RS’s friendships with the Bissonette brothers.

Here’s a video of the interview:

“Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz” is scheduled to come out Oct. 15, 2021.

Back on stage after 16 months

Last night was the first full-band concert in 16 months and it was incredible!

Well, I wasn’t actually there – Rick Springfield was the featured guest for the free 12th annual Lights on the Lake event in Sherman, Texas – but thanks to the generosity of RS fans who posted videos on RS fan Facebook pages, other fans got to experience parts of it, from the attempt to put on a hazmat suit before going out into the audience for “Human Touch” to the rose explosions and him filming the audience as he came out on stage.

(He shared the video on his social media pages today.)

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I’m guessing that it was a thrill for them all to be back on stage for a live show after such a long stretch of time, especially that at this time last year we weren’t sure if things would ever get back to “normal.” It’s so nice to see everyone – both band and fans – being together again. It’s almost like the pandemic was just a bad dream and now we can we just can go back to getting together to celebrate happy moments together.

(However, I still felt a bit of the teenybopper/mother hen syndrome, with a mix of “Yay, he’s still going out into the audience for ‘Human Touch’!” and “I hope they all stay healthy, there’s still that Delta Variant of COVID-19 and will that mask and gloves protect him enough?” Shut up, mother hen, and just enjoy the concert, sheesh.)

Seriously though, I hope everyone stays healthy.

I’m especially grateful to those fans who shared their view from the spots close to the stage. Sometimes he seems to be looking directly into the camera, which makes it even more fun watching from home because of that whole “Oh my gosh, he’s looking right at me!” feeling I remember feeling at 13 (when I was watching through binoculars from many rows away from the stage).

Other RS notes

I recently re-listened to the audiobook of “Late, Late at Night” (since I had subscribed to Audible to listen to “World on Fire,” I thought I might as well get his autobiography, too, since I had borrowed it from the library from when I read it back in 2014.) After listening to him talking about his life again, it was even cooler to see him back in action on stage. I wonder if there will be a sequel to the autobiography at some point so we can learn more about what went on behind-the-scenes this past decade (or longer, depending on when he would write it.)

Beach Bar Rum biz

It’s not like RS has been staying at home throughout this whole pandemic. After he received his vaccination, he’s made appearances at different places, like last weekend in Las Vegas, where he spent an evening at Cabo Wabo and attended a Nightclub and Bar Convention with Sammy Hagar for Beach Bar Rum.

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Review of The Red Locusts album

I also received my Red Locusts CD. I have been listening to the album via streaming, but wanted to hear the additional song and hoped for lyrics. No lyrics though. Has anyone gone put together the lyrics that they’d like me to post? So far I haven’t found them anywhere online.

Why would I write about some random band called The Red Locusts on a Rick Springfield blog? Well despite the secrecy behind it, the word seems to be out, judging by this review of the album. Not that anyone who listens to it would be surprised. Even my 12-year-old who heard it for the first time in the car when I picked him up from camp said, “Is this Rick Springfield?” during the song that was playing.

Working Class DJ

RS has also continued with his Working Class DJ show on SiriusXM (another subscription I’ve acquired due to a RS offering), which debuted in January. It’s a lot of fun listening to his little stories and funny bits on a weekly basis and the music is great. This past one had a Fourth of July theme where he actually played a Bruce Springsteen song (which he introduced as Bruce Springfield and then explained the confusion people have had through the years between the two. (A clip from his song “Bruce” is below.)

Here’s a Medley, from rsandus:

And here’s a great fan video from Travels from Nick.

Check out future concerts on the official RS page. Thanks again to the fans who shared their videos of last night’s show!

New Zoot song: That Was Then

I just heard the new Zoot song, “That was Then” and wow, such an incredibly powerful song. It’s like a soundtrack for the last post about Rick Springfield’s fame in the 1980s, “40th anniversary of ‘fan army’ mall shutdown.”

But that was then, and this is now, I know we were breaking hearts back when we were blessed somehow
If I could hear them call my name again, young hearts beat loud and strong but this is now and that was then

For those who are not familiar with Zoot, it’s the Australian band where Rick Springfield was a guitarist in Australia before he came to the U.S. (Read more here.) and they were supposed to go on a reunion tour – their first time performing in Australia in 50 years – in fall 2020, which got postponed to 2021 and now 2022. Sadly, the band’s lead singer, Darryl Cotton died in 2012, shortly after the band performed together for the first time since the ’70s (the performance was on a Rick Springfield and Friends cruise). His voice is featured in the intro of this new song.

