Time for the living room jam

Although I purchased the 40th anniversary CD/DVD set of “Working Class Dog” when it initially came out in June, I finally got around to watching the DVD of RS and the band performing the album in his living room. Not because I didn’t want to earlier, but because none of our devices have disk drives anymore and we don’t have a DVD player set up so I needed some technical assistance to make it happen.

Now that we’re just about to get started on a really busy time because school has started, I decided today’s the day. I had to watch it in the office/recording studio because that’s where the XBox is and that’s the only device that we have left that plays DVDs.

The XBox setting on the TV is what I use when I use the TV as a monitor for my Mac-Mini when I record my songs. So before I started watching, I needed to find the remote for the TV and the small remote for the device that switches the TV connection between the Mac-Mini and the XBox.

Next I took out the Plants vs. Zombies DVD that was in the XBox, inserted the “Working Class Dog” DVD and was ready for an afternoon living room concert.

However, nothing happened when I used the remote to hit play and learned that I actually needed the XBox controller to watch it. Ugh! Where is the XBox controller?! My 12-year-old said he had one in his room and benevolently ran to his room to retrieve it and even plugged the USB into the console for me. Finally, three remotes and an XBox controller later, I was ready to watch it!

All that rambling is a way to explain that it was well worth the effort.

Random thoughts while watching:

This film really captures the time period so well – with RS and the band members greeting each other after not seeing each other for 13 months due to the pandemic. You really get a sense that in addition to enjoying playing music together, they also genuinely enjoy spending time together.

Since it was filmed in his home, you get to see parts of his house, which was cool.

There were shots of his wife, Barbara, watching the band play, which were really sweet. Especially when you think of their history together – that she was actually working at Studio City when he originally recorded the album there, before they started dating.

The DVD not only shows RS and the band performing “Working Class Dog” in the order the songs appear on the album, there are also shots showing conversations with RS and band members and some interview clips of RS (including one where RS says this is the first time he’s played all the songs from the album since 1981 when he recorded it.)

The band also had a toast before playing “I’ve Done Everything For You,” so he was able to get a product placement in for Beach Bar Rum (the company he owns with Sammy Hagar, who wrote that song). (The toast was “To dogs,” which I’m sure my dogs appreciated, as they were in the room with me while I watched it.)

Kudos to the band for doing such a great job learning and playing all the songs and to RS for remembering all of them after so many years {since he hadn’t played so many of them for decades) and for sounding so good!! The singers sounded great, too.

While I have heard some of the songs live in past concerts, there were some I hadn’t heard before and it was especially cool to hear “Red, Hot and Blue Love.” The performance of “Inside Sylvia” was beautiful, too. (I had heard it live in the solo acoustic show, but that was on a guitar app so it had a different feel.)

RS and the band looked like they were having so much fun performing together – as they do in the live shows. Also included were performances of hits after “Working Class Dog,” too, which are typically included in live shows.

Watching it is also a reminder of the time lost after everything shut down and that feeling of not knowing how long it would last. The last show they played together before filming this was March 7, 2020 (coincidentally exactly 5 years – to the day- after I met him during a meet-and-greet after a concert, which was the first time I had seen him after a 15-year hiatus.) The WCD concert was filmed in RS’s living room in April 2021.

It’s such a relief to know that we are all able to come together again at concerts and it makes me even more excited to see them live in concert later this month!

40 years ago this month

As we await the release of the 40th anniversary special live edition of “Working Class Dog” (on June 17) and the summer tour that starts Aug. 5, I was pondering the fact that it’s been 40 years since I first heard the album.

And then it struck me – my youngest son, who turned 12 earlier this month, is the same age I was when I first became a Rick Springfield fan. What the *#@!&?

None of my sons are obsessed with anyone as I was at that age. Did my parents think it was weird that my walls were plastered with posters of somebody who was 20 years older than me?

My oldest son is a big fan of hip hop and my younger sons have a playlist of music from video games, but there’s nothing that compares to my teenage obsession of my favorite rock star. My kids are much more obsessed with playing online video games with their friends than they are following any particular artist fandom.

I remember waiting for the monthly teenybopper magazines to come out (Tiger Beat, 16, Teen Beat, Bop, etc.) so I could learn more about RS and add a new poster to my wall. I’d sit listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show with a handheld tape recorder so I could record my favorite songs. My kids can pretty much listen to whatever song they want at any time and, if they had a favorite rock star, could follow them on Facebook or TikTok or whatever else and learn about what they were doing as it happened. Yes, being a fan was very different in the ’80s.

Although I’m feeling a bit old thinking about this, I also realize how lucky RS fans are that their favorite rock star is still putting out new music and performing all these years later. It’s pretty cool to be able to relive the excitement even after 40 years and 14 shows (See “A spritz of happiness at Wild Horse Pass” to relive that vicariously.)

OK, I’m going to do a little more math here.

