Zoot to reunite for Australia performances

Way back before “Jessie’s Girl,” “General Hospital” and even “Speak to the Sky,” there was Zoot.

As the Noise 11 site says, “As the 60s turned into the 70s, Zoot was one of Australia’s most popular Pop Rock bands.” After the band disbanded in 1971, each of its members went on to find more great success. If you read this blog, you likely know a great deal of what the band’s guitarist has been up to.

Other members were Beeb Birtles, who formed Mississippi then the Little River Band; Rick Brewer joined The Ferrets: and Darryl Cotton had several hits then hosted a TV show. The band reunited in 2011 on one of the Rick Springfield fan cruises, resulting in a live album and DVD. They hoped to continue performing together but sadly Darryl Cotton died the following year from liver cancer.

Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the band will perform a handful of gigs in Australia. Musician Russell Morris will fill in for Darryl Cotton. The show will not only include Zoot songs, but also songs that each of the individual members did after leaving the band (so Australian fans will be able to hear “Jessie’s Girl” live).

According to the Noise 11 article, the show will have three parts – “Zoot bubblegum” songs, an acoustic set and then heavier Zoot songs. (Check out the article for a lot of great videos and more information.)

The shows are Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 20-21, 2020.

Here’s a little message from RS about the tour (with an Australian accent…)


Update on the guitar auction

The online auction of guitars from Rick Springfield’s private collection is currently under way and ends Friday. Forbes even reported on it: “Rock star legend auctions his guitars to aid Australian wildlife” Below is RS’s reply to the reporter’s question about how precious the guitars are to him:

“Not as precious as the animals. They are favorites and I have quite a bit of history with some of them. I have used them in recordings, in performances.I have written countless songs on some of them. And I’ve never met a guitar I didn’t like. Wildlife Warriors are hands on and treating burned, orphaned and homeless animals that are all victims of the fires. I hope the guitars find good homes and raise some useful money for the Aussie animals.”  

– Rick Springfield, Forbes

More on wildfire fundraisers

I wore my koala bear “Souls to Save” shirt for the first time the other day and my 9-year-old son, who has never commented on my clothing before as far as I can remember, took a look at it and said “I love that shirt!” I told him the story behind it and he said he loved it even more (plus he loved how soft it is). Just thought I’d share that. (Note: The shirt is now sold out and, according to the merch site, they will not be getting any more in at this time.)

An animated plumber?

Voicing an animated character is nothing new for RS. He appeared in “Family Guy” and all the the way back to the 1970s, there was “Mission: Magic!” According to a recent social media post, he also lent his voice to an Australian plumber on an episode of “Duncanville.”

Hmmm. Weird. Someone said tonight’s episode of “Duncanville” on Fox might feature an Australian plumber who sounds just like me. Guess I’ll have to watch and find out. 😉

Rick

I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but it looks like you can watch it here.

There’s another addition to RS’s lengthy IMBD profile: “The Pitch,” a short listed as being in post-production. RS is listed as playing the character of “Barley” (he could have played the character listed as “Handsome Guy,” too.) The director of the short is Jackson White, the son of actress Katey Sagal and musician Jack White (RS’s drummer during the early 80s, among other times).

One more thing

RS had to miss the Eddie Money memorial celebration because he was sick and had to cancel a couple of shows. Hope he is feeling better now!

Devastation in Australia

The recent news in Australia is so horrifying, it’s incomprehensible that a country is experiencing so much devastation.

According to recent reports, since September 2019, this season’s fire season have burned 24 million acres, killed at least 28 people, destroyed about 2,000 homes and may have killed half a billion animals. An estimated 8,000 koala bears have died from the fires, which is almost one-third of all koalas in New South Wales alone, which is their main habitat.

This is so heartbreaking.

As Rick Springfield is both a huge advocate for animals and from Australia, he is the perfect spokesperson to spread awareness of the fires. Today, he shared the following video with this message:

The images in this video may be disturbing to some, but this is our reality. It is our responsibility to heal the planet and help all its inhabitants, big and small. The damage these fires have caused will be felt long after the flames are gone. Native animals that are found nowhere else on the planet are now in great danger of disappearing forever. The Veterinarians and services treating all the burned animals need money to operate. Please help and give what you can. Love & Healing, Rick Donate: https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emerg…

Additionally, the Rick Springfield Merch site has announced a T-Shirt Fundraising Drive for Australia. The vintage jersey shirt is adorable, with a picture of a koala bear in Ron’s “Working Class Dog” attire. The text says “Souls to Save: Heal Australia.” The cost is $50. Here’s the text on the site:

Devastating wildfires in Rick’s native homeland of Australia have shaken the world, and what seems like an impossible number to conceive, over half a billion of the country’s animals are dead. While we try to wrap our heads around this incredible tragedy, Australia needs our help for the survivors. 100% of the proceeds of this shirt sale will be donated to WIRES Emergency Fund.

