Rick Springfield fans will be hearing classic songs like "Jessie's Girl" and "I've Done Everything for You" in a new way when he takes the stage at the House of Blues on Wednesday. As part of his "Stripped Down" tour, to support a live CD and DVD of the same name that arrives on Tuesday, the veteran pop-rocker is going it alone, reimagining many of his 17 top 40 hits and a few covers with just his guitars, his voice, and his laptop, and telling a few stories along the way.
And they will also be seeing something different from the high-energy performer who regularly roams the crowd during his performances: Springfield will be sitting down.
It's been a busy few years for the Australian singer-songwriter as he has bounced around various platforms making his mark. His candid 2010 memoir, "Late, Late at Night" and 2014 debut novel, "Magnificent Vibration," both hit the New York Times bestseller list. On television, Springfield had a memorable arc on "Californication" in 2009, playing a comical version of himself, and he reprised his role as Dr. Noah Drake on "General Hospital" in 2013. He is currently shooting the upcoming second season of "True Detective," on HBO and later this year will star opposite Meryl Streep in the big screen dramedy "Ricki and the Flash," directed by Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") from a script by Diablo Cody ("Juno").
Springfield has also been in the news for a recently wrapped lawsuit in which a fan claimed to have been injured by Springfield's posterior during a concert. The jury found in his favor last month.
We recently chatted with Springfield by phone from LA who says, incredibly, that this is the very first solo tour of his more than 40-year career. "Even when I was starting out I always had a band."
Q. What was the inspiration for "Stripped Down"?
A. I wrote my autobiography, and I realized I had a lot of stories that turned into songs, so that was kind of the genesis of it. And I just worked it up through trial and error. (Laughs.) It's pretty great to play all kinds of different songs. I play the first song I ever wrote when I was 18. I play a blues song that I played in a blues band, and a song I played in a band when I went to Vietnam [to entertain US troops] in 1968. I play different versions of the hits. It's a very different show energy-wise from the band show. It's a lot of funny stories and some serious ones, and a very different set list from the band show, intimate. I can hear the audience and they can call out songs. I really love to play with just me and a couple of guitars up there.
Q. You've been keeping yourself busy the last few years, but when you got the call to play opposite Meryl Streep in "Ricki and the Flash," was that a pretty easy yes?
A. Yeah, I had a tour booked in Australia for the first time since I went solo, and we had to postpone that. It's obviously something you can't really turn down.
Q. What is it about, and who do you play in the film?
A. It's about a woman who leaves her family and comes to LA to make it as a singer, and ends up in a bar band in Tarzana. (Laughs.) I play her boyfriend in the band and Kevin Kline plays her ex-husband. It's a great family story. It's really very clever.
Q. Can you tell us anything about your character on the second season of "True Detective"?
A. It's got the lid really tightly clamped on it. You don't get the script until a couple of days before. One of the makeup people was offered $10,000 to spill the beans because it's such a hot show. It's really run like the CIA. It's run better than the CIA, I should say.
Q. "Magnificent Vibration" got some very positive reviews. . . . Are you working on a sequel?
A. Yeah, I was very surprised, I got better reviews for my novels! We're busy doing a new record right now, but hopefully I will be able to get to it. I love writing – it's my favorite thing to do.
Q. With the lawsuit, predictably people made jokes about "ass-ault" and the like. But I'm guessing this was not really a laughing matter for you since it stretched out over several years?
A. No, it took up a lot of time, and I didn't want to settle because it would've sent the wrong message. So I went to the mat with it, and it was worth it. I think it was a good verdict for every touring artist because it would've set a precedent. It was bogus, what was claimed, it was just wrong all the way down the line.
Q. At least you have fodder for your own jokes now that the case is closed.
A. (Laughs) Yeah, we do mention it.
Interview was condensed and edited. Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.