Is it possible that we’re ready to emerge from our pandemic hibernation and start attending concerts again?!
It appears so, as this recently appeared on my news feed:
Pretty amazing, right?
So nice to see the announcement of a concert instead of a cancellation!
On the Macon City Auditorium website, it currently says it’s a “normal capacity” event and that “protocols for cleanliness and guidance from local and national officials will be followed at the time of the event.” Does that mean it will look like the photo in the ad or that “Human Touch” will involve RS going back into the audience? Not sure if we’re quite at that point yet, but September is still a few months away and more and more people are getting vaccines, so I suppose that’s possible. It looks like there’s also a show scheduled for June 12 in Ashland, Kentucky.
Additionally, it seems RS may be heading to Australia in the fall as well, as the Zoot reunion tour has been rescheduled from November 2020 to October 2021 and tickets are on sale for that.
The article mentions the “Party at the Beach Bar” song RS wrote (heard in this promotional video featuring fans here):
The article also talks about how they’ve been discussing residences in Las Vegas and on Catalina Island where they would perform and through big parties with a Beach Bar theme.
We’re planning a little residency in Vegas and a residency on Catalina, a place where you can set the party down and do it every weekend. Let the people come from out of town, experience a cool place like Catalina, a cool place like Vegas. Everybody knows how much fun you can have in Vegas when it opens back up.
Sammy Hagar on forbes.com
That sounds fun!
From Zoot to Zoom
Coming up this weekend is a special Zoom event for those who purchased the new Red Locusts album. (Unfortunately I won’t be there since I didn’t purchase the album since I don’t have a turntable.) It’ll feature The Red Locusts, featuring those talented blokes Paul Ramone, Scotty Skuffleton and Skippy Skuffleton, who are seen rehearsing in a recent tweet:
Still hoping that the album will be available in other formats at some point because it would be great to hear it! Here’s what the Forbes article says about the project and others, including the dark one he mentioned in a previous interview that is scheduled to come out in November.
I’ve recorded two anonymous albums. One with a band I put together with Gregg Bissonette and Matt Bissonette. It’s very Beatle-driven, very pop, ’60s British Invasion. And I did another one, very dark, dark, dark album with a friend of mine in Australia about Day Of The Dead and then I’m writing my own stuff.
Rick Springfield, forbes.com
So there are a few things to look forward, too, in addition to his weekly stint as the Working Class DJ on SiriusXM, which are fun to listen to.
To anyone going to the Zoom event – have fun! I’ve received my two vaccine doses so I’ll be here waiting for an announcement of a local concert!
Have you heard about the new band The Red Locusts?
Apparently Rick Springfield has been sending copies of their album (literally an album – on red vinyl) to some of his friends, who say the singer sounds remarkably like him. Yet he denies it and instead says it’s a musician named Paul Ramone (who looks remarkably like RS, if you were to take away his mustache and Indiana Jones hat).
The other member of The Red Locusts is Scotty Skuffleton (any relation to “Skippy Skuffleton“? Hmmmm…)
Mark Goodman (former MTV VJ now on SiriusXM), who has listened to Rick Springfield songs for decades now, also insists that The Red Locusts singer sounds a lot like RS. (Watch that here.)
Even RS’s dog Bindi and Matt Bissonette’s dog Buddy joined the conversation. (See that here.)
RS, who appears to be the official spokesman for “Paul Ramone,” shares some information about the new band and album here. (On a side note, did you know that Paul McCartney used the name Paul Ramon as a pseudonym during a 1960s tour? Totally random fact and probably just a coincidence, right?)
This clear, red vinyl edition of The Red Locusts is sure to be a rare collector’s edition. Only 1,000 are available for this limited pressing and no more will be available. Each vinyl record comes with a certificate of authenticity hand-signed and numbered by Mr. Paul Ramone and Mr. Scotty Skuffleton. Shipping will be 5-7 days from order placement.
The cost for the red vinyl album is $139.00 (plus shipping).
A pending arrival of red locusts may not sound like a good thing if you’re referring to the large grasshopper species in Africa, but when you’re waiting to hear music from the new musical group The Red Locusts, the pending arrival is a very good thing.
Based on a recent post by Rick Springfield, it looks like we may be hearing music by The Red Locusts very soon.
Got it? A swarm of red locusts could mean a plague is upon us and that’s not good, but music from The Red Locusts in the middle of a pandemic is very good.
Now that that’s clear, I guess all there is left to do is wait to see how soon the “soon” is before we get to hear this new music.
