Musings about Rick Springfield and My Family: We are all a Fan of Someone

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In concert 2013 pics by JH

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Best boat trip ever Club Med 2013

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2013

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3/14/15

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3/14/15

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3/14/15

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2015 pics by JH

I have heard Rick Springfield say this several times : We are all a Fan of Someone. Which got me to thinking. Who have my family members been touched and influenced by musically? Who among my family has met a famous musician or band? How has my family influenced my musical tastes?

Aunt Ruth and the  King
My Great Aunt Ruth was a mother of three and a wife of over 60 years to a career Army and Air Force veteran. She made homes for her family all over the US including Alaska and overseas. She was also a world class Elvis Presley fan. She didn’t just see Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show and go to a concert and call it a day. Aunt Ruth attended all the Elvis concerts she could across FL, and other states when she could. She was a regular visitor at Graceland during the 60s and 70s.  She wasn’t your typical visitor however. She and other die-hard fans wood camp out for hours at a park down the street from Graceland hoping for a glimpse of The King. One day, she hit paydirt, as Elvis and Prisicilla came  toward the entrance back to Graceland on horseback. Graciously they stopped and greeted fans with smiles and waves. Aunt Ruth told her pastor’s family in earnest one time, that Elvis looked right at her and gave a special little wave. I don’t doubt this as Aunt Ruth was a beautiful lady in her day.  She had a zest for living that I hope to have inherited. Now maybe some of my family that thinks I am wacka-doodle over Rick Springfield (I am) but don’t understand can give me kudos. I am following in my great aunt’s steps. PROUDLY.

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My Great Aunt Ruth at 85. She passed away a few weeks ago in March 2015.

Uncle Chuck
My uncle Chuck , my dad’s brother would be 64 this year, if he hadn’t passed away at 54 of leukemia. He is included here because I am a fan of his for many reasons, and he was a Fan of all music. The only member of my family who was musically talented (unless you count me, I play clarinet. So let’s don’t count me.) My uncle played the drums, piano and keyboard, and guitar. His first public gigs were as a young private of 19 during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Alaska, of all places. His primary duties were standing guard over the Bering Strait for unlawful entry, and being a paper pusher. His favorite duty was playing drums in a touring Army band, USO style, going to various Alaskan bases to entertain the troops.

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Uncle Chuck playing in Army band in the late 1960s

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And  as a Private, paper pushing.

The Army didn’t suit him as a career and he spent the remainder of his working days in retail management  and being a carpenter. His true love was always music and performing. As a child I remember him giving me a Fleetwood Mac record, telling me to listen to how beautiful Stevie Nicks voice was, I was about  7 at the time. He always treated my brother and I as his equals. Never having kids himself, he could enjoy all the good points kids, without having to be a disciplinarian. From a young age I remember his band practicing in a barn on my Dad’s farm in North  Carolina in the late 70s and early 80s. His band played local gigs in the up and coming Country Rock and Bluegrass scene in Asheville NC.  Chuck would sing lead locals and switch up with the instruments, and other band members would fill in accordingly. Chuck ‘s longtime girlfriend Kathy, also sang and played guitar and keyboard. What I would give to have some of his songwriting notes. All that is left of this era  are a few grainy VHS gig and audition tapes that my Dad treasures and that we sometimes watch. My Uncle Chuck’s greatest gifts to me were records and cassettes. Sometimes of different artists, often mixtapes he would make for me.  He would gift me with cassettes and LPs of Creedence Clearwater Revival, INXS, Tina Turner, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Jackie Wilson and bluegrass legend Doc Watson. He helped me see all that music was and is, and that it is all beautiful. The loss of this talented and freespirited man resonates painfully in our family 10 years after his death.

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My Dad, Uncle Chuck, and Uncle Robert, 1991

Don’t tell Your Dad

My mom  is 65, but looks 15 years younger and has the energy of a 20 something ( she reminds me of someone you might know, initials of RS). Rick Springfield is actually two days older than my mom; she was born on August 25, 1949 a world away from Australia. She has been married to my father since she was 16 and my father was 18. It was during the height of the Vietnam War, and she says they got married so young because they didn’t want to lose each other.  My mom is a strong person, much like my great aunt. Different sides of my family, but strong women nonetheless. My mom, has never questioned my need to see Rick Springfield as often as I can. (Usually only about once a year, due to family and job). She actually drove me to my first Rick Springfield concert. No, I wasn’t 13, I was 40. I am a late bloomer when it comes to seeing Rick in concert. Unfortunately it took me half of my life to make the leap from passive bystander to someone who reaches out for things that give them joy. No more, if I am able to go, I do.

