14 Things You Didn't Know About Rick Springfield
2. Rick Springfield is a stone cold sex fiend...
In recent years, many musicians have put down their instruments (at least temporarily) and picked up the computer keyboard to produce some pretty revelatory memoirs. And in one case, perhaps too revelatory - Billy Joel recently pulled the plug on his completed autobiography just months before publication date, returning his huge advance rather than have justify his dancing in the "Uptown Girl" video. In addition to tomes by Keith Richards, Sammy Hagar, and Steven Tyler, look for volumes coming up by Pete Townshend, Gregg Allman, AC/DC's Brian Johnson, and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi.
Rick Springfield, who plays Arena Theatre this Friday, joined the ranks of musical memoirists with last year's Late, Late at Night. And while Rocks Off feels that the accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist has always been unfairly categorized as a teen idol or actor-turned-singer, even our eyes were singed by some of the revelations in the book. Here's just a few of them.
14. His real name isn't Rick Springfield: It's Richard Springthorpe; an early bandmate felt that moniker didn't sound rock and roll enough and rechristened him. His mother wanted to name him "Howard," but dad disagreed since it could be rhymed with "coward" (as if "Rick" couldn't be rhymed with...oh well).
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13. He had some interesting early erotic experiences: As a kindergartener, Rick and two boys watched a female classmate take a shit under a bridge. "It is an awe-inspiring performance and, thinking back, definitely sexual," he writes, and soon becomes a dedicated "pillow-humper."
Then his fourth-grade teacher asks him to stay behind in class, produces a leather belt ostensibly to be used for discipline, says it needs to be tested out, then instructs him to beat her hard and repeatedly. Finally, after succeeding in his first jerkoff at age 13, he notices that semen greatly resembles a product called Clag...a glue used in most schools for art projects.
12. He attempted suicide at age 17 and failed: Feeling worthless and ugly (???), Springfield tried to hang himself with thick twine rope. However, he apparently wasn't in Australia's equivalent of the Boy Scouts, because his knot came loose and he crashed to the floor.
11. There was a real-life "Jessie's Girl": Looking for an artistic outlet, Springfield took a stained glass class... and took a non-consummated lust to another classmate, the "petite, dark-haired" girlfriend of a fellow male student. But "Gary's Girl" doesn't have quite the ring to it, so he changes the name, misspelling the male version of the name because he's wearing a T-shirt of Los Angeles Ram Ron Jessie.
10. His guitar hero was Hank B. Marvin of English instrumental band The Shadows: And he's in good axe-slinger company with Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Ritchie Blackmore, and Brian May.
9. He starred as an animated version of himself in the cheesy Australian kid's TV show Mission: Magic: Later, Quentin Tarantino would tell him that he was a big fan.
8. Jerry Lewis saved him from being deported: When it looked like Rick was going to get kicked out of the country as an alien even after spending $10,000 on paperwork, one call from a manager to good friend the Nutty Professor somehow landed the singer a green card.
7. He came up with the idea for his early band, Zoot, to pose fully nude from the back for a promotional shot: Oddly, Springfield's ass looks by far the most feminine - something an image consultant would point out years later. You'll just have to look at the book for this one.
6. He's a dedicated dog lover: Much prose is spent fawning over various canines: Fella, who gets rabies and is shot by his father; Elvis, who has to be left behind when the family emigrates; Lethal Roy, who appears on the covers of both Working Class Dog and Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet; and Gomer, who Rick has to eventually carry in his arms to take him to piss, and later puts him to sleep. It's Gomer who shares the back cover photo.
5. He's suffered lifelong depression and actually given a name to it: That would be Mr. Darkness, who appears in the book enough to deserve a co-writing credit.
4. He's an obsessive collector of Star Wars toys: When his home was threatened by fire, Springfield rushed to put his most valuable action figures - including an Italian carded edition of Boba Fett - in a box and in the limited space of the family's car. His wife was not amused.
3. He got some '70s celebrity poon: He went out on a date with Susan Dey of The Partridge Family and rolled around on the floor with a young Valerie Bertinelli while One Day At a Time TV sister Mackenzie Phillips watched. A teenage Linda Blair (The Exorcist) lost her virginity to him ("she was an enthusiastic learner"), and he plowed away on Susan George (Straw Dogs). Which brings us to...
2. Rick Springfield is a stone cold sex fiend: "I have always had a tremendous fear of failure in the sexual arena," he writes. "I have been as promiscuous as women have allowed me to be in my life. And I thank the worn-and-torn skin off my dick that they want it as much as I do."
An alternate title for this book could have been The True Adventures of Rick's Dick, as his insatiable sexual needs and near-psychotic desire for humping any and all female forms permeates the narrative - much to the frequent displeasure of his wife of now more than 30 years. His last recorded dalliance, at age 51, was in an obsessive relationship with a woman 30 years his junior.
1. And finally, despite playing a sexy doctor on General Hospital, he never banged any hot nurses on the set: Given all his other disclosures, ya gotta actually believe this one. Though he did have a "brief, erotic moment" in front of a mirror with a young Demi Moore.
With Spin Doctors, 8 p.m. Friday at Arena Theatre.
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