Rick Rocks Detroit Despite Battling the Flu

Interview and photos by Laurie Bedigian

The May 23, 2019 show in Detroit was my 12th time seeing Rick Springfield.  Compared to many fans, I’m a novice.  But in my defense, I’ve been going to Rick Springfield concerts since 1985.  So even though my number is low, I’ve been a fan for over 30 years.

Rick sang the usual favorites for the Detroit fans like “Love Somebody,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Human Touch,” (including an audience walk through) and “Light this Party Up.”  He finished the show with “Jesse’s Girl.”

As a writer (and a fan), I’ve dreamed of doing an interview with Rick for years.  Usually the mere thought of requesting such a thing makes me way too nervous.  This year, I decided my time had come – so I made the request a few days before the show.  To my shock and delight, he agreed!

I’ve always been curious how much of an impact the Beatles had on Rick’s career choice.  The musical part anyway.  So how much influence did the fab four have on a young Richard?

“The Beatles were the main influence on me.  I saw them when I was 14 in Australia and it was a religious experience.  They allowed us all to believe we could do it too.  I’d already fallen in love with the guitar but all the English bands were influences to us kids in Australia,” Rick shared with enthusiasm.

So what path would Rick have followed had he not chosen music (or acting) you ask?

“I was very influenced by King Tutankhamun and I would have been an Egyptologist if schooling had allowed,” Rick declared.  What?!

Did I mention Rick was fighting the flu while he was in Detroit?  That actually led me to wonder how challenging it is to work in a profession where there are no “sick days.”  Must the show really go on even when a performer is under the weather?

“A guitar player can play with the flu and a drummer can drum.  I’ve even done acting gigs where I had the flu.  But a singer can’t sing.  It’s a difficult proposition and I hate cancelling shows so I will always opt to perform and only cancel if I can’t get out of bed,” Rick mused. 

A kind and generous person, Rick often performs for charity.  He recently teamed up with Sammy Hagar and other artists for “Acoustic 4 A Cure.”  The charity concert benefits UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for Pediatric Cancer Research in San Francisco. 

But why this particular charity and what are his thoughts on working with Sammy?

Rick said “dogs and kids are always my go to charity work.  I’ve known Sammy since 1980 and he’s become a great philanthropist.  I’m always happy to help.”

Speaking of dogs, I know Rick has grieved over the loss of a dog more than once in his life.  Having recently lost my own dog, I wondered how he’s coped with that type of loss.  Do we ever really “get over” the death of a dog?

In Rick’s experience, “The pain recedes but the feeling of loss never does.  I haven’t gotten over losing Ronnie (“Working Class Dog” model) and Gomer, but I can now look at their pictures and feel more love than pain.”

Rick went on to say he’s hoping to write a new record soon.  And there’s more in the way of writing projects coming soon as well.

“My second novel (“World on Fire”) is at the publishers and I am working on a third novel now,” he confirmed.

Thanks to Rick for taking the time to answer my questions.  I hope you enjoyed my first of many interviews with this very talented guy.