Rick Springfield Late, Late at Night

ISBN 13: 9781442337510

Late, Late at Night

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9781442337510: Late, Late at Night

In a searingly candid memoir which he authored himself, Grammy Award-winning pop icon Rick Springfield pulls back the curtain on his image as a bright, shiny, happy performer to share the startling story of his rise and fall and rise in music, film, and television and his lifelong battle with depression.

           In the 1980s, singer-songwriter and actor Rick Springfield seemed to have it all: a megahit single in “Jessie’s Girl,” sold-out concert tours, follow-up hits that sold more than 17 million albums and became the pop soundtrack for an entire generation, and 12 million daily viewers who avidly tuned in to General Hospital to swoon over his portrayal of the handsome Dr. Noah Drake. Yet lurking behind his success as a pop star and soap opera heartthrob and his unstoppable drive was a moody, somber, and dark soul, one filled with depression and insecurity.

           In Late, Late at Night, the memoir his millions of fans have been waiting for, Rick takes readers inside the highs and lows of his extraordinary life. By turns winningly funny and heartbreakingly sad, every page resonates with Rick’s witty, wry, self-deprecating, brutally honest voice. On one level, he reveals the inside story of his ride to the top of the entertainment world. On a second, deeper level, he recounts with unsparing candor the forces that have driven his life, including his longtime battle with depression and thoughts of suicide, the shattering death of his father, and his decision to drop out at the absolute peak of fame. Having finally found a more stable equilibrium, Rick’s story is ultimately a positive one, deeply informed by his passion for creative expression through his music, a deep love of his wife of twenty-six years and their two sons, and his life-long quest for spiritual peace.

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About the Author:

Rick Springfield has been writing and performing music for more than four decades. An accomplished actor, he has performed on Broadway, headlined in Las Vegas, and starred in numerous movies and television series; most recently, he played a twisted version of “himself” in Showtime’s hit Californication. He maintains an active touring schedule, playing more than 100 dates per year around the world. He lives in Malibu, California with his wife Barbara.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

A Note From the Author

 

When I turned fifty, I wrote a song about my life so far, to see if I could

fit it into a three-minute pop tune.

I could.

My Depression

Born in the Southern Land where a man is a man

Don’t remember too much, warm mama, cold touch

Postwar baby boom, fifty kids in one room

All white future bright but living in a womb

Got a TV receiver Jerry Mathers as the Beaver

No blacks, no queers, no sex. Mouseketeers

Daddy kept moving round, I can’t settle down

Always the lost new kid in town

Mannlicher lock and loaded, JFK’s head exploded

Dark figure at the fence, end of my innocence

Hormones hit me, chew up, spit me

Get stoned, get plastered, always was a moody bastard

Guitar fool, kicked out of high school

Joined a band, Vietnam, Mama-san, killed a man

Daddy gets real sick it’s too intense I can’t stick it

Buy myself a ticket to the U.S.A.

Oh my God, it’s my life. What am I doing kicking at the foundation?

That’s right, my life. Better start thinking ’bout my destination

Hollywood sex-rat, been there, done that

Jaded afraid I’d never get a turn at bat

Last in a long line, finally hit the big time

Gold mine, feeding time, money/fame, I get mine

Use it, abuse it, Daddy dies, I lose it

Get a wife get a son, beget another one.

Head said “God’s dead,” motorcycle body shred

Midlife crisis rears its ugly head

Prozac, lithium, could never get enough of ’em

Last wills, shrink’s bills, sleeping pills, sex kills

Edge of sanity, my infidelity

Looking in the mirror and thinking how it used to be

Don’t like the skin I’m in, caught in a tailspin

Honest-to-God vision, spiritual transmission

Climb aboard the life raft, looking back I have to laugh

Take a breath, don’t know if I’m ready for the second half

Oh my God, it’s my life. What am I doing kicking at the

foundation?

That’s right, my life. Better start looking at my destination

My life, my depression, my sin, my confession,

my curse, my obsession, my school, my lesson.

For anyone with a short attention span, that should cover the major

details of my life, so you can put this book back on the bookstore shelf.

For those of you who want to hear the deeper cut, many thanks and

read on . . .

—RS

 

Prologue

A Swingin' Teenager

So here I am, seventeen years of age, feeling as ugly as the ass end of

a female baboon at mating season, unloved, very much in need of a

good caressing by some attentive young woman and, right now, swinging

by my neck at the end of a very thick twine rope like some pathetic

B-Western movie bad guy. I’m thinking to myself as I lose consciousness,

“Wow, somehow I thought it would all end so differently.”

Thank God I haven’t succeeded at a lot of the things I’ve tried, like

this suicide attempt for instance. But thank God I have succeeded occasionally.

Because in a furious flash-forward, of the type that can only

happen in the movies or in this book, I am thirty-one years old and

standing onstage with a very expensive guitar strapped around my very

expensive suit, playing a rock-and-roll song that I wrote. The audience

of this sold-out show is clamoring for more. A bevy of young girls is

waiting backstage for me, and there’s a middle-aged bald guy standing

on the side of the stage, smiling at his healthy profit, ready to hand me a

big, fat check when I’m done.

