‘The Wall Will Fall’ on May 8

The first episode of “Rick Springfield & Vince DeGeneres Present the Mini Series: The 60-Second Guide to Songwriting with a Partner” was posted April 1 and now, after about five weeks of entertaining videos, the new song and video will make it’s way out into the world this Friday, May 8.

Here’s a look at the development of “The Wall Will Fall.” To watch the videos on Instagram, click on each episode number. The descriptions are provided to help navigate the episodes if you’re looking to watch a specific one, but I tried not to give any spoilers away (or comment on any misinformation that may be contained within that was provided in the name of comedic relief.)

Episode One

The concept of this mini-series, later called the “World’s Most Ultimate Greatest-Ever Not-so-Mini-Miniseries,” was that Vance DeGeneres and Rick Springfield would each get 30 seconds per video to work on the collaborative song. In this world premiere, Vance starts playing a few notes and then his timer rings. RS gets a little distracted with his guitar pics and shows us a guitar with his dog Bindi on it. Once he repeats what Vance played, his timer rings.

Not only does the series kick off on this day, but RS also announces that he will be holding Zoom happy hours every Sunday during the quarantine and fans are invited to send an email with their questions for a chance to be selected for the happy hour each week.

It’s a good day, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

Episode Two: The Red Scarf

The episode starts again with Vance and his dog. He plays a few more notes then runs out of time again. RS, wearing a long, red scarf, points out Vance’s guitar and feels like he he needs to step it up a bit by selecting a sparkly red guitar to play with.

Episode Three: The Drum Machine

The boys start to get a little competitive and Vance moves from in front of his bar to in front of some tall sparkly amps. RS has written the pre-chorus and makes some changes to the chords. Already at this point the song is getting catchy. RS pulls out his signed Les Paul guitar, tunes it, demonstrates his drum machine. On April 4, RS releases “No Human Touch.”

Episode Four: Signature Notes

The musical instrument competition continues and RS shows off his signed Paul McCartney bass and Vance tries to compete with some special “signed” pieces from his instrument collection, too.

Episode Five: A New Vision

RS tries to refocus on the song and moves to his Karma keyboard to take the song in a different direction. He introduces the “sing-along” idea for the end of the song, conveying a message that in the light of the coronavirus scenario that we’re all currently facing, we all have to take care of each other.

Episode Six: Subliminal Messages

Vance introduces the lyrics for the first verse. Richard Marx offers to help with the bridge. RS plays the pre-chorus. The boys reconcile their tiff and agree to focus on the song but each add subliminal messages in the video.

Episode Seven: Studio Tour

Vance shares lyrics for the chorus. The first special guest is announced – Vance’s sister Ellen asks whether RS is writing on a boat because of the nautical theme of the studio. We get a little tour of his Black Lagoon home studio and learn about his passion for “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and for submarines. RS makes some changes to the chorus and it’s the first time we hear the words “The Wall Will Fall.”

Episode Eight: Sammy Hagar and HG Wells

Vance shares the lyrics for the second verse and admits to Sammy Hagar that his guitar signed by “John, Paul, Ringo and Greg” was forged. RS repeatedly listens to the confession and then points out that the HG Wells cut-out behind him was not fake, that it is actually the cut-out from the cover of The Beatles “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. Then he admits that he’s gotten away from the vibe of the song and redirects himself to playing the whole song up to this point. It’s sounding great!

Episode Nine: Rock On

This episode of the “songwriting extravaganza” starts with Vance sitting behind a drum kit and the talk focuses on drums, including RS sharing his findings after conducting historical and musical research. Features Paul Stanley of KISS.

Episode 10: The Bridge

Richard Marx saves the day with providing lyrics for the bridge as RS is recovering from a virtual happy hour.

Episode 11: A Masked Vistor from Planet Claire

Vance plays a short holiday song at the request of Fred Schneider from the B-52s. (Presumably – he’s wearing a mask so it’s hard to tell for sure.) RS shares a Father’s Day song and starts talking about the recording process.

