Two lines

Two days and 17 years ago I was at a Rick Springfield concert but until today I hadn’t found my journal from that year so I had no memory of it; it wasn’t until I noticed the anniversary date on somebody’s Facebook post that I realized I had been at that particular concert.

Today I realized that my notebook from that year wasn’t with my earlier ones because I had recently moved so it was part of my current life (current at the time) rather than my past and was in a different place.

I found the notebook and since past RS shows had resulted in at least a page of details about the show (or long blog posts, after 2014), I couldn’t wait to see what I had written about it.

I quickly turned through the pages to find the date: 5/5. There were only two lines: a mention of the concert, who I went with and where it was. Two lines, no details.

The pages before and after were filled with heartbreak and dating drama, which reminded me of that relationship from so long ago that so consumed me. It also appears that I was recording my dreams that year, as many entries are fragments of dreams, probably written right after I woke up.

There were also lots of entries of  lyrics – some of them with melodies I remembered; the lyrics remind me how I was feeling at that time.

For instance, this one:
You climb into his car, you fly to the moon
You think it’s a brand new melody, but it’s just the same old tune
You smile at his stumbling, you’re touched by his thoughtful gaze
You think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, but it’s just one of those days…

After that 5/5 concert in 2000 (my sixth RS show)  I wouldn’t see RS in concert again until 15 years later. And by the time that concert occurred, I had been writing this blog for eight months, after coming across a TV interview after his novel was released.

Why is it that back in 2000, a RS mention was two lines in a journal and now, in my 40s, I’ve written over 260 posts on a blog about him, a process that provided inspiration to start writing songs again? In this early months of this journey, my goal was to record some of my old songs so they’d exist outside of my head and I’ve only recorded a couple of them so far because I’ve been so busy writing new ones instead. If I would have been so inspired 17 years ago, who knows how many songs I’d have by now or what I would have done with them.

Maybe because sometimes when your head gets clouded with negative things, it’s more difficult to recognize hints of inspiration. Or maybe things are happening the way they are – when they are – for a reason and you can’t look backward, only forward.

February milestones

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February seems to be a big month for Rick Springfield milestones.

One day in particular stands out:
Feb. 24, 1981: “Working Class Dog” is released
Feb. 24, 1982: RS wins a Grammy for “Jessie’s Girl”
Feb. 24, 2004: “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” is released
Feb. 24, 2015: “Stripped Down” is released

Last night Rowdy Ron had an online radio show where he played the full albums of WCD and SDAA, including bonus tracks, in celebration of the milestone. Unfortunately I only caught a few minutes of it, but I’m sure it was a great show!

Other notable dates (courtesy of rickspringfield.us):

Feb. 14, 1945: RS’s parents are married
Feb. 19, 2016: “Rocket Science” is released
Feb. 20, 2016: “iHeart80s Party” at the Forum, which gave him great exposure
Feb. 23, 1981: “Jessie’s Girl” is released as a single

This year also marked the 10th anniversary of his Valentine’s Day weekend show at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, which was covered this month in a great interview in Center Stage Magazine and this nice review in National Rock Review. In the Center Stage interview, he talks about his desire to do more acting and mentions his upcoming tour in Germany with Rock Meets Classic and the review mentions some highlights from the Nashville show:

“Since this is live music, anything can and usually happens. Tonight, mid-way through the opening song, the music suddenly stops, and the faint ring of the fire alarm is heard. Not to be outdone, Rick is out among the fans, shaking hands and fist bumping those around him while the guys break into a jig on stage entertaining fans while the power and fire alarm issues are sorted out.”

After a brief delay, Rick and the guys launching into “Light this Party Up” for the second time and the crowd jumps in on the fun, raising their glasses, dancing, and singing along.”

And this is sweet:

“Slowing down the pace, Rick takes center stage with his green dobro guitar on his knee. He takes a moment to tell a quick story about long-time guitar tech, Ruben Velasco, who died last year. Velasco, who’s birthday was this day, had repeatedly said that Rick needed a light-up guitar. Springfield now plays a light-up guitar on tour which he appropriately named “Ruben.” It was a touching moment and a class move by Rick Springfield.”

Liked this line, too:

“Springfield exudes energy and positive vibes.”

Speaking of articles – and energy- there was some interesting information in a recent one in the Orlando Sentinel in advance of Sunday’s night’s show in Orlando.

“He is working on another novel to follow “Magnificent Vibration,” a 2014 bestseller, but laughs when asked when it will come out.

“It’s like a song. When it’s done, it’s done. You can’t really push it,” he said. “There’s been a lot of stuff that’s come up and gets in the way of it, but I like to do it all.” 

And this is a cool possibility:

He is writing a new record and screenplays. Another possibility is a memoir to follow 2010’s “Late, Late at Night.” “Certainly enough has happened. I was actually thinking about that —  the stuff I didn’t tell you,” he said.

