By JULIA ANN WEEKES
Rick Springfield records, tours and nabs movie, TV roles
NH Weekend Editor
Rick Springfield has 17 Top 40 hits, a Grammy Award and sales of more than 25 million albums, but at 65,
the versatile performer is racking up some career firsts — including jamming with a guitar-toting Meryl Streep and shooting scenes for the new season of HBO’s hit “True Detective” series.
Springfield, known for tunes including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Affair of the Heart,” “I’ve Done Everything for You” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” brings his “Stripped Down” tour to New Hampshire for a show Sunday night at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.
Coinciding with the winter road trip, a CD/DVD to be released Tuesday, Feb. 24, focuses on some of the pared-down performances he’s been doing as of late. The more intimate shows include behind-the-scene stories, Q&A segments with the audience and fan favorites, including the comedic tune “If Wishes were Fishes.” (Among the things he lists as his own wishes are that his neighbor would choke on his yappy dog, that he’d never seen Miley Cyrus twerk and that people would quit calling him Rick Springsteen.)
Springfield recently shared some thoughts about expanding his acting resume, releasing one disc and working on another, and sacrificing some sleep to fit it all in between ongoing full-band and solo-show gigs.
NH Weekend: I understand that (in addition to releasing the “Stripped Down” CD/DVD), there’s another new disc in the works. Where are you in the process, and what kind of vibe are you exploring?
Springfield: We’ve just finished recording the basics for 15 new tracks and are hoping to be done pretty soon ... maybe a month. I’m touring a lot in February so I’ll have to work around that. The vibe is positive, upbeat songs mostly with big hooks and lots of guitars. (This disc is slated for release late this year or early next year.)
NH Weekend: You’ve played some interesting versions of yourself from “Californication” to “Family Guy,” and now you’re sharing screen time with Meryl Streep for the film “Ricki and the Flash” and appearing in the second season of HBO’s gritty crime series “True Detective” with Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. What do these two latest roles bring to the table for you? Are they tapping into certain aspects of your own career and life?
Springfield: Yes and no. Every actor uses what he can from personal stuff in a role, but it has to go further than that, otherwise you’re just playing yourself all the time. The writing on both projects is so great and the casts amazing, so it’s kicking up my acting game — playing with the big boys and girls.
NH Weekend: Your performance schedule over the years seems consistently jammed with solo shows, full-band performances and concert cruises, yet you’ve somehow found time to pen books (a memoir, “Late, Late Night,” and a novel, “Magnificent Vibration”), pursue acting gigs, and contribute to projects like Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl’s “Sound City — Real to Reel” project in between all that. How do you find the energy, motivation and enthusiasm? And do you ever sleep?
Springfield: I do sleep — Mondays from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. I love what I do, so the energy is there naturally. It’s not always fun. Sometimes (there’s) a lot of pressure, but over all I get very high from doing different things.
NH Weekend: During the Q&A last spring at your show at The Colonial Theatre in Keene, I got a kick out of seeing how loyal your fanbase remains, with audience members waving album covers of 1981’s “Working Class Dog,” telling stories of how your music has impacted their lives, and, of course, asking for birthday hugs, autographs and cell phone pix. I would imagine that over the decades, you’ve gotten used to these reactions, but are there moments when it’s surreal? Any instances recently that stick in your mind?
Springfield: There are times when I sit back and say, ‘What the eff happened?’ Most of the time, it’s just life.
The number of years some folks have been fans is pretty humbling.
As far as surreal moments, certainly walking into a rehearsal room and seeing Meryl Streep with a guitar strapped to her and knowing we were going to jam was pretty up there.