“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!
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:
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 consideredto be Rick Springfield’s happiest album.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
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.)
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!
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?!
Plus of course it’s RS’s birthday month and if it were a normal year, there would already be “Happy birthday” singalongs at concerts. Unfortunately it looks like some of the concerts won’t be happening before the big day (Aug. 23), so here’s a little “Happy Birthday” snippet from 2019:
It looks like in previous years I had more time on my hands and recapped the whole year in great detail but this year I’ll simply share the past six years by linking to last year’s post, “Cheers to 6 years.”
Looking forward to the release of “Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz” coming out in October and the video of RS and his band playing “Working Class Dog,” in the order on the album. (He recently mentioned that on the Working Class DJ show). He’ll likely have some other surprises as well.
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 Russell Morris, a musician in Australia.
My Aussie pal Russel Morris and I wrote and recorded these songs over lockdown and we are proud to release this albeit “very different” album. It’s dark and moody as hell. Coming to you in October and it’s available now for preorder: https://t.co/m6zrVzsZtW Enjoy! Love Rick pic.twitter.com/jU9MaBoaka
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!