Although it’s been nearly a year since Rick Springfield has been on tour, he’s been keeping busy in other ways. Like, lots of other ways. For instance, this week alone, there have been interviews about his new book “World on Fire,” the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog,” this weekend’s premiere of the “Orchestrating My Life” documentary, the filming of Jay Leno’s car show, a DJ gig, a special delivery of roses to a fan and an interview with an Australian station (which also featured his Australian accent…)
Through these interviews, we’ve learned about a new album by The Red Locusts, more stories about RS’s childhood and his desire to move back to Australia. He also talks about the importance of music in schools and how music saved him (and he often disses math, which my teenager 100% appreciates).
It’s so funny that so many interviewers will say things like “If my 10-year-old self would have known that I would be interviewing Rick Springfield….” Yep, he has lots of longtime fans! Here’s a recap of this week (at least what I know about)…
This weekend is the big premiere of the “Orchestrating My Life” documentary (A pay-per-view Valentine’s Day concert) that he performs with his band and students from the Santa Monica High School Orchestra. Here’s a great interview with Jodi Swenson, the director of the orchestra, and one of the students who performed in the show.
I feel like I experienced the end of the world this week. Any opportunity I had – whether it be in the car (after I dropped off the kids at school), washing dishes, folding laundry – I listened to Rick Springfield’s newest novel, “World on Fire.”
I admit that I started the book only because it was written by my favorite rock star and I enjoy his writing style – it’s not the genre that I would typically choose. In the first hour of the 10-hour book, I was still adjusting to the storyline and dark nature of the book, which is different than books I’ve been reading lately. By the second hour or so, I was hooked. He’s a great storyteller and within the dark, depressing, graphic details of the pandemic, there are laugh-out-loud moments (as odd as that may sound).
The mix of history, religion, humor, human nature and pop culture swirl around together throughout the book and through the main character’s ADD, you kind of get a sense of the sort of things that go through RS’s mind. RS fans may recall snippets from various interviews and social media posts as different topics pop up throughout the storyline – dogs, the Titanic, sci-fi books and films and happy childhood memories.
I don’t want to give any spoilers away, as it just came out Jan. 28 so fans may not have had a chance to listen to it yet, but it dominated my week so I just wanted to recommend it here. Here’s the publisher’s summary of the book on Audible:
“World on Fire” picks up where Magnificent Vibration left off: with the hapless Bobby Cotton and his beloved bride (and former nun), Alice, having unleashed a global pandemic that’s fast wiping out half the world’s population – and at God’s request.
Bobby guides a very pregnant Alice and a motley crew of survivors to the Holy Land, darting through the hazards of a world that has fallen to pieces in a way more thorough than any we have seen.
But Bobby’s newborn daughter is born with astonishing abilities, and she’s not alone. A miraculous Convergence is headed for Galilee, where the stakes include survival of the Earth as we know it and the human race.
By turns hilarious and deadly serious, “World on Fire” explores the fate of the Earth in an utterly original way.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the audiobook format because there’s nothing like finding a comfortable spot and getting lost in a great, physical book, but for “World on Fire,” I really enjoyed the audio version – not just because RS was reading it, but because he brought the dialogue to life with different voice and sound effects. For now it’s available exclusively on Audible (they’re having a free trial if you don’t have it yet) but perhaps it will be available in hard copy in the future as well. I couldn’t wait.
One of the benefits of an audiobook is that you can listen to it while you’re doing other things so you don’t have to feel guilty because you’re not feeding the kids or getting things done around the house because you’re devoting so much time to reading a book. You can listen to it while you cook, while you clean and while you’re driving. (My life really isn’t that boring, although it probably sounds like it from that sentence. Although of course we are mainly at home these days due to the real-life pandemic so there’s more cooking and cleaning than usual.)
The book has been in progress for about six years (“Magnificent Vibration” came out in 2014 and this is the sequel to that), so it’s pretty bizarre that he recorded it and released it during a real pandemic. If 2020 had gone as originally planned, RS would have been busy touring around the country so who knows how that would have affected the book’s timeline. Would it still have come out on audio only or would a book tour have also been scheduled? No way of knowing of course since we’ve already shifted realities and we don’t know what other possibilities would have existed.
One thing about the book that was mind-blowing to me personally was the wide ground it covered and the connection it had with different parts of my life. The RS compartment of my life is typically connected to my younger self and my music-loving/songwriting self but not really with my faith, except for his spiritual-seeking side in a general way. However, because much of the storyline takes place in Israel – a place I’ve visited and where I have family – it felt much more personal. It was surreal to discover that the “Wailing Wall” is mentioned in one of the chapter titles, that one of the main settings in the book is a museum in Israel (The Yigal Allon Centre) that I’ve visited and that he throws in some Hebrew and Yiddish words and expressions. It was a reminder that we actually do inhabit the same planet.
