Ricktopia Interviews

(Ricktopia Interviews formerly seen on www.ricktopia.com)

Derek Hilland

Derek, the shy and quiet one on the Rick Springfield Karma Tour (although, we have heard he's quite the comedian)... soothed us with his backing vocals and his keyboard styles. Here's some truly informative and thought provoking answers from Derek (from the mouth of Derek)!

What made you want to be involved in a musical career?

I didn't want to sit behind a desk for the next 30 years. I've played piano since I was four so it seemed like the natural choice!

What do you do for fun when you aren't working?

I live on the beach so I go to the beach, go hiking in the canyons around me, play with my cats and torture Matty.

What is your favorite city that you have visited (on this tour or anytime)?

Innsbruck, Austria and Prague, Czech. Rep. are two of my favorites. Oh yes, I forgot anywhere in Switzerland!

What is an average work day like for Derek?

Well, lets see, I wake up at 3:30am, be at the airport by 5:00am, fly, drive, rest for an hour, go to sound check, eat, shower, try to play and sing with no sleep without yawning during show! (I got caught yawning a few weeks ago by one of the Springfield faithful!)

What is your favorite kind of music?  Artist(s)?

I like everything from Rachmaninoff to AC/DC as long as it inspires me. My tastes have changed from more complicated music such as ELP, YES etc. to simpler music with a nice melody and a good lyric.

How long have you been working in the music industry?

I moved to LA when I was 21 and got my first tour about 6 months later with Iron Butterfly going to Europe. So, I guess I won't count the rock and jazz clubs I played in New Mexico for 4 years and I will answer...11 years.

How did you come to be a part of the Karma tour?

I was called by Matty an hour after STP called me and two days before Leah Andreone (sp?) called and I ended up landing here with all of you nice people! It started off a little slow, but it's become a very fun tour.

What is the best/worst thing about your job?

Well, besides the envelope that comes in the mail I love to here the sound of the crowd. I was hooked from the first time I heard the sound of thousands of people screaming about 11 years ago...and I had to keep hearing it! The worst part is no sleep and airplanes. I've been on around a thousand airplanes and I dread it more and more every year! I think I need to become a cushy studio musician and stay home! HAHA

What is the most interesting event/thing you have witnessed on this tour?

Seeing how Rick's song "My Father's Chair" has affected so many of you and how many say that it helped them get through their own loss of their father. I think that's the greatest gift a song writer can ever get...affecting someone's life in such a positive way.

What motivates you?  Frustrates you?

The challenge of doing 3 or 4 things at once playing with Rick. When I mess up!

Professionally, what has been your greatest challenge?

I played with a guy named Vince DiCola who recommended me for this job. We did his sound track music in New York and it was really difficult music, but it went really well. I think he has faster fingers than Keith Emerson!

What was the last CD you bought?

The Best of Memphis Slim (blues).

What was your first impression of Rick?

How can he look so good at that god-awful age!!

What other artists have you performed with?

Before Rick I toured the world with Whitesnake and before that I toured with Iron Butterfly for 8 years. I've done lots of short stints live/studio with lots of people. I just sang background vocals on the new Motley Crue stuff (thanks to Matty), Katey Sagal (thanks to Jack!), Gary Wright, Robert Tepper, Scott Page, Jim Keltner, etc. etc.

Are there any unique challenges about playing on this tour?

The ridiculous routing: Sacramento, Kansas City and New Jersey all back to back! I used to try to figure out ways to fill my days on tour, now I try to figure out when I'm going to sleep so that I can sing!

This tour has been long and played many different venues.  Which do you prefer a large theatre or a smaller venue?

My favorite place to play is a medium size theater (2000 or 3000). They sound best for me on stage.

What are your plans for after this tour?

Getting on airplanes and traveling from city to city, hotel to hotel with some crazy rock band.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 - 20 years?

I hope to get into TV and movie music so that I can stay at home!

What do you think of the music of today versus the music of the past?

There are so many more bands today compared to say 1970 that there's bound to be more crap than there was then! There are plenty of new bands that are good too, but I have to say most of my favorites are old bands.

If you could chose any "other" career than the one you have now, what would it be?

Nuclear Physicist like my dad!

If you could change anything, we mean anything... what would it be and why?

Redesign the human brain to make peace a possibility rather than just a dream.


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