More songs on the way?

So happy to read this in an interview tonight:

Springfield, 67, is touring behind his latest album, “Rocket Science,” which dropped last February, and he continues to co-star in the fantasy-horror series “Supernatural” on The CW. And he’s already writing songs for a follow-up album.

(This was a story from newsobserver.com in advance of this weekend’s concert in Durham, North Carolina.)

The soft-spoken bard knows his ’80s hits draw the crowds, but he’s looking forward to showcasing fresh material. “Most people want to hear the hits, but I love to play the new stuff, which is why I keep writing,” he says. “Whether people listen to it is immaterial.” …

Right now, Springfield says he’s focusing on his role in “Supernatural” – he plays Lucifer – and on songwriting. “I’m in a great space right now,” he says. “I’m on a creative high.”

I’m guessing the interview was done weeks ago since his role in “Supernatural” is over (or at least it seemed to be), but it was the “writing songs for a follow-up album” part that caught my attention. Plus if the story had to mention “Jessie’s Girl,” at least the headline said, “More than Jessie’s Girl.”

I thought the part about writing songs even if nobody listens to them was interesting, especially since everything he writes gets listened to repeatedly and then is analyzed and digested by his fans. (Or is that just me? No, I don’t think so.)

There is a joy of creating something from nothing and the whole process of it is magical, whether it is music or art or anything creative. One of my songs on Soundcloud has over 300 “plays” – but that’s because it happens to have the same name as some wrestling theme song, I discovered after a brief investigation (mine is a very un-wrestling song). So although nobody is listening to my songs (although sometimes my kids sing them), it’s OK, because just the process of writing them is enjoyable (when it’s not frustrating because it feels like something’s not working).

I just had an idea! RS has his own studio and he’s writing songs so he can record them whenever he wants to and because he doesn’t care if anybody listens to them though thousands of people do, he can record them and release them on YouTube so we can listen to them! That sounds like a great idea, right?

5 reasons I ❤ Rick Springfield 

You may know by now that I’m a big fan of Rick Springfield. I think I’ve covered the reasons why in my past 200-plus posts, but I thought I would summarize it here in case anyone is discovering him for the first time after his appearance on “Supernatural” this month.

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So here are the five of the reasons why I ❤ Rick Springfield:

1. His music: I will start here because this is where it started for me. (OK, if I am totally honest, it may have started before I heard his music. I can’t remember if his posters torn from teen magazines were plastered on my wall before I had any of his record albums, but I think hearing his songs on the radio and admiring his cuteness happened at the same time.)

Anyway, really it was his music that ignited my crush in 1982 and I quickly bought all his albums and played them over and over and over again.

Even today his large catalog of music, spanning five decades and covering many different styles of music, still amazes me. I still don’t know if I’ve heard them all.  (For more on this, read “Five decades of Rick Springfield” or check out the detailed list on the fan site Rick Springfield and US.)

2. His writing: I love a catchy tune as much as the next person, but the lyrics in the song are what connects me to songs and RS writes great lyrics. Sometimes even after hearing a song multiple times, I still catch something new that I hadn’t noticed before. For instance, I recently listened to “The Man That Never Was” off the “Sound City” CD and was curious about the “Major Martin” line. I Googled it and discovered the historical reference behind it.

Then there’s his prose. His best-selling memoir “Late Late at Night” was hilarious, touching, interesting and I really enjoyed it – both reading it and listening to him read the audiobook. His best-selling “Magnificent Vibration” was quite a story, too, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. (For more on his books, see these posts: “My evenings with Rick Springfield” and “Magnificent Vibration from a fan’s point of view.”)

3. His passion: His passion for music, acting and his family and friends is so inspiring to me. To be able to spend your life doing something you love is a huge blessing and I admire people who are able to do that. While other longtime celebrities seek the spotlight by appearing on reality shows, RS has stayed away from that and instead continues to pursue his passion of music and acting (and guest starring on popular shows like “Californication,” “True Detective” and “Supernatural” is a great way of reaching a new audience  while still keeping your personal life private – something that’s more difficult to do on a reality show). Because his focus is on creating music, writing, touring and acting – and less on the self-promotion so prevalent in today’s social media society – he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, unfortunately.

Plus, passion is contagious and learning about his life and the ups and downs of his career has also been very inspiring to me. (See “Blogging to inspiration.”) Plus he has such a great sense of humor and seems really down to earth.

4. His compassion: Although I don’t know RS personally, he just seems like a really good guy. He’s so good to his fans and really seems to appreciate them. Although he has that cool rock star persona, he also has shown his sensitive side many times (in interviews) and well, I’m just a sucker for that I guess (and he is cute and funny). Plus he seems to do a lot of benefit concerts, cares a great deal about dogs and other animals, brings kids on stage and sings with them (including two of my sons, an experience I’ll always treasure)  and is very concerned about the future of the earth and it’s nice when people care about things other than themselves.

