It would be difficult for Rick Springfield to second-guess his career choices. Springfield was a star of the daytime drama “General Hospital” (1981 to 1983) as well as one of the most successful pop-rock stars of the early ’80s.
He even won a Grammy for his chart-topping, dark but catchy “Jessie’s Girl” (1981) and followed up with four other top-10 singles: “I’ve Done Everything For You,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Affair of the Heart” and “Love Somebody.”
Even though Springfield hit his popularity peak in the ’80s, the Reagan-era pinup continues to play to thousands of screaming (mostly female) fans.
“It’s been amazing,” Springfield says while calling from Milwaukee. “I would be crazy to say I have any regrets.”
And yet, the 64-year-old Springfield proves he could have veered into a different direction altogether. The Australian, who lives in Los Angeles, is also a novelist.
Springfield penned “Magnificent Vibration,” an amusing work of science fiction released in May. In the story, which is an irreverent take on life touched by divine intervention, an unlikely average guy finds a phone line and connects directly with God. The novel is salacious, unpredictable and clever.
“I was encouraged to write fiction after I handed in my memoir (the 2010 New York Times bestseller ‘Late, Late at Night’),” Springfield says. “So I thought I would take a crack at it. When I was in high school I wanted to become a novelist.”
Better late than never.
“And I’m not done yet,” Springfield says. “Just wait until you read the sequel.”
But it’s not as if Springfield is a stranger to the writing business. After all, his catchy three-minute pop songs are short stories, with a beginning, middle and end.
“But this time I had a chance to blow things up,” Springfield says. “I had an opportunity to add so much more color.”
As excited as Springfield is about life as a novelist, he hasn’t slowed down as a recording artist. He’s on tour with his old friends Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. They play Sunday at Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh.
“That’s special to me since Neil played the solo on ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ ” Springfield recalls. “He’s a special guitarist.”
Will Giraldo reprise that memorable lead during the tour? “I haven’t even thought about that,” Springfield says. “You’re one step ahead of me.”
Springfield’s cool quotient continues to rise a generation after he rose to the top of the big-haired ’80s pile. A year ago he was featured in Dave Grohl’s entertaining “Sound City” documentary, which focused on a hole-in-the-wall studio in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley in which Nirvana, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac and Rick Springfield, among many others, created musical history.
The Sound City Players, an All-Star group that included Grohl, Springfield, John Fogerty and Stevie Nicks, played a few select dates, including a jaw-dropping gig at Austin’s South By Southwest music conference in 2013.
“That was an amazing experience,” Springfield says. “I had the opportunity to play with some incredible musicians, including Dave Grohl, who is such an amazing guy. It’s just part of what I’m doing. I’m just trying to continue challenging myself. I don’t just want to play the old songs and that’s it. There has to be more to it than that for me.”