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).

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.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero