‘The Snake King’

Rick Springfield’s upcoming CD “The Snake King” is starting to get some press – with an article that came out yesterday on Bristol Herald Courier in advance of a concert this weekend.

The article had this quote: “I have a new CD coming out called ‘The Snake King’ that has the potential to put the final nail in the old teenybopper coffin,” said Springfield.

Unfortunately the article cut off in the middle of a sentence, so there wasn’t any clear explanation of why this might be (Update: The missing text is added, but no more info on the new CD) . For RS fans who have listened to “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” or read “Late, Late at Night,” that shiny, happy teenybopper image dissolved long ago. (For me it was in 2014 when I “rediscovered” Rick Springfield although SDAA came out in 2004 and his autobiography in 2010.)

He’s also alluded to the idea that even his current fans might not like it because it’s so drastically different than what he’s done in the past. But last year’s “Rocket Science,” had a country feel and now it’s one of my favorite CDs, although country is a genre I was never particularly fond of. (Lately I have been binge-watching “Nashville,” a show I watched a few episodes of a couple years ago in preparation for the release of “Rocket Science.” RS connection: Rascal Flatt’s Jay DeMarcus – who co-wrote “Down” with RS – was on an episode I recently watched, writing a song with one of the characters.)

Back in 2015, RS was already performing some of his “Rocket Science” songs in concert before the 2016 release of the CD (“Light this Party Up” and “Down”), so maybe we’ll hear a song or two at an upcoming concert (and hopefully somebody will share the video online). He usually includes at least one blues song in his set list at concerts, which showcases his awesome guitar skills so I’m looking forward to hearing his original blues songs.

I’m not sure how accurately “Nashville” depicts the music business scene, but one clear message I’ve gotten is that the artists don’t always get to record the songs they want to perform because once they sign with a label, they often have to do what their record label dictates and not what they want to do.  (It’s made me appreciate that I have full creative control of my own songs, even though nobody besides my immediate family actually hears them.)

So as a longtime RS fan, I’m thrilled that he’s making new music and that his repertoire of songs covers so many different styles.

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What we know so far about the new CD

I wanted to start this post out by first clarifying that not all of its content is verified and is solely what exists in my head based on bits and pieces of information found online. That being said, here we go…

  1. Genre: In interviews, RS has said that he is making a blues album, so that’s pretty much confirmed.
  2. The name: There have been a couple references to the new CD’s title as “The Snake King.” “Rocket Science” was originally supposed to be called “Mayhem,” so we won’t really know until its closer to being released.
  3. Theme: Judging from the blues genre and the working title “The Snake King,” I have a feeling that it won’t have the same positive vibes as “Rocket Science.” A snake just doesn’t conjure up the same emotion as the dressed-up chimpanzee on the cover of “Rocket Science.” Starting back with the original book – the Bible – snakes don’t have a great reputation so a reference to a “snake king” sounds somewhat sinister.
  4. Contributors: References to the recording session have included his current band, the wonderful producer Jeff Silverman ( a member of his band back in the 70s, as well as someone who has produced much of RS’s work), singer-songwriter Windy Wagner (who is credited as doing background vocals on “Light This Party Up“) and guitarist Tim Pierce (a member of RS’s ’80s band The Fabulous Eels.) (July 3 update: a blog post by Jimmy Z Zavala, who played harp (harmonica) on “Bop ‘Til You Drop” records for the new album at RS’s home studio.)
  5. Songs so far: We were treated to a snippet of one of the songs this week on social media, with a line that sounds like “I aspired for something greater, what I expected I don’t know.”

As the 2017 touring continues this weekend and beyond, hopefully we’ll be learning a little more about it soon!