I became a Rick Springfield fan in 1982, which was 40 years ago, with the first mention of him on May 15 in my 1982 diary. (So that’s actually 40 years ago this month, wow. ) I was 12 at that time, then turned 13 that summer. My two younger sons are currently 12 and 13.

My first RS concert was in September 1983, 39 years ago, when I was 14. RS was 34. I have tickets for my 15th show this August and my oldest son is 15. My second show was in October 1984, when I was 15.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but thanks for bearing with me as I process this information.

Hangin’ out with Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield fans got a chance to hang out live with him in his home studio yesterday, as part of the promotion for the the 40th anniversary of his Working Class Dog album.

That would have been totally unimaginable 40 years ago. The very thought of doing that would have blown my teenage mind. Just him and about 2,000 fans who had a chance to ask him questions live. Pretty cool.

If you missed it, it’s still available here at talkshop.live- at least on the day I’m writing this. Quick, stop reading this now and go watch it!

He’s very entertaining. He talked about the upcoming summer tour and the next (and last) fan trip (in development, probably 2023 though no date or other details set yet), shared stories from his career and sang a song (“Jessie’s Girl”).

Topics included how he recorded ‘Working Class Dog’ in the wee hours of the night between paying customers; his vocal warmup technique (which includes a PSA about tea tree oil dissolving Styrofoam); Keeper of the Purple Twilight from “The Outer Limits,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”; the sequel of ‘Jessie’s Girl” (yes, ‘Tonight’ on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” is a sequel and has a different outcome than in Coheed and Cambria’s version); drummer Jack White; the cancellation of the Zoot tour; and whether any acting or writing projects are in progress. And of course because this was a live Q&A, it was required that someone ask him if he planned to ever return to “General Hospital.”

He also described the stickers he has on an Australian guitar that he decorated to look like a suitcase, noting that they represent things that he likes: Tutankhamun, Australia, hot girls, Ganesh, Apollo and a magpie.

And of course a fun shoutout to my 13-year-old self, he even said my name! (He was talking to someone else with the same name, but that’s not relevant in this case.)

He also shared his feeling about recreating the photo on the back of “Working Class Dog.”

Also this week was the release of the video of “Jessie’s Girl” that was filmed with the band in his living room for this 40th anniversary celebration. Hi there, band members!

Speaking of RS band members, there was also a fun interview with bassist Siggy Sjursen on “PS After Dark with Tristan Rogers,” which also features keyboardist Tim Gross.

New ‘Working Class Dog’ CD/DVD

In case you missed the latest Rick Springfield news, here’s an update: Presales are happening now for the “Working Class Dog 40th Anniversary Special Live Edition CD/DVD” and RS will be on talkshoplive this Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern to talk about it.

Here’s the description of the CD/DVD, which features Ron on the cover like the original album, but with an updated picture of RS in the pocket (like as in 40 years later, as in last year.)

 In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog, ” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of it’s 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody, ” “Don’t Talk to Strangers, ” “State of the Heart, ” and “Affair of the Heart.”

Learn more about this here.

I’m excited about this because it’ll be fun to hear the new, live versions in order as they appear on the album, as originally heard 40 years ago: 1. Love Is Alright Tonite, 2. Jessie’s Girl, 3. Hole in My Heart, 4. Carry Me Away, 5. I’ve Done Everything for You, 6. The Light of Love, 7. Everybody’s Girl, 8. Daddy’s Pearl, 9. Red Hot & Blue Love and 10. Inside Sylvia.

But I’m also eager to hear more about the new album he’s been working on, too!

Working Class DJ

Now that concerts are postponed until who knows when, wouldn’t it be nice if there was another way to get a regular Rick Springfield fix? Guess what, now there is!

Beginning tonight, RS will host a new show on Sirius XM – on the ’80s on 8 channel (Channel 8). His show, “Working Class DJ with Rick Springfield” starts at 8 p.m. EST tonight (Friday, Jan. 22). During the weekly show, he will play eight songs that correspond to a theme of his choice. The series kicks off with “Rad Aussie Hits,” highlighting artists from his home country, Australia, according to SiriusXM. Next week’s theme is “’80s Songs that Saw the Future.” (Will “Human Touch” be included in that episode?!)

The episodes will replay Saturday-Tuesday. (Find times here.)

Some cool things to consider

Here are some fun things to think about in connection to this show.

  1. RS’s album Working Class Dog (which I assume inspired the name of this show) was released on Feb. 24, 1981 so next month is the 40th anniversary of the album.
  2. The SiriusXM ’80s on 8 Channel features original MTV VJS Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn.
  3. When MTV debuted on Aug. 1, 1981, “Jessie’s Girl,” the Grammy-winning single off “Working Class Dog” was the No. 1 song.

This mix of Rick Springfield, MTV, “Working Class Dog” and ’80s music just feels so right.

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.”

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.”