New Zoot song: That Was Then

I just heard the new Zoot song, “That was Then” and wow, such an incredibly powerful song. It’s like a soundtrack for the last post about Rick Springfield’s fame in the 1980s, “40th anniversary of ‘fan army’ mall shutdown.”

But that was then, and this is now, I know we were breaking hearts back when we were blessed somehow
If I could hear them call my name again, young hearts beat loud and strong but this is now and that was then

For those who are not familiar with Zoot, it’s the Australian band where Rick Springfield was a guitarist in Australia before he came to the U.S. (Read more here.) and they were supposed to go on a reunion tour – their first time performing in Australia in 50 years – in fall 2020, which got postponed to 2021 and now 2022. Sadly, the band’s lead singer, Darryl Cotton died in 2012, shortly after the band performed together for the first time since the ’70s (the performance was on a Rick Springfield and Friends cruise). His voice is featured in the intro of this new song.

Here’s a press release about the new song (and the postponement of the tour) on a Zoot Facebook page:

“That Was Then” was written by Beeb Birtles, Rick Springfield and Russell Morris and features all three, plus ZOOT drummer Rick Brewer. Even the sadly departed Darryl Cotton makes a posthumous appearance in the intro to the song.

Beeb Birtles gives us some insight into the genesis of the song:

“That Was Then” is a song that takes us back to the heydays of ZOOT, as well as Russell Morris’s solo career. When the idea for writing a new ZOOT song was presented to Rick Springfield, Russell Morris and myself, I sent a chord progression that I’d been playing to Rick in Los Angeles. Rick ran with it and came up with a fantastic melody and chorus. Then it was sent to Russell in Australia who wrote the bridge for the song. So, it is truly a collaboration between all of us, and it turned out to be a really great new ZOOT song! Check it out!”

Insight from Rick Springfield:

Beeb’s acoustic track started me just vocally riffing around it and I realized after I’d come up with some lyrics and the chorus that this song was about Darryl and our (relatively) carefree days as young Zooties touring with Russell. Everyone knew each other and we were all friends. We had our disagreements but when we got on stage we were united. I’d look over at Dazza and Beeb and Malc and feel like it was us against them. I miss being young Ricky Springthorpe living at my parent’s house in Melbourne and thinking I had all the time in the world. Life moves on and we are here 50 years later with a song to celebrate Zoot and Russ’s early days when we were young and fearless.

Concerts on the calendar

Is it possible that we’re ready to emerge from our pandemic hibernation and start attending concerts again?!

It appears so, as this recently appeared on my news feed:

Pretty amazing, right?

So nice to see the announcement of a concert instead of a cancellation!

On the Macon City Auditorium website, it currently says it’s a “normal capacity” event and that “protocols for cleanliness and guidance from local and national officials will be followed at the time of the event.” Does that mean it will look like the photo in the ad or that “Human Touch” will involve RS going back into the audience? Not sure if we’re quite at that point yet, but September is still a few months away and more and more people are getting vaccines, so I suppose that’s possible. It looks like there’s also a show scheduled for June 12 in Ashland, Kentucky.

Additionally, it seems RS may be heading to Australia in the fall as well, as the Zoot reunion tour has been rescheduled from November 2020 to October 2021 and tickets are on sale for that.

Party at the Beach Bar

In other RS news, he and Sammy Hagar have been busy promoting Beach Bar Rum and have shared some other exciting concert news in a Forbes magazine article: “Sunday Conversation: Sammy Hagar and Rick Springfield on their rum business, wanting to tour together and taking over Catalina.”

The article mentions the “Party at the Beach Bar” song RS wrote (heard in this promotional video featuring fans here):

The article also talks about how they’ve been discussing residences in Las Vegas and on Catalina Island where they would perform and through big parties with a Beach Bar theme.

We’re planning a little residency in Vegas and a residency on Catalina, a place where you can set the party down and do it every weekend. Let the people come from out of town, experience a cool place like Catalina, a cool place like Vegas. Everybody knows how much fun you can have in Vegas when it opens back up.

Sammy Hagar on forbes.com

That sounds fun!

From Zoot to Zoom

Coming up this weekend is a special Zoom event for those who purchased the new Red Locusts album. (Unfortunately I won’t be there since I didn’t purchase the album since I don’t have a turntable.) It’ll feature The Red Locusts, featuring those talented blokes Paul Ramone, Scotty Skuffleton and Skippy Skuffleton, who are seen rehearsing in a recent tweet:

Still hoping that the album will be available in other formats at some point because it would be great to hear it! Here’s what the Forbes article says about the project and others, including the dark one he mentioned in a previous interview that is scheduled to come out in November.

