Before ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ there was Zoot

Years before many of us ’80s kids started plastering Rick Springfield posters all over our walls, Mr. Springfield was already a star back in Australia. You may not have been familiar with his band Zoot because, if you’re around my age, you were just being introduced to solid foods around that time and weren’t following the Australian music scene.

But he was the guitarist in the popular Australian band from 1969 to 1971. (According to his autobiography, “Late, Late at Night,” this was when he bought his Gibson SG guitar, which he wrote “Jessie’s Girl” on and later played in the “Ricki & The Flash” movie with Meryl Streep.)

Why am I writing about Zoot today? Because this tweet popped up in my news feed today:

Although I’m not very familiar with Zoot, I have watched some videos of them in the past, such as their version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

And “Hey, Pinky,” which was written by RS:

When the band broke up in 1971, everyone went on to successful careers: Beeb Birtles was a founding member of Little River Band, Darryl Cotton was a successful Australian entertainer for many years (both in music and acting, as well as a TV host) and Rick Brewer was a drummer for many bands. Oh, and that guitarist Rick Springfield, well, you may be familiar with some of his work over the past 50 years.

The band reunited for a Rick Springfield fan cruise in 2011, which I bet was amazing for everyone who was a part of it. Sadly, Darryl Cotton died the following year from liver cancer.

So the fact that this new CD, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band, is being released on Nov. 23 is a super cool thing. It’s a great name, too: “ZOOT Archaeology.”

An article on rockclub40.com explains a little more about the 24-song retrospective.

The ZOOT members have dug deeply into their archives for ARCHAEOLOGY, which features the first song the band recorded, a cover of The Move’s ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’, as well as the band’s EMI debut, ‘You’d Better Get Goin’’. The album also includes the hits ‘Monty and Me’ (produced by Molly and featuring a whistling Johnny Farnham), ‘One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four’, plus their classic hard rock cover of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a Top 5 hit and Go-Set’s Best Australian Single of 1971. …

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY also features live covers of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Shilo’, plus rare photos of the band, and liner notes written by Beeb and Rick.

EMI will also reissue ZOOT LIVE – THE REUNION, the CD and DVD documenting what was the band’s last performance, 40 years after they initially broke up.

ZOOT LIVE was recorded in 2011, on the Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise in the Caribbean. The re-formation was so successful that the band started planning an Australian tour; what would have been their first Australian shows in 40 years. But soon after, singer Darryl Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died in 2012.

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY is dedicated to Darryl.

After Darryl died, Rick discovered that both he and Darryl had recorded separate versions of ‘Life In A Northern Town’. “Sitting in the studio listening to Darryl’s solo vocal gave us all goosebumps,” Rick says. Combining the two versions, he then asked Beeb to sing the third verse. “Fifty-four years after I met Darryl, we have a new ZOOT song,” Beeb smiles. “Thanks to Rick, I got to sing one more time with my best friend.”

Isn’t that beautiful? And so is the song:

 

I can’t wait to hear more!

Zoot

“Zoot Archaeology”

1. One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four
2. Monty And Me
3. Flying
4. Hey, Mr. Songwriter
5. You’d Better Get Goin’
6. Sailing
7. Yes, I’m Glad
8. About Time
9. Sha La La
10. She’s Alright
11. Feelings
12. Little Roland Lost
13. Shake Your Feathers
14. Hey Pinky
15. Strange Things
16. Eleanor Rigby
17. Turn Your Head
18. The Freak
19. Evil Child
20. I’m Only Sleeping Recorded Live 1970
21. Shilo Recorded Live 1970
22. Life In A Northern Town
23. I Can Hear The Grass Grow
24. Eleanor Rigby Live

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Another new album on the way!

There was an exciting announcement this week:

Another new album! I’m so incredibly astonished about the amount of music that my favorite rock star puts out! Since this is a “symphonic album of hits & new songs,” there will be some familiar tunes on this new album (hopefully “Souls” will be one of them – it sounded so beautiful in the clips I saw from his recent symphony concerts). But also some new songs! Whoo-hoo!

If any reporters come across this blog when preparing for an interview to run before the next Rick Springfield show in your town, please ask him about this!

RS orchestra

He explained in one fascinating interview how the process worked with the symphony. Unfortunately, I can’t find where that interview was. If I remember correctly, somebody annotated the music for his songs (is that the right word?) then the talented symphony musicians were able to play it with very little rehearsal. But what about the new songs? Did he still write them the same way he usually does, going  through the same process with the annotator (is that the right word?) or did he have the symphony instrumentation in mind when he wrote it? What are the new songs about? Are they more “Rocket Science” (which he has called his happiest album ever) or “The Snake King” (the opposite of “Rocket Science”)? We’d like some details, please.