My Mom,  says something covertly to me on one of our semi weekly forays to town together,after discussing something about Rick.and Doug Davidson. (She is a huge Doug fan)”Let me tell you about meeting Crosby, Stills and Nash”, she says.   What?  She tells me around 1973 that she went to see Crosby, Stills and Nash in concert. They were performing at a smallish theatre/bar near our hometown. She was a married woman of 23 at this point with two toddlers. She was a Fan, but not of Aunt Ruth or Rick Sister caliber. After the show, the band was hanging around the bar,doing what they did back then. She was there with friends, but my father wasn’t there. She got to talking to Graham Nash and was having a lovely conversation when he rubs against her arm, pats it and says she has some of the prettiest green eyes he’s ever seen. Now, I don’t know if a flirtation or more would have occurred with another woman. But my mother, being the lady she is, promptly thanked him for the compliment, got his autograph and went home. She told me she thinks about it and feels  young as she does so. But , remember don’t tell your Dad. She didn’t do anything wrong but that is just my mom. My parents will be married 49 years this year…

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Mom as a child with those green eyes, 1950s

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My Mom at 18, and below at 23

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Graham Nash 1973

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Graham Nash 1990

If you are not familiar with Mr. Nash, then here’s a video, he’s in the middle.

Crosby Stills and Nash, Southern Cross

So whether it is a brush with greatness, or seeing your favorite performer often, It is  something that can bring great joy and happy memories. Sometimes, after seeing RS and him being wonderful, and me acting starstruck, I just want a do-over though. After not seeing RS in concert for over a year, I was very excited to go to a few concerts and have a Sound Check and Meet and Greet in March of this year. If I am able to see him a few times close together I can usually break through my, Duh, OMG it’s Rick F****** Springfield fog.  Then I can manage a few comments that make sense, and ask questions, and actually exchange thoughts with him.  I wasn’t so lucky in March 2015. I was unprepared to actually see him, because my anticipation was so great I think. The first concert,  which was the full band was great as expected. Seeing Rick again was magical , and as usual he was sweet, kind, funny and patient. I, however, was a mess. I can only say the minutes went by so fast. I am glad that as usual, I wrote him a note in a card with things I really wanted him to hear. You’d think by now that I could carry on a conversation as I have managed to do the last few times I’ve seen him. I got over that hurdle in 2013, thanks to a friend who literally pulled me into her conversation with him, so I wasn’t standing there in a fog, mind you this was the 3rd time I had met him. March was a visit later, so I should’ve been in the clear. But it went something like this:
Me: Hi Rick, great to see you again, thanks for coming back to Florida
Rick: Hi Sweetie, (we know he says this) then he  asks who is  with me as personal photographer.  He jokes about odd venue.
Me: I manage to laugh and that’s it! No speech, I am however, grinning like a dummy!
He starts to sign items I have with me, so first he sees this magazine I have:

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Teen Magazine,  1972

He says this was my first U.S. magazine cover you know? I didn’t  know, but I am not able to verbalize this or anything! Great, going amazingly. I could have said ” it’s one of my favorites.” I wanted to ask about how he might do things differently back then as far as how the press portrayed him.But nothing, (crickets chirp in the distance)…
The 2nd item RS is signing is this picture of the two of us:
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2013, FL

What he says: “Wow, look at the two of us!”
What I say: Not a dang thing! I Just nod and from a far canyon I hear a coyote howl as we all wait in anticipation. Well, me anyway. At this point, I am surprised he didn’t give up on the conversation. I would’ve labeled the  silent, nodding woman as not the sharpest tool in the shed, if you know what I mean. But he doesn’t give up. He takes my copy of the Stripped Down CD to sign, and I manage to tell him how much I have enjoyed it, and that I love the DVD too.I meant to mention I would be going to his SD show the next day, but forget to say it. For some reason, my verbal skills finally click and I utter the goofiest thing to him:
Me: “It’s really hot out there! I know I look like crap! How come you still look so good?”
Yes, that is what I said. So now I’ve turned a complete 360 from the way I meant to be; calm and able to communicate what I wanted to say.  Rick looks like he doesn’t know what to say. Then he says the polite thing, “No I don’t think so.” (Doesn’t think l look like crap, that is).
I look pretty rough. But I really did want to know how he always looked so good. All is not lost though and I manage to ask for a picture pose I’ve never had taken with him before, and then I mention that it has been so long since I’ve seen him that I want to get extra hugs. I get about three of those, and he might’ve wondered why I kept rubbing his back, it’s like an impulse I can’t stop.
Quite a shame that I rub his back for the whole time we are talking and hugging. At least my touchy feely skills probably distract him from my lack of speech. I’m imagining he is giving Matty the secret signal to add me to the weird stalker list of fans to avoid
The pictures turn out Ok,

