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.

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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.)

Farewell to soundcheck access

It used to be that Rick Springfield fans could purchase a soundcheck package where they could sit in during the band’s soundcheck session and then afterward they could briefly meet him for autographs, pictures and a chance to share any personal thoughts about the impact that he’s had on their life.

This past week, the Rick Springfield Official Merchandise site announced that effective immediately, that option was being changed to a VIP Backstage Experience, which is described on the site as:

About an hour before Rick hits the stage, you will be escorted backstage by our VIP Host to a private room where Rick will perform a song, and you’ll catch a rare and personal side of him as he engages the few fans in attendance. You will be able to meet Rick, get a few autographs and a photo taken during this time. You also have the option of adding a guitar to this package.

The cost of this experience is $349.99, $724.99 with the guitar. There’s also a VIP Collector’s Edition Guitar Package for $2,499.99, which is described as this:

This is your chance to take home the very guitar that Rick plays on stage during the iconic song, Jessie’s Girl. This limited edition guitar features the artwork from the album that started it all: Working Class Dog. Rick will sign, date and label the guitar by city, making this is truly a one of a kind collector’s piece. Oh yeah, and it may be a little sweaty.

After the show, you and two of your friends will have the opportunity to meet Rick in his backstage dressing room. He’ll personally present the guitar to you, and you’ll have the opportunity for a bit of a chat, and of course, photos and autographs. It’s going to be a night you’ll remember for a very long time.

Only one guitar is sold per show, and there’s only so many shows in a tour! Hurry to secure your collector’s edition Working Class Dog guitar.

Don’t get me wrong, these experiences sound great, too, although the idea of sitting in on a soundcheck sounded really cool because it’s a little glimpse into what musicians do to prepare for a show. (Many years ago I was able to listen to a soundcheck for Sting and although I was standing up in the stands at the empty amphitheater and not up close, it was still a cool experience. To be able to do that standing right there with my favorite rock star on stage would have been incredible.)

But alas, it looks like that opportunity is gone. I’m grateful to the fans who have shared videos of the soundcheck experience in the past so I have an idea of what it was like.

You know what would be really cool? How about some “exclusive contests” for meet & greet opportunities through the RS fan club? (Hint, hint to the powers that be.)

RS is very generous with his time for his fans so I’m glad that he’s continuing these meet & greet and opportunities, even with these changes and although they are still out of my budget. I’m hoping that he’ll be doing some book tours with his next book since I missed out on those. (When I “rediscovered” him back in 2014, it was three months after his visit to an Arizona bookstore after the release of “Magnificent Vibration.”)

In other Rick Springfield news, here’s a recent video from Vintage Guitar where RS talks about his guitars (and alien-fighting capabilities) inside his studio:

Here’s another recent interview:

A recent article on newscentermaine.com mentions the second novel and also that he’s working on an album of his songs played with a symphony. That sounds cool (and wouldn’t it be cool to see that on DVD, too, like the “Stripped Down” set?)

His summer tour will bring him about 15 minutes from my house in August so I hope to catch that show since I didn’t make it to any shows last year. He has more than 20 shows between now and then, including symphony shows in Columbus, Ohio; Nashville; San Diego; and Park City, Utah. Such a busy guy!

A well-traveled rock star

In many interviews I’ve read over the years, a common response when musicians are asked about their experiences about touring the world is that they actually don’t get to see very much of it because of their hectic schedules. This always struck me as a missed opportunity, which is why it’s so much fun to see how Rick Springfield fits in some touristy stuff during his tour – and shares it with his fans.

This past week looked especially fun, as he toured the Oklahoma City Zoo before playing a concert there. He wasn’t afraid to get messy – while holding a canvas as an elephant “painted” it (a birthday present, according to the tweet from the zoo – he sure does get lots of mileage from his birthday, as it was a month ago, but hey, why not?) – and didn’t mind getting seal-y (kissed by a seal).

He also got to give a shower to a baby elephant and feed a Galapogos turtle at the zoo. Recent posts on his Facebook page also show photographs of the Bethlehem Steel Mill in Pennsylvania, Times Square in New York City (don’t those people notice that Rick Springfield is standing just a few feet away?!), a gondola ride in Venice, Italy, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and a Titanic Exhibit in Branson, Mo.

Plus he takes time to meet his fans before his shows during the sound checks and afterward at meet and greets. Here’s a rock star that uses his time well! Thanks, RS, for sharing your travels with us!