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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Returning to 1980-something in a much different role

Most Rick Springfield fans have probably already seen his guest appearance as the owner of “Gary-okes” on “The Goldbergs,” which aired on Oct. 10 on ABC. (If not, it’s on Hulu.)

In the show, he played Erica’s new boss and sang “Jessie’s Girl” with Beverly Goldberg.

Here are a few photos I took while watching the show on the night it aired.

The image showing “Gary” talking to “Erica” reminded me of the photo below from “Ricki and the Flash,” although in RATF, he was a boyfriend talking to his girlfriend about their children and during “The Goldbergs,” he was a boss talking to his employee about her mom.

MovieStill11

I liked his Gary character and it would be nice if it was a recurring role. I wonder if the name was intentional or a coincidence. (The real name of “Jessie” in “Jessie’s Girl” was a guy named Gary, in case you weren’t aware.)

Besides the duet of “Jessie’s Girl” between Gary and Beverly, the majority of the song played in the background during part of the show, which is probably a nice royalty hit for RS.

In the future, when I think of Rick Springfield’s appearance on “The Goldbergs,” I’m pretty sure I’ll remember that I saw him in concert the night before he filmed it.

Here’s the real songwriter of “Jessie’s Girl” playing his song at a real concert the night before he played the owner of a karaoke bar singing a karaoke version of the song at a karaoke bar on a TV show.

I prefer the real thing rather than the ’80s TV version (although I loved the authentic ’80s version when it was the ’80s), but it was a fun show to watch and my kids have gotten hooked on “The Goldbergs” so we’ve been catching up on the past three seasons.

According to an Instagram post,the jacket RS wore during part of the show was a replica of the jacket he wore in the “Jessie’s Girl” video back in 1981.

Rachel J Leathers said in her post:

The highlight of my week is to finally show the jacket I made for Rick Springfield for “The Goldbergs”. It was a replication of a jacket he wore in his video, “Jessie’s Girl” (remember that?). I used to drool over Rick in the 70’s, so this was a fun one! The snaps had to be done at the studio as my tools failed me. (Time for a kick press!) Thank you @jennifmarl and the crew!

Pretty cool, eh? In interviews about the JG video, RS has said that they filmed it quickly without a permit and weren’t even sure why they were filming it (it was before MTV). Fun fact: “Jessie’s Girl” was the #1 song when MTV started. So it’s pretty funny that 30-something years later somebody is recreating the jacket he wore.

It’s also cool to think that the guy in the “Jessie’s Girl” video who was feeling a bit discouraged that he hadn’t hit it big yet would have his jacket recreated 30-something years later by a designer for a TV show where he would be playing a character named after the guy who became a character in his #1 hit song that he didn’t know would be a hit song when he recorded the demo in his living room using his ottoman as a drum. I know that’s a really long sentence, bur hopefully you get my point. #followyourdreams

Rick Springfield on The Goldbergs

RS poster on Goldbergs

After I heard that Rick Springfield was going to guest star on “The Goldbergs” this season, I thought it would be a good excuse to familiarize myself with the show.

I don’t usually watch much TV except when I fold laundry so I tend to work my way through one show at a time. I’m all caught up with “This is Us” and am excited for the new season. Other shows I watched my way through include “Nashville,” “Parenthood,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” (We go through lots of laundry.) I’d never watched “The Goldbergs” before, but it was on my radar as one to check out.

So far I’m a few shows into the first season and it’s such a fun show, like “Wonder Years” for my generation. An entertaining ’80s nostalgia experience filled with so many references from my childhood. My sons have gotten into it, too, which gives me a chance to relive certain memories and pause to note subjects like records, VCRs and video stores and what rewinding a video means.

Tonight we took a moment to watch the Life Cereal commercial with Mikey while watching an episode that covered the rumor about him dying after a combination of Pop Rocks and soda made his stomach explode. It’s fun to be reliving these snippets of my childhood memories with them. When I was the age that my oldest son is now, my Tuesday nights were filled with “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” and “Three’s Company” – and watching this show reminds me of that, although we stream it through Hulu whenever we want.

One of my favorite parts of the show is at the end, when they show the clips of videos that the show’s creator, Adam Goldberg, filmed when he was a kid. They feature his real-life family members and friends and often relate to the theme of the episode.

I’ve spotted the Rick Springfield poster on the wall of Erica’s bedroom and the episode I watched last night showed a newspaper article announcing a Rick Springfield concert.

RS on the Goldbergs

RS is scheduled be in the Oct. 10 episode, playing a character named Gary, who is the owner of a karaoke bar and Erica’s new boss. Since I’m still watching the first season, it will be interesting to see the cast five years later.

I wonder if there’s a reason his character’s name is “Gary.” Will there be a reference to “Gary’s Girl”? (aka the original subject of “Jessie’s Girl”). Will somebody be singing “Jessie’s Girl” at the karaoke bar? (It’s thought to be one of the “ultimate” karaoke songs.) Will the karaoke bar have stained glass? (RS wrote “Jessie’s Girl” after being infatuated with a girl in his stained glass class who was originally “Gary’s Girl.”)

I guess we’ll find out on Oct. 10!

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.