A pending arrival of red locusts may not sound like a good thing if you’re referring to the large grasshopper species in Africa, but when you’re waiting to hear music from the new musical group The Red Locusts, the pending arrival is a very good thing.
Based on a recent post by Rick Springfield, it looks like we may be hearing music by The Red Locusts very soon.
Got it? A swarm of red locusts could mean a plague is upon us and that’s not good, but music from The Red Locusts in the middle of a pandemic is very good.
Now that that’s clear, I guess all there is left to do is wait to see how soon the “soon” is before we get to hear this new music.
Although it’s been nearly a year since Rick Springfield has been on tour, he’s been keeping busy in other ways. Like, lots of other ways. For instance, this week alone, there have been interviews about his new book “World on Fire,” the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog,” this weekend’s premiere of the “Orchestrating My Life” documentary, the filming of Jay Leno’s car show, a DJ gig, a special delivery of roses to a fan and an interview with an Australian station (which also featured his Australian accent…)
Through these interviews, we’ve learned about a new album by The Red Locusts, more stories about RS’s childhood and his desire to move back to Australia. He also talks about the importance of music in schools and how music saved him (and he often disses math, which my teenager 100% appreciates).
It’s so funny that so many interviewers will say things like “If my 10-year-old self would have known that I would be interviewing Rick Springfield….” Yep, he has lots of longtime fans! Here’s a recap of this week (at least what I know about)…
This weekend is the big premiere of the “Orchestrating My Life” documentary (A pay-per-view Valentine’s Day concert) that he performs with his band and students from the Santa Monica High School Orchestra. Here’s a great interview with Jodi Swenson, the director of the orchestra, and one of the students who performed in the show.
This has been quite a busy week and there’s lots to share so I thought I’d include them all in one post.
On the top of the list is the release of “World on Fire,” Rick Springfield’s sequel to “Magnificent Vibration.” He wrote his first published work of fiction over a four-month period (according to an article in my local paper back in 2014) and at that time already started the sequel. Now here we are six years later and the sequel is now here! In an alternate non-pandemic reality, we’d probably be waiting for the in-person book signings, but for now, we’ll have to make do with the Audible version. RS reading his book to us isn’t too bad though, right? (Although hopefully at some point there will be a print version and book signing meet and greets at local bookstores.)
Since it’s been awhile since I read “Magnificent Vibration,” I pulled it off the shelf for the purpose of this post and it’s pretty bizarre that the sequel is released during a pandemic because of the way the first book ends.
SPOILER ALERT RE: ‘MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION’
At the end of the book, one of the main characters announces that she received a message from an Earth spirit saying that in order to save the planet, she has been given a virus that “will kill half the world in six months.” I won’t go into too many details here, so I don’t create any spoilers for the new book, which I plan to listen to soon, but basically she is a carrier and the virus “will flow from me with every breath I exhale, and it will grow exponentially through airborne contagion.”
RS has said in recent interviews that you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand the second one. In fact you don’t even have to read at all, he said in a recent interview, since it’s an audiobook and he reads it to you.
This week there was a wonderful interview by SiriusXM’s Lori Majewski who spoke to Rick Springfield and director PJ Wolff about the making of the concert film “Orchestrating My Life,” which is being released as a pay-per-view screening on Feb. 14. It’s always so cool to see a fan interview RS because the questions are so good and you get to skip any obvious ones (like ‘Is there a real Jessie’s Girl’?). She’s been a RS fan for 40 years, she recently said on Twitter so she GETS it and asks questions that others wouldn’t know to ask. We so appreciate it, Lori!
Watch the interview here:
To learn more about the pay-per view packages, which include a dozen “Rick Roses” that you can smash against a guitar in your very own living room during the screening, visit rickspringfield.com. There are also some “Orchestrating My Life” DVD and CD packages at rickspringfield.org.
