Who: Rick Spingfield. Gig: Rock star/Soap hunk. Age: 62. Show-stopper: The ‘80s heartthrob (“Jessie’s Girl,” General Hospital) is back on TV and he's working on a new album, Love Songs for the End of the World. Tomorrow, he joins the 500 Festival Parade and headlines the annual Snakepit Ball. Today, he broke one his own song's rules: He talked to a stranger (IM).
IM: Who gets recognized more often, Rick Springfield or Dr. Noah Drake?
RS: Rick Springfield, but it depends on where I am.
IM: Is going on stage different than getting in front of the camera?
RS: They're very different. Going on stage is like a big party with everyone around you. You're very aware of your audience.
IM: What’s been the most enjoyable part about your return to TV?
RS: I liked working on Californication because the writing was really good.
IM: What’s your connection to IndyCar racing?
RS: I like to go fast. However, the closest I've ever come to IndyCar racing was driving a Porsche.
IM: You’ve got a lot going on—is that kind of diversification more important today than it was, say, 30 years ago?
RS: It's extremely important. On the radio, they are playing a smaller number of records, making it very difficult for up-and-coming artists. They don't have a shot. But being on the web, for example, opens up the possibilities.
IM: You have an iPhone app and Facebook page, you’re on Twitter, and you host a cruise for your fans. Are you expanding your base or connecting with old fans in different ways?
RS: We are definitely expanding our fan base. We have a new record coming out in the fall, which is getting a lot of attention. If “Jessie's Girl” is what gets them in and gets a younger audience interested, then that's great, but I feel like this new album is the best we've ever done.
IM: How much access do your fans have to you on your cruises?
RS: Full-on. This year we have a land event at Club Med in Cancun rented out only for us for all five days. It's a big party with special guests, cocktail parties, games, and an opportunity for guests to play with the band.
IM: What did you discover about yourself from doing your memoir, Late, Late at Night?
RS: I Realized my drive as a musician was formed by self-worth issues. I thought if I could become successful, they would go away. There are a lot of families dealing with such issues, and I've heard a lot of good comments about the book because it is a positive story in the end. I screwed up a lot in life but I have managed to be very successful despite of it. It's very encouraging to people to hear that.
IM: Has success spoiled you?
RS: Success spoiled me for just a few years, but then I straightened out and almost went the other way. I have a song on my new album entitled “I Hate Myself,” if that tells you anything.
Interviewer Kristi Rubino confesses to having locked herself in the bedroom as a kid while rocking out to Springfield's "Working Class Dog."