Coming of age

I recently realized that my oldest son is approaching the age I was when I first became aware of Rick Springfield: 12.

Here’s the first mention of RS in my diary, entered on May 15, 1982, almost exactly 36 years ago from today:

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It was just a couple of months after RS debuted on General Hospital (March 25, 1981) and although I don’t remember if I was already watching “General Hospital” at this time, it looks like RS and John Stamos were the only ones in the magazine that rated my three-star “Wow” poster rating.

So far my, son’s main interest is in basketball and although he does like music – some of his favorite are Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boys and Bruno Mars – he hasn’t gotten to the point where there is any non-sports-related decor on his walls.

This is how my walls looked when I was in my early teens:

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Did my parents think it was odd that I had all these posters of a guy in his 30s all over my wall when I was 13? Or listening to these lyrics?

I get excited
Just thinkin’ what you might be like
I get excited
There’s heaven in your eyes tonight
The fire’s ignited down below
It’s burning bright
Oh baby, stay, we got all night, all night
Baby please, I can’t please
If I’m on my knees tonight

(“I Get Excited” from “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” – 1982 – my parents bought me the album for my birthday that year)

Or this from “Inside Sylvia” from “Working Class Dog” – 1981

Inside Sylvia, oh Sylvia, yeah, yeah, Sylvia
I know my love is alive
Inside Sylvia, yeah Sylvia, oh Sylvia, oh

(I know he has said that his relationship with Sylvia was not of a sexual nature, but still, those lyrics…)

As he’s said himself, most of the songs from WCD and SHSMY are all about lust and sex – did I know that at the time? I think I sensed that they had adult themes, but I was pretty innocent at the time overall so I’m not sure how much I actually understood. But I did recognize his “wow” factor, that’s for sure, and the crush factor was pretty strong.

We made it through the baby stage with our sons, survived the toddler years, and now all of them are in elementary school. After reading “Late, Late at Night,” and getting a glimpse of what puberty can be like for boys (we are all girls in my family), I’m trying to prepare myself for being on the opposite end of the equation (the parent instead of the teen).

Of course things are much different these days – kids have exposure to many more things today then my generation did at this age. And what seems shocking in one generation, often doesn’t phase the next one at all (such as Elvis “shockingly” shaking his hips on national TV – if those shocked adults would have known what kind of things end up national TV today, they would likely be horrified.) It goes the other way, too, things that were everyday happenstance in previous generations (such as how women and minorities were treated) seem horrifying today (hence, the #metoo movement).

I’m not really sure what my point is here and I’ve probably gone off on a tangent, but what I’m TRYING to say is: How did this happen so fast that I was once a tween (although they didn’t call it that at the time) who innocently listened to Rick Springfield records and had his posters covering my wall and now I’m nearly 50 writing a blog about him and have a son who is almost the age I was when I started being a fan?

If I had to sum it up with one word, I guess I’d have to say, “Wow.”

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February milestones

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February seems to be a big month for Rick Springfield milestones.

One day in particular stands out:
Feb. 24, 1981: “Working Class Dog” is released
Feb. 24, 1982: RS wins a Grammy for “Jessie’s Girl”
Feb. 24, 2004: “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” is released
Feb. 24, 2015: “Stripped Down” is released

Last night Rowdy Ron had an online radio show where he played the full albums of WCD and SDAA, including bonus tracks, in celebration of the milestone. Unfortunately I only caught a few minutes of it, but I’m sure it was a great show!

