After more than 30 years in the business, you’d expect Rick Springfield to start taking it easy.
Instead, the man behind such giant ’80s hits as "Jessie’s Girl," "I’ve Done Everything for You" and "Don’t Talk to Strangers" is busier than ever. He’s released new music (2012’s "Songs for the End of the World"), starred on a TV series (Showtime’s "Californication"), released a couple of documentaries ("Sound City," "An Affair of the Heart") and written an autobiography (2010’s "Late, Late at Night: A Memoir"). Springfield even returned to "General Hospital" in 2013 for a few episodes to reprise his role of the legendary Dr. Noah Drake.
These days, Springfield is back on tour and will perform at Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood, Iowa, on Saturday. He’s also promoting his first novel, "Magnificent Vibrations," which will be published May 6.
Why does he continue to work so hard? The 64-year-old performer has a simple answer: "I like what I do. … I’m very passionate about the creative side of what I do, and I think that has a big hand in the way you are as a person."
QUESTION: All through rock and roll, there’s been music-acting crossovers, but most have been able to do one because of their success in the other. Elvis made movies because of his music, and vice versa for Ricky Nelson. It seems to me that you were the first whose success in both fields were independent of each other.
ANSWER: Yeah, it took people a while to figure out that the guy in "General Hospital" was also the guy that sang "Jessie’s Girl." There was a nice moment there where they were completely separate.
Q: Soap operas famously film almost every day. Between the acting gig and your music career, how hectic was that time for you?
A: It was pretty crazy. I was on the road playing concerts on the weekends and doing the show during the week. It was pretty much 24-7 those first couple of years.
Q: Your character on Showtime’s "Californication" was amazing. How did that come about, and did you have any say on how you were portrayed?
A: It was just a role that they were looking for with somebody who had some history in the ’80s. I auditioned for the part and got it. Then they wrote the part around my name and some of my history. When I got the first episode, it was fairly tame. I told them that I knew what the show was about, so I’m game for whatever they wanted to write. They took me at my word. There was some pretty wild stuff. There was actually stuff that was too hot for them, and they had to edit some of the things out they had originally written. It was pretty crazy.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming novel, "Magnificent Vibration."
A: It’s basically a wild story of a 32-year-old guy who has just gone through a brutal divorce, hates his job and thinks his life is over. He steals a self-help book called "Magnificent Vibration: Discover Your True Purpose," and written in handwriting on the front cover is a phone number, 1-800-CALLGOD. So he does, and depending on your spiritual leanings, it goes either right or left from there. It’s dark humor, but it does have a soul and does have a kind of surprising culmination at the end of the story. … We’ve actually already got some great publishing reviews from real heavy literary types, so I’m very encouraged as they love to make fun of musicians or actors who suddenly decide to write a novel. They’ve been very behind the book.
Q: Did the experience of writing your autobiography lead to attempting fiction?
A: It did, actually. I wrote my autobiography without the help of a ghostwriter, which is kind of unusual for celeb bios. My publisher liked my voice and my writing style and said I should be writing fiction. As a kid, that was what I wanted to do. The only decent attention I ever got at school was for fiction essays, so I was geared up for a writing career until music took over and I channeled that into songwriting. This opportunity was something I couldn’t pass up, and I wrote "Magnificent Vibration" as an answer to that.
Q: What can people expect in this stripped-down solo show?
A: I wanted to do something different. I’m bringing a bunch of different guitars. I play slide on a blues song. I also play a bunch of hits, obviously. It’s a storyteller thing. I tell a story about the songs, and there’s humor to it. It’s actually got a great reaction. We started out just doing a couple of weeks of shows, but we’ve extended it to over a month now, and it may go into years. It’s kind of growing as I go.
What: Rick Springfield concert
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood, Iowa
Tickets: $30 and $35 for the 21-and-older show at 877-511-4386, casino gift shop or at grandfallscasinoresort. com
@SiouxFallsLink.com: Read music writer Scott Hudson’s blog, Too Many Notes