A brief recap of the last few albums – all since I started this blog in August 2014:   acoustic (“Stripped Down”), country-influenced (“Rocket Science”) and blues-influenced (“The Snake King.”) And now one with a symphony orchestra. See why I’m so impressed (and why Rick Springfield fans are so incredibly lucky)?

 

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.

CBH

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.

An impressive catalog of songs (and more)

RS google search

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.

After concert cancellation, Rick Springfield performs in hotel bar

After last night’s Rick Springfield/Pat Benetar& Neil Giraldo concert was cancelled at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City a few minutes before the show was to start – due to a “technical issue” – guess who turned up playing in the casino bar?

I’m sure the  concert’s cancellation was a super bummer for fans who were planning on attending the concert, especially those who traveled far to see him, but hopefully many of them were there to see him perform “Superstitious” with Johnny-O and the Classic Dogs of Love  or hang out in the casino with him for a bit.

Apparently Rascal Flatts was playing in a different venue in the hotel that same night, but I haven’t heard anything about RS going in to play “Down” with the band. (He co-wrote that Rocket Science song with Jay DeMarcus, the bassist of Rascall Flatts.)

I’m so glad it’s Friday, as it’s been a long week and my mind is playing tricks on me. How many RS references do you find in this very brief blog post?

Just for fun, here’s what I noticed:

  1. He was going to co-headline the concert with Pat Benetar & Neil Giraldo. Neil Giraldo played guitar on the song “Jessie’s Girl” off of the Working Class Dog album.
  2. There are two references in the name of the band he played with: “Johnny” (“Me & Johnny” off of Living in Oz) and “dogs of love”- well, RS loves dogs.
  3. “Superstitious – somebody recently posted a video of him playing that song during one of the new meet & greets.
  4. As I mentioned above, he co-wrote one of the songs of Rocket Science with one of the guys in the band who was also playing a concert that same night in that same hotel.
  5. The hotel with the “technical issue” (rumor is that it was a problem with the ceiling) is Atlantic City’s newest hotel – and it used to be the Trump Taj Mahal. Not really a RS connection there, I guess, but I thought it was interesting. Maybe there’s a Snake King connection there somewhere.

Here’s a video from earlier in the day that somebody posted on YouTube, of him singing “Under the Milky Way.”

 

Before I go, here’s a fun interview that came out yesterday: “Rick Springfield talks blues, books and Saturday morning cartoons,” on nuvo.net. He covers a lot here, including what he’s doing with his Star Wars collection and what event he might considering showing up to in disguise.

Have a great weekend!

Rock star in overdrive: So many things to look forward to!

Embed from Getty Images

 

When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. More than anything, it was meant to be a way to avoid talking endlessly about my re-discovery of Rick Springfield with my husband and co-workers.

I was so excited to learn that RS was still creating new music and had written books, that I dived right into exploring all of it – along with my teenage fandom years – and this blog gave me a place to share it with (I hoped) others who felt the same way and would find it entertaining instead of annoying.

(Nobody in my real life actually told me I was being annoying, but I started to sense their frozen smile and glazed look if I talked too much about RS so I had to rein it in.)

At the time I had NO idea what a driven person RS was and didn’t know that there was so much more on its way. I thought it was cool that he had released a few albums since “Karma,” which was the last time I had followed his career (between 1998 and 2000, I saw him in concert four times and met him once. That was in addition to seeing him twice in high school back in the ’80s.)

Here’s a recap of his musical work between 2000 and my “re-discovery” in 2014:

SDAA

2004: “Shock/denial/anger/acceptance” (So many good songs, which I enjoyed only after getting over the reason they were written, since I first heard this CD after reading “Late, Late at Night”)

2005: “The Day After Yesterday” (I still haven’t heard this CD of covers in its entirety)

2007: “Christmas With You” (which I still haven’t heard, except for the song for the soldiers.)

RS-VIO400

2008: “Venus in Overdrive” (which has become one of my favorite CDs)

2009: “My Precious Little One: Lullabies for a New Generation” (Played it for my kids a few times when they were younger and they always fell asleep by the second or third song, and I mean that as a compliment)

2012: “Songs for the End of the World” – so many great songs, I especially love listening to this while driving, for some reason. I think because the first time I heard it was when I was driving my kids to school and it was so funny to hear their reactions.

SFTEOFTW

In 2014, I had all of this to catch up on and I also read “Late, Late at Night” and “Magnificent Vibration” right away, then listened to “Late, Late at Night” on audiobook. Then I caught up on some of his acting stints, like “Californication” and “Drop Dead Diva.”