Here’s a press release about the new song (and the postponement of the tour) on a Zoot Facebook page:

“That Was Then” was written by Beeb Birtles, Rick Springfield and Russell Morris and features all three, plus ZOOT drummer Rick Brewer. Even the sadly departed Darryl Cotton makes a posthumous appearance in the intro to the song.

Beeb Birtles gives us some insight into the genesis of the song:

“That Was Then” is a song that takes us back to the heydays of ZOOT, as well as Russell Morris’s solo career. When the idea for writing a new ZOOT song was presented to Rick Springfield, Russell Morris and myself, I sent a chord progression that I’d been playing to Rick in Los Angeles. Rick ran with it and came up with a fantastic melody and chorus. Then it was sent to Russell in Australia who wrote the bridge for the song. So, it is truly a collaboration between all of us, and it turned out to be a really great new ZOOT song! Check it out!”

Insight from Rick Springfield:

Beeb’s acoustic track started me just vocally riffing around it and I realized after I’d come up with some lyrics and the chorus that this song was about Darryl and our (relatively) carefree days as young Zooties touring with Russell. Everyone knew each other and we were all friends. We had our disagreements but when we got on stage we were united. I’d look over at Dazza and Beeb and Malc and feel like it was us against them. I miss being young Ricky Springthorpe living at my parent’s house in Melbourne and thinking I had all the time in the world. Life moves on and we are here 50 years later with a song to celebrate Zoot and Russ’s early days when we were young and fearless.

40th anniversary of ‘fan army’ mall shutdown

Forty years ago today, a Rick Springfield appearance at record store at a shopping mall was shut down by the fire marshal after thousands of fans made their way to the Virginia mall in hopes of meeting RS, whose song “Jessie’s Girl” was a radio hit at the same time he played the role Dr. Noah Drake on the popular soap opera “General Hospital.”

I learned about this history in a Washington Post article yesterday, “Remembering the day the Rick Springfield fan army shut down Tysons Corner.”

One thing that came to mind after reading this is that it’s interesting that RS has said in interviews that in the 80s he didn’t appreciate his fans as much as he does now, which contradicts what one of the sources in this article remembers. It actually sounds like he was also appreciative at that time, as he offered to sign autographs in a limo surrounded by a mob, which doesn’t sound like a good idea, but still demonstrates that he wanted to show his appreciation for the fans that came out to see him.

Who knows, maybe he was referring to later in the 80s before he took a break from it all. I find his career so fascinating, all the highs and lows of it. I probably reflect on it much more than I should, but I find it so inspiring. For instance, taking a stained glass class in an attempt to have a second career to fall back on if his music career didn’t take off since his past few albums didn’t achieve the success he wanted. Then that led to him writing “Jessie’s Girl” about an experience of unrequited lust with his stained glass classmate’s girlfriend. Taking acting jobs to pay the bills although his first love was music and wasn’t confident that his new album “Working Class Dog” would go anywhere. Accepting the role on “General Hospital,” simply because he had bills to pay.

Then “Jessie’s Girl” becomes a No. 1 hit, “General Hospital” becomes the No. 1 soap opera and suddenly he’s recognized on the street and causing traffic jams at local malls. That must have been a surreal experience!

In the Washington Post archives, there’s an article a few days before his June 17, 1981 appearance, “Springfield’s Power Pop,”

So far, the 1981 power-pop single of the year is Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” — a flabbergasting Frankenstein’s monster whose sum is even more powerful than its parts. Out of Springfield’s restive retirement comes this insinuating evocation of baffled sentiment and agonizing physical awareness, matched perfectly by a relentless rhythm and a melody that teeters between major and minor. Already at No. 12 with a bullet, “Jessie’s Girl” is assured of making the Top 10 and quite possibly No. 1.

Washington Post, June 12, 1981

(The rest of the article is kind of annoying and also includes a Springsteen comparison. Ugh.)

The following month, more than 6,000 teenage fans stormed the stage during his appearance in a Chicago mall, which sent two girls to the hospital according to an article in “The Daily Herald.”

The girls get so excited when they see him it’s just incredible. The audiences have been packed with more than 6,000 people at his recent performances in Cleveland and Washington, D.C. and at both of those, everybody just started going crazy.  There’s really not much you can do to prevent that type of thing, because the girls just go wild when they see Rick.

Steve Gordon, promotion manager for RCA Records, 1981

RS fans have matured a bit since then, right?

Here’s a fun blog post I found where the writer is remembering the time RS was supposed to appear at a local record store but had to escape in a police car after the Sam Goody window shattered: “Rick Springfield and me in a riot.”

