In concert

Rick Springfield: Out of the ‘Hospital,’ onto the concert stage

 
 
Rick Springfield
Rick Springfield

Whatever flows through the intravenous bags at Port Charles’ General Hospital seems to be preserving singer-actor Rick Springfield.

The 63-year-old Aussie recently reprised his career-making role as Dr. Noah Drake for General Hospital’s 50th anniversary in April. His new album, Songs for the End of the World, is his most energetic guitar rock since Living in Oz 30 years ago. He featured prominently in Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary and its album.

His 2010 autobiography Late, Late at Night (Touchstone; $16) coincided with a guest role on Showtime’s sex-drenched Californication and was followed by the film fest documentary, An Affair of the Heart: The Journey of Rick Springfield and His Devoted Fans, which will premiere May 15 on the EPIX cable channel.

And, in an 18-month period, Springfield will have headlined three concerts in South Florida, including Saturday’s gig at the Magic City Casino.

“I love what I do, that’s where it comes from,” Springfield said while tooling down the Pacific Coast Highway. “We stepped up the production, and the show is getting better, and this is what gives me the energy. It doesn’t feel like a retro show. We have good, current stuff.”

Songs for the End of the World was written while Springfield was on the road, which accounts for its bottom-heavy guitar attack. “When I play live and write it tends to be more energetic. I look for stuff to do live, and I wanted it to be an upbeat record,” he said.

Living in Oz, which spun off concert staples like Human Touch and Affair of the Heart, was also written on the road in 1983.

“That one was the first record I produced by myself. Sonically, it still sounds good, and we took a lot of chances where the second album didn’t. I was doing General Hospital, and the album before that one, Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet, was lighter and poppier.”

Springfield was struggling when he landed the role of Noah Drake on the ABC soap in 1981. The part and that year’s smash single, Jessie’s Girl, made him a household name.

He’s returned to the daytime serial over the years. But for the first time, in a cheesy-even-for-a-soap contrivance, Springfield played Drake and himself for a Nurses’ Ball storyline and belted out Jessie’s Girl, on the episode.

Drake’s long-ago lover Bobbie Spencer ( Jacklyn Zeman) turns to him and says, “I never realized how much you looked like Rick Springfield!”

“I came back for the 50th because it’s been an instrumental show for me,” Springfield said.

Drake and Bobbie depart fictional Port Charles for jobs in another city. Naturally, inquiring minds want to know whether the old lovebirds will play doctor again.

Springfield laughs.

“I don’t know if I’d have the time to put into it as a regular thing. I owe an allegiance to General Hospital, but it’s a very difficult show to film, a lot of work. You’re working. You sit around. Or go-go-go. It’s a tough gig.”

Rick Springfield performs with Lita Ford at 8 p.m. Saturday at Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37th Ave., Miami. Tickets: $20-$75. 305-460-6579 or visit www.magiccitycasino.com. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

—  HOWARD COHEN

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