Rick Springfield Interview
By: Cara Carriveau
Rick Springfield Biography
There’s something about Rick Springfield that is and always has been very real. His songs about love and loss, greed and envy, elation and heartbreak spoke to that part of human nature that hasn’t changed in 3,000 years. They still do.
On July 29, 2008, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Rick Springfield will release his new album Venus In Overdrive on New Door Records/UMe. The album is Rick’s first full-length new studio work of original material since the 2003 critically acclaimed shock/denial/anger/acceptance. More upbeat and fun than the dark and introspective shock/denial/anger/acceptance, Venus In Overdrive marks a return to Rick’s pop/rock roots. Venus In Overdrive is simultaneously classic and current — and definitely the music fans have loved since Rick’s distinctive canine companion Lethal Ron first graced the cover of his classic album Working Class Dog.
“In a way, I think we should have called this album ‘Son of Working Class Dog.’ The songs explore some of the same themes, albeit from a slightly older perspective,” notes Rick. “It’s an album about love in all of its forms…good, bad, happy, sad, the kind that drives you crazy…love and all of its human failings.”
A creative collaboration between Rick and his longtime bass player Matt Bissonette, Venus In Overdrive was recorded in its entirety in only 32 days. “We were on a roll and just couldn’t stop. It all flowed so naturally. Writing and recording these songs has been the most fun I’ve had in the studio since the early 80s,” says Rick.
The first single from Venus In Overdrive is “What’s Victoria’s Secret?” Says Rick, “It’s one of those titles that was waiting to be written and Matt (Bissonette) just came up with it first. It’s about the sexualization of women and the dichotomy most men feel.
As males we want that on one hand, but then it scares the hell out of us and we resist it. Mainly, we need to connect with women as human beings.” Rick also notes that there are some familiar influences in the song. “The longing, lust, and insecurities revealed that made “Jessie’s Girl” hit so close to home are there. It’s not ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ but touches some of the same places lyrically and musically.”
By contrast, the album’s title track is a different sound for Rick Springfield. With its dance and alternative influences, “Venus In Overdrive” is as contemporary as “What’s Victoria’s Secret” is retro. Still, its guitar tracks and raw sexual angst are signature Rick Springfield. “It surprises me when people use the word ‘influences’ like it’s always something from the past. Bands like The Beatles and The Who made a huge impact on my life as a musician and a songwriter, but there are some really cool things happening in music now that inevitably find their way into my psyche. ‘Venus In Overdrive’ evolved that way,” notes Rick.
Other songs on the album address different kinds of relationships, including loved ones lost. “There’s a lot of personal stuff in these songs, but we’ve tried to craft them with a universal voice. In working on this album, Matt and I discovered the similarities in the relationships with our fathers — things that were sometimes funny and maddening.”
Two songs on the record, “Saint Sahara” and “God Blinked” pay tribute to Sahara Aldridge, a young girl who frequently attended Rick’s shows and who recently lost her battle with cancer. The whole band had come to love her as a member of the extended family and felt a great loss with her passing, but the songs are a celebration of her life and recognition of the people she affected in the world, making good on a promise to give her a song she could dance to.
In 1981 after years of struggle, the stars perfectly aligned and Rick Springfield found himself sitting on top of the world. In the midst of recording what would become the quintessential pop/rock album Working Class Dog, Rick was cast to the play the young, eligible Dr. Noah Drake on the popular daytime drama “General Hospital.” That same year, MTV debuted and changed the dynamic of the music industry forever. Rick skyrocketed to the top of Billboard’s charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You,”. The following year, he won a Grammy for “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.”
In 1982, Rick followed the success of Working Class Dog with Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet. The album contained a string of top-40 hits, including “Don’t Talk To Strangers” which charted at #2. He was also nominated for a second Grammy and in 1983 was nominated for a third, in addition to garnering an American Music Award.
His 1983 album Living in Oz went platinum, resulting in the hits “Human Touch” and “Affair of the Heart.” The following year, his single “Love Somebody” from the soundtrack album to the movie “Hard to Hold” (in which Rick made his big screen debut) hit #5 on the Billboard singles chart. Rick Springfield had solidified his place as the preeminent power-pop artist of the decade and today remains the genre’s greatest pioneer.
After years of balls-to-the-wall live performances, grueling tour schedules, and recording back-to-back hit albums with chart-topping singles, Rick decided to take a break to spend time with his family when his first son was born in 1985. During his hiatus, he released the albums Rock of Life and Sahara Snow. He returned to the concert stage in 1998 with the release of his album Karma. Immediately, Rick was performing to sold out crowds as fans clamored to the Internet, hungry for word of Rick Springfield’s triumphant return to their hometowns.
In 2003 Rick propelled his career onward, by releasing the critically acclaimed album, shock/denial/anger/acceptance on his own record label, Gomer Records. Rick hit the ground running in 2005 by releasing The Day After Yesterday, a warm and soulful collection featuring his own interpretations of hit songs that he wishes he had written.
2005 also saw the release of Written in Rock, Rick Springfield Anthology, on Sony/BMG, a 2-Disc set spanning Rick Springfield’s recording career to date. Rick ended 2005 with his long anticipated return to ABC’s daytime hit show, “General Hospital,” in the role he originated nearly 25 years ago as Dr. Noah Drake. He continues to make appearances on “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake.
In 2006 Rick released a concert DVD, Live in Rockford, which was filmed live as part of the HDNet Concert Series at the historic Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL and showcases Rick’s extremely high energy performances. Rick released a Christmas CD entitled Christmas With You, in 2007 that featured an extremely moving original track, “Christmas With You”, which was dedicated to all of our fallen troops.
Also in 2007, Rick’s classic album Working Class Dog was celebrated with the release of the book A Year In The Life Of A Working Class Dog which chronicles the making of this pop masterpiece and Rick’s rise to superstar status.
In 2009, Rick headed in a different direction by releasing a special album, My Precious Little One, (Gomer Records / DKE Records). This album is the collection of lullabies Rick created for his own family. “I wrote these original lullabies for my two sons during the heady days of brand new fatherhood. Since neither of them were good sleepers, it seemed like a good idea to write some lullabies,” he said of the collection.
To date, Rick Springfield has sold over 19 million records with a whopping 17 top-40 hits. He has performed for millions of devoted fans over the last three decades and continues to play over 100 shows a year. Attracting new fans wherever he goes with his unique brand of audience interaction, unstoppable energy, and unforgettable songs that have become part of the soundtrack to people’s lives.
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