Is there a doctor in the house, Mr. Springfield?
By Deborah L. Kunesh
St. Charles Republican
Wed Nov 07, 2007, 12:18 PM CST
St. Charles, IL -
As Dr. Noah Drake on ABC television’s “General Hospital,” Noah’s alter ego — rocker Eli Love — or the guy whose hit songs were an integral part of what made the 1980s stand out musically with hits like “Jesse’s Girl,” Rick Springfield is as hot today as he ever was, with continued musical and television success and a relevance that seems to defy time.
We caught up with Springfield by phone at his Malibu home to find out what concertgoers can expect at his show Saturday, Nov. 17, at The Arcada Theatre, and to learn more about the artist and what he’s been up to lately.
Q: What will be in store at the concert?
A: We hit on pretty much all of the hits. We do a medley where we do a bunch of songs, and we do some of the later albums. We even start the show off with a brand new song from a new album coming out next year, and we do some old songs that I loved as a kid. So it’s a pretty interesting full range of songs.
Q: What would you like people to walk away with?
A: That they went to one of the best parties they’ve ever been to. They walk away high. That’s what I love about concerts. I walk away with the music in my ears and feeling like I just had a great time. Our show is very audience-interactive. I love the audience, so I’m not one of those artists that stands in a corner and plays. I like to get in with the audience.
Q: Can you tell me more about the “Christmas With You” album coming out this week? This is the first Christmas album you’ve ever done?
A: Yes, it’s the first and only one.
Q: The proceeds are going to benefit the U.S. Military Veterans Association and the American Gold Star Mothers?
A: The lead song “Christmas With You” is the only original song on the album (the rest is traditional Christmas). The proceeds go to the Veterans Association, the Gold Star Mothers and the other ones who we talked to that supplied all of the photos of the fallen soldiers, men and women, of the Iraq war. Their names and their images are threaded through the whole video (which will be on YouTube). It’s pretty shocking and actually pretty amazing and beautiful and sad, and the guys that were cutting it together just couldn’t believe seeing that many names and seeing the faces and how young and how normal everybody looked.
It makes all the difference in the world seeing their faces and young, alive adults and kids. It’s not a political statement at all. I’ve been just as supportive of the troops, you know. My dad was in the (British) army and I entertained the troops in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969, so it’s something that’s very close to me. I’ve lived on army bases all of my life, and (I thought) let’s do something other than complain about the war, you know?
(Note: The video will be on YouTube, and Springfield and those involved will be hitting the morning talk show circuit starting in early December to showcase the project. Springfield said the daughter of good friend Doug Davidson from “The Young and the Restless” appears in the video and is an amazing violin player.)
Q: You battled depression for a while. Did coming out of that on the other side give you a different perspective?
A: That’s what I always hope for. Pretty much that’s been the rule so far. I write to kind of heal myself, anyway. It’s my little psychiatric trip, you know? That’s really where my songs come from, and the issues I’m going through and feelings. If I can write a good song about it, it kind of heals it and puts it in perspective.
Q: You started so young musically … playing piano at 9, guitar at 13 and writing songs at 14. What inspired you to go in that direction?
A: My dad was a really great singer. He didn’t want to do anything professional with it. He was in the army and he just wanted to entertain his friends with his voice. We always had music around the house. We also didn’t have TV until I was about 8 or 9 years old and music is what we used to do in the evenings for entertainment. We lived out in the country in Australia at the time, so TV was a little late in reaching us. I moved to England and discovered rock and roll and realized I could have my own music, as well as liking the music my parents liked, and then The Beatles and seeing that kids could write too. That kind of started me.
Q: There was a 23-year hiatus between Dr. Noah Drake leaving “General Hospital” until his reappearance in 2005. What prompted the return of the popular character?
A: Unusual? It may be a first (laughs). They called up and I thought about it. And the way the music industry is now, I thought it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get on TV and see if maybe we can put some music into it or just being on there wouldn’t be a bad thing. So I thought I’d just give it a shot for a while, and it’s been fun and I’d go away for a while and come back, and yeah, I think it’s been OK.
Q: Being both an actor and musician — what drives you in each category?
A: Acting has a lot of similarities to music. What drives it? It’s neat to act and be a performer and whatever insecurities drive that, and it’s really my one connect to my world, to art. It’s great when you’ve got good writing and you kind of nail the scene. It’s a similar feeling to writing a good song. Writing songs is always at the heart of what I do, because it’s always something I can do just myself, I don’t have to rely on any other situation. I can go into a room with a piano and write if I’ve got something to say, you know?
Q: Is one tougher than the other? Touring and/or working on a soap opera?
A: Yeah, they both have their tough sides, traveling so much, so we take a lot of planes. That’s hard, and sometimes just learning all of the lines or having to do it fast or having to wait around. Acting is a lot of waiting around. Either in the recording studio or filming something, it’s always a lot of waiting around.
Q: You became a U.S. citizen in 2006 (Springfield maintains his Australian citizenship, as well). What prompted you to do that?
A: It’s been my home for 30 years, and my family is here and my life is here and my kids are here. It just seemed, I felt, the right thing to do.
Q: Your biggest accomplishment to date?
A: My two sons. Yep. Definitely.
• Rick Springfield’s own record label, Gomer Records, is named after his dog. He regularly names corporations and production companies after his friends, his dogs and his kids.
• His father was a lieutenant colonel in the British Army, and Springfield grew up in Australia and England.
• Springfield was born Richard Lewis Springthorpe.
• He is married to Barbara Porter, whom he met while she was a receptionist at the studio where he was recording “Working Class Dog.”
• Barbara and Rick have two sons, Liam and Josh.
• “The Day After Yesterday” is a compilation album of cover songs Springfield always wanted to record. “They’re more contemporary songs, songs that when I first started having hits, most of them were hits on the radio,” Springfield said. “They were songs that I just had wished I had written. So I had always wondered what would happen if I did an album like that.”
• His Christmas album, “Christmas with You,” is the first album he’s done in his new home recording studio.
• He sometimes will shoot three days of “General Hospital” in one day.
• Springfield is no stranger to having two successful careers at one time, both in the 1980s and today. To make their lives’ more manageable, Springfield and his band members now go out on tour for about four days and then come home for a week. “We used to do three months at a time, and there’s no way that that cannot drive you insane, you know?” he said. “I didn’t want it to be like that this time. I wanted every show to be fun for everybody.”
If you go
What: Musician and actor Rick Springfield performs in concert.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.
Where: The Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St. (Route 64), St. Charles.
Tickets: For information, call (630) 587-8400 or visit www.o-shows.com.