So many of the pop culture references mentioned also made me feel this way – that we’re all here on this planet and the idea that so many of the things we take for granted could disappear hit home more than I think it would have had we not been experiencing a real pandemic. Restaurant buffets, shopping without a face mask, attending a concert, enjoying a multigenerational holiday meal – all things that before 2020 were a given. Hopefully with the vaccine here, some of these things will return soon, but the state I live in is currently one of the COVID-19 hotspots so it still feels like a long way off.
The book may not be for everyone – very few things are – but I really enjoyed inhabiting it for a few days (although I’m grateful that it’s fiction). It was dark and exposed some really negative attributes of our world, but it was also infused with humor and a hope for goodness.
This has been quite a busy week and there’s lots to share so I thought I’d include them all in one post.
On the top of the list is the release of “World on Fire,” Rick Springfield’s sequel to “Magnificent Vibration.” He wrote his first published work of fiction over a four-month period (according to an article in my local paper back in 2014) and at that time already started the sequel. Now here we are six years later and the sequel is now here! In an alternate non-pandemic reality, we’d probably be waiting for the in-person book signings, but for now, we’ll have to make do with the Audible version. RS reading his book to us isn’t too bad though, right? (Although hopefully at some point there will be a print version and book signing meet and greets at local bookstores.)
Since it’s been awhile since I read “Magnificent Vibration,” I pulled it off the shelf for the purpose of this post and it’s pretty bizarre that the sequel is released during a pandemic because of the way the first book ends.
SPOILER ALERT RE: ‘MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION’
At the end of the book, one of the main characters announces that she received a message from an Earth spirit saying that in order to save the planet, she has been given a virus that “will kill half the world in six months.” I won’t go into too many details here, so I don’t create any spoilers for the new book, which I plan to listen to soon, but basically she is a carrier and the virus “will flow from me with every breath I exhale, and it will grow exponentially through airborne contagion.”
RS has said in recent interviews that you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand the second one. In fact you don’t even have to read at all, he said in a recent interview, since it’s an audiobook and he reads it to you.
This week there was a wonderful interview by SiriusXM’s Lori Majewski who spoke to Rick Springfield and director PJ Wolff about the making of the concert film “Orchestrating My Life,” which is being released as a pay-per-view screening on Feb. 14. It’s always so cool to see a fan interview RS because the questions are so good and you get to skip any obvious ones (like ‘Is there a real Jessie’s Girl’?). She’s been a RS fan for 40 years, she recently said on Twitter so she GETS it and asks questions that others wouldn’t know to ask. We so appreciate it, Lori!
Watch the interview here:
To learn more about the pay-per view packages, which include a dozen “Rick Roses” that you can smash against a guitar in your very own living room during the screening, visit rickspringfield.com. There are also some “Orchestrating My Life” DVD and CD packages at rickspringfield.org.
40th anniversary of ‘Working Class Dog’
RS also visited “Good Morning America” this week (and by “visited,” I mean virtually of course) to speak about the 40th anniversary of “Working Class Dog” and sang an acoustic version of “Jessie’s Girl.”
Another Sirius interview about a variety of things
There was also an awesome interview on SiriusXM Volume “Debateable” with Mark Goodman and Alan Light. Unfortunately I can’t share it here since it’s subscription access only (but they do have free trials…) They talked about the “Orchestrating My Life” film, “World on Fire,” Beach Bar Rum (a pineapple flavor is coming soon, as well as a “Jessie’s Girl” drink) and Bindi and joke about the amount of work he’s been doing in the midst of a lockdown. They also covered his commitment to music in school (The “Orchestrating My Life” film features the Santa Monica High School orchestra) and took questions from the audience that covered his album “Tao,” his dad’s influence on his life, his love of writing and reading, guitars, how great his band is and how much he misses performing live.
He also discussed his childhood dream of being a DJ (now realized on SiriusXM’s Working Class DJ show), a couple of anonymous projects that he couldn’t really talk about, but one is coming in November that is darker than “The Snake King” and he also advised a caller to keep his eyes and ears open for a “great new band called the Red Locusts” coming out on red vinyl and cassettes…
They are both great interviewers familiar with RS’s career so that was fun. (As you may know, Mark Goodman is one of the original MTV VJs and has been on RS fan trips so they go back a long way.)