Wait . . . Wait, wait, wait, wait! Just a second here . . . So if I’d succeeded

in offing myself back in my teenage years of staggering angst, I

would have missed all this? Evidence, I think, that when we are at our

lowest and ready to give in and go belly-up forever and for always, we

should take a step back and say, “Is this the absolute best move I can

make right now?” And then give ourselves an extra year or two or three.

I am walking, breathing, living proof that, considering how depressed

and full of self-loathing and self-pity I am right now, swinging

by my skinny, teenage neck three feet off the ground, thinking that I am

worthy of not much more than the gig of pre-chewing hay for a horse

with bad teeth, good things can still happen. It’s just the law of averages,

and the law is on our side, losers. Yay us! So to those who are at

the bottom of the emotional heap—and it’s crowded down here—there

is still reason for hope! Not that the teenage idiot I was (who is, by the

way, still swinging freely from a crossbeam and turning a lovely shade of

blue) would have believed that dopey, feel-good phrase anyway.

Although by nature I tend to gravitate toward the bleaker side of

things, I have been open to and have received signs throughout my life

that have given me hope when I’d thought there was none. A part of me

believes that these signs are directives from the gods. I’ve stayed surprisingly

receptive to them, even though part of me thinks I’m full of shit to

take them as any kind of actual, meaningful omens.

Another furious flash-forward—damn it, I wish there were cool

sound effects in this book . . . whooooosh!—it’s 1979. I’m living in

Glendale, California, with a girl named Diana. Playing guitar in a house

band at a local restaurant bar. This is not where I’d hoped to be in my

music career by the age of twenty-nine, but then again I also thought I’d

be dead by now, “strung up,” as it were, by the neck, so it’s just as well

that not all my expectations are met. One night there’s a party at someone’s

house in Glendale after my bar gig, and I go there by myself while

my girlfriend waits at home.

A tarot card reader is in attendance. I love these people. They let us

pretend to possible bright futures, even when we have none, and right

now, I have none. At least not any future I’d want to celebrate. So I pull

up a chair and shuffle her cards. Bad disco music is playing in the background

and I think to myself, “Is there good disco music?” She deals my

hand. The Emperor. The Two of Swords. The Hanged Man. The Star.

She looks up from the array of archaic cards and locks eyes with me

from across the table. She wants me. Wait . . . no, that’s not it.

“That’s the most incredible card spread I’ve ever seen,” she whispers

breathlessly.

“Yeah?” That’s pretty much it from me.

“Something big is going to happen in your life . . . and soon,” she

answers as if definitively.

“Could you be more specific?” I ask. I want dates. Names. Exact

amounts of cash. Truly, you can never nail these people down.

“Something . . . really . . . amazing,” she replies.

It will have to do. And it does.

As a seeker of encouragement and affirmation all my young life, I’ve

become accustomed to positive if self-servingly vague prophesies from a

range of “experts”: numerologists, astrologers, phrenologists (I do have

a shitload of bumps on my head, so phrenologists have a party when I

show up for a reading), tasseographists (look it up), and just plain seers.

A year before the encounter with my disco tarot card reader, I’d gone to

see a young Romanian with a brain tumor. It was widely believed that

the unwelcome “visitor” in this man’s head had given him a special view

of the future. Everyone in my acting class had consulted this guy, desperate

to hear him say, “Yes, I see you in major motion pictures. You are

successful . . . wealthy . . . deeply, deeply loved . . . and your likeness is

being carved into Mount Rushmore along with those four old dead guys

because you are just so fucking special.”

Honestly, I think that we’re all—every one of us—constantly and

hungrily searching for signs that we are singular, unique, chosen. And

that an equally singular, unique, choice future awaits us. Actors are

the neediest bastards in this way; don’t ever let us pretend otherwise.

Maybe we artist-performers need this kind of affirmation more than

most, hence our career choice. I know that a strong, defining element

of my character is the five-year-old inside me jumping up and down,

demanding, “Hey, Poopypants, look at ME!!!” This need to be noticed

and thought of as “special” has, to a large degree, charted my unholy

course through adulthood. Dammit.

So when it’s finally my turn to see the brain tumor guy, this futureseeing

Romanian looks at me and says, “I see gold around you—here.”

He motions to my throat. I think, “Does he see bling? Am I going to be

a pimp?” But he continues, “It’s glowing, your voice. Are you a singer?”

“My mum thinks so,” I answer. But I am actually heartened by what

he apparently sees. Again, I put this “sign” in my back pocket against

the times when someone will look at me and say, “You? I don’t think

so, asshole.”

What is that sound? Whhhhooooossshh!!! Yes, if this were a movie

there would be amazing visual shit and music and sound effects and all.

Use your imagination . . . ...

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