40th anniversary of ‘Working Class Dog’
RS also visited “Good Morning America” this week (and by “visited,” I mean virtually of course) to speak about the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog” and sang an acoustic version of “Jessie’s Girl.”
Another Sirius interview about a variety of things
There was also an awesome interview on SiriusXM Volume “Debateable” with Mark Goodman and Alan Light. Unfortunately I can’t share it here since it’s subscription access only (but they do have free trials…) They talked about the “Orchestrating My Life” film, “World on Fire,” Beach Bar Rum (a pineapple flavor is coming soon, as well as a “Jessie’s Girl” drink) and Bindi and joke about the amount of work he’s been doing in the midst of a lockdown. They also covered his commitment to music in school (The “Orchestrating My Life” film features the Santa Monica High School orchestra) and took questions from the audience that covered his album “Tao,” his dad’s influence on his life, his love of writing and reading, guitars, how great his band is and how much he misses performing live.
He also discussed his childhood dream of being a DJ (now realized on SiriusXM’s Working Class DJ show), a couple of anonymous projects that he couldn’t really talk about, but one is coming in November that is darker than “The Snake King” and he also advised a caller to keep his eyes and ears open for a “great new band called the Red Locusts” coming out on red vinyl and cassettes…
They are both great interviewers familiar with RS’s career so that was fun. (As you may know, Mark Goodman is one of the original MTV VJs and has been on RS fan trips so they go back a long way.)
Anyhow, I think that’s about it – at least for right now. Have a great weekend!
Now that concerts are postponed until who knows when, wouldn’t it be nice if there was another way to get a regular Rick Springfield fix? Guess what, now there is!
Beginning tonight, RS will host a new show on Sirius XM – on the ’80s on 8 channel (Channel 8). His show, “Working Class DJ with Rick Springfield” starts at 8 p.m. EST tonight (Friday, Jan. 22). During the weekly show, he will play eight songs that correspond to a theme of his choice. The series kicks off with “Rad Aussie Hits,” highlighting artists from his home country, Australia, according to SiriusXM. Next week’s theme is “’80s Songs that Saw the Future.” (Will “Human Touch” be included in that episode?!)
The episodes will replay Saturday-Tuesday. (Find times here.)
Some cool things to consider
Here are some fun things to think about in connection to this show.
RS’s album Working Class Dog (which I assume inspired the name of this show) was released on Feb. 24, 1981 so next month is the 40th anniversary of the album.
The SiriusXM ’80s on 8 Channel features original MTV VJS Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn.
When MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, “Jessie’s Girl,” the Grammy-winning single off “Working Class Dog” was the No. 1 song.
This mix of Rick Springfield, MTV, “Working Class Dog” and ’80s music just feels so right.
On a whim, I thought I’d check YouTube to see if any of these “anonymous” songs that RS talked about in past interviews happened to pop up recently. I haven’t had much time to keep up on RS lately so I searched if anything was posted today. Nope. How about “This Week”? YES!!
There it was: “Badfinger – Rick Springfield”: Love is Gonna Come at Last”
The remake of this Badfinger song from 1979, posted yesterday.
I was late to the game, as when I discovered it, it already had nearly 700 views and there are also a few articles that came out about it today.
Without further ado, here’s the video:
Joey Molland, who wrote the song, appears on this new version, adding bass and vocals. It’s so great hearing RS’s vocals and slide guitar. His voice sounds like it does in his older albums, which is pretty cool, considering this is an older song. If I heard it in a different context, I probably would have wondered which of his older albums it was on and why hadn’t I heard it before.
RS was quoted in several articles saying “Badfinger has always been one of my all-time favorite bands. In fact, I am often asked by journalists, ‘What is the one song you had wished you had written?’ And my answer is ‘Baby Blue.’ What a perfect song! Their music was and is immortal.”
If you’ve seen RS’s “Stripped Down” show, you probably heard him play “Baby Blue.” If not, here it is:
Isn’t it nice to finally get some good news for a change?