Episode 12: Full Version of ”The Wall Will Fall’

Creed from “The Office” and The Grass Roots drops in to offer some advice. RS confesses that he’s run out of clean clothes. He shows a video of himself playing the finished song (with clothes on). SO good! Whoo-hoo! On April 18, RS releases “Glove Somebody.”

Episode 13: Bring Us all Together in the Face of the Plague

Vance dresses up and RS finds some clothes. Gregg Bissonette gets clarity about the vibe of the song so he can find the right drum beat.

Episode 14: Time to Record

It’s time to start recording the song! Matty Spindel, RS’s sound engineer, comes to the Black Lagoon to record RS playing guitar and keyboard and singing, doing what he does so well. Andy Cohen makes a video guest appearance.

Episode 15 Drum Day

Gregg Bissonette, who performs with Ringo Starr, tracks his drums via a Zoom session with RS and Matty and we get to hear some drum terminology. The song is really coming together!

Episode 16 All About the Bass (and dogs)

Each episode starts with Vance’s dog Taters, so this time RS brings Bindi to the session. Matt Bissonette, Gregg’s brother and Elton John’s bass player, also brings his dog, Buddy (whose bark was featured in the “Rocket Science” song “Miss Mayhem“), to the session.

Episode 17 Guitar Day

This episode features the amazing guitarist Tim Pierce, who used to tour with RS back in the 1980s and plays on additional projects (such as on “The Snake King.”) Tim also featured a behind-the-scenes look at “The Wall Will Fall” on his YouTube channel. We learn what RS likes to wear when he goes to Disneyland so now we know to be on the lookout for tall, thin guys in Indiana Jones hats once Disneyland reopens.

Episode 18 Time for Keyboards

We catch RS in a meditation session before he introduces Tim Gross, his current keyboardist. So nice to see him! Since RS fans saw so much of his current band back in those times when they were touring, it’s like seeing an old friend (an old friend who has no idea who you are). Hope they are all doing well.

Episode 19 Puppet Show and More Keyboards

Nearly a month into the series, and after many weeks of staying at home, the boys bring in some joke-telling puppets. Brett Tuggle, who toured with RS in the 1980s and many others since, adds more keyboards.

Episode 20 Slide Guitar

RS shares some history – or alternative history – about a variety of things. There is some real history here as well though. Tim Pierce and RS each play some slide guitar.

Episode 21 Sneak Preview of Video

Vance shares some sketches of the video for “The Wall Will Fall.” RS is not impressed. The recording of the song is finished! We hear an extremely short snippet of the song and learn that all the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America.

Episode 22 The Masked Man

Vance challenges RS with a video of a man wearing a mask and RS has to figure out what the man is saying.

Episode 23 Taking Calls

Vance and RS open the phone lines to take quesitons from callers.

Episode 24 Bar Chords, Ray-guns and Tootsie Pops

We learn that the song and video will be released on Friday, May 8. Screenwriter Alan Zweibel has some questions. RS answers questions about his ray-guns (they are to be used only on aliens) and how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. We also learn a little more about the video.

Episode 25 Grumpy Guy and the Silent H

Vance offers to trade RS a bottle of his Vance Vodka for a bottle of Beach Bar Rum. Alan Zweibel is back again, this time with crossed arms.

Episode 26 A 14,000-foot Pasta Noodle

Vance answers more questions, including another one from Alan Zweibel. Guy Fieri drops in to inquire what type of food their song would be.

Episode 27: The Day Before the Big Day

And now here we are, the day before the day “The Wall will Fall” is released. We’ve watched these videos for more than a month and they’ve brought so much joy to so many people. Everyone in the middle of a pandemic should be so lucky to have such a fun distraction each day.

Thank you to RS and Vance for the “Ultimate Miniseries: The Guide to Songwriting With a Partner!” Looking forward to hearing the song and seeing the video. Hopefully it will help feed lots of people!

