♦ 8:30 p.m. July 6
♦ Naperville Exchange Club’s Ribfest, Knoch Park, 724 S. West St., Naperville, Ill.
♦ Tickets, $12-$15
♦ (630) 259-1129;
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:08AM
During a show in front of 30,000 people at the Sweden Rock Festival in June, a shirtless Rick Springfield was leading a rowdy sing-along of his 1983 hit “Human Touch.”
Then the 63-year-old father of two decided to hoist himself onto the shoulders of a very surprised security guard and take an unrehearsed ride through the sweaty crowd.
“That’s what happens when my momentum starts rolling,” laughs Springfield, who will headline the Ribfest Navistar Stage on July 6 in Naperville, Ill.
“I certainly didn’t plan to climb on his shoulders. I could feel him trembling a bit halfway into our trek into the crowd and I started wondering what exactly was going to do if I fell.
“He told me afterwards that I was a lot heavier than he thought.”
And so goes the often unpredictable personal and professional life of Springfield, who could have easily been written off as just another 1980s heartthrob years ago.
Yet, Springfield remains somewhat of a freak of pop music nature that seems to get smarter and more impressive as the years go by.
As a man who has found success in music and acting to publishing, Springfield just might finally be getting the respect that eluded him for so long.
Since first picking up a guitar at age 12 in his native Australia, Springfield has sold more than 25 million records and earned 17 top 40 hits such as “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Love Somebody.”
He’s also found himself the subject of documentaries such as “An Affair of the Heart” and Dave Grohl’s 2013’s “Sound City” and the author of his revealing autobiography “Late, Late at Night” (Touchstone).
“When I was a kid, there were times that the only thing I did was play guitar and read,” says Springfield, whose first fiction novel, “Magnificent Vibration” will be released in 2014.
“I couldn’t afford all the books I wanted, so to be honest with you, I would just steal them. If I had to stay home from school, instead of doing dope or watching television, I would read.”
This love of reading shines through not only his songwriting most recently on the release of his 17th studio album, “Songs for the End of the World,” but also within the eloquence in which he speaks of not only his past but what lies ahead.
“There are elements in my life that I am happy with,” says Springfield, who says he also hopes to devote more time into his acting career in the near future.
“I think the fact that I am not completely happy is what keeps me driven. I’m far from content. I’ll be content when I retire. I think life is too f’ed up and there is too much dark [crap] going on in the world. No one has the right to be content these days, except for maybe the Dalai Lama.”
This inner drive just might be the backbone of Springfield’s success and what keeps him going despite an impressive and aggressive touring schedule.
While most twentysomethings would have a hard time embarking on a weekend doubleheader of Milwaukee’s Summerfest one night and Naperville’s Ribfest the next, Springfield acts as if it’s no big deal.
“I sleep well after a show,” Springfield laughs. “There is a certain party atmosphere during the summer that I love.
“People are there to have a good time. They are not worrying about dressing up or drinking too much. I get a lot of my energy straight from my audiences.”
And what about the idea of getting older? Does it bother him?
“Life definitely speeds up as you get older,” he concludes. “My mom is 93 years old and she is still driving her friends to the doctors.
“She is still kicking a--.”
Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.