Rick Springfield on his dual career

Comedian McHale, party band Funk Evolution also on tap at Rivers Casino this weekend
Rick Springfield will play at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady on Dec. 30 at 8 p.m
Rick Springfield will play at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady on Dec. 30 at 8 p.m

Rick Springfield enjoys working as an actor, but make no mistake about it: The music comes first.

“Acting is very exciting to me now as I get older, and have more to draw from and a better grasp of the craft,” said Springfield, who will be performing at the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady on Sunday at 8 p.m. “I started acting pretty late, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Music is just always in my head and a part of me, whereas acting is only there when I have work.”

In September of 1981, while he was working as an actor, portraying Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital,” Springfield produced a hit single, “Jessie’s Girl.” It climbed to No. 1 on the charts in the U.S. and his homeland of Australia, and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

“It took about three weeks to write,” Springfield said of his Grammy winner in an email conversation with The Gazette last week. “I was writing other songs at the same time. You can actually see on the sheet of paper I wrote ‘Jessie’s Girl’ on that I also wrote ‘Love is Alright Tonite’ and ‘Red Hot Blue Love’ on the same sheet. Conserving paper I guess.”

“Jessie’s Girl” was No. 1 for two weeks in September 1981 and helped make his album, “Working Class Dog,” a huge success.

“The song came together pretty organically without too much pushing or pulling,” Springfield said of his only No. 1 single. “It was a combination of two different song parts that I was working on and realizing they went together, and then writing a chorus to hook it all together.”

While he never stopped being a musician, Springfield was also a busy actor during the 1970s. Before he became Dr. Noah Drake for two years from 1981-1983, he had roles on “The Six Million Dollar Man” in 1977, “The Rockford Files” in 1978 and “Wonder Woman” in 1978 and ’79, to name a few. With the success of his recording career, however, his television appearances grew more infrequent. Then in the 1990s, the pendulum swung back again, and he has continued to be a busy actor since that time.

“I focused on the music, and if acting things came up I addressed them,” said Springfield, who had four other top-10 songs between 1981 and 1984, including No. 2 “Don’t Talk to Strangers” in May of 1982. “That’s pretty much what I do now. Music is just there, and if acting gigs come along, then they are considered based on their merit and what else is going on.”

Springfield has had roles on “The Goldbergs” and “Sideswiped” in 2018, and worked on “American Horror Story” in 2017. Despite those commitments, he also found time to release a new  album, “The Snake King,” in January of 2018. While Springfield’s 2016 album “Rocket Science” had something of a country feel to it, “The Snake King” is a return to the blues. On his website, Springfield refers to his latest work as a ride “down a dusty dirt road exploring the blues.” He wrote it because he has some serious questions about the state of the world.  

“I am curious about what happened to God,” said Springfield. “There is so much evil and garbage in the world, I am starting to think my hard-core Christian friends may be right about the coming apocalypse. Better build a shelter. It’s a lot of the things that have been going through my head and the writing of the album came pretty fast, so it was one of those things I couldn’t really stop or change. I’m looking for answers to deeper questions than ‘Where can I find a woman like that?’ I guess.”

Rivers Casino & Resort has three consecutive nights of entertainment on tap this weekend, beginning with comedian/actor Joel McHale on Saturday night. Following Springfield’s musical performance on Sunday, there will be more music on New Year’s Eve as Funk Evolution, one of the Capital Region’s top horn-fueled party bands, helps ring in the New Year.

McHale was host of the E Network’s “The Soup” from 2004 to 2012, and also starred in the NBC sitcom “Community” from 2009-2015.

Funk Evolution formed in Albany in 2010, and includes lead singer Sabrina Gogan and the group’s founder, tenor sax player and vocalist Stephen “Rocco” Christman.

Joel McHale

WHERE: Event Center, Rivers Casino & Resort

WHEN: Saturday, doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $70-$40



Rick Springfield

WHERE: Event Center, Rivers Casino & Resort

WHEN: Sunday, doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $100-$55



Funk Evolution

WHERE: Event Center, Rivers Casino & Resort

WHEN: Monday, doors open at 9:30 p.m., show begins at 10 p.m.



Categories: Entertainment

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