UPDATE THE NEXT DAY

To keep all the episodes in one place, here’s the last one, which includes the video:

Episode 28: The Wall Will Fall

The big day! Vance pours a celebratory glass of his Vance Vodka and RS wears his celebratory glasses and takes a sip of Rick’s Risky Rye Whiskey. (Sounds like he may have been better off celebrating with Beach Bar Rum.) The video is awesome and the song reached #1 on iTunes the same day. Noise11.com published an article on many of the people featured in the video so if you’re playing that game, here’s the article: “Rick Springfield and his famous friends give ‘The Wall Will Fall” for charity.

UPDATE A FEW DAYS LATER

One more!

Episode 29: Epilogue

After RS and Vance take a little break, they may do another songwriting series!

‘The Wall Will Fall,’ ‘World on Fire’ and ‘Comic Book Heroes’

Although Rick Springfield fans are no longer getting their RS fixes in the pre-pandemic way (aka lots of concerts and videos posted by fans who attend those concerts), RS is providing plenty of entertainment in other ways.

In addition to the “No Human Touch” parody mentioned in the last post, there’s also the new “Glove Somebody” featuring a mix of old and current band members and two dogs.

There has also been seven versions of the instructional videos on how to play “Jessie’s Girl” in 60 seconds but despite his best efforts, we still don’t know. (So far his efforts have been sidelined by an “earthquake,” a “fire” and “technical difficulties.”)

The songwriting with a partner mini-series with Vance DeGeneres is having a bit more success though, as the song is really coming along nicely. Plus the videos are hilarious. The nice part is about being at home all the time is that I can stop everything to watch them as soon as I notice that they’re posted and they always make me laugh.

The videos have featured several guests and according to a new article on the Rock Cellar magazine website, the plan is to eventually release the song, currently called “The Wall Will Fall,” and donate any funds raised to a COVID-19 charity.

Can we spend a few minutes unpacking that new article? There’s so much good stuff in there!

  • The final edit of “World on Fire,” the sequel to “Magnificent Vibration,” is in progress and it’s “about a plague and how the Earth brings it to the people to try and save herself.” (He’s been working on it for three years and it’s going through its final edit when there’s an actual global plague. Pretty weird, especially when there are stories about how Los Angeles now has blue skies because there’s less pollution now that there’s not so much traffic and Venice canals are the cleanest they ever were, etc., which probably makes the Earth happy.)
  • More details on the HG Wells cutout from the Beatles Sgt. Pepper cover. (Which answers my question from a past blog post.)
  • He’s been working on acoustic guitar versions of “Comic Book Heroes” songs. He’s played a few on his fan club site, but I didn’t realize he was planning on playing all of them and will eventually do something more with them. Yay! “Comic Book Heroes” is my favorite of his older albums and I can’t wait to hear “Born Out of Time.” (My favorite on the album is “Believe in Me” and “Born Out of Time” is my second favorite and I remember my 12-year-old self feeling that way about RS because of our 20-year age difference. 😁)
  • The fact that he’s been playing a lot more piano these days. (For some pre-quarantine videos of this, see this post, “Sing us a song, piano man.”) Right after he mentions in the article that he’s been playing the piano a lot more these days, he mentions that his next album “is going to be quite different from the others.” Hmmm… He’s done rock, country-twinged, blues and symphony orchestra albums, will the next one be piano ballads?
  • On Saturday, April 25, he will perform in #AllTogetherNowLA, an online concert by Rock Cellar Productions, in association with @get2gethernow. The concert will be a relief effort to benefit L.A. residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Visit alltogethernowla.org for details.)

(He also performed last weekend at the Human to Human event.)

He sure knows how to brighten someone’s day!

Quarantine entertainment

Well, lots has changed since my last post on this blog. The world is completely different than it was a month ago. Any optimism and promise present at the beginning of 2020 has pretty much disappeared. As one Facebook post said, “Can we uninstall 2020 and install it again? This version has a virus.”

All that’s left to do at this point is deal with this new reality and adjust to it. Hope you all are in a safe place where you can stay home with loved ones and stay healthy.

Although the situation feels bleak, there are fortunately many people who are still committed to spreading love and joy. There are many stories of generosity and heroism and many examples of people continuing to share their light with the world. All of this is so appreciated and so needed right now.

