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Rick Springfield tries his solo side for a change

21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Rick Springfield has managed to do quite a bit during his lengthy career of singing, songwriting, performing, acting and prose writing.

But at 64, and nearly 45 years in, he's still managing to find a few new endeavors.

This year the Australian-born Springfield has launched his first-ever solo tour, a pare-down presentation featuring just him, his guitars, his songs and the stories about them. "I've wanted to do something like this for awhile," acknowledges Springfield (nee Springthorpe), "but we never really figured out how we would go about doing it.

"We eventually had some open space this December and January, and I just started to lay out a solo show. It's kind of different than a regular solo show, I think. Hopefully it'll be more entertaining, and obviously it's a little more laid back than the electric band show I do, but still be fun."

Playing in this format allows Springfield to pursue "a different song list" that digs deeper into his catalog, though he promises the big hits -- "Jessie's Girl," "Don't Talk to Strangers," etc. -- will still be there. Nevertheless, he explains, "it's a lyrically driven show, and I do some of the more lyrically meaningful songs and explain the stories behind them. There are a lot of fan-favorite things, songs that I've never done and that people have always wanted to hear me do."

Springfield has also pulled out a song he wrote when he was 15 called "Painted Girl," which is scary but I thought would be fun for people to hear," and he's written a new song for the tour as well, "If Wishes Were Fishes," which he calls "probably the first country song I've ever written."

"I know country people hate it when pop people write country songs, but it just came out," Springfield says. "It's kind of a humorous song, but it details my view on the world, I guess, which is a little skewed. I think it's us against the world right now, and I hope the world wins. We haven't been very good caretakers of each other or the world; it's gotten to the tipping point now for sure, I think."

Springfield says he also explores that theme in "Magnificent Vibration," his first novel. Filled with what he says is "black humor," it's about a man "at the end of his rope" who speaks on the phone to someone claiming to be God, ultimately meeting some other people who had the same experience and heading out on a journey that leads to a profound "final choice."

"It's not, like, a dark, depressing story," Springfield says. "It's actually, hopefully, very funny. But it has points of view in there and a culmination. I think as you get older you kind of think less and less about sex, so other stuff starts to creep into the male brain." Springfield says the novel was easier to write than his best-selling 2010 autobiography -- "Late, Late at Night; A Memoir" -- "Because I could say whatever I wanted and make stuff up, which is awesome," he notes -- and he hopes to see it made into a film at some juncture.

"I love the process of writing prose," Springfield says. "It's what I thought I'd do when I was a kid. The only good grades I got in school were for essays, and everyone was saying, 'You should be a writer.' That's what I thought I'd be, but then the music took over.

"But it's always been a part of my life and it's always in the back of my mind, and if I' not writing songs I have prose and poems and stuff like that. It's just part of that whole creative thing, and so it's nice to be doing more of it now, along with everything else I love doing."

Rick Springfield performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $40-$50. Call 866-782-9622 or visit www.soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

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