Being a fan in those days is so different from what it’s like now. When I was a teenager, I got my news from the teen magazines such as Teen Beat, 16 and Bop. I’d walk over to the local drugstore to pick up the newest magazines (and then stick the RS posters up on my wall). (See the post “Where it all began” to see examples of the content in those magazines.) Besides signing up for the Rick Springfield fan club, there wasn’t really a way to “connect” with my favorite rock star except to listen to his albums over and over again and plaster my bedroom walls with his posters.

Yet by reading all the magazine articles, fans feel like they “knew” their favorite celebrities, when in reality they really didn’t. Today’s celebrity scene is so much more intensified with social media, especially those that post a lot of personal content. There’s an interesting interview with Billie Eilish in Rolling Stone that came out today as I was thinking about this, “Billie Eilish and the Pursuit of Happiness,” where she addresses her sudden fame and her reaction to it and the idea that her fans think they know her but they really don’t.

True, RS has divulged a lot of his life through his autobiography and through his songs and in interviews, which is why so many of his fans feel a connection with him. Plus since he’s had such a long career, many of his fans have traveled from their teens to their 50s with his music and trivia about his life is ingrained in their brains. (Surely it’s not just me…)

It used to be stars’ personal lives were captured in the tabloids, but now their lives are much more exposed, both by paparazzi (such as this RS trip to a Malibu grocery store with Bindi and the Corvette) and by their social media posts. Then there’s that whole cancel culture. It’s much more exhausting to follow now then it used to be in the 80s. Aw, the good ole days of being a fan, such a more innocent time (at least to me, at age 12). (Though the idea that someday fans could take a cruise and other fan trips with RS and his crew was beyond my comprehension at the time!)

Anyway, I just meant to pop on here and comment on this fun article about the Tysons Corner mall, but now I feel I’m rambling. Maybe the weather has something to do with not thinking clearly – it’s 117 degrees here today!!!!! Although concerts are popping back up on the calendar (with the first full-band show since before the pandemic on July 2!), there’s probably not much hope for an outdoor concert here anytime soon.

Rick Springfield music 24/7

Rick Springfield fans can now listen to music from his decades-long career anytime they want!

The Rick and the NEWSflash fan group has created a free new commercial-free radio station that always plays his music, a wonderful treat for both his longtime and new fans.

Check it out here. The group is also on Facebook and Twitter.

People who only know him for “Jessie’s Girl” will be surprised to learn how much music he’s made since the 1960s. Even after being immersed in his music for awhile now, there are still several songs and different versions of songs that I haven’t heard yet. The songs include songs from his many studio albums, acoustic versions, live versions from concerts and songs from his different bands (Zoot, The Red Locusts, Sahara Snow). Earlier today was a performance with RS and Richard Marx from one of the fan cruises. At this very moment, he is singing “Painted Girl,” the very first song he remembers writing at age 15, which he performed at an acoustic Stripped Down tour.

This is for diehard RS fans for sure, but also for those who are fans that are only familiar with his hits because there are SO MANY GREAT SONGS that you’ll want to hear.

And if you’re not a fan of Rick Springfield, then you don’t have to listen and why are you even reading this blog? (But since you’re here, you may as well check out his songs and you may become a fan.)

By the way, those who listened to his recent Working Class DJ show on SIRIUSXm with the theme of “Hopeless Romantics” (which was actually a set of cynical love songs that included “Love Stinks,” “Tainted Love” and “King of Pain) would have heard him mention a photo session where he was wearing a pink shirt and a leather jacket holding a black guitar. This is the one I think he was talking about (which I of course had on my bedroom wall during my teenage years…)

Another one from this session (that was also on my wall):

Just for fun, here’s a really bad pic of the actual wall from my teenage bedroom (with those two posters):

Thank you to RS for all the decades of great music and to the Rick and the NEWSflash fan group for sharing all this music!

The Red Locusts now available on CD, streaming services and cassette

I’ve had a great morning listening to the new Red Locusts album! Such fun, upbeat, energetic songs, I can’t help dancing at my stand-up desk as I’m working today.

It totally has a Beatles vibe, which is great because they are one of my favorite bands.

On first listen, my favorite songs are “Glow Worm” and “Insert Your Name Here.” (The latter gives all fans an opportunity to pretend RS wrote a love song about them, which is really exciting for your inner-13-year-old self.) “Miss Daisy Hawkins” is a fun song, with lots of Beatles references. (For context, Daisy Hawkins was the original name of the character of Eleanor Rigby.) Also really like “Honestly.” Because I watched the video for “Another Bad Day for Cupid,” that’s what I pictured when listening to the song.

