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Interview:
Rick Springfield at Sound Board, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Forty-five years after his first album, more than 35 years after his first big hit and 30 years after his first acting gig, Rick Springfield is anything but slowing down.

The Australian-born artist -- and best-selling author to boot -- will greet 2018 with a new album, the blues-flavored “The Snake King,” on Jan. 19. It’s the latest in a 20-plus release career that’s included hits such as “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” “Affair Of The Heart” and many more.

And at the age of 68, when more than a few of his contemporaries are winding down, Springfield has plans for even more projects.

• Springfield, says by phone that taking on the blues “is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and I wrote actually over a weekend, got the basic form for a lot of the songs and what they’d be about. It happened pretty quickly and then I just fiddled with them over the months after that. But it came pretty fast, and it’s basically a theme record, I guess, the first theme record I’ve ever done, based on a character named The Snake King. Sometimes that character is a devil, sometimes it’s God, sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s just the news.”

• While most of his music has been rock and pop, some of Springfield’s earliest influences were blues artists and records. “My first bands were blues bands when I was a kid, so I got into early -- the (Rolling) Stones and those kinds of bands, the British Invasion bands that borrowed blues,” he explains. “We’d never heard that music before in Australia, and when we heard them do their versions of it we started looking at where they got the music from and that’s when I started discovering Lightnin’ Hopkins and Robert Johnson and even Chuck Berry, B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters. We learned to play guitar from the blues players, the same guys that influenced guys like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. So I got into it early and it’s been kind of my fallback music.”

• Besides music, Springfield is currently “working on writing,” with an eye towards a third book to follow his revealing 2011 memoir “Late, Late At Night” and his 2014 novel “Magnificent Vibration.” “I’ve started a couple different things so I’m not sure which way it’s going to go. I’ve started a sequel, then it went to a prequel of (‘Magnificent Vibration’). I’ve thought about a follow up to the autobiography, too, that could say a lot of different things, not just list how my life has gone but a lot more of how I feel about things and my plans, ideas and philosophies and stuff like that. It’s just about sitting down to do it, like writing anything for me. I just sit down and start and see what happens. It keeps it interesting for me.”

• On the acting front, Springfield says that he’s “looking for stuff. So far there are a couple of episodic things I’ve done but that’s not really much in that for me as far as the future goes, so I’m looking for a series, something with great writing so I can not tour as much but when I do, hit it hard.”

• Forty-five years after the release of his first album, 1972’s “Beginnings,” Springfield acknowledges that his career has “been up and down,” but that’s never diminished his enthusiasm. “I still have a lot of energy for it and a lot of ideas and a lot of passion for it. Getting up and playing is still a big joy for me. I love doing that and I have a monster of a band and we all get along, so it’s not like there’s anything in me saying, ‘You need to slow down’ or ‘This is not as much fun as it used to be,’ because it is. The actual playing is as much fun as it’s always been for me. I just want to keep doing it ... and do it better! I still have a lot of passion for it.”



• If You Go: Rick Springfield performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29 in Sound Board at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $50-$63. Call 866-783-9622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

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