5. His candidness: In his memoir, and in interviews since the book’s release, he’s shared his struggles with depression and by doing so, has given so many people hope in their own lives. And yes, he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life – haven’t we all – and the fact that he publicized them in his book and strives to improve himself and do the right thing now, makes me respect him a great deal.

To me personally, after I’ve learned about his experiences as a child and his struggles in school and with depression, it has given me insight into my own child’s struggles with ADHD and has helped me become a more understanding parent. (My son recently started writing songs that help him deal with things – one is an instrumental on keyboard called “The Sad Song” and the other one is “I Hate Homework.” He also wants to be an actor. Hmmm…)

(To read stories from fans about the impact RS has made on their life, check out the fan site We Love Rick Springfield.)

Anyway, these are five of the reasons why I ❤ Rick Springfield. What about you?

Crushed

I’ve experienced a few crushes over the course of my lifetime. If I had to chart them on a graph of my life, they would start showing up around third grade, gradually increase then surge in junior high, both due to boys at my school that I would never actually talk to and those featured on the pages of Teen Beat and 16 Magazine (primarily of RS, as you may have guessed, but others, too).

They’d remain steady through high school and then once I hit college, the crushes decreased a bit. By then I would often start dating them and once you start dating a crush, they usually lose their crush status because at that point, the idealized view fades as you get to know them as a real person. (It’s difficult for crushes to live up to those idealized views because they are of course real people with faults and things that may drive you crazy if you have to actually spend time with them.)

If you’re lucky, you find somebody who you still feel strongly about even after the idealized view wanes.

But still, sometimes it’s fun to have a crush and just feel like a 15-year-old again with those intense feelings. And if it’s somebody that you’ll likely never actually meet (and if you do, you’d be too nervous to actually form a coherent sentence anyway), you don’t have to worry about any of the conflicts that may arise.

Crushes can also make you a little crazy sometimes, because they’re usually unrequited so for fun, I dug a little into my inner crazy to write this song: “Crushed.”

(Click here for lyrics.)

Official ‘Down’ video and interview beforehand

Happy Monday to you!

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(Update: Video posted on YouTube June 21.)

And click here for the interview in his home studio that happened right before it.

Some thoughts:

Now that I know RS and the band are traveling by bus for this tour, I won’t have to keep an eye out on at the airport when I’m flying next month. Not that I was going to be in the same city at the same time as the tour dates, but that hasn’t stopped me before.

In the interview, RS says he’ll play for free and will only ask that travel expenses be paid. OK, fellow Arizona RS fans – let’s pool our funds for a private show! Let’s discuss at the Phoenix show next month… 😉

Cool video – great use of drones! And the concept goes so well with the idea of “Down,” looking down at the band and the water and the cliffs. Clever and oh so purty.

About that country twang

The reviews are coming in for “Rocket Science.” One from Real Gone isn’t too thrilled with the country twang, but says that “while the country elements are, at first, perhaps, a little disorienting, at least eight of the thirteen tracks are of a great standard with some pretty infectious hooks.” And on myglobalmind.com, the reviewer says he doesn’t hate it  and that “it’s actually pretty good even with the twang.” And on Uber Rock, the reviewer gave it a great review, calling it “Manna from Heaven for record label bosses; equally at home in the record collections of melodic rock obsessives, the car stereos of soccer moms, and the charts devoted to modern country pop rock.”

I’ve never been a big fan of country music, although I did watch a marathon of the show “Nashville” a few weekends ago and enjoyed the music so maybe either country music is changing or my musical tastes are expanding? In either case, I’m still trying to keep an open mind about “Rocket Science.”

But one thing for sure, I respect that RS is trying new sounds. He’s been making music for so many years and he’s certainly entitled to try different types of music. In fact, he has already tried quite a variety of sounds. How about a little “Hooky Joe”?

That’s a pretty different sound than this:

At his shows, RS plays blues songs and surf songs and even performs his “Working Class Dog” song “Inside Sylvia” on a smartphone with a guitar app. His talent spreads across all mediums. And what I’m most looking forward to is hearing his new songs and lyrics, even with a country twang. I hope that “Rocket Science” is extremely successful and maybe it will even lead to a performance at the country music awards show rather than him playing his guitar outside on the street.

And if I never get used to the country sound, then there’s always the hope that he’ll play acoustic versions of these new songs at future acoustic shows or rockier versions at his full-band shows when the band doesn’t want to schlep the violins, banjos and mandolins on the tour.