If you follow Rick Springfield on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen what he’s been up to since so many of his shows have been cancelled. Fortunately he must be getting a little bored because he’s posted several humorous videos, including a remake of his hit song “Human Touch.”

He has also posted a series of videos that have a premise that he’s going to teach viewers how to play “Jessie’s Girl” but he gets a little distracted in each one.

These have been welcome breaks of joy in days of working at home while trying to monitor three kids who are in the midst of remote learning and I’m sure they bring joy to many others who are in much worse situations. (Plus it’s fun to see different rooms in his house.)

(Funny side note: There was a Facebook post on my newsfeed today that said that the song that was #1 on your 12th birthday is your quarantine song. “Jessie’s Girl” was the #1 song on my 12th birthday.)

He also had a Zoom chat with his buddy Richard Marx , who is hosting an online interview show, #socialdistancing, from his house.

But wait, there’s even more (and this is all in the past five days). There’s also a mini songwriting series with actor and comedian Vance DeGeneres. So far one has been posted, but it looks like there will be more.

Plus, a very exciting announcement was made today (and hopefully it’s not an April Fool’s joke): a Zoom Happy Half-Hour with Rick Springfield on Sunday! (Do you think it will involve some Beach Bar Rum?)

Tired of being stuck inside? Drinking alone or only with your significant other? Still talking with your significant other? Well, starting this Sunday you can have a drink and intimate chat with me and seven other RS-BFF’s. If you want to join in, just send your “I want in on this” email now to: RSHappyHour@gmail.com

Oh, and post your best questions in the comments here that you’d ask me at a happy hour and I might answer your question even if you don’t get in on this private chat! We will randomly select and invite seven fans who email to join me on a private Zoom chat this Sunday (and hopefully every Sunday until we’re out of quarantine). As soon as we’re done, we’ll post it online for everyone to view. Sound good? I’ll bring Bindi and you bring your special animal or your significant other!

See you then.

XOXO Rick

Definitely a bright spot in this quarantine! Stay healthy!

A rock star that inspires so many fans

With so many of today’s “leaders” being such poor examples of being a good human being, thank goodness for all the artists, musicians and other creatives out there who follow their passion to be a positive force in the world.

By sharing their truths with the world, they often forge a connection with their fans and give them strength. As this is a blog about Rick Springfield, naturally I will use him as an example.

Although he has made some not-so-stellar choices during his lifetime, which he seems to often beat himself up over, he has, through sharing and baring his soul, brought strength to so many. Through his songs, his autobiography and in interviews, he divulges more than the average human being would about his negative actions and by doing so, brings solace to others who may have found themselves in similar situations.

Not only that, but he also seems to inspire creativity in others.

For instance, he recently posted a video based on “My Father’s Chair” created by a film student.

Oftentimes, fans will post artwork they painted or drew of RS and one artist wrote a post about a chalk drawing she drew in tribute to RS’s birthday: “My many muses: Rick Springfield 2016” and a follow-up post: Back to the drawing board: Rick Springfield.

Then of course on YouTube there are several covers of his songs – mainly “Jessie’s Girl,” but here are some others that seem to exist not because the musicians are in an ’80s cover band, but because they’re RS fans :

From lespaulfanofsparta on YouTube:

And this cool father-daughter “Jessie’s Girl” cover, courtesy of Krizten Centino’s YouTube channel:

“Love is Alright Tonight” from posturex1:

There are several others if you’re interested in searching “Rick Springfield covers on YouTube.”

Obviously, he’s been a big inspiration to me, which I explained in a 2015 post about a year after I started writing this blog “Blogging to inspiration.” Can you believe that it’s almost the five-year anniversary of this blog?! Since then, I’ve been on my own little songwriting journey, definitely inspired by RS.

Some people don’t get any opportunities to inspire others and others inspire others simply by doing what they love and being kind to others. So once, again, thank you RS for being a source of inspiration!

Question for RS fans: How has he inspired you?

‘Irreplaceable’

Is it weird to know the song I want to be played at my funeral?

After hearing Rick Springfield’s new song “Irreplaceable,” I almost made that request to my husband, but then decided against it because I thought it might be a little morbid and perhaps a bit presumptuous. (Although I do hope he would consider me “irreplaceable.”)

