An impressive catalog of songs (and more)

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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.

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Concert in the Round: Phoenix 8-21-18

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Something about last night’s Rick Springfield concert at the Celebrity Theatre was really special. Although I’ve seen RS live more than a dozen times (yesterday was #13), last night’s show had an incredible energy.

Maybe it was just me, after all it has been more than two years since I’ve seen a show in person, or maybe it was the venue, where the stage rotates in the middle of the audience, making it feel like a big party.

I feel like we saw a different side of RS and the band (literally, as there are times when the front of the stage set is facing the opposite direction and you get the rear view. One woman behind me commented on how shiny Jorge’s hair is. “I’d like to know what kind of hair products he uses,” she said. That likely never would have come up during a show on a typical stage.)

RS’s band performed with Tommy Tutone, the opening act, and Greg Kihn, who seemed so excited to be there. It was cool to hear his songs live, songs that I remember from MTV days in the 1980s, but I also liked his song, “The Life I Got,” which is from his new album, “Rekihndled,” his first album in 21 years.) Loverboy was the third set of this “Best in Show” lineup.

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A “backstage” view during the rotating stage show (during the Tommy Tutone set).

The RS band did a great job backing up Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn. I’ve always appreciated how talented they all are, but this time I noticed them even more because during the times RS was facing the other side of the room, it was fun watching the other band members – guitarist George and drummer Jorge tossing drumsticks to each other and bassist Siggy jumping around the stage in his “Devil” hat (in the school colors of Arizona State University, whose mascot is the Sun Devil). I saw keyboardist (and guitarist) Tim give a high-five in the audience, too.

RS and Siggy really played the whole round stage thing so well, running around and climbing on amps. It looked like they were having so much fun.

This show was also the first time I heard any of “The Snake King” songs live – he played “Little Demon” and “Voodoo House.” I got a great video of the “Hey-ya Hey-ya yo”s, complete with the kicking of the stool (I’d be careful with that move, RS, it got a little too close to the edge of the stage and the woman in the front row did NOT look happy – she was directly in front of me, across the stage, and I saw the look on her face.) But I cut that part from my posted video because it also had some fan climbing on the stage appearing to collect rose petals and she ended up getting escorted out so I don’t want to embarrass her.

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In the Voodoo House. Hey-ya, hey-ya yo!

That portion of the song also contains my perceived eye contact moment – when he reaches his arm out to the audience and sings “Hey-ya, Hey ya yo!” I think I instinctively waved back, but felt silly afterward.

The “Don’t Talk to Strangers” bit was adorable – he is so cute with the kids on the stage (and he noted the irony that the song is called “Don’t Talk to Strangers” as mothers hand off their 3-year-old to a stranger.) The front of the stage was facing the other direction during that whole bit so I didn’t get any photos of it, but it was so cute.

During the medley portion of the show, he sang part of “Bruce,” which was the first time I’d heard it live so that was a treat. He also threw in “867-5309” because “everyone thinks it’s my song.” That was especially funny, of course, because we had sung the song along with the original songwriter earlier in the evening.

We also got to sing “Happy Birthday” to him and since this show is the last one before his actual Aug. 23 birthday, that felt special, too.

The BIG omission of the show was that there was no “Human Touch” – no mention of the song at all and no journey out into the audience. I’m not sure if it was the venue or the timing (at one point he mentioned that he’d be heading straight to the airport after the show and had to get up at 4 a.m. to film an episode of “The Goldbergs” the next morning), but it was weird to not have that song part of the show.

Here’s a compilation of some of my videos from the show:

Alas, there was also no personal RS encounter for me this time around. I saw a group with Backstage Pass lanyards gathered by the downstairs bar and looked for an opening, but came up with nothing. I resorted to asking someone at the radio station display if they were giving out any meet & greets that evening and she kindly responded, “No, I think we’re all out,” but the look in her eyes was, “You’re kidding, right?”

I had parked in the back part of the parking lot and saw the band (with Jorge and his long, shiny ponytail) walking toward a white van as I walked to my white (mini)van, but my favorite rock star was nowhere in sight. I waited a few minutes longer just in case (there were a few people hanging around), but it soon cleared out so I headed home.

Here are more pics:

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Rick Springfield’s band backing up Tommy Tutone. “867-5309”

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Side view of the rotating stage

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The opposite side view of the rotating stage

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Facing the front of the stage, with a zoom from the ninth row.