Then a few months later, in November 2014, it was announced that RS would be coming to Arizona and I got tickets to my first RS concert in 15 years! So of course I had to go and then ended up meeting him briefly that March after the concert. Then I saw him a few more times over the next couple of years.

But I digress, this post wasn’t meant to be about me and my RS concerts, it’s about the driven rock star. So back to that.

In January 2015, he announced that he was back in the studio recording a new album! That year the live “Stripped Down” show also came out on CD and DVD. The country-infused “Rocket Science” was released the following February. In 2015 and 2016, he was touring with both the full-band show and the solo acoustic show. In 2017, he added a symphony tour – with Rock Meets Classic in Europe. Fans even got to watch the live stream of a show in Germany, which was cool!

Among all his touring, he also wrote and recorded another CD, blues-infused this time, “The Snake King,” which was released in January of this year. This year, he had acoustic shows, full-band shows and symphony shows. (There has also been a movie and several TV roles in the past four years.) Which means there are lots of interviews, photos and videos out there in Cyberspace, including this Morning Mix interview, where RS goes into detail about the symphony shows, which was fun to hear, and we get to learn about MORE upcoming projects (such as this in Fairfax County Times):

Once the tour is over, the singer will be back to his many ventures. He’s working on a rewrite of a follow up to “Magnificent Vibration,” and he’s recording a symphonic record with his best hits and a 40-piece orchestra.

“There will be a new song on that album, and it is light years away from ‘The Snake King,’” he said. “Also, we are rerecording all the hits as they originally sounded so we can put out our own greatest hits. And I am writing for a new record and looking for that next great acting gig.”

A new song! A new Greatest Hits album! New songs for another new record! A new book! So many exclamation point-worthy things on the brink of happening! Also, on July 25 will be the “Sideswiped” show on YouTube.

(Just a reminder to those who handle the fan club – maybe we can get more details about all this stuff there in Rick’s Diary? That would be a nice fan club perk, along with the Meet & Greet contests, which don’t exist yet, but it sure would be nice… Or maybe we all get a chance to sing a duet with RS at a beach-side bar?)

Anyway, see what I mean when I say I can ramble on about RS? But if you’re still reading this, then I’m guessing that you understand so thanks for reading.

Coming of age

I recently realized that my oldest son is approaching the age I was when I first became aware of Rick Springfield: 12.

Here’s the first mention of RS in my diary, entered on May 15, 1982, almost exactly 36 years ago from today:

wpid-wp-1440812234359.jpeg

It was just a couple of months after RS debuted on General Hospital (March 25, 1981) and although I don’t remember if I was already watching “General Hospital” at this time, it looks like RS and John Stamos were the only ones in the magazine that rated my three-star “Wow” poster rating.

So far my, son’s main interest is in basketball and although he does like music – some of his favorite are Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boys and Bruno Mars – he hasn’t gotten to the point where there is any non-sports-related decor on his walls.

This is how my walls looked when I was in my early teens:

cropped-imag0914.jpg

Did my parents think it was odd that I had all these posters of a guy in his 30s all over my wall when I was 13? Or listening to these lyrics?

I get excited
Just thinkin’ what you might be like
I get excited
There’s heaven in your eyes tonight
The fire’s ignited down below
It’s burning bright
Oh baby, stay, we got all night, all night
Baby please, I can’t please
If I’m on my knees tonight

(“I Get Excited” from “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” – 1982 – my parents bought me the album for my birthday that year)

Or this from “Inside Sylvia” from “Working Class Dog” – 1981

Inside Sylvia, oh Sylvia, yeah, yeah, Sylvia
I know my love is alive
Inside Sylvia, yeah Sylvia, oh Sylvia, oh

(I know he has said that his relationship with Sylvia was not of a sexual nature, but still, those lyrics…)

As he’s said himself, most of the songs from WCD and SHSMY are all about lust and sex – did I know that at the time? I think I sensed that they had adult themes, but I was pretty innocent at the time overall so I’m not sure how much I actually understood. But I did recognize his “wow” factor, that’s for sure, and the crush factor was pretty strong.

We made it through the baby stage with our sons, survived the toddler years, and now all of them are in elementary school. After reading “Late, Late at Night,” and getting a glimpse of what puberty can be like for boys (we are all girls in my family), I’m trying to prepare myself for being on the opposite end of the equation (the parent instead of the teen).

Of course things are much different these days – kids have exposure to many more things today then my generation did at this age. And what seems shocking in one generation, often doesn’t phase the next one at all (such as Elvis “shockingly” shaking his hips on national TV – if those shocked adults would have known what kind of things end up national TV today, they would likely be horrified.) It goes the other way, too, things that were everyday happenstance in previous generations (such as how women and minorities were treated) seem horrifying today (hence, the #metoo movement).

