MUSIC With the '80s behind him, Rick Springfield can still rock



Street teams comprised of fans help promote his new music.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
Rick Springfield's teen pop idol status is long gone, but the Grammy Award winner and former "General Hospital" daytime drama star says playing his new music makes him feel like a teenager again.
"I think it was the teenager in me that wrote it. I really feel like I've lived a really full life, but I still feel like that kid that first got into the music," 54-year-old Springfield said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his California home. He was talking about his latest self-released compact disc, "shock/denial/anger/acceptance."
Springfield and his band will be playing some of his new music and his '80s tunes Sunday night at B & amp;B Backstage in Boardman.
The new music, flush with hard-driving guitars and edgy lyrics, is a departure from his '80s pop hits, but Springfield says it all comes from within. He wrote most of it while living in Las Vegas and starring in "EFX" at the MGM Grand.
"There are a lot of personal issues on this album. That is what I write about -- my relationships. All the early stuff was about relationships too. I think I write from a darker point of view. 'Jessie's Girl' and 'Don't Talk to Strangers' are about things I didn't get," he explains.
Concert 'rocks'
But don't think the concert will be melancholy because, in Springfield's own words, "it rocks" and usually has an eclectic mix of fans.
"We get a lot of date nights. We've been getting a lot more guys. Everyone is very surprised at how much the show rocks and we are getting some kids and younger people. It's a very cool mix," said Springfield, who is mostly playing weekends through year's end at smaller venues and county fairs.
Springfield's own teenage sons -- yes, he has sons ages 15 and 18 -- expressed an interest in bringing friends to his California shows, he said.
But there are still plenty of '80s tunes left for those not familiar with the new stuff. Springfield plays about eight new songs off of his 17-track CD and the rest is older music.
"It's paced and it fits really well with the old stuff," he said.
Long-time fans
His female fans from the '80s are grown up and have become some of the biggest supporters of his new music. His Web site invites fans to be part of street teams used to promote his music.
"They are people who grew up with my music. Their comment is it's a way of giving back, which is pretty intelligent. Everyone has grown up and have real jobs and families. They have a great perspective on the whole thing," he said.
Springfield's big hit "Jessie's Girl" had prominent play in the recent move "13 Going on 30" and Springfield said the fans/street teams were outside the movie premiere with fliers promoting his new work.
Radio play
They have also been instrumental in getting one of the softer songs on the CD play on adult contemporary radio. Springfield's Web site reports "Beautiful You" was No. 24 on the Adult Contemporary chart this week.
Springfield says his newer music was "nonexistent" on the radio before this latest CD. He explains all of the new songs fit into one of the categories of "shock/denial/anger/acceptance," the four stages of personal healing he has gone through in the last few years.
"I've changed. Hopefully I'm writing different things than I was in the '80s. It would be pretty sad if I was writing stuff I was feeling 25 years ago," Springfield said.
cioffi@vindy.com

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