 

 

Reflections on the morning of the show

This morning, during those precious moments between waking up and the alarm blaring – prompted by loud thunder and a burst of light flashing behind the sliver between the curtains – I reflected on how much has changed since last time I spent an evening with Rick Springfield at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theatre.

That evening was in 1999. I recently returned to Arizona after separating from my then-husband and I was at the concert with my best friend from high school, who has gone to several RS concerts with me, both before that night and afterward.

Between now and then, I’ve remarried and had three children so my life has changed dramatically.

But the change is not just on a personal level, of course, the world has changed tremendously, too. That was a time when you could meet loved ones at the airport gate, welcoming them the moment they disembarked the plane. A time when “You’ve Got Mail” was exciting instead of overwhelming. When you’d discuss news or TV shows with co-workers the next morning instead of attacking strangers on Facebook or Twitter if you don’t agree with them.

Back in 1999, before “Late, Late at Night” revealed Rick Springfield’s “darker side” and he was just our favorite crush from the ’80s, his shows were a nostalgic visit back to a simpler time. A fun evening out that transported us back to our pre-teen or teenage selves.

That experience is even more important today. As RS fans from the ’80s have evolved from prepubescent to premenopausal through the years, most have experienced darker times in their own lives, too, which strengthens their connection to their favorite rock star. It turns out that by sharing his own “darkness” with others, and sharing his own therapy (i.e. performing energetic concerts) with his fans, he both comforts them during their rough patches and transports them back to those fun times, away from adult responsibilities and worries, if only for a few hours.

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My last RS show before tonight: July 2016.

Rick Springfield is in my state!

OK, I know this may sound a bit ridiculous coming from somebody who is nearly 50 years old, but RICK SPRINGFIELD IS IN MY STATE! WHOO-HOO!

Tonight he performs in Tucson and I’m in Phoenix, but we’re in the same state! He’s actually been here since yesterday, according to his Instagram post yesterday. In fact he’s posted a few pics these past couple of days. It’s fun to see the goofy, tourist side of him.

He’ll be in Phoenix on Tuesday night – that means FOUR days in my state. That’s a long time for someone who is always running around the country on tour. Will he be in Tucson Monday on his day off or in Phoenix? Should I be running around to visit all the Starbucks in the area on Monday and Tuesday hoping for a glimpse?

(I’m only joking, I hope you know. In reality I’ll be shlepping kids to and from school and going to work. But it’s still fun to think about.)

His Tuesday night show is at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, which is a cool intimate venue where the stage is in the middle and turns around during the show. The last time I saw him there was in 1999. Tommy Tutone will be opening (my 8-year-old was just singing 867-5309 this afternoon, coincidentally.) I remember Greg Kihn songs and videos from MTV and they were always a lot of fun to sing along with and Loverboy of course has some great tunes, too. Should be a fun evening!

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Here’s the inside of the Celebrity Theatre (Pic courtesy of Celebrity Theatre)

I’m not quite as close to the stage as I have been in the past, but my ticket is in the ninth row. Definitely a potential Human Touch Zone if he gets off the stage in the right place. I wonder if the spinning stage makes performers dizzy?

‘The Birthday King’ to raise funds for dogs

This year’s Rick Springfield Birthday Campaign kicks off today! For details, visit: happybirthdayrick.com.

“The Birthday King” campaign runs today through Sept. 23, 2018 and all funds go toward the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation.

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This year’s logo

This is the 11th year of the campaign, which has raised more than $100,000 since 2007. Learn more about the campaign’s history here. Last year’s campaign, for RS’s 68th birthday, raised $17,068.68. Learn how to donate here.

The grand prize is “The Backstage Extravaganza.” Not sure exactly what that is, but it sounds exciting! Each $5 donation gets one entry for the prize drawings. Math isn’t my strong suit so check here for all the details about the prize drawing. The prizes aren’t listed yet – besides the (cue extravagant music here) “The Backstage Extravaganza.”

Thank you, RS Birthday Campaign project team and all the fans who are donating prizes!

Side note: Did I mention that Rick Springfield will be a few miles away from where I am right now in SIX days?! Fourteen minutes away. 11.2 miles. I couldn’t resist buying a ticket even though I couldn’t find anyone willing to spend the money to go with me (when you’ve seen your favorite rock star six times in less than four years, sometimes you run out of concert-going buddies to go with if they don’t feel the same way.) But my birthday was last week so this is my birthday present to myself!