What a beautiful song. RS wrote it in memory of his mother, Eileen Louise Springthorpe, who died on Dec 21, 2016, and it is so touching and heartbreaking.

You’re irreplaceable to me, inerasable and I see
We are breakable when we fall
You’re irreplaceable in my soul
The sun will rise and morning breaks
As the world awakes without you

A master lyricist at work again. RS fans are so lucky that he decides to share his lyrics with the world. The song is on his new “Orchestrating My Life” album and is performed with a symphony orchestra.

He has said in interviews that after his mom died, he experienced certain signs that comforted him because it made it clear to him that she was still around.

Your spirit shines tonight, blazing like a neon light
Love gives me second sight, I see your signs they’re clear and bright
I’ll find you in the great unknown where angels celebrate you home
And standing at the gate, alone, I’ll be reaching for your hand

I haven’t listened to the song yet without getting tears in my eyes. (And to those familiar with the song he wrote after his dad died, “April 24, 1981,” there’s the mention of the “great unknown.”)

Yeah I miss you most of these days, at moon-rising, sun-downing
But the pain comes in these wave and tonight I’m drowning

As a mom of three sons, it also gets to me when I think of him not as a heartthrob rock star, but as someone’s son who wrote this song about his mom. And even though he is almost 70 years old, he’s still her son.
Yep, there are those tears running down my face again when I think about it.

Just as his song “My Father’s Chair” has brought comfort to so many people who have lost their dad, “Irreplaceable” will also be very meaningful to many.

It’s such a beautiful tribute to his mom and I can picture her warm smile, beaming with pride.

For lyrics, click here.

If you reach a milestone age, you may as well embrace it

This year my favorite rock star reaches a milestone age: the big 7-0. You’d never guess it by looking at his lifestyle – last year he performed more than 85 shows, guest-starred in a couple of shows and hosted an ’80s cruise. Although he’s said in recent interviews that he hopes to cut back the touring a bit and get an acting gig closer to home so he doesn’t have to travel as much, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all as he continues to write, act and perform.

As I’m reaching a milestone age this year, too, I decided that I’m going to embrace it. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 51 and died a few weeks later at 52 so in the past I always looked at the big 5-0 with a sense of trepidation. But now I just feel a sense of urgency to try things I’ve always wanted to try and if I’m fortunate enough to make it to the big 7-0, I hope I’m still going strong, too.

Yesterday I decided to check out the AARP website to see what that was about (don’t laugh, they have good articles).

2015-09-03 09.41.48

AARP Table of Contents: Aug-Sept. 2015 issue

Plus, if I’ll be eligible for some discounts soon, I want to learn more.

Anyway, there was an article about celebrities who are turning 50, 60 and 70 in 2019.

I scroll down the 50 list

Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez – 50 looks pretty good! Dave Grohl – hey, a RS connection (“Sound City”)

On the 60 list

Another RS connection – Martha Quinn (flashback to that MTV interview with the striped shirt): Look how cute they both look!

Also on the 60 list: Marie Osmond. Yet another RS connection!

Linda Blair is also turning 60 this year – she and RS have a long history together that continues today – her foundation for rescue dogs is usually one of the charities that RS recommends when fans want to donate money in honor of his birthday.

And then there’s the 70 list.

Steve Perry (“Don’t Stop Believing” starts playing in my head)

Billy Joel (“Sing me a song, you’re the piano man,” one of my favorite sing-along songs)

Meryl Streep (Obvious RS connection – “Ricki and the Flash”)

And then there he was:

rs 70 aarp

I KNEW he’d be on the list, but it still made my heart skip a beat when I saw it. Imagine that, me almost 50 and him almost 70 and all these years later and I still have that reaction. That’s something that would have shocked me back in 1982.

(Note, Bruce Springsteen is on the list too, which is kind of a connection, as people often get the two mixed up, which RS wrote about in his song “Bruce.”)

