Late, Late At Night by Rick Springfield(5 out of 5)
I had to put the image where they discuss not only this book, but his own personal website. You know if I see this book, I’m going to have to buy it and read it. Truthfully, not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect it to be a book that I couldn’t put down. And it was just that- I’ve read so many 80’s books and biographies, and yet, somehow, this one is near the head of the class.
Rick Springfield, in case you live in a cave, is a singer who’s popularity, like so many others, skyrocketed to the top in the 1980’s. He’s been around for over 40 years, which I’m not so sure people who don’t read this book, are aware of. I wasn’t even aware of it! He’s done Broadway, we know he’s done the pop/rock scene, we know he was a huge hit on General Hospital in the early 80’s, as well as numerous TV show guest spots(my favorite is a total rip on himself on Californication a year or so back) despite that. He had a number of bands before he hit it big on his own after his first album bombed. All in all, he’s had a pretty well-rounded career. And in all things, there is good and bad. A lot of Rick Springfield’s life, which I’m pretty sure most of his fans aren’t aware of until they read the book, is down. Deep and deliberating depression. When he’s 13, he attempts to hang himself. He drinks himself into a dark hole most of his adult life. He spins his clinical depression and loathing of the trappings of fame, into a sex addiction. Throughout the recounting of all of this, and in fact, in spite of this, he fights on. He has the love of his life, who’s been his wife for almost 30 years, and his beautiful children, but he still has dark periods. So much so that after his first son is born, he outright quits the music business to try to conquer his demons. His father’s sudden death in 1981 deals him another blow that he has a hard time dealing with(grief on top of depression, not an easy road for anyone to navigate), and it swings him back into the suicidal thoughts once again. You’ve heard about his DUI arrests, and he’s surprisingly candid about all of his issues with relapsing into alcoholism, and you can’t help but hope he kicks it to the curb for good.
Throughout this book, another thing that I really connected with, besides his story, was the voice in which he tells his story. There is no magical cure to his story, he keeps on trying to get better on a daily basis. The fight never stops, but you feel like no matter how bad it gets(and believe me, there are moments in his book where you are really convinced some real bad shit is going to go down), he tries to face it head on, with self-deprecating humor. One of the things I really gained an appreciation for was that this man can not only write a hell of a story that’s been lived not only in the public eye, but out of the public eye, and still make you root for him. You want this guy to come out ahead of the depression and kick its ass! He has an amazing ability to tell it like it is, but with a sense of humor. Yes, Rick Springfield has a great sense of humor. The paperback edition, which is what I bought, has an additional 15 pages of pictures. The captions on some of these photos- are absolutely hysterical. The story of what went on during the 1980’s and what went into writing the songs that brought him popularity beyond his wildest dreams- “Jessie’s Girl”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Affair of the Heart”, “You Gotta Love Somebody.”, fascinating despite the fact that some of us(moi) read the so-called stories in Bop, 16, etc back in the day(and believe me, they were nothing like the stories he tells here.). Stories about fleeing from rabid General Hospital fans- you know part of him enjoyed it, but he also matter of factly tells you what parts were not cool.
The best part of connecting with any biography is that if it’s an incredible book, you connect with your subject on all levels and can’t put the book down. Despite having my head in the toilet a good portion of yesterday, I still could not set the book down. I still cheered and laughed, and yes, had my heart in my throat for a good portion of the book when things were not well. I connected with his story on multiple levels, and people I have mentioned reading this book to, have scoffed. “Oh the guy who sang “Jessie’s Girl”? Yeah, no thanks.” Your loss, i say. Reading about how music saved his life many dark nights, and how it continues to inspire him then and now, makes your heart sing. Reading his thoughts about the music industry today- make fun of him and his career all you like, but the man is still touring and making music, and opening up his soul for everyone to see, read, and pick apart. I hope his message makes it through to those who are having a tough time of depression. You walk away from this, thinking if this man can face it head on and write about it, and still live a semi-normal life, there’s hope for the rest of us. I’d like to think so, i’d like to think that many others will pick up this book, and that they will recommend it to many others. To say I loved it is an understatement.