Four-year anniversary of this blog’s first post

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With all this week’s juggling between two of my kids still being home for summer vacation but still needing to get all my work hours in, the anniversary of this blog slipped right past me. Since I’m not one to miss the opportunity to celebrate anniversaries and milestones, I still wanted to mark the occasion, even if it’s a couple of days late.

When I wrote the first blog post on Aug. 8, 2014, I had NO idea of the impact that my returning RS crush would have on my life. I had just finished reading “Late, Late at Night,” which had rekindled some memories of my high school crush and I was just starting to catch up on the past 15 years of his work. I even found my 1982 diary, which marked my very first year of RS fandom.

Shortly after that, he was coming to town and I got to briefly meet him. Then I saw him about six more times after that, the last one being in July 2016.

He’ll be here again in a couple of weeks, but I’ve yet to get tickets. After being in the first few rows for the past few concerts, I’m hesitant to get the cheaper seats further back but closer tickets for this particular show are very pricey and I don’t have anyone who is willing to spend that kind of money on tickets. If I’m not in the potential eye contact zone or the “Human Touch” zone, then what’s the point, right?

(I’m kidding of course, though it’s really a different show based on where your seats are.) Sometimes the “Human Touch” zone goes pretty far out in the crowd, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes some fan knocks him over and bloodies his leg and he doesn’t get past the first section. I guess I’m still a little bitter over that. (See “What happened in Vegas” for context.)

Anyway, where was I?

Oh right, I was marking a milestone.

Here are the stats: As of today, there have been 354 posts (including this one), 19,163 visitors and 33,425 views. The date with the best views ever was Jan. 16, 2018, right in the midst of all the promotion for “The Snake King.”

Some of my highlights since I started this blog, besides the concerts and brief RS encounters, are, in no particular order:

  • Interacting with fellow RS fans.
  • When Doug Davidson (RS’s best friend) followed me on Twitter and liked one of my tweets. We were “pen pals” when I was in high school, so the tweet like was pretty exciting.
  • Having the link to the blog added to the “We Love Rick Springfield” fan site (which is sadly no longer around) and to the Rick Springfield and Us site.
  • Listening to Rowdy Ron’s Springfield Special shows (the next one is Aug. 25).
  • Participating in the GetRick Fit challenges
  • Having a phone conversation with music producer Jeff Silverman (after hearing an interview with him on a Rowdy Ron radio show) who was SO encouraging about my songwriting and who suggested I get in touch with the local songwriters association, which I did, and have learned so much from their programs over the past year and a half or so. Even if he was just being nice after listening to some of my songs, I really appreciate the encouragement.
  • Starting to write songs again after a 10-year hiatus, beginning with “My Rick Springfield Crush Revival”

(Hopefully my guitar playing has gotten better since then. I have learned more chords at least.)

So that’s that. Four years of My Rick Springfield Crush.

In case you’re interested, here are the links to past anniversary posts (looks like I missed doing one in 2017.):

“What a Year”

“Notes of Nostalgia”

Thanks for reading!

Rick Springfield’s birthday month is going to the dogs, in a good way

2018 American Rescue Dog Show

I was going to title this post “Summer of 69,” but for some reason people often confuse Rick Springfield with other artists so I didn’t want to add to the confusion.

But as most RS fans can attest to, August 23 is practically a national holiday on our calendar as we celebrate the arrival of our favorite rock star into the world. And as fans know, he likes to celebrate his birthday, sometimes as early as mid-July, during concerts when he encourages the audience to sing him “Happy Birthday.”

But it’s not all about him. Each year he asks that in lieu of gifts, fans should donate to charity. His charity of choice is usually the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, which helps rescue dogs. Here’s his note this year:

RS going to the dogs

So if you’re able to help, I’m sure RS and the dogs would appreciate it!

His fans’ annual birthday charity campaign will be starting soon, too. The campaign has raised more than $100,000 for charity since it started in 2007. This year’s campaign is in conjunction with the above campaign, which means it is all for the dogs. Word on the street (or Facebook actually), is that the campaign starts Aug. 15.