Let’s go back 20 years

As I’ve mentioned before, probably a few times, RS has been a huge source of inspiration to me these past few years. Primarily with my songwriting. (Two notes here: First, I’ve started a songwriting blog so I have another place to ramble about my songwriting rather than cluttering up this blog with it and second, I’m going to be performing a few of my songs at a local songwriting event this month – on the same day RS is performing at Graceland. Absolutely no connection there, but it’s still cool to me.)

Anyway, let’s go back 20 years to when RS was about to turn 50. It’s 1999 and RS is planning on releasing “Karma,” his first album since “Rock of Life” in 1988. In 1998, he had started touring again after many years (and I was there at a show in Henderson, Nevada). When Karma was released in April (I was there!) he was still 49.

Here’s 49-year-old RS on the day Karma was released. When I first met him, he was the age I am now. I just need a moment for that to sink in.

OK, I’m ready to continue.

cropped-rs4.jpg

(OK, after I wrote that and posted this pic I noticed that it says “now” in the background. Weird. I have had this picture framed in my home for almost 20 years and never noticed that before.)

Anyway, sure he had a HUGE successful career already by then, but let’s look at all his songwriting AFTER he turned 50:

2004: Shock/Denial/Anger Acceptance
2008: Venus in Overdrive
2009: Precious Little Ones (lullabies he wrote when his sons were young)
2012: Songs for the End of the World
2016: Rocket Science
2018: The Snake King

Also a best-selling autobiography and a best-selling novel. Plus lots of acting.

So the moral of the story is, even though reaching a milestone age might feel unsettling because of all it represents, you should still embrace it because not everybody gets that opportunity to be that age and as long as you’re here, there is still plenty you can do.

And now I’m going to sleep because it’s almost midnight and at my age…

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.

High school fantasies and beyond

Do the students at Santa Monica High School realize how awesome it is that they will be performing in a concert at their school tonight with Rick Springfield? I bet some of their mothers do.

Tonight is the Greg Coote Concert For The Arts, a fundraiser for the Santa Monica – Malibu Education Foundation that helps support arts programs throughout the district.

According to a recent article in the Santa Monica Daily Press,  the event has a 13-year history working with professional artists. (The event was recently renamed to honor the memory of Greg Coote, a strong supporter of the arts.)

“Students are involved in nearly every aspect of this show. On stage, student choir, orchestra, and band members play and sing with the artists,” said SMMEF Executive Director Linda Greenberg. “Backstage, student technicians assist the professionals with AV and lighting. In the audience, student ushers assist the attendees. A student also designs the concert poster. Hunter Pearson from Malibu High School designed this year’s poster.”

How incredible is that?! Tonight RS will be one of the performers, along with Terri Nunn from the band Berlin (who will also be joining RS on The ’80s Cruise next week.)

The concert will be held in Barnum Hall, a 1,200-seat theater that was built in 1937 and renovated in 2004. Many die-hard Rick Springfield fans likely attended school events in that building back in the 1980s and would have been shocked that their favorite rock star would someday be performing with the school’s students.

Apprenticeships and mentors

I’ve recently been listening to the audiobook version of “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins on the solo rides of my daily commute for school drop-off and pick-up. One chapter talks about Michelangelo’s apprenticeship under his mentor Domenico Ghirlandalo and about the idea of learning from a master in whatever field you’re interested in going into.

Naturally, listening to this story led to a daydream about studying songwriting from someone I consider a songwriting master – RS. How cool would it be to spend some time in The Black Lagoon (RS’s home studio) to watch the birth of a song? He says he wrote “The Snake King” in one weekend so maybe he could offer songwriting sessions that could culminate in recording a new song. I’ll just send that request out into the universe in the hopes of it materializing someday.

Hey, it could happen. After all, there was probably at least one student sitting in the ’80s Santa Monica High School Barnum Hall wishing she was watching her favorite rock star play on that stage.

Note from the next day: I just found out that Terri Nunn, the lead singer of Berlin who performed at the concert, is an alumna of Santa Monica High School. How cool is that?!

