Better as of 'Late'
It sounds like a fairy tale: An Australian boy makes it big in America as a soap opera star and hit recording artist.
But Rick Springfield's new book, "Late Late at Night," tells a different story. Springfield, in his brutally candid autobiography, talks extensively of his lifelong battle with depression. He also addresses his struggle with sex addiction, his betrayals of his wife and family, and his regrets.
"I didn't want it to be just the story of a rock 'n' roll guy," Springfield said in an interview last week. "I didn't write it to polish my image, as you can tell. I wrote the truth. That's what I do when I write songs, too."
Springfield, who will perform Friday at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, has certainly written his share of hit songs: "Jessie's Girl," "I've Done Everything for You," "Don't Talk to Strangers," "Affair of the Heart" and "Love Somebody" were all stapes of Top 40 radio and MTV in the 1980s. At the same time, he was starring as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera "General Hospital." He was a combination matinee idol and rock star.
What many people may not know is that, after taking a hiatus from music in the '90s, Springfield has since produced a series of well-received albums. The hits aren't on the radio anymore, but his newer material exhibits the depth and perspective some claimed was lacking from his music in the '80s.
Springfield talked by phone from his home in California.
The book was probably a surprise for many fans. What's been their reaction?
I mentioned the depression because I've had a successful life despite that. I hope that's an inspiring thing for people. I've had that response from people.
With this book, and with your more recent records, you've gone beyond what a lot of people in your position would do. You could be very comfortable and not take any risks.
"I'm very driven. That has a lot to do with the depression and maybe that's the good side of it. I'm never happy, never satisfied.
You've been prolific with your music in the last few years. Are you writing new material all the time?
I write in bursts. The book took a lot, but I've been writing songs again. I'm also writing some scripts. I'm starting to write songs for a new album that I hope will be out in mid-year. The writing comes when it comes. But the recording is pretty quick. We recorded the last album in 30 days.
In concert, how do you mix in newer material with the hits everyone wants to hear?
We're still doing quite a lot from "Venus in Overdrive" (2008), and that gets a good reception. We're still writing good songs.
Are you surprised people know those new songs?
Well, radio is kind of strange these days. But we do have a strong presence on the Internet, and we play a lot of dates.
Your music has been undergoing a reassessment by critics.
I got slammed, unfairly I think, in the past. People were put off that I was in a soap opera. But all I can do is keep writing.