‘Working Class Dog’ in Phoenix

Last night I attended my first Rick Springfield concert since the pandemic began, at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

It was a little bit surreal, like the past 2 1/2 years was a bad dream because how could it be that this type of communal gathering ceased to exist for so long? RS was in full rock-star mode and it was a celebration from the moment the first note played, as RS and the band rocked that revolving stage like no other.

I hadn’t splurged on tickets in the first few rows this time because just days before the show was announced, I had splurged on last-minute Billie Eilish tickets at a local stadium. That particular splurge meant two tickets (one for me and one for my oldest son) way up in the nosebleed section and since each far-away ticket was about the cost of one front-row ticket for RS, I wasn’t able to do that again a few days later. But, I thought, that was OK, it would be enough just being at the concert since it had been so long since I saw him in concert (June 2019). (In case you were wondering, the Billie Eilish show was amazing, even so far from the stage.)

Of course, once I got to Celebrity Theatre last night, I wished I had splurged because although our seats were fine (it’s a fairly small venue), it was a whole different experience from the previous shows when I was near the stage.

It was my husband’s first RS show in awhile – he was at a show years ago with two of our sons (when they sang “Don’t Talk to Strangers” with him), a Stripped Down show in Tucson (when we briefly met RS after the show) and on an overnight in Sahuarita, Ariz., when I kind of left him back in our seats when I found an unoccupied spot by the stage (and we stayed at the same hotel as RS and the band). So he was a good sport to go with me again and he had a great time and was so impressed by how RS and the band rocked from the second the show started.

Display in the Celebrity Theatre’s downstairs lounge

Although it felt more like I was watching the show from afar this time around, I was overwhelmed by a strong sense of gratitude to even be there at all and appreciated all the aspects, from the rose explosions to the lighting and sound. During the pandemic, I wondered if the opportunity would ever return. And yet there they were, RS and all of the band members, surrounded by other fans as excited to be there as I was.

A couple of my favorite moments were hearing “World Start Turning” and being able to sing “Happy Birthday” to him again. In 2018, I was in the very same theater two days before his real birthday (Aug. 23) and it struck me how much the world has changed since we were “together” in that space last. He mentioned how he just finished filming “Gonzo Girl,” a movie with Patricia Arquette and William Dafoe. (During the 2018 concert, he told us that he was going to film an episode of “The Goldbergs” TV show the next day, if that puts things in perspective for anyone.)

RS played third, after John Waite and Men at Work, so the encore came after 11 p.m. I probably shouldn’t confess this here, but since it was a school night/work night, I decided last minute that we should leave during “Jessie’s Girl” because I’ve heard it a gazillion times, saw him perform it live lots of times and remembered that getting out of the parking lot after the Billie Eilish concert took nearly an hour. Plus I knew there was no chance of possibly “running into” RS after the show (although I did briefly run into drummer Jorge in the audience before the Men at Work set) because it was so late. So, ignoring the impulse to stick around for a slim possibility to meet him again (like I did back in 2016 when I was able to get selfie with him before he climbed onto the bus and rode off into the night), we headed out the no-re-entry doors to the parking lot across the street as the pre-Jessie’s Girl video began and were home about 20 minutes later.

Of course it was my loss because, as I learned this morning after the fabulous Rick and the News Flash Facebook fan page posted a beautiful video of that very performance, he returned to the stage shirtless. So even though I missed seeing it live, I was relieved I still got to experience the full concert (and had a better view of the encore then I would have if I stayed in my seat).

When I woke up this morning, I felt a sense of calm. Although last night was another missed opportunity of meeting RS and possibly putting the words together to tell him the impact he’s made on my life, I thought about the dream I had before waking up.

In the dream, I was in a dining room of a house with RS and my husband and a few other people. RS mentioned to the people in the room that I was married to both him and my husband. Even in the dream I felt a little unsure how this would work (both logistically and morally), but was thrilled that he would even say this. I offered to make him tea and he chose a pack of tea leaves from a big colorful box with a brown kangaroo on it. I wasn’t sure how to use his fancy tea infuser so he showed me and I made a cup of tea for both him and my (real-life) husband.