There’s also another Rowdy Ron birthday special coming up: The “Happy 69th Birthday Rick Springfield Special,” where DJ/comedian Rowdy Ron plays hours and hours of Rick Springfield music starting at 9 p.m. ET on Aug. 25. If you’re a new RS fan or rediscovering him after a few decades, it’s a great place to catch up: rowdyradio.listen2myshow.com.

In other RS news, check out this cool article on indystar.com that addresses how RS really feels about his well-publicized “Star Wars” collection: ‘Rick Springfield talks Tinder, ‘Star Wars’ toys and the blonde in the ‘Jessie’s Girl’ video.’

The character of Rick Springfield

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When I heard that Rick Springfield was going to play Rick Springfield who goes on a date with Rosanna Arquette’s character on the new YouTube original show “Sideswiped,” I wondered what the scenario would be. After all, as any of his fans know, he’s been married to his wife since 1984 and they have two grown sons. So why would he be on Tinder (or the celebrity version of Tinder, in the case of the show)? He better not be dissing his wife!

Then as soon as I watched it I realized that Rick Springfield wasn’t playing Rick Springfield who has been married since 1984, he was the Rick Springfield rock star character who has a 28-year-old ex-girlfriend and grandchildren. (As far as we know, RS is not a grandfather yet.) Just like the Rick Springfield in “Californication” was the narcissistic Rick Springfield character, not the rock star we all “know” and love.

Does he think of himself as Rick Springfield or Richard Springthorpe? Is “Rick Springfield” the rock star more of an on-stage persona? Many fans have said that in person he’s quieter/shyer than the rock star legend on stage (which makes him even more endearing, right?) How is he at home? All these things are NONE of my business of course, but I still wonder.

Anyway, I loved his character on “Sideswiped,” the vulnerable rock star that isn’t quite over his much younger ex-girlfriend. I enjoyed the character so much more than Dr. Irving Pitlor on “True Detective,” Lucifer on “Supernatural” or the demented Pastor Charles on “American Horror Story.”

I admit I only watched the fourth episode of “Sideswiped” so far, aptly titled “The Rock Star,” but I thought it looks like a cute show and plan to watch more. (Not the same with those other three shows mentioned above. I watch enough horror in the daily news that I don’t enjoy watching fictional horror.) The shows I’ve been watching lately are “Nashville,” which sadly ended this week, and “This is Us,” which will have its last season soon, too. I need to find another show soon so I have something to watch when I fold laundry. Any suggestions?

After concert cancellation, Rick Springfield performs in hotel bar

After last night’s Rick Springfield/Pat Benetar& Neil Giraldo concert was cancelled at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City a few minutes before the show was to start – due to a “technical issue” – guess who turned up playing in the casino bar?

I’m sure the  concert’s cancellation was a super bummer for fans who were planning on attending the concert, especially those who traveled far to see him, but hopefully many of them were there to see him perform “Superstitious” with Johnny-O and the Classic Dogs of Love  or hang out in the casino with him for a bit.

Apparently Rascal Flatts was playing in a different venue in the hotel that same night, but I haven’t heard anything about RS going in to play “Down” with the band. (He co-wrote that Rocket Science song with Jay DeMarcus, the bassist of Rascall Flatts.)

I’m so glad it’s Friday, as it’s been a long week and my mind is playing tricks on me. How many RS references do you find in this very brief blog post?

Just for fun, here’s what I noticed:

  1. He was going to co-headline the concert with Pat Benetar & Neil Giraldo. Neil Giraldo played guitar on the song “Jessie’s Girl” off of the Working Class Dog album.
  2. There are two references in the name of the band he played with: “Johnny” (“Me & Johnny” off of Living in Oz) and “dogs of love”- well, RS loves dogs.
  3. “Superstitious – somebody recently posted a video of him playing that song during one of the new meet & greets.
  4. As I mentioned above, he co-wrote one of the songs of Rocket Science with one of the guys in the band who was also playing a concert that same night in that same hotel.
  5. The hotel with the “technical issue” (rumor is that it was a problem with the ceiling) is Atlantic City’s newest hotel – and it used to be the Trump Taj Mahal. Not really a RS connection there, I guess, but I thought it was interesting. Maybe there’s a Snake King connection there somewhere.

Here’s a video from earlier in the day that somebody posted on YouTube, of him singing “Under the Milky Way.”

