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10 Quick Questions for Rick Springfield

Musician releases album, ‘Automatic,’ shares his new music video and reflects on ‘General Hospital’ days

spinner image rick springfield in all black, holding hat tipping off head; gray background
Courtesy: Chris Schmitt

Grammy-winning musician Rick Springfield just turned 74, but he’s still on tour playing his popular ’80s hits — including “Jessie’s Girl” and “Love Somebody” — and he hopes fans will take a liking to the songs off his latest album, Automatic. The singer wrote and produced all of the new music and plays guitars and keyboards on the album as well. He shares his new music video with AARP members, and reveals how his music-making has evolved over the years, the best birthday gift he’s ever received and why skydiving is on his bucket list.         

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Springfield wrote and produced all of the new music on his album, “Automatic.”
Courtesy: Songvest Records

What’s the most challenging aspect of producing an album?

Having people like it. It’s a pleasure to make. I love to write and make records if I feel the songs are good, and you don’t really go in unless you feel the songs are good. It’s my favorite thing to do — write and then record songs.

What’s different about making an album in your 70s compared to your 20s or 30s?

A lot. There’s different things to write about. Obviously, [the 1981 album] Working Class Dog was basically all about sex. As you get older, there’s more things than sex. This album [Automatic] is basically about God, death and sex. It’s my three favorite things to write about.

Rick Springfield is sharing the music video of his newly released single, “Automatic,” with AARP members.
Courtesy: Rick Springfield

You were 14 years old when you saw the Beatles in concert. What kind of impact did that have on you?

They inspired everybody. They were four angels that dropped on the Earth and showed us what the sh-t really was. I was already writing poetry by that time. So I just started to write songs, because they made it seem possible.

What’s your favorite Beatles song?

Ah, that’s just impossible to say, really. I love them all. I was a Paul guy growing up, a fanboy. As I got older, it’s John’s stuff like “Strawberry Fields [Forever]” and “I Am the Walrus” that I listen to a lot more now than I used to. They’re incredible writers. It’s just crazy that they’re in the same band and born in the same place at the same time and found each other. It’s ridiculous.

You’re in the midst of the “I Want My ’80s Tour.” How’s that going?

Well, that’s the title of it. My manager picked that title. I didn’t pick it. I thought it was an OK title. But I’m still making music, and although all my hits are, so far, in the ’80s, you always look forward. No one likes to be necessarily pigeonholed. [My manager’s] certainly been really trying to pigeonhole me with the damn SiriusXM ’80s on 8 radio show [Working Class DJ With Rick Springfield airs on Friday nights], but I have fun and I don’t take myself seriously with it. Although the first thing I ever wanted to be was a DJ, before I picked up the guitar as a little kid. Be careful what you wish for.

Is there anything you miss most about the ’80s?

Being young. I turned 74, which is kind of freaky, but there you have it.

What’s the best birthday gift you ever received?

My first guitar, on my 13th birthday. It was very memorable. I actually asked my mom for a guitar, finally. About two weeks before my birthday, I said, “No, I want a robot.” …  She goes, “Oh.” I guess she already bought [the guitar]. So I said, “No, no, no, no. I want the guitar. I want the guitar.” I got the guitar, not the robot. I think it was a better choice.

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Over the years, you’ve expressed mixed feelings about your soap opera stardom. How do you feel about it now?

It’s a double-edged sword. I finished Working Class Dog, and this opportunity came up to be on [General Hospital]. I thought it was just for old ladies ironing. [It would] have no bearing on my music career. Maybe I could get away with it and it wouldn’t reflect on the music career, but Keith Olsen — who produced “Jessie’s Girl” and was a big ’80s producer with Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner and all those people — said, “This is a great album. You don’t need to take this silly TV show.” But I had three albums that had been out before and nothing had happened, and I was broke, and they were offering me 500 bucks a week. I said, “I’ve got to take this.” And then it turned into the show it turned into, which surprised the hell out of me, and everybody, I think. The record took off, and then people started to put the two together. It was a very powerful rocket liftoff, but it definitely still echoes with me. People still think I’m just kind of the one-dimensional soap opera geek, no matter what I’ve done. In certain people’s minds, I’ll never really live that down.

What’s on your bucket list?

My bucket list is just to be better at what I do and to be a better person, more spiritual. I wouldn’t really call it “the bucket list.” I’ve met some great people that I grew up loving their music. I’ve done a lot of stuff. I’m going to jump out of an airplane at some point with a skydiver. That’s probably about the only thing I can say is actually like a typical bucket list item — to just jump out and do a skydive.

Why do you want to do that?

Oh, because it’s scary. I’ve always wanted to push myself. I think that’s why I got into playing live. The first couple of months in a band, I played with my back to the audience, because I was just really shy, and I eventually figured it out and turned around. I think it’s a good thing to push yourself.

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