The aftermath of ‘The Snake King’

Rick Springfield has been busy since the release of “The Snake King” two weeks ago today. He continues his tour tonight after a few weeks of heavy-duty CD promotion. Here are some recent interviews:

On the “Steve Harvey” show:

Here’s a rather intense, in-depth, almost-an-hour-long interview with Rock Cellar TV . This great interview is by author Ken Sharp, a singer-songwriter whose most recent CD features RS on a couple of songs:

And, here he is surprising elevator riders playing in an elevator with Harry Connick, Jr.:

Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise to experience this type of elevator music as you’re headed to work? Once my husband and I rode in an elevator with Siggy (bassist in RS’s band), but that’s really the only cool elevator story I have.

RS visited the Jimmy Kimmel Show to sit in with the band. This didn’t air, but audience members got this treat and now we can see it, too, thanks to YouTube. The band members look like they’re having fun.

There were also some more great reviews, such as this one on maximumvolumemusic.com:

That all might give you the clue that this isn’t the record you might be expecting from a singer at this stage of his career. Expectations be damned it seems to say. This is very clearly a record that Springfield needed to make. And, if like me, you were only aware of Rick Springfield in the very broadest of terms before now, start here. Get yourself in the snake pit, because there is a very real possibility that “The Snake King” is the album of the year so far. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a back catalogue to check out.

A review from hardrockhaven.net says “The Snake King” is “Rick Springfield peeling back the flesh to lay bare his bones and it’s already making its claim as 2018’s best album” and is “going to surprise fans, the critics, pretty much everyone.”

How’s everybody else enjoying “The Snake King”?

I think it’s some of his best work ever and although I haven’t been listening to it on a loop as I did with “Rocket Science” because of its intensity (lately I’ve been in a mindset where I need positive, inspirational Napoleon Hill-esque input), the more I learn about the CD, the more fascinating it is, both lyrically and with his process. He has said in interviews that he basically wrote all the songs in one weekend and then spent time afterward developing them. That’s amazing talent. There are so many dynamics to it: a questioning of faith, the idea that the world has shifted into a primarily evil realm, where is G-d amidst all this evil, what are we doing to our planet, our country’s leadership, etc.

The idea that the songs seem to come from different viewpoints is an interesting one – some songs from the devil, some from a human (RS). The lyrics are incredible and although they are so intense and painful, the music is catchy and I find myself singing certain parts, primarily from “The Voodoo House” and “Blues for the Disillusioned.”

I feel like I’m using the word “intense” a lot in this post, but it’s the word that keeps coming to mind. For those fans who only connect RS to his 1970s or 1980s songs, it will be a shock to the system trying to reconcile their image of RS and what he divulges in this CD. (Though if they read “Late, Late at Night” and “Magnificent Vibration,” it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.)

Since the lyrics are so dark on “The Snake King,” that’s come up in conversation in many of these recent interviews, which has led to much discussion on depression. Specifically RS’s depression and how writing this album was a way to purge so many of those negative emotions that consume him.

It’s gotten me thinking about the flow of darkness and light in the world. There’s a lot of darkness happening with the way people treat each other and animals and the earth, yet there’s so much light, too. When the world gets darker, sometimes it propels people to be more determined to spread the light.

“The Snake King” deals with some difficult topics that may offend some fans, because religion is such a sensitive topic, but RS is an artist who deals with his troubles by writing. By sharing his depressing thoughts, he’s bringing comfort to those who may be experiencing similar feelings, thus spreading light that originated from darkness. And the album’s content is a keen observation, as there are many awful things happening right now. People attacking each other online and in person, crazy weather destroying people’s homes, wars, illness, terrorist attacks, etc. And our government keeps shutting down, that’s not a good sign.

RS could have written “The Snake King” songs then decided not to release them, but he chose to put them out there. As he says in the Ken Sharp interview, he would likely have still been writing music even if he didn’t do it as a career. Fortunately for RS fans, he still chooses to share his creations and the tour continues tonight.

When the game is done, the king and pawn go into the same wood box.