 

Enduring lyrics

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently ordered the “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” – which includes five of his CDs, all albums I had back in the 1980s. Some of the songs I haven’t heard in decades, yet I found myself still singing along. If only my brain retained some other information besides song lyrics from my school days, I’d probably be in better shape today…

Anyway, I’ve been listening to the CDs in the car, singing along, and realized today that one of the (many) reasons why Rick Springfield has such longtime fans is because his songs really stand up through time. He was in his 30s when these albums came out (for four of them) and although many of us may have related to some of these lyrics when we were 13, now that we’re on the other side of our 30s, they resonate much more, based on our life experiences.

While some of the music production may seem outdated in a few songs, his lyrics have so much depth and meaning. I think that’s why his solo “Stripped Down” show is so popular – you are hearing the essence of his songs: just RS playing guitar and singing his lyrics.

(Read the post about the “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” here.)

RS: Let Me In

First thing this morning there was a notification from Spotify in my inbox letting me know that “Let Me In” was now available. Waiting for the launch of “Rocket Science” has been much easier than I anticipated because every few days there seems to be another treat available to help pass the time until its debut on Feb. 19.

Of course I had to listen to it right away and noticed the strong Country vibe. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Country is, um, not my favorite kind of music so at first I was worried I wouldn’t like it. But once I got past the intro, I LOVED it and think it’s my favorite song so far on “Rocket Science.”

Toward the end of the song, my second thought was that RS must be in a happier state of mind these days than when he originally did the song because the repeating lines at the end are different than the original one. “I don’t think the girl’s in love” is now “I sure hope this girl’s in love.” (The We Love Rick Springfield fan site has posted the new lyrics here and the lyrics for the older version, the demo that was one of the bonus tracks of “Songs for the End of the World,” are here.)

Sure enough, later in the day, Billboard tweeted an article that starts out, “Rick Springfield calls his upcoming disc, Rocket Science, “probably the most positive album I’ve ever written.”

“I was just wanting to change my attitude,” Springfield tells Billboard. “Pissing and moaning about something and dooms-daying is not gonna help anything. I’ve always been a big one to do that, pissing and moaning. So I wanted to have some solutions for once rather than just moaning. I’ve been having a better mindset lately and focused on different things. I’m always fighting the depression — that’s taught for me — but the way I deal with that mainly is just to write, and feeling that I’m doing something creative really helps my mood.”

That said, “Let Me In” — the first song Springfield wrote for Rocket Science, which comes out Feb. 19 — was drawn from darker circumstances in his life. “I was having issues with my primary relationship, and it came out of that,” explains Springfield, who’s been married to wife Barbara since 1984. “The best songs come from a moment of truth for me, and that was an issue I was having a really tough time with, so it came from that. I’m very guilty of creating conflict to get the emotions stirred up and be able to write. There’s deeper stuff in conflict; That’s the only time you stop and think is when things aren’t going well. When things are going well you’re kind of full steam ahead, and I don’t really write much when I’m happy.”

I think this is why I like this song so much – the honesty behind it and how it illustrates the ups and downs of a long-term relationship. The Billboard article also mentions his upcoming film, “Traces” and that he’s still working on the sequel to “Magnificent Vibration.” And that he’s working on ideas for a TV series as well. So many good things to look forward to!

And here are the new “Let Me In” videos: the official audio from “Rocket Science,” an acoustic version (filmed in his home studio) and a video about the making of “Let Me In.”

RS: Concrete Heart

Sometimes it seems like Google has all the answers to the mysteries in the universe.

Here’s what I found today:

Is this the original version of (I Wish I Had A) Concrete Heart?

Recap to RS’s RS:

1. Light This Party Up: single released
2. Down: played live in concert, recorded version after the lights go on at the concert (Written in the middle of an ice storm on a stranded tour bus’with Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus)
3. That One: Still a mystery
4. The Best Damn Thing: Still a mystery
5. Miss Mayhem: a “blues-infused rocker,” on which he collaborated with indie artist Tad Kubler of the band The Hold Steady.
6. Pay It Forward: Still a mystery
7. Found: Still a mystery
8. Crowded Solitude: Still a mystery
9. Let Me In: a “sensitive ballad” that was a bonus track on “Songs for the End of the World”
10. All Hands on Deck: “anthemic”
11. We Connect: A few lyrics are in an article on MelodicRock.com.
12. (I Wish I Had A) Concrete Heart: See above
13. Earth to Angel: Still a mystery

Bonus track on MP3: Beautiful Inside: Still a mystery

On a side note, for the first time in more than 12 years, I played one of my songs out in public tonight, at an open-mic type of program – two mics, actually, one for me and one for my guitar. Since it’s Hanukkah, I played “Shine Your Light.” Although I was kind of dreading it – I’m more of a “behind-the-scenes” kind of person – I was glad I did it. Would this had ever happened if I didn’t come across that Rick Springfield interview on PBS last year? I don’t know.