When you think of Rick Springfield, you primarily think of two things: Dr. Noah Drake and Jessie’s Girl.
But the Grammy-winning Aussie singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor and author, who turned 66 (!) on Aug. 23 and has been performing for more than 50 years, has produced a rich, deep and diverse body of work that cannot be defined by — or confined to — one No. 1 pop song and a character, however iconic, on a soap opera. Consider his latest role, as bandmate and love interest of the luminous Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash, about a bar band and the personal dramas of its members; or his tell-all, Late, Late at Night, which Rolling Stone named the No. 23 rock memoir of all time, in which he discusses his relationship with a 15-year-old Linda Blair.
Catch Springfield being his rock-star self Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Live near Hollywood, along with ’80s acts Loverboy and The Romantics. He talked to Miami.com about the show, his experience working with Streep, his new album Rocket Science, his novel Magnificent Vibration and more.
Can we expect some new songs from “Rocket Science,” as well as your greatest hits?
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Yes, we are doing a couple of songs from the new album as well as all the hits, except Jessie’s Girl — I’m tired of playing that. OK, not really. Just kidding. The new album comes out in January, and it’s the best record I’ve ever made. How’s that for a bold claim?! It is full of hooks, hopefully says something more than a desire to get laid, and will entertain and enlighten.
Were you able to teach Meryl Streep a thing or two on the guitar during “Ricki and the Flash”?
Yeah, she asked some questions as far as the authenticity of how certain things and moves looked. She’s pretty great, and I actually expected nothing less. Very challenging and difficult stuff, singing and playing in a genre she’s not done before, and doing it in character. Amazing. She’s my star pupil.
You’re best known for two things: “Jessie’s Girl” and being a hunky doctor on “General Hospital.” Do you ever feel like screaming “I’m more than that!”?
Hopefully, some of the new work I’m involved in is changing that perception. If not, I’m good with the “Jessie’s Girl”/Noah Drake thing.
What inspired your stint on “True Detective,” and how was the experience?
Well, it’s a role that is “against type,” as they say in the movie world, and that is always exciting to play. The script was excellent, dark and wild, and I got to channel my inner creep.
What stands out the most for you during the period between when you started out performing in the ’60s until you exploded onto the pop scene in 1981 with the album “Working Class Dog”?
Being broke and hungry. It sucked.
Sixty-six years old: You seem forever young.
Only Rod Stewart is “Forever Young.” I met a guy at the airport today I hadn’t seen in 40 years. It was weird realizing how fast that time has gone.
What keeps the drive alive for you in terms of touring?
An unrequited desire for people to like me. Actually, it’s my connection to people that is the big driver in touring. I’m a loner by trade, and playing gigs gives me a chance to connect.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I don’t think I’m there yet.
What was the toughest thing to reveal or talk about in your memoir, “Late, Late at Night”?
All of it. Especially the bad stuff. I realized what a jerk I am.
How’s the sequel to “Magnificent Vibration” coming, and what’s the premise?
That’s a secret. But it will be freaky. And hopefully funny.
Is/was there a real “Jessie’s Girl” in your life?
Yes. All my songs start from a point of truth.
Why did you change your name from Springthorpe?
I was 16. The leader of the band I was in said, “You’re not Springthorpe — you’re Springfield,” and I just said “OK.”
Name one thing that you love to do in your spare time that would surprise people.
Kiss my dog until she bites me.
The concert is 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hard Rock Live Arena, near Hollywood; Ticketmaster; $40-$60.