Grammy Award-winner Rick Springfield makes an exclusive Tampa Bay area concert appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m.
CLEARWATER -Grammy Award-winner Rick Springfield makes an exclusive Tampa Bay area concert appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m., in support of his latest release Songs For The End Of The World (Universal Music Enterprises).
For all of his accomplishments as an actor, best-selling author and documentary subject, Springfield has always insisted his first love is music, a passion he’s harbored since first picking up the guitar at the age of 12 in his native Australia.
With 25 million albums sold, 17 top-40 hits, including Don’t Talk to Strangers, An Affair of the Heart, I've Done Everything for You, Love Somebody and Human Touch, as well as a 1981 Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal win for his No. 1 hit single Jessie’s Girl behind him, Springfield has more to say with his latest release Songs For The End of the World.
“That’s why I put a lot of thought and energy into making records,” he said. “I’d like to continue changing people’s minds about me. And I have to write about what I know about, and what’s important to me. I’m still hungry.”
Collaborating on the songs with his bass player Matt Bissonette, Springfield sets his sights on the possibilities of escaping the current, apocalyptic world situation in our closest relationships, employing the kind of self-effacement and ability to poke fun at himself as he demonstrated when putting his dog Lethal Ron on the cover of Working Class Dog or spoofing his image by playing a sleazy, drug-and-sex-crazed version of himself on Showtime’s dark comedy Californication.
On songs like the vintage three-chord rock of I Hate Myself and the anthemic Our Ship’s Sinking (with backup vocals by John Waite and Mr. Mister’s Richard Page), Springfield finds the parallels in society’s discontent and the heartache of domestic strife.
As demonstrated in Wide Awake, he declares: “I am free to be a kid again,” and in Joshua he tries to provide guidance to his college graduate son nervous about the future, while A Sign of Life and Gabriel look heavenward for inspiration; the former searching for either God, space invaders or a soulmate, the latter, a guardian angel’s direction.
Springfield’s wicked sense of humor rears its head in the tongue-in-cheek Love Screws Me Up, with his original ’80s touring band guitarist Tim Pierce contributing a searing solo opposite Springfield’s slide part.
“There’s real feeling it, but you can’t write about that stuff too seriously,” he explains about the album’s mix of moods. “It’s about the world being in flames, but from a very personal viewpoint. I take what’s happening to me and place it in a universal perspective…which is what I’ve always tried to do with my songwriting.”
Indeed, before emigrating to the United States in the early ’70s, Springfield was an established musical performer in his native Australia. He only took up acting - leading to the role of Dr. Noah Drake on TV’s General Hospital - as a way of making money to support his musical career.
His early albums, like 1981s Working Class Dog and the following year’s Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet, placed him firmly in that era’s jangly pop, New Wave tradition, leading to comparisons with singer-songwriters like Elvis Costello and near-namesake Bruce Springsteen - influences that can be heard on the new album’s punk-rock Depravity and the working-class angst of One Way Street.
“My template for Working Class Dog was My Aim is True meets Ziggy Stardust,” explains Springfield.
Still playing nearly 100 live shows a year, Springfield’s current musical career renaissance can be traced back to 2004s Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance and 2008s UMe Venus in Overdrive, which entered the Billboard sales charts at No. 28, his highest debut in 20 years, with Sony Legacy’s 2005 retrospective Written in Rock: The Rick Springfield Anthology sandwiched in between.
An Affair of the Heart, a documentary which captured the close ties between Springfield and his fans, came out earlier this year, winning special jury awards at both the Nashville and Florida Film Festivals.
He also recently wrote and recorded a new song with Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters / Nirvana) along with being a featured guest in Grohl’s new documentary about Sound City, the fabled San Fernando Valley recording studio.
In addition, Springfield’s 2010 autobiography, Late, Late at Night: A Memoir, for Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint, entered The New York Times best-seller list at No. 13, hitting the Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly lists as well, with Rolling Stone magazine recently named it one of the top-25 rock autobiographies of all time. In the book, Springfield revealed the lifelong depression he’s battled throughout his career, a theme he returns to in such songs as I Hate Myself and Love Screws Me Up.
“I’m not the shiny, happy guy people think I am from my role in General Hospital,” insists Springfield. “I have a way of beating myself up over things I’ve done. I tend to put that angst into my music. In fact, if I’d gotten laid, Jessie’s Girl would never have been written. But I can’t just write about that. There are plenty of 18-year-olds who can do that a lot better than I can.”
With Songs For The End Of The World, Rick Springfield continues to do what he does best - applying his sardonic view to life as we live it today, offering a ray of hope in the midst of all the turmoil.
“The darker side of my nature creeps in and out, but so does a degree of optimism,” he said. “In the end, I believe that solace and healing can be found in the presence of someone who understands, loves and accepts you for who you are, even while these looming threats remain.”
Reserved tickets priced at $95, $49, $35 are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office located at 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater, by calling 727-791-7400 and online at www.RuthEckerdHall.com 24/7. A very limited number of VIP packages are also available which include a premium ticket and a Meet & Greet opportunity.
Convenient pre-show dining priced at $20 is available before the performance. For reservations and more information, call the ticket office.