By John Benson
Rick Springfield is one of those guys in high school everyone hated. You know, the football captain, class president, homecoming king and valedictorian jerk.
Aside from selling more than 25 million records including 17 top-40 hits and winning a Grammy Award, Springfield sprung to fame as a “General Hospital” actor. Now, the 64-year-old performer is adding critically acclaimed novelist to his seemingly oversized business card.
That’s right, the guy who brought you hit songs “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “An Affair of the Heart,” “Love Somebody” and “Human Touch” recently released his debut novel, “Magnificent Vibration,” which is already on the New York Times best-seller list.
“After I wrote my own autobiography and received some good press and attention, my publishers said they liked my writing,” said Springfield, calling from Los Angeles. “So they said I should be writing fiction. I started out as a kid wanting to be a writer, and I’ve been writing all my life, but I always wanted to write prose.”
Springfield said writing “Magnificent Vibration” was easier than writing his autobiography because he didn’t have to waste time remembering his past. Instead, he was creating a new story involving a hero who hit a dead-end in his life but miraculously receives an 800 phone connection to God via an inscription in a mysterious self-help book.
Also, that hero ends up having a chance at saving the world.
Now, for all intents and purposes, an ’80s rock star aspiring for renaissance-man accreditation has quite the hill to climb not only with his audience but critics alike. Springfield, who is still a serious touring musician, said he understood this going in.
“There’s baggage that comes with your name,” Springfield said. “It’s a plus I can get on TV shows that a first-time novelist couldn’t do, but then I brought a lot of baggage with it as far as people talking about picking it up to read it. What surprised me is we got stellar reviews from Booklist and Kirkus, the two hardest critics on writers. That kind of press loves to slam guys like me. We are really encouraged by their great reviews.”
He’s not lying. Variety recently wrote, “This is not the prose of a rock star who decided to try his hand at novel writing, but of a novelist who just happens to be a rock star.”
Springfield said he’s nearly finished with the novel’s sequel, which he believes could be turned into a big-budget Hollywood film some day. As far as his music, the rocker said he plans on recording a new album soon.
In the meantime, he’s touring for his fans with a show booked tonight at Packard Music Hall in Warren.
In fact, just like his hit song “I’ve Done Everything for You,” Springfield maintains he does everything for his fans.
“I’m very fortunate,” Springfield said. “It wouldn’t mean as much if nobody heard anything I did. I love to share my work with the world, so I’m very humbled that people are still interested.”