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2015, FL

The elusive hug shot that my daughter assures me she captured out of 3 such pics materializes as a blur of RS and I reaching out toward each other, but no actual hug shot. It is my goal for next time yet again. I don’t think this will be the argument to persuade my husband that indeed I must go to Club Med again.  I’ve got to get a pic hugging Rick, now.  It’s only an hour from my house to Port St. Lucie. My husband reminds me that I promised him I wouldn’t go this year, and he says did you save money for it? Details, details.. But I guess it will wait until next time. This is why we have a tacit agreement that if there is a Rick Springfield concert near enough for me to possibly get to, then I am going. I am glad that in the card I give to RS that day I say how much all his efforts to connect with his fans, and share his life with us in a way,means to me.
Thankful for whatever degree of kismet and serendipity we are granted in life, I am so glad I found his music again after losing it in the late 80s, thru the early 2000s. That his music, writing and acting touch me, inspire me and lift me up like nothing has in many years. That, yes, like many people I’ve heard say, and you can count me in their numbers, that finding it again stopped me from completing a destructive downward spiral I was on. I do things that I might be scared of doing or might not have done a few years ago, I think he is a part of some fans life for a greater purpose. So if by some chance RS sees this (in my dreams!), he would only know me by the 867-5309 written under my pic in the Star Wars book a friend of mine, and his, gave him at Club Med 2013 with a lot of fans/attendees pictures. And Rick, I hope I didn’t appear goofy at M&G a few weeks ago and I’m not a crazy stalker. (What I would say to him if I could) .

Onto 2nd concert of the weekend.
At SD concert the next day:
I regained my composure from the previous debacle and  prepared to ask Rick a question at the  SD show the next evening.  But, the emcee spoke as Rick was looking at me waiting for my question. Mr. Emcee had a deep voice, and I don’t recall what he said. Here’s what RS said:
Wow, she has a deep voice!  How are the hormone treatments going?!!!
The audience laughed, I turned around,  doubled over-laughing, but was relaxed, and  then asked my question.
I know I will have my chance again for a hug, or to share things I feel I need to tell him. You see, it’s in my genes.

Family Honorable Mentions

Thanks to my brother Todd for sharing his Def Leppard cassettes with me over 30 years ago. Yes, bro we will be seeing them in concert together.

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My brother Todd and I, late 1970s

To my husband who only listens to the Elvis station on Sirius Radio,  and my Aunt Shirley, who is in her 70s and as a teen snuck out time and again to see Elvis in concert, they can carry on the torch for Elvis fans. Thanks to Uncle Robert (my dad’s baby brother) for being an RS fan since the beginning. It’s awesome to have a family member always want to hear about a concert  or see a new Rick pic.

As for me I will be at a Rick Springfield concert, dancing and singing  at the top of my lungs, carrying on the family tradition in my own way, as long as he is singing, and I am able  to go .
The  Aunt Ruth’s and Uncle Chuck ‘s we have loved and lost would say Life is too short, get out there and Live it…

Rick Springfield’s Guide to Writing

Laura's Oldies Room

Rick Springfield

Now that I am officially a novelist as well as a musician, people ask me the difference between writing a song versus writing a book.

I can sum it up in one word: Girls.

OK, maybe a few more words than that. No one’s going to publish a 34-word essay. I could sum it up by saying the difference between penning a song and penning a novel is the same as picking your nose versus blowing it. Although one clears the sinuses better than the other, both provide some degree of satisfaction and sense of a job well done. Too obtuse? OK, let’s move on.

Read more:

via Rick Springfield’s guide to writing – Salon.com.

