2018 recap: Snake King, back to the 80s (twice) & a close call

This time last year, Rick Springfield fans were anxiously awaiting the release of “The Snake King” and had only heard “Little Demon” and “Santa is an Anagram.” At that point, we were oblivious to the darkness that filled the songs on the album or the darkness that had returned to his life during that past year.

It was heartbreaking to hear that he had experienced such intense depression so recently but he openly talked about it in interviews, which most likely helped others who experience similar feelings. He even received an award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for talking about his depression and how he deals with it.

Between this revelation and the darkness expressed in “The Snake King,” the RS year started off pretty intense, but here is a look at the whole year.

Here’s a RS recap of 2018:

Music: “The Snake King” took a much darker turn from the upbeat country-twinged  “Rocket Science” and the blues-rock tone fit the new CD’s content perfectly. I think it is a brilliant CD, although there are a couple of songs I still skip over because they are just too dark for me. I’m also still super impressed that he wrote the majority of the album in only a few days. The music and the lyrics are so good and cemented my belief about how talented he is. This year, his Australian band Zoot also released a retrospective album titled “Archaeology,” which marks the band’s 50th anniversary.

 

Touring: I guess RS enjoyed the experience of the Rock Meets Classic shows in Europe last year, where he performed his songs with a symphony orchestra, because he’s added a few symphony shows to his touring schedule, which include full-band shows and Stripped Down solo acoustic shows. In fact, he’s even working on a CD of his hits performed with a symphony orchestra that’s supposed to be out in March 2019. I’ve watched some videos from the symphony shows and the songs sounded beautiful. His performance of the songs about his parents accompanied by a full orchestra was extremely powerful and I also really enjoyed the symphony version of the song “Souls.”

A symphony concert marking the debut of the new CD is scheduled for March 30 in Beverly Hills. I’m hoping there will be a live stream of that, as there was with “The Snake King” release party at The Grammy Museum earlier this year.

Videos: Two “Snake King” videos were released this past year: “Land of the Blind” and “The Voodoo House,” the latter that was fittingly filmed in New Orleans.

Back to the ’80s: RS was the captain of the 2018 ’80s cruise and many people posted videos throughout the cruise, which were really fun to watch. RS also traveled back to 80-something when he did a guest appearance on “The Goldbergs.”

 

Acting roles: In addition to his appearance on “The Goldbergs,” (which he filmed the day after I saw him in concert, a fact I’ll likely always remember), he played an “aging rock star” in the YouTube Originals show “Sideswiped.” The latest news is that he’s growing his gray hair out for a movie role (leading him to wear a cowboy hat during recent shows), but so far there’s not any other information about what this movie is. There also hasn’t been any update on the film “Traces” that he filmed in 2015. Although this isn’t really an acting role, he was also a judge on The Hallmark Channel’s first American Rescue Dog Show.

A close call: “The Snake King” would have fit the mood to serve as a soundtrack to what happened in California at the end of this year – massive fires that killed people and destroyed thousands of homes. Soon after the fires were extinguished, the same areas were threatened by mudslides after heavy rains. One of the fires in Southern California came frighteningly close to RS’s home and his home survived due to the kindness and bravery of his neighbors. A house two doors down was completely destroyed.

My RS year: I’m happy to say that I did make it to a RS show this year (my 13th) and although I ended up going myself this time, I still totally enjoyed the show, especially since I didn’t make it to any shows last year. It was cool to hear two “The Snake King” songs live – “Little Demon” and “The Voodoo House.”

As for this blog, there were 11,809 views by 7,561 visitors in 2018 and 56 posts (including this one) as of the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2018. I appreciate that those at the comprehensive RS fan site Rick Springfield and US added a link to this blog on its site and I hope people have enjoyed my RS ramblings. As of this afternoon (to be precise, at 3 p.m.), the blog has had 38,122 views by 22,464 visitors since its inception in August 2014 and this is the 369th post. (Since WordPress stats provide this information, I’ll also mention that up until this post, this blog has had 134,942 words. Why would someone need to know that? I don’t know.)

The most viewed post in 2018 was “Yes, that was Rick Springfield on ‘American Horror Story: Cult’,” which was actually a post from October 2017. The 2018 post that had the most views was “A devastating time for California.”

Looking forward to 2019: From recent interviews, we’ve learned about the symphony CD and RS has hinted that he’s working on some new songs as well. Plus, there’s that movie that he may soon be filming and possibly another novel on the way. Also, some lucky fans will also be joining him on his next fan trip in November.

Onward to 2019! Happy New Year!

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33 years since ‘Living in Oz’?!

Living in Oz

My bedroom door in 1983.

Hearing that today marks 33 years since “Living in Oz” was released made me feel really nostalgic. Thirty-three years?! That’s how old Rick Springfield was in 1983 when the album came out (the month before his 34th birthday). And when I say album, I mean an actual record album. And do you notice the cassette tape cover on the promotion poster?

And if he was 33 that year, that means I was 13. Thirteen!!! How can that be 33 years ago?! It’s still one of my favorite RS albums and “Souls” is one of my all-time favorite RS songs.

On the upside, who would have guessed that 33 years (33 YEARS!!!) after I taped this poster on my 13-year-old self’s bedroom door that I would be writing this blog post – nevermind the fact that none of us had ever heard of a blog at that time – 10 days after I saw that guy on the poster perform “Affair of the Heart” and “Human Touch” live during his summer bus tour (along with new music)? 

That’s pretty cool.

 

Throwback Thursday, on CD

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This post is for those who once had all of Rick Springfield’s albums on vinyl and haven’t gotten around yet to purchasing the CD versions. Or for newer fans on a budget that may have purchased his more recent releases but haven’t yet invested in his earlier offerings.  (Or for all those future fans who will be curious about his earlier work once they fall in love with “Rocket Science” next month.)

Whatever the case, this  five-album CD box set, “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” – which is $19.99 –  offers “Comic Book Heroes,” “Working Class Dog,” “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet,” “Living in Oz”and “Tao” all in one cute little box. 20160113_215356Plus, the sleeves of each CD are replicas of the original album covers. There’s a total of 56 songs – which includes extra tracks on “Working Class Dog” – the demo version of “Jessie’s Girl”- How cool is that?! – as well as “Easy to Cry” and the original version of “Taxi Dancing.” (It’s the 25th anniversary edition of “Working Class Dog.”)

Back in the 1980s, when my RS obsession was last in full force, I listened to these  records countless times – along with “Beginnings,” “Wait for Night, “Beautiful Feelings” and “Hard to Hold” – but sadly sometime in college during a move, my entire record collection disappeared. Years later I picked up a “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” record for RS to sign, but I didn’t even have a stereo by then. 20160113_215529

Anyway, I’ve listened to the songs here and there via YouTube videos – and a few live, which was amazing of course – but there’s something unexpectedly thrilling about seeing  mini-little versions of the albums I once held so dear (and probably spent hours staring at when I was 13, especially the back cover of “Working Class Dog”). And there’s also something special about hearing the songs in the same order  (without advertisements) as I did so long ago.

Although we’ve gotten to hear “Light This Party Up” and “Down” (and a few seconds of “That One“) so far, there’s still about a month until all of “Rocket Science” is available so I guess until then, I’ll spend some time revisiting “the classics.”