The world premiere of “Orchestrating My Life,” a concert film featuring Rick Springfield performing with the Santa Monica High School Orchestra, will be a streaming pay-per-view event available Feb. 14-17.
The concert features 12 songs accompanied by his band, four background vocalists and the award-winning Santa Monica High School Orchestra conducted by Wolf Kerschek. The concert was held in March 2019 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The film, directed by PJ Wolff includes “rare archival footage, interviews, and photographs from Springfield’s personal collection to weave the incredible and unexpected life story of one of rock’s most recognized and durable superstars,” according to rickspringfield.com.
Tickets for the pay-per-view are $29.99, and add-ons include an event T-shirt, roses with a personalized Valentine’s Day card from RS and a Zoom meet-and-greet (the full package is $449.99).
In case you’re not familiar with “Orchestrating My Life,” it’s a symphony version of RS’s greatest hits that was released in April 2019. Read more about it here. The album debuted as #4 on Billboard’s Classical Album chart and spent seven weeks on the chart.
“Welcome to Your Bright New World” echoes the prevailing feeling of our time’s chaotic events and hopes for a better world when the dust settles. This song culminates Season 2 of Rick Springfield and Vance DeGeneres’ “Ultimate Mini-Series: The 60-Second Guide to Songwriting with a Partner”, started off as a way for the two friends to have some fun online while home-sheltering during the current Covid-19 pandemic. But what began as a way to share a few laughs with their online communities grew into a popular multi-episode series spanning two Seasons. You can watch both Season 1 and Season 2 on-demand here:
OK, that’s all the important details.
Now for my 12-year-old self fan reaction.
The floor of his house is the same kind of floor of the house I grew up in!
The theme of the video combines “The Wizard of Oz” (one of my favorite movies- notice the black and white beginning that turns to color and the twister lifting up the house) and “Alice in Wonderland.”
Why is that so cool?
I have two books from when I was younger that are now sitting in one of the bookshelves of one of my sons and they are “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland.” He’s almost the age I was when I first became a Rick Springfield fan and I probably had the books when I was about his age. Now there’s a video in existence that captures three elements of my 12-year-old life: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Alice in Wonderland” and Rick Springfield. Cool, right?
OK, maybe I’m the only one that thought it was. Oh well.
Other thoughts about the song/video.
Very catchy! I like that the song has a positive view, as the situation in the world is getting so dark now we need that hope for a better world once we get through this.
I wonder where the green sock puppet was? Why wasn’t he included in the video? Did he drink too much Vance Vodka the night before the filming and miss the shoot? Will Spencer the sock puppet have a new career after appearing in the music video?
Next comes the fun part of diving deeper into the lyrics.
Welcome to your bright new world, everything can change from this moment on. There is no need for fear or questioning the gods as we watch Babylon fall.
Our world has changed so much these past few months. But there’s not a need for fear or questioning G-d, there is some kind of purpose for all of this and hopefully it’s all part of developing into a better world. (We hope.) Babylon is defined as a society or a group in a society considered as corrupt or a place of exile by another society, a place of luxury and corruption. Have you watched the news lately?
We stand together or it all falls apart. Fire burns and it’s been lit from a spark.
Basically, we’re all in this together. Fires are destructive and can destroy communities – and it can take only one person – and one spark – to start the fire.
So welcome to your bright new world, we’ve crossed the mountain range, we’re unbending, strong, there is no exit here, no impossible odds, as we reach Avalon’s shores.
Flash forward to the future after we’ve gone through this challenging time, staying strong, making it to Avalon (an island represented as an earthly paradise in the western seas, according to Celtic legend).
As we as a world experience this COVID-19 pandemic, entertainment is very welcome.
Fortunately Rick Springfield and Vance DeGeneres are doing a second round to their Songwriting with a Partner series and are currently in the process of recording their second song. This round took a different turn, which includes sock puppets, evil twins and RS’s BFF, actor Doug Davidson. There’s even an unexpected sighting of Charlie Chaplin, which was pretty hilarious.