Anyhow, I think that’s about it – at least for right now. Have a great weekend!
Now that concerts are postponed until who knows when, wouldn’t it be nice if there was another way to get a regular Rick Springfield fix? Guess what, now there is!
Beginning tonight, RS will host a new show on Sirius XM – on the ’80s on 8 channel (Channel 8). His show, “Working Class DJ with Rick Springfield” starts at 8 p.m. EST tonight (Friday, Jan. 22). During the weekly show, he will play eight songs that correspond to a theme of his choice. The series kicks off with “Rad Aussie Hits,” highlighting artists from his home country, Australia, according to SiriusXM. Next week’s theme is “’80s Songs that Saw the Future.” (Will “Human Touch” be included in that episode?!)
The episodes will replay Saturday-Tuesday. (Find times here.)
Some cool things to consider
Here are some fun things to think about in connection to this show.
RS’s album Working Class Dog (which I assume inspired the name of this show) was released on Feb. 24, 1981 so next month is the 40th anniversary of the album.
The SiriusXM ’80s on 8 Channel features original MTV VJS Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn.
When MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, “Jessie’s Girl,” the Grammy-winning single off “Working Class Dog” was the No. 1 song.
This mix of Rick Springfield, MTV, “Working Class Dog” and ’80s music just feels so right.
On a whim, I thought I’d check YouTube to see if any of these “anonymous” songs that RS talked about in past interviews happened to pop up recently. I haven’t had much time to keep up on RS lately so I searched if anything was posted today. Nope. How about “This Week”? YES!!
There it was: “Badfinger – Rick Springfield”: Love is Gonna Come at Last”
The remake of this Badfinger song from 1979, posted yesterday.
I was late to the game, as when I discovered it, it already had nearly 700 views and there are also a few articles that came out about it today.
Without further ado, here’s the video:
Joey Molland, who wrote the song, appears on this new version, adding bass and vocals. It’s so great hearing RS’s vocals and slide guitar. His voice sounds like it does in his older albums, which is pretty cool, considering this is an older song. If I heard it in a different context, I probably would have wondered which of his older albums it was on and why hadn’t I heard it before.
RS was quoted in several articles saying “Badfinger has always been one of my all-time favorite bands. In fact, I am often asked by journalists, ‘What is the one song you had wished you had written?’ And my answer is ‘Baby Blue.’ What a perfect song! Their music was and is immortal.”
If you’ve seen RS’s “Stripped Down” show, you probably heard him play “Baby Blue.” If not, here it is:
Isn’t it nice to finally get some good news for a change?
The world premiere of “Orchestrating My Life,” a concert film featuring Rick Springfield performing with the Santa Monica High School Orchestra, will be a streaming pay-per-view event available Feb. 14-17.
The concert features 12 songs accompanied by his band, four background vocalists and the award-winning Santa Monica High School Orchestra conducted by Wolf Kerschek. The concert was held in March 2019 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The film, directed by PJ Wolff includes “rare archival footage, interviews, and photographs from Springfield’s personal collection to weave the incredible and unexpected life story of one of rock’s most recognized and durable superstars,” according to rickspringfield.com.
Tickets for the pay-per-view are $29.99, and add-ons include an event T-shirt, roses with a personalized Valentine’s Day card from RS and a Zoom meet-and-greet (the full package is $449.99).
In case you’re not familiar with “Orchestrating My Life,” it’s a symphony version of RS’s greatest hits that was released in April 2019. Read more about it here. The album debuted as #4 on Billboard’s Classical Album chart and spent seven weeks on the chart.
I don’t think many people are sad to say goodbye to 2020. To say it’s been a harsh, turbulent, devastating year for so many people would be an understatement.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to take a few moments to share some of the brighter spots from this past year (in RS fandom) because I think we can all use some joy right now.
Zoom Happy Hours
At the beginning of the year, when there were still live, in-person concerts and in-person meet-and-greets, the idea of concerts and meet-and-greets being anything but in-person would have seemed incomprehensible. Back in a world where unmasked crowd interactions for “Human Touch” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” weren’t considered potentially life-threatening.
But midway through 2020, the RS team introduced Happy Half-Hours on Zoom, as part of a Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum promotion (the new partnership with Sammy Hagar was announced earlier in the year). A handful of fans were selected each week to hop on a Zoom call with RS, who graciously answered fans’ questions and transformed many back into grinning 12-year-olds (which likely would have happened to me).
