’80s rock icon Rick Springfield talks about his career, depression and music
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Grammy Award-winning singer / songwriter, guitarist, actor and bestselling author Rick Springfield will perform at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla. On Tuesday, September 28.
The artist known for hits such as “Jessie’s Girl”, “I Did Everything For You”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, “Affair of the Heart” and many more – as well as for appearing in hits like “Supernatural” and “General Hospital” are back on the road after COVID-19 resulted in previous concerts being canceled.
I spoke with Rick about his career, his struggle with depression, and his outlook on music today. So let’s go “Shake, Rattle & Know”: Rick Springfield.
QUESTION: The world is a very different place now because of the pandemic. How did that force you, as an artist, to change your approach to business?
REPLY: Music and the music business are two very different things. On the music side, it was great because I had more time than ever to write songs. I have been writing for a year and a half. The business side has been very different since the tour just ended. I miss it a lot. The tour is my communion with humanity.
Question: How different is the music industry itself from when you started out?
A: Anyone over 35 can tell you it’s completely different. Many great groups of the past would never have made a place for themselves in today’s music. There is no more career building. Artists become famous before they even understand who they are as an artist. Everything is happening so fast. A great man once said that “one day our heroes and our stars will be decided by a game show” and here, more than twenty years later, they were right. When I got there you were playing music in clubs, connecting with an audience and understanding what was working and what was not. There’s no more stacking in a van and driving around the country trying to build something.
Question: Why do you think the music of the 80s, perhaps more than any other genre of music, was so enduring and remains so popular today?
A: I think it was the last era of music which was always great. There were great melodies, great compositions. Today’s music sounds the same and has lost a lot of originality. You hear the same drum beats, the same synth used, and the same approach to the songs. There are some great artists like Lewis Capaldi who are doing something really unique and standing out from the crowd.
Question: If you could go back into your career and do one thing again and do it a different way, what would it be and why?
A: I wouldn’t trust everyone. You think people are really there for you, but 98% of them are really there for their good. It’s like they try to crawl into bed with you when you sleep. I wouldn’t say that I have ever been “ripped off” by anyone, but I trusted people to my detriment. I had to withdraw completely from the world of music in 1985 because of the depression I was going through. I had to unplug the plug just to reset.
Question: You still record, write books, tour, and make the working class DJ for XM / Sirius radio. How do you find the time to keep up with such a busy schedule?
A: It’s actually very easy, because I do things that I love. It’s a good thing in building a career and if I don’t like something, I just don’t. It gives me flexibility that way. From the pandemic, I also relearned how much I love my home life too. It’s busy, but I love what I do.
Question: What do you prefer most, the creative process of making a record or the pleasure of playing live?
A: Wow, these are really very different to me. Tours are very ego driven. Having an arena full of people who are cheering you on and who you can connect with is a good thing. It feeds the ego. The writing is just you. If I like something, I continue. If I don’t, I stop. Writing music isn’t that much ego driven, unless you come from a place where you want to write something that everyone will like. It’s not the same immediate satisfaction as when you play live.
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Question: Describe your songwriting technique. How does a song usually put together for you?
A: It varies from time to time. Usually I find a title that inspires me; a climax of words and what they might mean. Then I muffle it on my guitar or my piano. Sometimes this process can take a few days and sometimes months.
Question: It’s been over ten years since you published your memoir “Late Late At Night”, and you’ve been very open about your battles with depression, infidelity and more. Was it difficult to write about these experiences or did you find it therapeutic?
A: It was very therapeutic. It was about rediscovering things. I wanted to be very open and honest and write from the truth. Every song I wrote was something that really happened, and I had to bring the same honesty to writing the book. I was worried about what friends, fans and family would think. When I wrote it over ten years ago, not many people were talking about depression. Now more and more people are opening up about it and it is easier to talk about it. I was never embarrassed to have depression, I was more embarrassed by the stupid thoughts I had because I was depressed. Depression is not something you can help.
Question: What’s the next step for you?
A: Well, I hope on tour. I guess we’ll see what all of these COVID variants do and how it affects touring. I recorded a few albums with other people and worked on a solo record. I love how now I can release EPs or individual songs and not have to wait for an entire album to come out. I study actor projects; maybe by writing another book. So much has happened in my life since the last autobiography was written. I’m just excited to keep working.
If you are going to
When: Tuesday Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Or: The King Center for the Performing Arts, 3865 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne
Tickets: Starting at $ 49.75
On the Web: rickspringfield.com or kingcenter.com
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