Twelve years ago, Rick Springfield was mostly a pleasant memory for fans of 1980s Top 40 music and the soap opera “General Hospital.” But that time out of the limelight came to an end in 1998 when he was profiled in VH-1’s “Behind the Music.” Since then he’s released three albums of original rock tunes plus a covers album to go with his ’80s classics, and he’s playing two or three concerts a week in support of the 2-year-old “Venus In Overdrive.”
Twelve years ago, Rick Springfield was mostly a pleasant memory for fans of 1980s Top 40 music and the soap opera “General Hospital.”
But that time out of the limelight came to an end in 1998 when he was profiled in VH-1’s “Behind the Music.” Since then he’s released three albums of original rock tunes plus a covers album to go with his ’80s classics, and he’s playing two or three concerts a week in support of the 2-year-old “Venus In Overdrive.”
On top of that, his autobiography will be released in October, a documentary on his relationship with his fans is in production, and he’s planning his third Caribbean cruise with some of his biggest fans in November. He also stumbled across some of his 20-some-year-old music in a drawer and decided to release it to the public last year. And he’s planning to record another new album.
Springfield said in a phone interview that he and his band hope the live shows will send fans home “hot, happy and sweaty.”
The setlist changes a bit each night, he said.
“There’s certain songs you can’t leave the stage without doing, obviously,” he said. There will also be songs from “Venus In Overdrive” and “some songs that I loved when I was a kid. It covers a lot of ground.”
“Venus In Overdrive” debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 album chart, the best showing for him since “Tao” in 1985 reached No. 21. “Rock of Life” in 1988 reached No. 55, but Springfield suffered a broken collarbone in an all-terrain vehicle wreck that left him unable to hold a guitar for several months. He canceled the tour and decided to spend more time with his family.
A few years before that, he wrote the music that appears on his latest CD, “My Precious Little One,” a collection of lullabies he wrote for his two sons.
“I wrote them for my sons when they were born in the mid-’80s, just for them,” he said. “I didn’t mean for them to be heard by other people. I just wrote them for my kids out of the whole new father thing.”
He recorded some cassette tapes and would play them at bedtime. He gave some to friends, too.
“Then I found one of the tapes in a drawer awhile back and played it, and it brought back a lot of really great memories,” he said. “The songs are really charming.”
More memories are going to be shared when his memoir, “Late, Late At Night” (336 pages, Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster imprint) comes out in October. The title comes both from when he started writing his life story and from a lyric in his most popular song, “Jessie’s Girl,” which earned him the Grammy Award for best male rock performance in 1982. He thought people would be interested in his story of growing up in Australia, the struggles after coming to America to start a music career and his life after he became a star with his role as Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital” and his breakthrough album “Working Class Dog.”
“There’s a certain element of the rock-star thing that people are always interested in, but it really comes down to my peculiar life,” said Springfield, who turns 61 in August. “I knew there was a good story there, and I just got up one night and just started writing it.”
He said it’s his own writing — he didn’t work with a ghostwriter.
“(Touchstone) liked my writing, and I wanted to do it myself, and they agreed,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things in there that will surprise even hardcore fans who think they know everything about me,” he said. “I wanted to be truthful in the book. I didn’t see the point in writing a book where I hid stuff.”
The publisher’s description of the book says one topic Springfield addresses is “his longtime battle with depression.”
“There’s a bunch of different threads that run through the book; depression is just one of the threads,” he said. “But they’re all human issues, and I think people will get something out of reading them, not just a laugh or entertainment, I think there’s some lessons in there that I’ve learned.”
Fans will be able to talk about the book in person with Springfield in November on his third “Rick Springfield & Friends Cruise.” It’s a five-day cruise from Miami with ports of call in Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk Island. Springfield will be joined by Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, former MTV and current Sirius/XM Radio host Mark Goodman, Doug Davidson of “The Young & the Restless” and Eric Martsolf of “Days of Our Lives.”
“It’s the best things we do all year,” he said. “It’s very fan intensive.”
There are singer-songwriter sessions, a movie night “where we have some wine and make fun of each others’ acting and show excerpts of different things we’ve done, and then we end up on this beautiful beach … and have a show on the beach and then all go swimming. It’s actually a five-day party that after it we sleep for about 18 hours. But it’s just so much fun, it’s an absolute blast.”
Of course, such fan experiences only happen because Springfield has some of the most enduring songs of pop music history. “Jessie’s Girl” was included in an episode of the Fox television series “Glee” this spring and in the movie “Couples Retreat” last year. Other songs, such as “Love Somebody” and “Love Is Alright Tonight,” have also made cameos in movies and TV in recent years.
“Everyone wants what they create to have some life and some endurance, and some of the songs certainly have that,” he said. “I don’t understand why one goes a certain route and another doesn’t. I think it has a lot to do with socially and when it comes out and what the song is about and what it says and whether it still sounds current.”
Ultimately, “a good song is a good song, no matter what,” he said.
Daily Telegram (Adrian, Mich.)