Weird, I know, and I have no idea what that could mean, but as I said, being able to have that encounter with him even only in my dream made me feel peaceful.

Anyway, RS and the band are off for a few more shows of this Working Class Dog tour and then once that’s over, perhaps we’ll hear more about the album he’s been working on!! To all the RS fans headed to upcoming shows – have fun!

Update on Aug. 31
I thought I’d share a video from the Aug. 29 show that I found on YouTube since I initially posted this. Thank you for sharing, you had a much better view than I had!

Hangin’ out with Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield fans got a chance to hang out live with him in his home studio yesterday, as part of the promotion for the the 40th anniversary of his Working Class Dog album.

That would have been totally unimaginable 40 years ago. The very thought of doing that would have blown my teenage mind. Just him and about 2,000 fans who had a chance to ask him questions live. Pretty cool.

If you missed it, it’s still available here at talkshop.live- at least on the day I’m writing this. Quick, stop reading this now and go watch it!

He’s very entertaining. He talked about the upcoming summer tour and the next (and last) fan trip (in development, probably 2023 though no date or other details set yet), shared stories from his career and sang a song (“Jessie’s Girl”).

Topics included how he recorded ‘Working Class Dog’ in the wee hours of the night between paying customers; his vocal warmup technique (which includes a PSA about tea tree oil dissolving Styrofoam); Keeper of the Purple Twilight from “The Outer Limits,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”; the sequel of ‘Jessie’s Girl” (yes, ‘Tonight’ on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” is a sequel and has a different outcome than in Coheed and Cambria’s version); drummer Jack White; the cancellation of the Zoot tour; and whether any acting or writing projects are in progress. And of course because this was a live Q&A, it was required that someone ask him if he planned to ever return to “General Hospital.”

He also described the stickers he has on an Australian guitar that he decorated to look like a suitcase, noting that they represent things that he likes: Tutankhamun, Australia, hot girls, Ganesh, Apollo and a magpie.

And of course a fun shoutout to my 13-year-old self, he even said my name! (He was talking to someone else with the same name, but that’s not relevant in this case.)

He also shared his feeling about recreating the photo on the back of “Working Class Dog.”

Also this week was the release of the video of “Jessie’s Girl” that was filmed with the band in his living room for this 40th anniversary celebration. Hi there, band members!

Speaking of RS band members, there was also a fun interview with bassist Siggy Sjursen on “PS After Dark with Tristan Rogers,” which also features keyboardist Tim Gross.

New ‘Working Class Dog’ CD/DVD

In case you missed the latest Rick Springfield news, here’s an update: Presales are happening now for the “Working Class Dog 40th Anniversary Special Live Edition CD/DVD” and RS will be on talkshoplive this Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern to talk about it.

Here’s the description of the CD/DVD, which features Ron on the cover like the original album, but with an updated picture of RS in the pocket (like as in 40 years later, as in last year.)

 In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog, ” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of it’s 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody, ” “Don’t Talk to Strangers, ” “State of the Heart, ” and “Affair of the Heart.”

Learn more about this here.

I’m excited about this because it’ll be fun to hear the new, live versions in order as they appear on the album, as originally heard 40 years ago: 1. Love Is Alright Tonite, 2. Jessie’s Girl, 3. Hole in My Heart, 4. Carry Me Away, 5. I’ve Done Everything for You, 6. The Light of Love, 7. Everybody’s Girl, 8. Daddy’s Pearl, 9. Red Hot & Blue Love and 10. Inside Sylvia.

But I’m also eager to hear more about the new album he’s been working on, too!

Powerful song, video dedicated to Ukraine

In case you missed it, Rick Springfield posted a new song this week that included heartbreaking images from Ukraine.

Watch it here.

Text from the post:

I wrote this song about a couple in trouble but it fit my feelings about the war in Ukraine. More must be done. I send it out with prayers for peace. ♥️🇺🇦

The post didn’t mention the name of the song, though it seems like it may be “Make Your Move.” Mixed in with the Ukraine images is video of RS playing chess (to go along with the lyrics), singing in front of a graffitied wall and playing a chalk-drawn keyboard. The video includes the text “play” and the video counter marking the time passing. The presentation of the video makes it seem like it’s historical war footage. Sadly, the scenes are not from years ago, it’s happening right now. Truly heartbreaking.