Stop everything, it’s a live feed from the Grammy Museum

What a great night!!! OK, so the kids fought a lot and the bedtime routine sucked but the evening ended with a live (Facebook livestream) Rick Springfield interview/concert at The Grammy Museum.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to whoever coordinated that live feed. It’s been about 18 months since I was at a RS concert and this was almost like being there. (I was inside the museum in November last year and looked at the door of the theater at the museum and wondered if RS would ever play there, so it’s a same place/wrong time situation).

So many thoughts rushing around in my head that I may not make any sense, but here goes:

I can’t wait to hear “The Snake King” in its entirety. Tonight he played “Little Demon,” which I’ve already listened to countless times; “Land of the Blind” which sounds great; and “The Voodoo House,” which is my favorite so far. It’s funny that he says he doesn’t really know what they’re about. Is that true? I know that when I write songs, they kind of develop as they go and there’s often not an intentional planning so I get what he’s saying about songs writing themselves, but does he really not know or does he just want people to interpret them on their own? (Or does he just not want to repeat the same story over and over again in future interviews like he does with “Jessie’s Girl”?) Here are my guesses: “Little Demon” – unrequited love (or lust). “The Voodoo House” – unrequited love (or lust) and attempting to fulfill it through use of a voodoo doll? Maybe? “Land of the Blind” – no clue, but there are some biblical references there to explore. I’m glad that there’s a lyric book available.

I love how candid he is in his interviews. Not planned and polished, just goes with it and doesn’t seem to care about what people may think about what he thinks of things. It was true in his autobiography and it continues today in interviews. In a world of Photoshop and filters, it’s refreshing to have someone be so real. And it’s not unfiltered in a mean way, like anonymous comments on an online newspaper article or a rude tweet – it’s unfiltered but in a way that makes him still seem like a good guy. Plus he has such a great sense of humor.

Little things like him dropping his guitar pick during the interview in the Pulse Studio and needing to tune his guitar tonight and during an earlier interview are endearing. I go to these song workshops where you bring a song you’re working on and you receive feedback from professional songwriters. Until recently I would bring a CD that I recorded at home because I worried that if I played it live I might forget the chords or the words or drop my guitar pic or have to tune my guitar at the last minute. But now that I’ve seen RS do all of these things – and he’s a pro – then it makes those things less of a big deal. I find the whole story of his career so inspiring, all the ups and downs and how he persevered through it all. I’m glad that his stained glass master career path idea didn’t work out.

I think listening to “Suicide Manifesto” is going to be really, really difficult, knowing that’s how he sometimes feels. I also think it will be important to listen to it to be able to understand how people who are going through depression may feel.

It was interesting to see all the comments on the live stream and to see how so many people feel connected to him. When I was reading the comments as they scrolled by, I realized once again how much about his life is imprinted in my brain. It’s still weird to me that he was such a big part of my teen life (music, concerts, teen magazine articles, posters, diary entries) then totally out of it for more than a decade, besides turning up his songs when I heard them on the radio and then nothing until 1998. Then after 2000 (after four concerts in those three years and one meet-and-greet at a record store), nothing again until 2014. Totally oblivious to all his new music, interviews, etc. for 14 years then BAM, all of a sudden I’m aware of his daily schedule. (As far as touring and promotional interviews, that is.)

How lucky are RS fans that he keeps putting out such great music and that he’s such an incredible songwriter and guitarist? It’s not the first time his songs have had dark undertones (“Misty Water Woman,” “I Hate Myself,” “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance”) – they’ve been there throughout his career. I think if “The Snake King” would have followed “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet,” it would have been more of a shock for ’80s fans, but we’re all grown-ups now. We’ve all seen examples of how devastating life can be and oftentimes creative expression comes from pain. And he has been very open about what goes on in his head. As he mentioned in interviews, taking that pain and anger and expressing it creatively is what helps him get through it. Each time he releases a new CD, he’s exposing a personal part of him to the world, just as most artists do, and I appreciate that he is able to transform those feelings into songs. I think true artists don’t create based on what they think people want, they create because it’s something they have to do. Their fans are fans because they enjoy what the artist does and they might not love everything that comes out of the creative process, but the creative process is not a service industry and shouldn’t be based on what a consumer wants.

(Click here for the video.)