The album is available on streaming services, as well as on CD and cassette at lolipoprecordsstore.com. The band also now has a Facebook page.

The limited edition red vinyl looks like it’s still available on the Rick Springfield merch site and it has an extra song on it (“Love is Gonna Save the Day”) – that’s not on streaming version (and “Deep Blue Sea” is listed as “Deep Blue Skies” on the streaming version, which I assume is a mistake as the lyric is “Deep Blue Sea.”)

By the way, the secret is out that this is Rick Springfield’s new project (in case you couldn’t tell before), as he officially announced it on the last episode of the Working Class DJ show on SiriusXM. Plus the songs are listed as being written by him and Matt Bissonette (the former guitarist in his band who he also co-wrote songs with on “Rocket Science,” “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.” Before the pandemic, he toured with Elton John). Other band members are drummer Gregg Bissonette, (Matt’s brother and a drummer for Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band). Still not sure who “keyboardist Duncan Sweets and guitarist Beau Weevil” are.

What do you think? I’m happy to bask in the light of this new CD for a few months until he releases his next album (which he has called very dark, darker than “The Snake King”), which he has said should be out around November of this year.

He’s been really busy this past year! He talks about it in this recent interview and there are even some concerts on the calendar, including meet & greets.

Guess I better get back to work now…

‘Another Bad Day for Cupid’

Finally! Those who no longer have a record player can finally hear a song from the new band The Red Locusts!

The band released their red vinyl album back in March, which is still listed on the the Rick Springfield Merch site {despite the fact that Rick Springfield’s not in the band, according to Rick Springfield, although the singer sounds suspiciously like him, don’t you think?)

According to an article on buzzbands.la that announces the video premiere of The Red Locusts song “Another Bad Day for Cupid,” a press release from Lolipop Records lists the band’s members as singer-guitarist Paul Ramone, bassist Scotty Skuffleton, drummer Skippy Skuffleton, keyboardist Duncan Sweets and guitarist Beau Weevil. (For more speculation on the band members, read “The Red Locusts on vinyl.”)

The single “Another Bad Day for Cupid,” whose video animated by Joe Garber premieres here, is exemplary of their sublime ’60s guitar pop, for fans of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Jellyfish, Fountains Of Wayne, ELO, Big Star, the Move, the Raspberries, etc.

buzzbands.la, “Video premiere: The Red Locusts, ‘Another Bad Day for Cupid’”

The video for “Another Bad Day for Cupid” is reminiscent of “Mission Magic,” the animated Saturday morning series from 1973 featuring Rick Springfield and his songs, and starts off with animated versions of the band members riding on red locusts.

Cupid is indeed having a bad day, as his arrows keep on missing the mark and wreaking havoc in this animated version of Seattle (a guess based on what looks like Space Needle, along with the mountains and the rain), beginning with a frog and spinning fan blades (the result wouldn’t have been appropriate for “Mission Magic.”) Other unfortunate matches include a car and a bus, a wrecking ball and a car with a guy inside listening to “Another Bad Day for Cupid” on his phone, and a fly and a female reporter’s uvula (that dangly thing in the back of a person’s throat).

The singer (who sounds like the singer Rick Springfield of “Working Class Dog” fame) tells Cupid that he ought to get a “working class” career. At the end, the animated singer directs the arrows’ paths and causes a love explosion in the city.

A very entertaining song – and you can really hear the Beatles influences. Enjoy the video and the song and share your thoughts if you’d like!

Video for The Red Locusts: Another Bad Day for Cupid, animated by Joe Garber

22 years since ‘Karma’ and what I found in a photo album

This past weekend I was looking through an old photo album I found in the garage and was thrilled to find some evidence from a concert I attended back in 1998.

I remember being really excited to see Rick Springfield in concert for the first time since the 1980s because I had been such a big fan in high school. So when I scoured other photo albums/boxes earlier on in writing this blog, I was disappointed that I hadn’t documented the experience at all. But it turns out I had!

Unfortunately our seats weren’t very close and my camera wasn’t very good so the actual concert photos I had were variations on this (but at least you can still tell it’s him).

It was long before selfies and although I had one photo of me and my friend from the evening, there weren’t any photos of us at the concert (although I did have a photo holding a giant snowball as apparently it snowed in Vegas that weekend.)

As I continued looking through the photo album I got even more excited. But first I’ll share some background so you can better understand the depth of this excitement

When I first started writing this blog in 2014, I found my journal from 1998 and found my entry about the concert and wrote about it in the post “Rick’s Return“:  “Went to see Rick Springfield Sat. night. Row H. Ah! Rick was great – very nostalgic and I remembered most of the words!”