I’ve recorded two anonymous albums. One with a band I put together with Gregg Bissonette and Matt Bissonette. It’s very Beatle-driven, very pop, ’60s British Invasion. And I did another one, very dark, dark, dark album with a friend of mine in Australia about Day Of The Dead and then I’m writing my own stuff. 

Rick Springfield, forbes.com

So there are a few things to look forward, too, in addition to his weekly stint as the Working Class DJ on SiriusXM, which are fun to listen to.

To anyone going to the Zoom event – have fun! I’ve received my two vaccine doses so I’ll be here waiting for an announcement of a local concert!

Zoot to reunite for Australia performances

Way back before “Jessie’s Girl,” “General Hospital” and even “Speak to the Sky,” there was Zoot.

As the Noise 11 site says, “As the 60s turned into the 70s, Zoot was one of Australia’s most popular Pop Rock bands.” After the band disbanded in 1971, each of its members went on to find more great success. If you read this blog, you likely know a great deal of what the band’s guitarist has been up to.

Other members were Beeb Birtles, who formed Mississippi then the Little River Band; Rick Brewer joined The Ferrets: and Darryl Cotton had several hits then hosted a TV show. The band reunited in 2011 on one of the Rick Springfield fan cruises, resulting in a live album and DVD. They hoped to continue performing together but sadly Darryl Cotton died the following year from liver cancer.

Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the band will perform a handful of gigs in Australia. Musician Russell Morris will fill in for Darryl Cotton. The show will not only include Zoot songs, but also songs that each of the individual members did after leaving the band (so Australian fans will be able to hear “Jessie’s Girl” live).

According to the Noise 11 article, the show will have three parts – “Zoot bubblegum” songs, an acoustic set and then heavier Zoot songs. (Check out the article for a lot of great videos and more information.)

The shows are Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 20-21, 2020.

Here’s a little message from RS about the tour (with an Australian accent…)


Update on the guitar auction

The online auction of guitars from Rick Springfield’s private collection is currently under way and ends Friday. Forbes even reported on it: “Rock star legend auctions his guitars to aid Australian wildlife” Below is RS’s reply to the reporter’s question about how precious the guitars are to him:

“Not as precious as the animals. They are favorites and I have quite a bit of history with some of them. I have used them in recordings, in performances.I have written countless songs on some of them. And I’ve never met a guitar I didn’t like. Wildlife Warriors are hands on and treating burned, orphaned and homeless animals that are all victims of the fires. I hope the guitars find good homes and raise some useful money for the Aussie animals.”  

– Rick Springfield, Forbes

More on wildfire fundraisers

I wore my koala bear “Souls to Save” shirt for the first time the other day and my 9-year-old son, who has never commented on my clothing before as far as I can remember, took a look at it and said “I love that shirt!” I told him the story behind it and he said he loved it even more (plus he loved how soft it is). Just thought I’d share that. (Note: The shirt is now sold out and, according to the merch site, they will not be getting any more in at this time.)

An animated plumber?

Voicing an animated character is nothing new for RS. He appeared in “Family Guy” and all the the way back to the 1970s, there was “Mission: Magic!” According to a recent social media post, he also lent his voice to an Australian plumber on an episode of “Duncanville.”

Hmmm. Weird. Someone said tonight’s episode of “Duncanville” on Fox might feature an Australian plumber who sounds just like me. Guess I’ll have to watch and find out. 😉

Rick

I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but it looks like you can watch it here.

There’s another addition to RS’s lengthy IMBD profile: “The Pitch,” a short listed as being in post-production. RS is listed as playing the character of “Barley” (he could have played the character listed as “Handsome Guy,” too.) The director of the short is Jackson White, the son of actress Katey Sagal and musician Jack White (RS’s drummer during the early 80s, among other times).

One more thing

RS had to miss the Eddie Money memorial celebration because he was sick and had to cancel a couple of shows. Hope he is feeling better now!

Rick Springfield, General Hospital & Elvis

Throughout his career, Rick Springfield has attracted fans at multiple times. His earliest fans came at the beginning of his career back in Australia (those fans are probably thrilled about the new Zoot album “Archaeology” that was released yesterday – check out zootband.com.au for all the details, including notes by RS about the different songs, videos of band performances and the details about how this all came together. The story behind “Life in a Northern Town” is especially cool).

Then there were those fans who fell in love with the long-haired RS after he moved to the U.S., after “Beginnings” and “Comic Book Heroes,” and those who regularly tuned into the “Mission Magic!” cartoon.