 

Before I go, here’s a fun interview that came out yesterday: “Rick Springfield talks blues, books and Saturday morning cartoons,” on nuvo.net. He covers a lot here, including what he’s doing with his Star Wars collection and what event he might considering showing up to in disguise.

Have a great weekend!

Rock star in overdrive: So many things to look forward to!

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When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. More than anything, it was meant to be a way to avoid talking endlessly about my re-discovery of Rick Springfield with my husband and co-workers.

I was so excited to learn that RS was still creating new music and had written books, that I dived right into exploring all of it – along with my teenage fandom years – and this blog gave me a place to share it with (I hoped) others who felt the same way and would find it entertaining instead of annoying.

(Nobody in my real life actually told me I was being annoying, but I started to sense their frozen smile and glazed look if I talked too much about RS so I had to rein it in.)

At the time I had NO idea what a driven person RS was and didn’t know that there was so much more on its way. I thought it was cool that he had released a few albums since “Karma,” which was the last time I had followed his career (between 1998 and 2000, I saw him in concert four times and met him once. That was in addition to seeing him twice in high school back in the ’80s.)

Here’s a recap of his musical work between 2000 and my “re-discovery” in 2014:

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2004: “Shock/denial/anger/acceptance” (So many good songs, which I enjoyed only after getting over the reason they were written, since I first heard this CD after reading “Late, Late at Night”)

2005: “The Day After Yesterday” (I still haven’t heard this CD of covers in its entirety)

2007: “Christmas With You” (which I still haven’t heard, except for the song for the soldiers.)

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2008: “Venus in Overdrive” (which has become one of my favorite CDs)

2009: “My Precious Little One: Lullabies for a New Generation” (Played it for my kids a few times when they were younger and they always fell asleep by the second or third song, and I mean that as a compliment)

2012: “Songs for the End of the World” – so many great songs, I especially love listening to this while driving, for some reason. I think because the first time I heard it was when I was driving my kids to school and it was so funny to hear their reactions.

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In 2014, I had all of this to catch up on and I also read “Late, Late at Night” and “Magnificent Vibration” right away, then listened to “Late, Late at Night” on audiobook. Then I caught up on some of his acting stints, like “Californication” and “Drop Dead Diva.”

Then a few months later, in November 2014, it was announced that RS would be coming to Arizona and I got tickets to my first RS concert in 15 years! So of course I had to go and then ended up meeting him briefly that March after the concert. Then I saw him a few more times over the next couple of years.

But I digress, this post wasn’t meant to be about me and my RS concerts, it’s about the driven rock star. So back to that.

In January 2015, he announced that he was back in the studio recording a new album! That year the live “Stripped Down” show also came out on CD and DVD. The country-infused “Rocket Science” was released the following February. In 2015 and 2016, he was touring with both the full-band show and the solo acoustic show. In 2017, he added a symphony tour – with Rock Meets Classic in Europe. Fans even got to watch the live stream of a show in Germany, which was cool!

Among all his touring, he also wrote and recorded another CD, blues-infused this time, “The Snake King,” which was released in January of this year. This year, he had acoustic shows, full-band shows and symphony shows. (There has also been a movie and several TV roles in the past four years.) Which means there are lots of interviews, photos and videos out there in Cyberspace, including this Morning Mix interview, where RS goes into detail about the symphony shows, which was fun to hear, and we get to learn about MORE upcoming projects (such as this in Fairfax County Times):

Once the tour is over, the singer will be back to his many ventures. He’s working on a rewrite of a follow up to “Magnificent Vibration,” and he’s recording a symphonic record with his best hits and a 40-piece orchestra.

“There will be a new song on that album, and it is light years away from ‘The Snake King,’” he said. “Also, we are rerecording all the hits as they originally sounded so we can put out our own greatest hits. And I am writing for a new record and looking for that next great acting gig.”

A new song! A new Greatest Hits album! New songs for another new record! A new book! So many exclamation point-worthy things on the brink of happening! Also, on July 25 will be the “Sideswiped” show on YouTube.

(Just a reminder to those who handle the fan club – maybe we can get more details about all this stuff there in Rick’s Diary? That would be a nice fan club perk, along with the Meet & Greet contests, which don’t exist yet, but it sure would be nice… Or maybe we all get a chance to sing a duet with RS at a beach-side bar?)

Anyway, see what I mean when I say I can ramble on about RS? But if you’re still reading this, then I’m guessing that you understand so thanks for reading.