I’m not really sure what my point is here and I’ve probably gone off on a tangent, but what I’m TRYING to say is: How did this happen so fast that I was once a tween (although they didn’t call it that at the time) who innocently listened to Rick Springfield records and had his posters covering my wall and now I’m nearly 50 writing a blog about him and have a son who is almost the age I was when I started being a fan?

If I had to sum it up with one word, I guess I’d have to say, “Wow.”

Suited for the symphony

I know what I’m about to say is going to sound ridiculous, but after watching some of the videos people posted tonight from Rick Springfield performing with the Oregon Symphony, I feel like I am about to burst with pride.

I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face, especially after watching the video of “My Father’s Chair.” Watching RS perform that with a symphony orchestra and then seeing him turn around and face the photo of his father showing on the screen on the back of the stage…. wow.

After hearing about what he went through last year and all the dark emotions and feelings that came out in “The Snake King,” it was incredible to see him performing all of those songs with his band and the symphony and looking like he was enjoying himself so much. I couldn’t help but think that if he had succumbed to his darkness last year that none of this would have happened or the cruise or… anything else.

So although I’m just one of thousands of RS fans sitting on the sidelines and observing the past four years of his life through my smartphone and computer screen, I just want to shout out “I’m so proud of you, RS! Way to go!”

He also performed one of my favorite RS songs from the 1980s: “Souls” (thanks to rsandus for posting these videos!)

Another classic:

From the newest CD, “The Snake King”:

And also this Beatles song:

Karma release: 19 years ago today

Since it’s now after midnight, it’s now April 13, which means its been 19 years since the “Karma” release date (which means that 19 years ago today I met RS for the first time).

cropped-rs3.jpg

This is what I wrote in my journal that day:

When it was my turn, I told him how it was great to meet him. I’ve been a fan for a long time. He said he could tell (I brought “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” to sign). I said I’ve been a fan for 25 years. Then I said, I mean 18 and he said, “It’ll be 25 before you know it.”

Well, he was right and now it’s been 37 years. So maybe that’s why I was a little emotional tonight – he’s been a huge part of my life for so many years (although there were gaps of time I lost track of his career) and tonight’s performance felt like another important milestone for him. Plus he was wearing a suit, like he used to in the 1980s, so it may have also been a weird, subconscious reaction to that.

On the ’80s cruise

What an incredible ’80s cruise! Rick Springfield as the host and a long list of performers, such as Thomas Dolby, Loverboy, Mike+ The Mechanics, Lou Gramm from Foreigner, Terri Nunn from Berlin, Billy Ocean and Tommy Tutone.

I wasn’t actually on the cruise, but I enjoyed it vicariously through videos of those who were there. Many RS fans were on the cruise and shared videos in Facebook fan groups and the fabulous Shantelle Bisson her husband Yannik (former co-star of “High Tide” with RS and star of Canada’s “Murdoch Mysteries”) both shared some great behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram (along with some beside-the-scene views, such as clips of RS concerts from the side of the stage.)

The fact that I was able to watch videos taken by people I don’t know who were in the middle of the ocean is pretty incredible. It’s another one of those things that my 13-year-old self would have been thrilled about back in the 1980s. Back then being a RS fan meant taking babysitting gigs so I could watch MTV and possibly see a RS video or interview (we didn’t have cable at home.) Or I’d walk to the neighborhood Revco drug store to see if the latest issue of Teen Beat, Tiger Beat or 16 magazine was out. (For other examples, see “Rick Springfield fandom in the 1980s vs. today.“)

But sitting home watching a video of my favorite rock star performing on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean the same night it was happening? No way, not in my wildest dreams.

Some of the highlights of the cruise (from my limited view 2,400 miles away) were:

  • The piano bar when RS and Thomas Dolby were playing The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”
  • The Mark Goodman and RS Q&A session
  • Videos of the band hanging out singing in one of the cabins
  • RS singing “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (watching that brought out my inner teen giddiness, for sure)
  • Watching RS perform so many great songs with all those other talented performers and seeing him have such a great time

I’m sure there were many more highlights from people who were actually there so check out the Facebook fan pages. If I can find any videos to share from YouTube, I’ll post at a later date.

Next year’s lineup looks fun, too, especially the English Beat. I was a big fan in high school and I saw them once in this little bar in Tempe where I danced on the same dance floor as Dave Wakeling. But this year’s cruise, with Rick Springfield as host, would be hard to beat.

I love the 80s