Other notable dates (courtesy of rickspringfield.us):

Feb. 14, 1945: RS’s parents are married
Feb. 19, 2016: “Rocket Science” is released
Feb. 20, 2016: “iHeart80s Party” at the Forum, which gave him great exposure
Feb. 23, 1981: “Jessie’s Girl” is released as a single

This year also marked the 10th anniversary of his Valentine’s Day weekend show at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, which was covered this month in a great interview in Center Stage Magazine and this nice review in National Rock Review. In the Center Stage interview, he talks about his desire to do more acting and mentions his upcoming tour in Germany with Rock Meets Classic and the review mentions some highlights from the Nashville show:

“Since this is live music, anything can and usually happens. Tonight, mid-way through the opening song, the music suddenly stops, and the faint ring of the fire alarm is heard. Not to be outdone, Rick is out among the fans, shaking hands and fist bumping those around him while the guys break into a jig on stage entertaining fans while the power and fire alarm issues are sorted out.”

After a brief delay, Rick and the guys launching into “Light this Party Up” for the second time and the crowd jumps in on the fun, raising their glasses, dancing, and singing along.”

And this is sweet:

“Slowing down the pace, Rick takes center stage with his green dobro guitar on his knee. He takes a moment to tell a quick story about long-time guitar tech, Ruben Velasco, who died last year. Velasco, who’s birthday was this day, had repeatedly said that Rick needed a light-up guitar. Springfield now plays a light-up guitar on tour which he appropriately named “Ruben.” It was a touching moment and a class move by Rick Springfield.”

Liked this line, too:

“Springfield exudes energy and positive vibes.”

Speaking of articles – and energy- there was some interesting information in a recent one in the Orlando Sentinel in advance of Sunday’s night’s show in Orlando.

“He is working on another novel to follow “Magnificent Vibration,” a 2014 bestseller, but laughs when asked when it will come out.

“It’s like a song. When it’s done, it’s done. You can’t really push it,” he said. “There’s been a lot of stuff that’s come up and gets in the way of it, but I like to do it all.” 

And this is a cool possibility:

He is writing a new record and screenplays. Another possibility is a memoir to follow 2010’s “Late, Late at Night.” “Certainly enough has happened. I was actually thinking about that —  the stuff I didn’t tell you,” he said.

Singin’ the blues

Although the title of this post would be fitting for how I feel about not having the means to go on the “Rick Springfield and Friends” fan getaway in the Bahamas this November, that’s not what this post is about.

No, it’s about an article that was on Billboard.com today that RS plans to work on a blues album next.

“I love slide guitar, and most people don’t know it because I don’t really play it onstage,” Springfield says. “I play [Hambone Willie Newbern’s] ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin” in my solo show, and I always get guys saying, ‘You should do a blues album.’ And I was thinking about writing something as opposed to just doing copies of blues songs that everybody’s done. I’m all for expanding people’s views, y’know?”


Here’s a video of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ” from the Stripped Down show I saw last year (it’s not my video – I found it on YouTube and the video it would be much blurrier if it was mine – but I was in the Fox Tucson Theatre  when it was being filmed and met him briefly after the show.)

When I first heard last year that he was working on a country album, I was a little wary, as I’ve never been a big fan of country music. But “Rocket Science” has become one of my favorite albums of all time.

Since I’m much more a fan of blues than I am country, today’s news is pretty exciting! I wouldn’t say I’m a blues aficionado, but I’ve been fortunate to see B.B. King, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Eric Clapton perform live. Plus, my husband is a big blues fan and RS playing the blues is his favorite part of the RS shows he’s seen so maybe he’ll be more eager to go to another one with me in the future.

The Billboard article also talks about the 35th anniversary of “Working Class Dog” (have you seen the collector’s-edition guitar that celebrates that anniversary? It’s really cool-looking and one lucky fan can get it at each show – along with a meet-and-greet – for a mere $2,500.) And of course the article also addresses his upcoming role as Lucifer on “Supernatural.”

And if a full-band tour, a solo tour, a new movie and a role on a popular TV show isn’t enough, apparently he’s headed to Germany next year with the Rock Meets Classic tour – where American rockers perform with a symphony orchestra. Also on the tour are members/former members of The Eagles, Toto, Uriah Heep and Magnum. The tour visits 15 German arenas from March 30 to April 18. RS is listed as a “very special guest.”

 

 

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.”