Although I did send the required email to participate (perhaps a few times), I was never selected, but anytime I received a notification that the happy half-hour highlights video was shared on the RS Facebook page, I immediately stopped everything to go watch it (which wasn’t that difficult as I was home nearly every time the notification showed up on my phone…) It was fun to learn more about RS in a more relaxed setting, such as how he’s spending his time while being home so much, the different projects he was working on and his answers to so many great fan questions.
Video songwriting series, new songs
Early on in the pandemic, RS created a couple of parodies of his songs: “No Human Touch” and “Glove Somebody.” Then he did a series of pretending to teach viewers how to play “Jessie’s Girl,” where he was interrupted each time by technical difficulties or natural disasters or other emergencies.
Apparently he stole the “Jessie’s Girl” series idea from Vance DeGeneres, who called him out on that, which led to them doing the 29-episode miniseries “The 60-Second Guide to Songwriting With a Partner” that started out as a joke but then turned into a great song, “The Wall Will Fall” and all the proceeds raised went to a COVID-19 charity. It also became a cool video that included a bunch of their friends and family. (One of the RS fan Facebook pages created a version of the video that included photos and videos from RS fans, so now I can officially say that I was in a Rick Springfield video! Unfortunately the video wasn’t sharable so it exists only on that fan page, but it was really well done!)
In addition to raising funds for those affected by COVID-19, as mentioned above, RS participated in other fundraisers throughout the year, beginning in January when the Rick Springfield Merch site had a T-Shirt Fundraising Drive for Australia to raise funds for animals injured in the Australian wildfires. Additionally RS and Richard Marx held a pre-pandemic live-stream concert to raise funds for Australia fire relief.
RS participated in other fundraising efforts as well this past year. His fans also got into the action, with those behind the fan-led birthday campaign bringing it back for another year to raise funds for the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation. The campaign raised nearly $22,000 in five weeks.
Despite the pandemic, RS kept super busy. Not only with writing lots of songs and finishing up “World on Fire,” his sequel to “Magnificent Vibration,” but a few other fun surprises popped up over the past few months. He was a featured guest on “I Can See Your Voice“; appeared in the video of the “Jessie’s Girl” sequel, “Jessie’s Girl 2” by Coheed and Cambria; and did some live-stream interviews, including a Thanksgiving Virtual Town Hall with Mark Goodman on Sirius XM. He also appeared in a voting campaign video and on an episode of Richard Marx’s “#SocialDistancing” video series.
He also got to perform live on Catalina Island for Sammy Hagar’s birthday, at an outdoor sail-in concert, and an object from his collection was used in a Titanic exhibit at a museum on Catalina Island. He also played lead guitar on the song “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” by Ups and Downs. According to the the video description on YouTube, the video is a virtual tour of the band’s living rooms in different parts of Australia, with “Rick’s video filmed at a secret location in the U.S.” although to anybody who has watched all the other content listed on this post, it’s obviously his home studio.
Earlier in the year, he was also an an episode of “The Song” and there was a premiere of the documentary “Orchestrating My Life.”
Things to look forward to
In the happy half-hours, RS provided updates on his new audiobook “World on Fire” and it was officially announced that it will be released on Audible on Jan. 28, 2021. (Rumors are that it will eventually be released in a book format, too. I’ve also heard rumors that the film “Traces” is supposed to finally come out in 2021 – it was originally slated for a 2016 release – but haven’t been able to find confirmation for that yet.)
And of course there’s hope that it’ll be start being safe at some point in 2021 to have in-person concerts again. And maybe even the rescheduled last fan trip.
During the happy half-hours, RS also referred to some “anonymous” musical projects he’s been working on. Not quite sure what that means. Is it that he appeared as a featured guest on some more projects by other artists or are there songs being released on Spotify under a pseudonym and someday we’ll hear a singer that sounds like him but is listed under some other name? Hopefully 2021 will be filled with happy surprises.
To keep this in line with previous year-end posts, here’s the stats for this year, as of this posting: 8,326 views from 5,767 visitors bringing the all-time total to 57,881 hits (as if anybody is following that information).
What else did I miss from this year?
If you want to start 2021 off with RS, he’s doing a New Year’s Day live stream of his first recorded Stripped Down concert. Learn more on his site here.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and brighter 2021!
May 2021 be more “Rocket Science “and “Greg” and less “The Snake King” and “Pastor Charles.”
(Translation: “Rocket Science” has been referred to as RS’s happiest album and “The Snake King” as his darkest. “Greg” is RS’s very likable character in “Ricki and the Flash” and “Pastor Charles” was an extremely creepy, disturbing character on “American Horror Story.”)