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Rick Springfield and Family at Hollywood Walk of Fame

http://www.accessatlanta.com/videos/entertainment/rick-springfield-gets-star-on-hollywood-walk-of/vCZn9X/

 

This means more to me than any other video I’ve seen from Rick’s induction into the Walk of Fame. This only lasts a few seconds but this is what is most important I feel in his life today. I know there are those that would wonder about that with his bad boy behavior during alot of his career.  I’m not an expert on the man, but he’s a very quiet, earnest person when you meet him.  No grandstanding, no I’m going to be a putz to this fan.  Never in the times I’ve met him, and many of my friends either. We spent 5 days at a resort with him in 2013, and he got his own food, ate with everyone in the dining room, don’t think he ever separated himself.  I don’t know how a marriage would stay together through 30 years, especially if a lot of it was during years of infidelity.  I am not going to judge what has brought this man to this point on his journey, it apparently has shaped who he is, and enables him to put his heartache and grief into his work. What is it that he has said, that great art comes from dark places. Totally get that. His album Shock, Denial, Anger, Acceptance helped me with soul deep searching that I’m still going through. He wrote the album after his last strike against his marriage vows. So he had to go through that, but didn’t bury it, he admits to it, and shares it with the masses.  I don’t know many people who put it out there so far perched on such a precarious tree limb. Rick Springfield is one man who deserves to have peace from his proclaimed demons. May he and his family know the peace that is supposed to come with age.

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Rick Springfield receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Here is the full video presentation of Rick Springfield receiving his long overdue Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I get so tired of people saying why does he receive a star for Fucking Jessie’s Girl!!?? I would not go into great length with such a person anymore. I would direct them to a band called Zoot on YouTube, then have them Google Rick’s Discography. Then go to his IMDB to see his movie, TV credits. Also handy would be a lookie loo at Dave Grohl’s Sound City doc. where Rick is prominently figured. To end their viewing pleasure the award winning fan doc of his, called An Affair of The Heart is now available for online rental on Itunes, Netflix and Amazon. For those that enjoy reading they might enjoy, his New York Times bestselling autobiography, that Rolling Stone named the #25 top Rock Autobiography of all time. Then read his fiction novel debut Magnificent Vibration, just released on May 6, 2014, which is #14 on Itunes fiction downloads already and has received amazing prepress buzz. Now instead of asking why is he receiving a Star for Jessie’s Girl, bow down to 40 years of musical, lyrical, piano, guitar, dobro, banjo, playing songwriting ever evolving genius. As you can tell this is a terrible sore point with me. I don’t dislike Jessie’s Girl by any means, but he has written hundreds if not thousands of songs. I will go into greater length about his discography at another time. But it should be said that Rick’s music has evolved to suit each decade from the late 60s to 2014. He plays blazing acid rock, and wrote it too. He was an earnest balladeer in the 1970s, and still writes a beautiful medley (check out 2012’s Songs for the End of the World for Joshua, You and Me, and Gabriel). Rick emerged as a fresh voice for the 80s, with edgy New Wave flirtations and Pop sound that was so fresh for the time. If anyone didn’t keep up with him during his albums released in the 90s and 2000s, it’s their loss. There isn’t anyone who has rebounded in the industry like Rick Springfield. It isn’t counted by Billboard downloads and such bullshit as that. It’s accounted for by venues of roaring fans who are not just satisfied with his performances, but know he rocks out, and we will always go back for more. Bravo to Mr. Springfield for an award at least 20 years overdue. But, don’t worry he will never rest on his laurels, next is a summer tour with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Full Band concerts all year with his Mighty Band, an Oct. 2014 tour of Australia, (reportedly) more Fall Stripped Down dates. He is working on a new album and the sequel to his just released novel. We say, kiss our collective Rick Springfield loving butts to all naysayers.

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American Girl by Rick Springfield from movie Private School 1981

I was 10 years old in 1981, and in retrospect I can say Rick Springfield was already on my radar. I recall to this day having always know the song Believe in Me by Rick, which was from his album Comic Book Heroes, 1971. Which was the year I was born. I believe it was played by my parents growing up. However, I didn’t know who sang the song until the 1980s. I saw the movie Private School, at this age; we had just gotten cable. I’m quite sure the parents didn’t realize I had seen it. I know my brother enjoyed the movie. But the song American Girl struck both of us, he actually mentioned it to me recently in 2014. So this is the first song I equate with RS, instead of that other song. Cmon, you know that song! I like that one too, but this one represents my pre-teen years. I knew then too, that RS was an Aussie. It seems ironic to me, that he captured perfectly the tone and setting of the time. There are those that criticize his lyrics as simplistic during the period. But if one listens to his lyrics from each decade, they seem to suit that era. It was a simpler time. While technology was steaming ahead, it was for me truly the end of a easier going, less hectic, and kinder era. Thank God for the 1980s, that was my time and I will never forget the privilege of growing up then. So I say, Thank you to Rick Springfield.