As I was writing this, I remembered the announced title of RS’s next novel, which now sounds so ironic: “World on Fire.” I wish what is happening in Australia was just a plot in a fictional novel rather than reality.

Rick Springfield’s family home part of Australian public art tour

Rick Springfield’s family home in Australia was one of the six stops of a “Six Moments in Kingston,” a public art bus tour in Parkdale, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

The tour took place over the past two weekends (May 18-19 and May 25-26) and included community bands and choirs singing “Jessie’s Girl.” In pictures posted on Facebook, one group of singers wore oversized white dress shirts with black ties with RS’s black & white pic clipped over the pocket (as in the cover of “Working Class Dog.”) Plus there were lots of bull terriers present in honor of RS’s love for dogs.

six-moments-kahome-655x350px-art

The tour celebrated Kingston’s history and featured performances, music, street parades, broadcasts, sculptures and videos and a bus tour of  the locations where each story occured, according to the website, smik.melbourne. The other five stories included on the tour were:

  • Julie Cooper, who was elected in 1976 as the first female councillor of Moorabbin (a suburb in Melbourne), and the city’s first female mayor. A stadium bears her name and marks her role in creating opportunities for women in local politics.
  • The Grange, a prominent redevelopment site
  • Fred Valentich, a pilot who was 19 when his plane disappeared shortly after taking off in 1978
  • Sites of protests about the movement for equal pay at an old Phillip Morris cigarette factory and a protest against homelessness
  • Phil Carmon, a former Australian rules footballer who played in the VFL (Victorian Football league)

Here’s what it says on RS’s bio page:

Kingston has produced many famous sons and daughters but none quite like Rick Springfield who, in a little known fact, spent his teenage years in Parkdale. First a heart-throb and actor in American soap General Hospital, Springfield became internationally famous for his world-wide smash hit single, Jessie’s Girl, released in 1981. The song climbed to no.1 and went platinum in the USA and Australia. Artist Shane McGrath and local musicians honour Springfield’s place in the rock pantheon, creating their own renditions of Jessie’s Girl in the streets of Parkdale, headed up by a phalanx of bull terriers, after Rick Springfield’s love for the breed.

On the artist’s website, the public art exhibit is called “Jessie’s Girl – Last Home.”

Did you know Rick Springfield was a local boy?
That he spent 10 years trying to break into the USA music scene? That he released a Grammy award winning, #1 HIT the same time he became an overnight soap-opera sex symbol?

It all began in one quiet street in Parkdale, Victoria and we want to invite you down to celebrate a unique moment in 1981 in a very unique fashion.

According to an article in a local publication, The Age, artist Shane McGrath’s exhibit included “members of Parkdale Secondary College, singers from the Unified Filipino Elderly Association, the Bull Terrier Club of Victoria and Lukes, the  Voices Pop Choir of Moorabbin and the Longbeach Ukulele Club.”

On the Kingston Arts Facebook page, a video shows the Moorabbin chapter of Pop Choir’s first attempt at singing “Jessie’s Girl” and notes that artist Shane McGrath “orchestrated an extravagant musical parade down Springfield’s old street in Parkdale.”

The Springthorpe family home, where his lovely mom, Eileen Springthorpe, lived until her death in December 2016, was sold in February 2017.

Here was RS’s response to news of this tour:

My guess is that she would have felt very proud! I wonder what teenage Ricky would have thought about it?

(The top pic is from Shane McGrath’s Instagram page, mcgrathstudio.)

The Australian interview

You may have heard about the recent Rick Springfield interview on Australia’s “Sunday Night” program, where an Australian reporter got the incredible assignment to fly to Los Angeles to interview RS.

(Are there any positions available for reporters to travel to the Bahamas in November to cover the fan trip? If so, where do I apply?)

The interview appeared to be a big deal for Australia because he left about 45 years ago to achieve musical fame on the foreign shores of America and so this interview seemed to be sort of a “Where are they now?” kind of thing. It was a very heartfelt interview and it always amazes me that RS speaks with such candor about personal matters. Perhaps it’s because he already revealed so much in his memoir and he figures the information is out there anyway.

But if one hasn’t read every line of his memoir or listened to countless interviews, parts of the interview could come as a surprise. Hence, the headlines from those interviews.

Rick Springfield: ‘I’d recognize Jessie’s Girl if I saw her’

Yes, another “Jessie’s Girl” headline. No surprise.

‘I was going to shoot myself’: Rick Springfield opens up about his battle with depression while admitting he attempted to commit suicide twice

He wrote about his teenage suicide attempt in his book and so although it came as a surprise when reading his autobiography, it didn’t have the same effect when watching the interview (although it’s still just as sad to think about now). But is counting change from your piggy bank to see if you have enough money to buy a gun really considered a suicide attempt? (Not to downplay the emotions behind doing that, though. So glad he didn’t have enough change.)

