Rick Springfield | Staying Afloat

The only time you're excited to talk about it is to talk about it with someone else who's into it, and everybody else just rolls their eyes.

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This writer admits to having a schoolgirl's crush on Rick Springfield when she was, well, a schoolgirl. She admits she's moved beyond the futile rockstar crush but still, well—come on, people. Look at the picture. The man still looks good, am I wrong?

When her phone rang on the scheduled day at the scheduled time, this writer expected Mr. Springfield's publicist to be patching the call through. What she got instead was, "Hello, Laura, it's Rick Springfield." What this writer wanted to blurt was, "I've been waiting for this call since eighth grade!" However, being a professional music journalist type, this writer controlled herself. (That, and her husband was in the next room.) Instead, she launched into a discussion, a give-and-take, if you will, with the pop star from her adolescence who was still making music and touring.

(And if you're wondering, she did allow herself one moment of reflection when she admitted to Mr. Springfield that, at age 15, she had had her mother drive her to the record store to get Living in Oz on the day of its release. But other than that, she was totally professional. Totally.)

 

Working Class Dog was re-released this summer. Back in '81, when the album first came out, what was your definition of success, and what is it now?

Back then, I just wanted to write hit records. I was a very driven young guy, and that was my focus. That was really the thing that kept me going. I was focusing on eventually something would happen, and my music would be heard. Now, certainly, it involves my family. I've become much more obviously aware of the world. The great thing about having kids is it makes you lose a lot of your selfishness. I've broadened what I want to do. I still want to have hits; that's why I'm still working. But I also want there to be a world left when my kids are my age.

What keeps you grounded, especially when you're on the road?

My family, absolutely. The reason I can tour now, actually, is because of cell phones. You can always reach them. I remember touring and having to pull over at a bus stop or something, and wait for the line to go down and then calling from a payphone. It was just miserable for me. Once we all had cell phones, I could call them any time. I think we're the only people that tour like this now. We go out for a couple of days and then go home, because we all have families, and we don't want to live out on the road for three months and come back a different person, disconnected from everything at home and everything you do. It gives us a lot of time to do stuff at home. I have my own studio, and we're recording all the time, and writing, and I get to do stuff with my kids. My wife is the rock of the family, and she's been responsible for the fact that I'm still here.

Any new material slated for release?

I've done two albums of new stuff, one called Karma that was released in 2000, and one called Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance that was released in 2004. Right now I'm writing for a new record, and also doing a Christmas record. The new stuff is going to be a lot more rockin', and we're actually doing one of the songs live already. That's what keeps me going, what keeps me touring: the new stuff. We do all the old stuff, and I love that, and I'm very proud of it, but also as a human being, I look forward, too.

I consider myself a writer first, before anything. So that's always been the most important thing to me, and that's what I've focused on ever since I thought that I could write songs, which was about 14 years old. As long as things keep happening in my life, then I'll have something to write about.

cd_workingclassdogHow have you noticed your songwriting process changing over the years?

Not really much. You just pray for inspiration. If it comes, you write it down, and bash a song out somewhere in the next week. Certainly technologically it's changed, because now with drum machines and synths and sequences, I can put the song together, drums, keyboards, and vocals together in a day, and then listen to it and change it if I want to change it.

But as far as the actual process, it still comes down to hopefully writing from my heart and hoping that I can say something a little differently than it was said the last time.

I was going through your blog… where does this fascination with the Titanic come from?

I have no idea. I just have always loved it. I have a couple of things from the Titanic. You meet other collectors, and they're the same way. The only time you're excited to talk about it is to talk about it with someone else who's into it, and everybody else just rolls their eyes. I don't know what it is. I think it's, first of all, what it was, the whole sinking, was an end of an era. It was the end of "technology and science will cure everything." It was absolutely the pinpoint of that. It'd be like a brand new, biggest airplane in the world being loaded up on its maiden voyage with some of the biggest musicians and actors of the time and hitting another plane in midair and taking two and a half hours to crash. The drama's played out, and if enough people survive they can tell the story. It's just amazing. The people onboard were the stars of the day. There were no movies, there were no singing stars like there are now. The stars were the rich people.

[I've watched the movie] a couple of times. I thought the effects were incredible. I can watch the sinking over and over and over; I'm a sick puppy about that. You might want to change the subject.

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