Update on March 25: The video is now on YouTube:

More on ‘Jack Chrome’: Songs, videos & interviews

If you’re interested in learning more about Rick Springfield’s new album with Russell Morris, “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz,” which celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Ambition Music Group has put together a playlist of songs videos and interviews.

There’s another RS interview on the album, on ABC Radio Melbourne (click here to listen) where you learn more about his wife’s popular tacos, his new car and memories from Australia, and an interview with Studio 10 in Australia.

Russell Morris also posted about the new album reaching #1 on Australia’s Jazz & Blues charts, #34 on the overall national charts, #14 on iTunes and #6 on the Australian national charts. Good job, mates! See his post here.

In other news, RS and the band had a concert in Redondo Beach last night and “Living in Oz” was on the playlist! It’s so fun to hear some of the older songs live again!

How to listen to ‘Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz’ in the U.S.

“Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz,” a project by Rick Springfield and Russell Morris, came out today and although at this time it looks like you can only order the album from Australia, it’s available to stream here.

I listened to the album tonight and the music is INCREDIBLE. The album celebrates Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and is definitely dark (think RS’s “The Snake King” from 2018) but I really enjoyed the music. I listened to it about 10 p.m. outside on the patio with a glass of wine and couldn’t help dancing to most of it. (And I realized how much I missed concerts and wanted to be back in an audience enjoying live music with others.)

Since I’ve only listened once so far, I missed a lot of the lyrics, but the music really grabbed me. Songs I especially enjoyed on this first listen were “We Are the Dead,” “Tonight We’ll Be Kings” and “50mg of Hope.” I imagined it as an animated film celebrating the holiday, which is a celebration of life and death. It would be interesting to hear how those who celebrate the holiday feel about the album, as I don’t know much about the holiday.

Enough on my thoughts about the album – go listen to it yourself and see what you think!

A song from the new album: ‘Godforsaken World’

Posted this morning on the Ambition Music Group Facebook page:

A video for one of the songs on “Jack Chrome ad the Darkness Waltz,” from The Morris Springfield Project. (Rick Springfield and Russell Morris): ‘Godforsaken World.’

Here’s what it says about the song on the Facebook post:

Warning: You may need a shot of “Rocket Science”* afterward to go about your day.

“The first song I wrote for the album and I poured all my darkness into it. It talks a bit about the plague we’ve been through. I look at all that’s going on in the world and I wonder, “Where’s God?” I see where evil is, but where’s God?” Rick

Other videos released so far:

Carmelita’s Dance

The Darkness Waltz

The album is scheduled to come out tomorrow (Oct. 15), but I’m not clear how to get it in the U.S. Does anyone know?

* ‘Rocket Science’ is considered to be Rick Springfield’s happiest album.

First glimpses at ‘Jack Chrome’

Russell Morris, who recorded “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz” with Rick Springfield, has been posting clips from the new album on his Facebook page, which I just discovered this morning so I though I’d post them here. Not all the posts have the corresponding video with it, but the track listing is posted here.

A sneak peek of the album (coming out Oct. 15)

“I Am Jack Chrome”: Jack Chrome is the narrator of the album

Heart of God (Corazon de Dios)” – The character of Jack Chrome is looking for God. (RS says it could be somewhat autobiographical as he is also searching.)

Death Drives a Cadillac” – A song about our mortality

Carmelita’s Dance” – A song about Carmelita, a conduit who brings the spiritual world to the real world, brings the loved ones back to their family.

We Are the Dead

Tonight We’ll Be Kings

La Calavera Catrina

Lone Rider

Dancing Bones

Godforsaken World

50mg of Hope

The Darkness Waltz

Note: Russell Morris’ FB page also has pics of dogs and koala bears. : )

Concerts, interviews and ‘Jack Chrome’

To paraphrase The Red Locusts, our life has been turned upside down and it looks like our world is askew. What else can we do but try to make sense of it?