RS has also continued weekly Zoom happy half-hours with lucky fans, which he graciously answers all sorts of questions about his music, acting, books, life. It’s pretty cool that he does this as many of those on the calls are decades-long fans so to have a chance to engage this way with their teenage crush is pretty amazing.
Video highlights of these calls are on his Facebook page, which are fun to watch because you get to learn what he’s been up to, such as the final edits of the sequel to “Magnificent Vibration,” which is called “World on Fire” and due to be released on audiobook in October.
I just realized that if the book is released only on audiobook, does that mean that there will be no bookstore tours like there was for “Magnificent Vibration”? Can you have a booksigning for an audiobook? Will there be any more book tours for any author in the next year? Will bookstores even make it through this pandemic?
Argh, sorry. So many unknowns lately, my mind often wanders.
Fortunately RS is keeping busy, which benefits his fans. He’s mentioned that he and Matt Bissonette (his former bass player who most recently tours with Elton John) and Gregg Bissonette, who tours with Ringo Starr) created a band called The Locusts (first there was the Crickets, then the Beatles, now the Locusts, which is such a fitting name for a band created during a plague). He mentioned on one of the Zoom calls that they recorded 12 songs which they will soon start releasing. Whoo-hoo!
In case you missed these:
The Global News Morning Show: Musicians Rick Springfield and Vance DeGeneres talk about their creative process in quarantine and their new single “The Wall Will Fall.”
Until the pandemic struck the U.S., Rick Springfield has toured nonstop with about 100 shows a year for many years, most recently with three versions: a full-band show, an acoustic Stripped Down show and shows with full symphony orchestras. Unfortunately I never got to see the last one live and the chance of that number of people all being on a stage together anytime soon is pretty slim.
Fortunately, RS fans are generous with their concert experiences and posted videos of symphony performances, so here’s a virtual concert featuring RS symphony concerts. The setlist is from June 27, 2019 in Atlanta, Ga. though the videos are from whatever I could find on YouTube. Thank you to all the fans who shared these videos!
Affair of the Heart
I’ve Done Everything for You
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Love is Alright Tonite
I couldn’t find a video for this one, but if you find one, let me know and I’ll add it!
She’s Leaving Home
April 24, 1981/My Father’s Chair
I Get Excited
World Start Turning
State of the Heart
Definitely won’t see anything like this anytime soon…
Here are the official RS videos for the “Orchestrating My Life” album, which show many different cool angles of the performance.
And that wraps up the 2020 virtual concert series! Of course these are nothing like actually seeing a live performance in person, but hopefully they will hold us over for now.
Due to the positive response of the previous virtual concert, I thought I’d do one for the Stripped Down acoustic show, too. I think everyone can use more joy in their life, right?
This set list is from the April 4, 2019 concert in Albany, Georgia and the videos are from whatever Stripped Down videos I could find on YouTube for those songs. Thanks once again to all those who posted these videos! (The featured pic at the top is from the one Stripped Down I got to attend, in Tucson back in 2015: “What an amazing show (and another brief meeting).”)
Enjoy the show!
I Get Excited
Affair of the Heart
Me & Johnny
Oh Well and Love is Alright Tonite
Mash-up of 867-5309, Jessie’s Girl and Stacy’s Mom
Human Touch and Don’t Talk to Strangers
4 Billion Heartbeats/My Father’s Chair
I’ve Done Everything For You
If Wishes Were Fishes
This was so much fun – I love his sense of humor and hearing the stories behind his songs. I’m so glad he doesn’t mind people videotaping at his shows, which allowed us to have this great footage! Thanks again to all the fans who posted their videos!
There are so many great videos from his Stripped Down shows, that I just wanted to share a few more, although they weren’t in this particular setlist.