Decades after stealing the hearts of teenage girls with his movie-star good looks and iconic '80s pop radio gem "Jessie's Girl," Rick Springfield now has the street cred he's always longed for, from what at first glance seems like an unlikely source: Dave Grohl, grunge pioneer and arguably the most respected rock star on the planet today.
Grohl's critically acclaimed documentary "Sound City," in current release and available on pay-per-view, tells the story of a legendary recording studio in Van Nuys and features Springfield, who cut tracks there.
"Dave is a music fan, and I think a musician especially is open to the good things in every genre of music," Springfield said in an interview conducted via email.
"We all basically came from the same garage at 15 years old, banging out crappy versions of Beatles songs, so we are all not far removed after all, even though we may have taken slightly different paths eventually."
But his involvement in "Sound City" isn't the only exciting exposure Springfield has been getting lately. In April, he returns to his breakthrough role of Dr. Noah Drake on the ABC soap "General Hospital" and is promoting his latest album, "Songs for the End of the World." His tour lands at Eagle Mountain Casino on Friday.
Springfield, 63, was good enough to answer some questions about his early years at the dawn of MTV, plans for his upcoming return to acting, and how it feels to work his scream-inducing mojo in front of adoring female fans.
"Working Class Dog," your breakthrough album, is one of those perfectly crafted pop records that helped set the tone for the MTV era. Why do you think it's held up so well after over 30 years?
I think it's a very honest, from-the-heart record and a good bunch of songs. The production still holds up and it has a slightly rough edge to a lot of the songs that I think moves it a little out of the overproduced sound that the '80s is known for. I think it was the right album at the right time.
Most people assume your career started with the release of that record, but you'd already been at it for a while in your native Australia. What can you remember of the fan mania surrounding the release of "Jessie's Girl" in the U.S?
It was a rocket ride. I had been playing, writing and performing music basically since I was 15. I didn't realize it would take that much time again before I even made a dent so when it came in the early '80s I was ready. I worked a lot and continued (and still continue) to write the best I can and have a great time on stage.
How does it feel to be discovered by the kids of your original fan base?
It's very energizing. We have always had a very "current" live show, and people are always surprised at how hard it rocks, so new fans are getting us at our best.
Is your return to "General Hospital" full time or a recurring role?
It's recurring, and very sporadically at that. I just don't have time for a show like that. It's just so much work, a lot of prep with all the dialogue and shooting all day. It's a tough gig.
Do you prefer acting over music?
I love acting now though especially when the scripts are good like "Californication" and shows of that ilk. Music is my first love and as the Walker Brothers once sang, "First loves never, ever die."
What impact did the release of the "Sound City" documentary have on your career?
I think there is added visibility obviously, and Dave Grohl and his mighty Foo Fighters have great street cred, so all that is very positive stuff.
What did you initially think of the Nirvana/grunge movement when it first entered the scene during the '90s?
I loved it. It was a major change in everyone's view of what was commercial but still maintained its integrity. It was very inspiring to me just like the original punk scene was when it landed in the late '70s. "Working Class Dog" to me was a cleaned- up punk album. My template for that album was Elvis Costello's "My Aim Is True" the first Police record, Joe Jackson's "Look Sharp" and bands like that.
YouTube videos show proof you still drive women crazy when you're onstage. How does that make you feel?
It's all in good fun. I enjoy having that amount of energy still around the band and the live show, and everyone has a bloody great time.
How do you keep yourself rock-star fit?
I love what I do in music, writing and acting. I also have read a lot about health and have always believed you are what you eat. I exercise and try to drink less red wine than I do.
What should your audience expect on Friday?
To get hot and sweaty! I switch the songs out a lot, and we have a new show with new production that also highlights the new CD, "Songs For The End of The World."
Are you aware of any fans who have named their kids "Jessie" after your song?
Yes, I get that; also 'Noah' and 'Drake' and variations of those. It's very flattering. I mean, your kid is the most precious thing in the universe, so to be included in the naming process, I never take that lightly.