That 2014 post also mentioned when I met him the following year when he made an appearance at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles the day his “Karma” CD came out (which coincidentally is 22 years ago tomorrow: April 13, 1999).

In February 2015, I found my journal from 1999 and had more details about the Beverly Center appearance (“Meeting Rick Springfield“). I also found an envelope with photos in it from that day – several of him in front of the “Karma” backdrop and one of me holding up the signed “Karma” CD and a signed copy of ‘Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet.” I had hoped that there would be a photo of me with him, but unfortunately there wasn’t any in that envelope.

It wasn’t until 2017 that I even realized that the appearance at the Beverly Center was actually the day that “Karma” was released. (“Karma release: 18 years ago and I was there!“)

And now to explain the excitement about what I found in the photo album – there on those pages were the photos I found years ago in the photo envelopes of him with the Karma publicity photos in the background and even a duplicate of me holding the signed CD and record album. But there were also others!

Here’s what I found:

Pretty exciting right? (Or at least you can perhaps understand why I was excited?)

Anyway, now I know exactly where I was 22 years ago tomorrow.

I wonder if it was a coincidence that “Karma” was the theme of last week’s “Working Class DJ” show (his Sirius XM show on the 80s on 8 channel). I kept waiting for him to play “Karma’ but he played “Souls” instead (which is one of my favorite RS songs so I’m not complaining) then it occurred to me that “Karma” wasn’t actually an 80s song so it wouldn’t work on that channel.

Oh well, I think maybe I’ll go ahead and listen to the “Karma” album tomorrow to mark the occasion.

Concerts on the calendar

Is it possible that we’re ready to emerge from our pandemic hibernation and start attending concerts again?!

It appears so, as this recently appeared on my news feed:

Pretty amazing, right?

So nice to see the announcement of a concert instead of a cancellation!

On the Macon City Auditorium website, it currently says it’s a “normal capacity” event and that “protocols for cleanliness and guidance from local and national officials will be followed at the time of the event.” Does that mean it will look like the photo in the ad or that “Human Touch” will involve RS going back into the audience? Not sure if we’re quite at that point yet, but September is still a few months away and more and more people are getting vaccines, so I suppose that’s possible. It looks like there’s also a show scheduled for June 12 in Ashland, Kentucky.

Additionally, it seems RS may be heading to Australia in the fall as well, as the Zoot reunion tour has been rescheduled from November 2020 to October 2021 and tickets are on sale for that.

Party at the Beach Bar

In other RS news, he and Sammy Hagar have been busy promoting Beach Bar Rum and have shared some other exciting concert news in a Forbes magazine article: “Sunday Conversation: Sammy Hagar and Rick Springfield on their rum business, wanting to tour together and taking over Catalina.”

The article mentions the “Party at the Beach Bar” song RS wrote (heard in this promotional video featuring fans here):

The article also talks about how they’ve been discussing residences in Las Vegas and on Catalina Island where they would perform and through big parties with a Beach Bar theme.

We’re planning a little residency in Vegas and a residency on Catalina, a place where you can set the party down and do it every weekend. Let the people come from out of town, experience a cool place like Catalina, a cool place like Vegas. Everybody knows how much fun you can have in Vegas when it opens back up.

Sammy Hagar on forbes.com

That sounds fun!

From Zoot to Zoom

Coming up this weekend is a special Zoom event for those who purchased the new Red Locusts album. (Unfortunately I won’t be there since I didn’t purchase the album since I don’t have a turntable.) It’ll feature The Red Locusts, featuring those talented blokes Paul Ramone, Scotty Skuffleton and Skippy Skuffleton, who are seen rehearsing in a recent tweet:

Still hoping that the album will be available in other formats at some point because it would be great to hear it! Here’s what the Forbes article says about the project and others, including the dark one he mentioned in a previous interview that is scheduled to come out in November.

I’ve recorded two anonymous albums. One with a band I put together with Gregg Bissonette and Matt Bissonette. It’s very Beatle-driven, very pop, ’60s British Invasion. And I did another one, very dark, dark, dark album with a friend of mine in Australia about Day Of The Dead and then I’m writing my own stuff. 

Rick Springfield, forbes.com

So there are a few things to look forward, too, in addition to his weekly stint as the Working Class DJ on SiriusXM, which are fun to listen to.

To anyone going to the Zoom event – have fun! I’ve received my two vaccine doses so I’ll be here waiting for an announcement of a local concert!