The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Rick Springfield. Courtesy photo.

Rick Springfield Stripped Down

When: Sunday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $39.50 - $225 (VIP w/ meet & greet) at

Stripped down
Rick Springfield unplugs in Manchester

By Michael Witthaus

Rocker Rick Springfield joins HBO’s True Detective in a recurring role this spring. Come summer, he’s in the Jonathan Demme film Ricki & The Flash, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. He published his first novel last year, which, like his 2010 biography Late Late At Night, he wrote solo. On Sunday, Feb. 22, Springfield brings his Storytellers-themed Stripped Down show to the Palace Theatre. He spoke with the Hippo by phone during a stop in Toronto.

You’re an artistic triple threat. If you could choose only one, what would it be?
Probably musician, because it was my first love for sure. I love playing guitar and writing music, and from a performance perspective it’s pretty much the whole package. I kind of got into acting initially to make money until I got a record deal, which is kind of nutty. As I get older I find there’s more to offer acting wise too.
You have a big movie coming up. Meryl Streep is in it, so have you picked out an Oscars outfit? 
No, haha. It’s a pretty cool film, written by Diablo Cody, who wrote Juno, and it’s got a lot of great people involved. Jonathan, of course, is amazing; Kevin Kline is in it as well, and it was a really fun shoot.
There’s a musical theme in the film and Jonathan Demme has done some great concert documentaries. I imagine the vibe was pretty cool as a musician. Did it feel authentic to you?
Yeah, he wanted the band to play live, so he had to find an actor who could really play guitar. There are probably others who can, but I got it, and there’s Joe Vitale from CSN, Bernie Worrell, who was in Stop Making Sense, and Rick Rosas, who sadly passed away a couple of days after we wrapped, which pretty much stunned all of us. 
That’s sad, but what a great band.
Yeah, between takes we’d just launch into all kinds of songs, it was really fun and a pretty unique experience. In the film we’re supposedly the resident band, a cover band, and a lot of the scenes are there on stage.
You’re in True Detective this coming season. Will that be a one shot or recurring role?
It’s a recurring thing.
Can’t say anything more?
They’ve got a lid pretty tightly clamped on it; it’s like working for the CIA. I think the only thing they said they’d like me to say is, yes, I am on the show. That’s pretty much it. I guess because it’s such a hot show people are being offered money to spill the beans on the new season. So they’re being very careful and for good reason.
You’re coming to Manchester to do a solo show, and given your public history with anxiety, I wondered if that’s the best choice for you.
I don’t like to be a slave to [those things], and putting it all on the line by going out solo is part of that.
You’re not completely solo; you have your laptop “band in a box” and your iPhone on rhythm guitar. How did you end up using those tools?
Honestly, everybody does. ProTools — there’s just so much you can do with it. My last record, we recorded the basic tracks on tape and transferred it over. … A lot of bands do that for the ease of manipulation.
Did you have the spark for your novel Magnificent Vibration in your head, or did the ideas come as you wrote it? You’ve also mentioned a sequel, and making a really expensive movie from it.
Yes, it unfolded as I wrote it. That made it fun to write because I wanted to know what would happen next, and it’s probably why it didn’t take long to write. I am working on the sequel but have been waylaid a bit by other work. Now that the new album is written I can focus on the book.
Two questions about Dave Grohl, who you worked with on Sound City; first, can he save rock and roll?
The Foos are definitely doing their part in keeping rock and roll alive, but I think it’s pretty healthy. Maybe not on radio, but there is some great music being written and played. The paradigm has changed as far as getting new rock and roll heard, but the world hasn’t gone deaf. It’s just distracted momentarily by all the new ear candy on the radio. It may need a transfusion from time to time, but rock and roll is still breathing.
Second, what memories did making the movie stir? You met your wife at Sound City during Working Class Dog, right?
Yes, that was pretty deep. I was introduced to my future wife in front of the Neve console that Dave bought from Studio A. Plus the movie got me thinking about Joe Gottfreid, my manager and owner of Sound City. He died in the ‘90s but would have been so proud of this documentary.
Dave told Marc Maron how much he loved your stuff and delivered a great quote about “I’ve Done Everything” — he said, “That’s a Buzzcocks song, different haircuts, same sound.” What did you think of that?
[Laughs] It’s pretty hard to be objective about your own records, but I get what he’s saying; basically, that I was misrepresented in my early press as being a mindless one-dimensional teen idol, when in fact I am a mindless three-dimensional teen idol.
Have you seen Sonic Highways? I think a road trip to Australia might be part of a good sequel.
Yes, it’s pretty savvy stuff. There are a ton of amazing musicians and music in Oz, still a lot of undiscovered genius there. 
As seen in the February 19, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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