Next was all those fans that came along in the ’80s (including me, at age 12) with “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” and those who also fell in love with Dr. Noah Drake at the same time.

(There were more fans in later years, those recaptured in ’99 with “Karma” and continuing with all those albums that have come out since then, most recently this past January with “The Snake King.”)

Getting to know RS in the ’80s

I would guess that the ’80s presented the strongest force of the melding of the rock star/fan connection. After all, his songs were playing on the radio, his videos were on MTV, he was touring in concert, we received new pictures to pin on our walls each month (Teen Beat, 16, Bop! magazines, etc.) And we could watch him on TV on a regular basis on “General Hospital.” He was a part of our life and even if he didn’t know us, we sure knew a lot about him (thanks to the fan club and “How well do you know Rick Springfield?” quizzes in the teen magazines).

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Rick Springfield & ‘General Hospital’

A few years ago, RS once said in an interview that he was asked almost daily whether or not he would consider ever returning to “General Hospital” again. He did return as Dr. Noah Drake for many episodes between December 2005-September 2008. (The Rick Springfield & Us site has lots more details, it’s a great resource!) He also returned in March 2012 and April 2013.

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Although there’s no indication that he’s planning on returning to the show, there will be a reunion of sorts, as RS will be performing at the upcoming General Hospital Fan Celebration Weekend, to be held at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis in January.

The Elvis connection

Since I haven’t watched “General Hospital” in a few decades, I’m more excited about RS playing at Graceland then there being a connection with GH. RS playing at Graceland, the home of THE KING! How cool is that?

RS told Harry Connick, Jr. earlier this year about meeting Elvis Presley back in 1972:

He also talked about it in an 2016 AV Club interview:

RS: Yeah, I met Elvis on a plane, in 1972. My manager, actually, at the time, was Steve Binder, who directed the Elvis comeback special for NBC. So I was going back and forth from Australia because I didn’t have a permanent visa, so I had to fly back and get another visitor’s visa and fly back to America. I was doing that for a while. I got on the plane one time and I was in the back of the bus but I walked past the first-class section—it was stopping in Hawaii because he was going to Hawaii—and there was Elvis, and he looked amazing. You know, jet black hair, and he was thin and had this powder-blue leisure suit on, and he came back [to coach] before the plane landed and went up and down the aisle signing autographs. I wasn’t a big fan at the time then—I am now but I wasn’t much then, I was more a fan of The Beatles—but I had a girlfriend named Allison and I said, “Hey, would you sign this for my girlfriend Allison?” And I said, “You know, Steve Binder manages me,” and he said, “Oh, I love Steve, Steve’s great,” and had a little conversation with him. It was pretty cool.

According to an article on the Memphis Commercial Appeal website, the Jan. 19 concert at Graceland will be the first-ever non-Elvis-related concert at the venue, which opened in 2017. Pretty cool, RS making his own history at Graceland.

Before ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ there was Zoot

Years before many of us ’80s kids started plastering Rick Springfield posters all over our walls, Mr. Springfield was already a star back in Australia. You may not have been familiar with his band Zoot because, if you’re around my age, you were just being introduced to solid foods around that time and weren’t following the Australian music scene.

But he was the guitarist in the popular Australian band from 1969 to 1971. (According to his autobiography, “Late, Late at Night,” this was when he bought his Gibson SG guitar, which he wrote “Jessie’s Girl” on and later played in the “Ricki & The Flash” movie with Meryl Streep.)

Why am I writing about Zoot today? Because this tweet popped up in my news feed today:

Although I’m not very familiar with Zoot, I have watched some videos of them in the past, such as their version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

And “Hey, Pinky,” which was written by RS:

When the band broke up in 1971, everyone went on to successful careers: Beeb Birtles was a founding member of Little River Band, Darryl Cotton was a successful Australian entertainer for many years (both in music and acting, as well as a TV host) and Rick Brewer was a drummer for many bands. Oh, and that guitarist Rick Springfield, well, you may be familiar with some of his work over the past 50 years.

The band reunited for a Rick Springfield fan cruise in 2011, which I bet was amazing for everyone who was a part of it. Sadly, Darryl Cotton died the following year from liver cancer.

So the fact that this new CD, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band, is being released on Nov. 23 is a super cool thing. It’s a great name, too: “ZOOT Archaeology.”

An article on rockclub40.com explains a little more about the 24-song retrospective.

The ZOOT members have dug deeply into their archives for ARCHAEOLOGY, which features the first song the band recorded, a cover of The Move’s ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’, as well as the band’s EMI debut, ‘You’d Better Get Goin’’. The album also includes the hits ‘Monty and Me’ (produced by Molly and featuring a whistling Johnny Farnham), ‘One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four’, plus their classic hard rock cover of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a Top 5 hit and Go-Set’s Best Australian Single of 1971. …

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY also features live covers of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Shilo’, plus rare photos of the band, and liner notes written by Beeb and Rick.

EMI will also reissue ZOOT LIVE – THE REUNION, the CD and DVD documenting what was the band’s last performance, 40 years after they initially broke up.

ZOOT LIVE was recorded in 2011, on the Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise in the Caribbean. The re-formation was so successful that the band started planning an Australian tour; what would have been their first Australian shows in 40 years. But soon after, singer Darryl Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died in 2012.

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY is dedicated to Darryl.

After Darryl died, Rick discovered that both he and Darryl had recorded separate versions of ‘Life In A Northern Town’. “Sitting in the studio listening to Darryl’s solo vocal gave us all goosebumps,” Rick says. Combining the two versions, he then asked Beeb to sing the third verse. “Fifty-four years after I met Darryl, we have a new ZOOT song,” Beeb smiles. “Thanks to Rick, I got to sing one more time with my best friend.”

Isn’t that beautiful? And so is the song:

 

I can’t wait to hear more!

Zoot

“Zoot Archaeology”

1. One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four
2. Monty And Me
3. Flying
4. Hey, Mr. Songwriter
5. You’d Better Get Goin’
6. Sailing
7. Yes, I’m Glad
8. About Time
9. Sha La La
10. She’s Alright
11. Feelings
12. Little Roland Lost
13. Shake Your Feathers
14. Hey Pinky
15. Strange Things
16. Eleanor Rigby
17. Turn Your Head
18. The Freak
19. Evil Child
20. I’m Only Sleeping Recorded Live 1970
21. Shilo Recorded Live 1970
22. Life In A Northern Town
23. I Can Hear The Grass Grow
24. Eleanor Rigby Live

Five decades of Rick Springfield

Due to the unprecedented exposure of the last post – about 400 views in 48 hours (yes, I was surprised, too) – I thought I’d take the opportunity to launch the Rick Springfield is Not a One-Hit Wonder campaign.

It’s not an official campaign but I’m just tired of seeing RS included in references to one-hit wonders.

So here’s an abridged look at RS through the past five decades.  In the 1970s, he was on shows like “The Sonny and Cher Show” and “American Bandstand.” Then he was popular on MTV after that launched in 1981. Although I didn’t have cable at home, I spent many happy moments while babysitting watching those videos.

His look changed with the times – long feathered hair in the 1970s, short feathered hair and pink and purple suits in the 1980s, the mullet, etc. His musical sounds changed, too, as he adapted to different musical styles throughout the years. His early songs are very different from his current ones, and yet I can appreciate his songs from all the different decades because of his songwriting and musical skills. My personal tastes today are much closer to his current albums – the older ones are more nostalgic now – and I’m excited to hear his new CD that is scheduled to come out in the next year.

Here are some blasts from the past:

1970s

As a guitar player in Zoot:

“Speak to the Sky,” his first hit single in 1971:

His American television debut in 1972, on “The Sonny and Cher Show”: “What Would the Children Think?”

On “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark in 1975:

1980s

His most popular song, “Jessie’s Girl,” for which he received a Grammy Award in 1981:

The 1980s also included his first movie, “Hard to Hold,” and the albums “Rock of Life” and “Tao.” He also took time off from his musical career when his sons were young and focused more on his personal life and on acting.

He was nominated for a Grammy for “I Get Excited,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Affair of the Heart” and made many music videos during MTV’s first decade. Here’s a link to more of his videos.

His other hits included  “I’ve Done Everything for You” (written by Sammy Hagar), “Love is Alright Tonite,” “Human Touch,”  “Souls,” “Love Somebody,” “Don’t Walk Away,” “Bop ‘Til You Drop,” “Bruce,” “State of the Heart,” “Celebrate Youth” and “Rock of Life.”

For many, this was the last people remember about Rick Springfield.

1990s, 2000s, 2010s

But he’s been busy since then, recording several albums – including a CD of lullabies that he wrote for his sons when they were young – touring, acting, writing (a memoir and a novel).  For an amazing resource on all things Rick Springfield, visit this comprehensive fan site.

And now, in 2015, RS fans are awaiting a new CD, a new movie, a new book, a guest spot on a television show and lots of live shows. All in one year! So there’s much more to Rick Springfield than “Jessie’s Girl.”