Here we are about 18 months from when the world as we knew it changed and although COVID-19 is still very much affecting things, it is comforting to see some aspects of pre-COVID life returning – like concerts. I haven’t personally been to any yet but have enjoyed seeing pictures and watching videos of recent RS concerts in other cities.

In an attempt to keep people safe, many venues have new guidelines in place, such as requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Some may also require masks (although that doesn’t seem to be the case in any concert footage I’ve seen). RS fans, who are prone to traveling long distances to see their favorite rocker in concert, have been turned away at the venue for not having the proper paperwork so consider this a public service announcement to check venue requirements before heading to a show.

With touring comes the occasional pre-show interview including this one in Florida Today: “Q&A with singer/songwriter Rick Springfield: ‘I love what I do.’ No “Was there really a’ Jessie’s Girl’?” in this article – thank goodness. Instead it covers the music business, songwriting technique and a look at what’s next.

Here’s a recent review as well: “Buck Hill Concert Series heats up the slopes in Burnsville, Minnesota, September 21, 2021,” in All Music Magazine.

I don’t think Buck Hill and its patrons were truly ready for the headliner of the night, Australian-born singer, songwriter, author, and actor Rick Springfield. Looking suave and dressed in all black he commanded the stage when the lights came on. Just one month younger than my own mother, at age 72, Rick Springfield is still rocking like he’s 22.

Cat Parker, All Music Magazine

The review also mentions members of the band, which is nice, as it’s also been great seeing them all back on stage as well. The writer also spoke to a few fans. Plus there are a lot of great concert pics!

Thanks to all the fans who have shared concert pics and videos on social media!

Can you believe it’s already almost October? It seems like we were just celebrating the arrival of 2021 and the end of 2020 (little did we know that 2021 wouldn’t look much different then its predecessor.) The arrival of October means that it’s almost the arrival of “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz,” a collaboration between RS and Russell Morris, an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist. The new album is centered around “Day of the Dead” and is scheduled to be released on Oct. 15.

From jbhifi.com: “This is Russell Morris and Rick Springfield like you’ve never heard them before. They have come together to create Jack Chrome & The Darkness Waltz, an album that celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with the narrator, Jack Chrome, leading the listener through a compelling song cycle about life and death.”

“After losing parents and grandparents, I’ve always loved the concept of day of the dead,” Russell explains. “It’s all about celebrating life and bringing those spirits back.”

“Russ is the happy one,” Rick smiles. “He brought a lot of the positive songs to the project, whereas mine get pretty dark.”

jbhifi.com

Also from the article: “Russell and Rick first recorded together 50 years ago, when Rick played on Russell’s debut album, Bloodstone. Rick later appeared on Van Diemen’s Land, but this is the first time the good friends have made an entire album together. Ultimately, this album is a celebration of life.”

Sounds intriguing, I look forward to hearing it! Here’s a little teaser:

Looking for lyrics for The Red Locusts?

The awesome RS fans at the Rick Springfield and Us fan-based website have posted lyrics for The Red Locusts album!

Since there were no lyrics on the CD inset or anywhere else online, they took it upon themselves to listen to the songs multiple times to try to get all the lyrics down and then shared them with everyone (with a note saying that “actual notes may vary from our interpretation” since the lyrics weren’t officially released anywhere so may not be 100% accurate.)

To see the lyrics, click on the song titles here.

Maybe RS – ahem, Paul, Scotty, Skippy, Duncan or Beau, who make up The Red Locusts – now realize how important his lyrics are to fans and maybe the next CD will include lyrics…. Not that we mind replaying the same parts over and over again trying to figure them out, but still, it would be nice to know for sure.

So glad I’m not the only one who cares about this kind of stuff. Thank you to the Rick Springfield and Us team for taking the time to do this!

Learn more about The Red Locusts at theredlocusts.com.

P.S. from later tonight: I just got a chance to watch some of the videos people shared on FB fan pages from tonight’s concert in Macon, GA. Two songs on the set list were “The Light of Love” and “Everybody’s Girl” from “Working Class Dog.” How cool is that?!