As one who has heard/watched many RS interviews over the past couple of years, my fan thoughts after watching the interview were a little different and – not surprisingly – didn’t appear in the any of the articles:

It was interesting to see all the coverage of Zoot, which was a big part of his Australian musical career, and to hear him talking about his early days in America.

Oh, the red shirt in the concert footage shown in the interview – he wore that at the New Orleans show this past summer. Why do I remember that? Because it was the first time I remembered seeing that shirt and I mentioned it in a previous post because he was wearing it in a dream I had. Since he cancelled the show that was scheduled right after the New Orleans show because he was so sick and the doctor ordered him to, that means he was likely pretty sick at the time of the interview.

The interview was yet another reminder that he’s had such an amazing career – finding musical success in one country and then starting from scratch in a second country and finding success there, as well. And all the ups and downs and twists and turns along the way and then being willing to talk so candidly about it all. Such an inspiration.

What I did learn from the interview was the origin of Bindi’s name and that RS sometimes dreams in an Australian accent. Although I don’t remember if he spoke with his accent in my dream when he wore his red shirt.

In case you missed it, here’s the interview:

 

 

 

Interviewing in Oz

My fascination with Australia started in third grade when I really wanted to go hug a koala bear. Although I’m not much of a collection person, I did seem to accumulate many koala stuffed animals around that time. I still have never been to Australia but my RS crush continued my fascination with the country (and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful country through Wiggles videos, too, when my kids were younger).

Anyway, RS was recently in Australia to promote “Ricki and the Flash,” which opens there on Aug. 27, so I’ve enjoyed watching some of the promotional interviews there (and listening to the accents). One thing in particular that’s interesting is how the questions differ from the American interviews because of the circumstance – these include his fame in Australia in the 1970s, why he hasn’t toured in Australia since he found success in America and that they forgive him for cancelling last year’s tour because he was filming “Ricki and the Flash.” He also told the interviewers that they are planning to tour in Australia next year. Here are some of my favorite interviews from his recent visit.

Oz interview

The Fix: “Rick Springfield on his Aussie roots, his ’80s lowpoint and rocking with Meryl Streep in their new movie” (click on photo for interview).

Looks like they are having a good time with this one:

This one is a fun one, too, as you can tell by the title: “That awkward moment when your interview goes way off.”

And here’s another good interview:

In this interview, RS mentions that he just finished a script:

Good stuff, mate!

How things can change over time

This week there was a thread on a RS fan page where people shared their RS stories – when they became fans, how aware they were of RS in the ’90s and how they got back to this point (on a RS fan page). It’s pretty incredible to learn about the impact he’s had on so many lives.

The passage of time is such a funny thing. In an interview with RS that I heard recently, he mentioned that at this point he’s lived in the U.S. longer than he had lived in Australia so this feels more like home now. But since the 80s when first becoming aware of him, I’ve always thought of him when I hear something about Australia. I guess it’s kind of like when you think back to a certain time in your life and you think of the people as you knew them rather than who they are today  – such as when I see pictures of the preschoolers I used to teach when I was in college and have difficulty grasping the idea that they’ve grown and likely have children of their own.

Although, this is probably different now with Facebook and similar social media when people keep abreast of people’s lives long after they are no longer an active part of them.

Anyway, when I was reading these fans’ stories, I couldn’t help but think of a young Richard Lewis Springthorpe so many years ago who had no idea what his future was and feeling so bleak about what those possibilities might look like. While he was distressed about his relationship – or lack thereof, as he describes it in his memoir – with girls, he probably could not have fathomed the depth of his success or his impact on people’s lives. “Don’t worry that none of your female classmates seem interested in you, Ricky boy, someday women will be making calendars out of your photos and paying a few hundred dollars for the chance to meet you,” a time-traveler might have told him, if one was able to travel back in time.

A funny coincidence about 5 Seconds of Summer

In last night’s blog post, I wrote about a band I had never heard about before – 5 Seconds of Summer. I came across their name only because they were mentioned in an article I read.

After I finished posting, I remembered that my bed was covered in clean laundry that needed to be folded so I turned an an episode of “Parenthood” that I DVR’d a few weeks ago. Within the first few seconds – before I had a chance to fast forward through commercials – a commercial promoting that night’s episode of “The Tonight Show” came on. The musical guest? 5 Seconds of Summer.

So then of course I needed to Google more about the band and watch a couple of their videos (I liked them). And guess what I found out? They are from Australia!

(For those who stumbled across this post while Googling “5 Seconds of Summer” and have no idea why I thought this to be a funny coincidence, it’s because Rick Springfield – the subject of this blog – is also from Australia).