Rick Springfield Gets Naked -- on 'Californication'

Today's cuppa: Newman's Own Royal Tea (fit for a TV Czarina!)

Rick_Springfield.jpgTonight, musician and actor Rick Springfield appears on Showtime's "Californication," playing Rick Springfield, degenerate musician.

Below find my story with Springfield from a little earlier in the month. It's part of a conversation we had -- with Springfield's rescued dog in attendance -- at the "Californication" sets in Culver City.

There's a lot more to our chat, including Springfield's days entertaining the troops (and sustaining mortar fire) in Vietnam. (UPDATE: Click here for that.)

Yeah, Vietnam. Dang, the boy still looks good, and you'll get to see that for yourselves when he flirts with nudity on Showtime, and hear more about his adventures before his next episode airs on Nov. 22.

Without further ado ...

Rick Springfield only plays Rick Springfield on TV
By Kate O'Hare

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On the current season of Showtime's racy comedy " Cali fornication," airing Sundays, rock musician and actor Rick Springfield plays rock musician Rick Springfield. While there's plenty of wild rocker behavior, there's no actual rock.

"No," he says, "it's just the acting thing. I don't touch a guitar.

"I've acted a lot of different things in my life, but I used to be averse to playing a musician, but now I think it's fine. You have an in there, just because you are a musician, but it's still acting.

"There may be some elements of it that refer to Rick Springfield's life, but the gig is basically an acting gig. I have to say those lines; I have to be truthful in them. I have to do certain things that I sure don't do in my real life."

Even though the Australian-born Springfield , 60, has acted for quite some time - including a long stint on " General Hospital " - he's not often recognized as an actor.

"Occasionally," he says, "you'll get a person who goes, 'You're that soap opera guy!' but most of them, it's because of music. Music goes deeper into people's psyches."

Asked who yells out the title of Springfield 's 1981 hit, "Jessie's Girl," he says, "Pretty much everybody. There are two songs that bar bands in Vegas play to get the crowd up- one of them is 'Don't Stop Believin',' the Journey song, and the other one is 'Jessie's Girl.'

"In a backhanded compliment, Rolling Stone listed' Jessie's Girl' last year as the No. 1 karaoke song."

While Springfield calls his "Californication" character a "perverse version" of himself, that doesn't mean he was a choirboy in his younger days.

"I was a bad boy, that whole thing," he says. "My fall from grace was the death of my dad. I did drugs earlier. I was more of an acid guy. I was never into blow that much; I smoked dope at times.

"But I've always been so driven and ambitious that when I'd feel something taking over or I got into pot for a while, and acid ... I almost OD'd. That got me off it forever.

"When I'd feel it got to take over my real time for what I wanted to do, I could cut it out, because I knew it was interfering."

But as to whether he'd ever choose between acting and music, Springfield says, "I'll always write. I'll always be a musician. I love performing onstage. We always surprise people with the power of the live show.

"It's very interactive; it's very personal. That's how I relate to people. That's really why I Rick_Springfield_and_wife.jpgperform. I'm pretty shy most of the time and can't be bothered."

  Springfield credits his wife, Barbara - with whom he has two sons - with his current happy existence, but he did live the wild life.

"I was a young guy who, in all his young life, wanted to have sex and hadn't got it," he says. "I was never the handsome guy in school. I was always a loner, arty, kind of dark, a loner. I was the one made fun of. If I got someone, I kept it really quiet.

"here's something that drives you into music and performing, and it's not that you're that popular with the girls."

He's also worked hard to avoid being a flash in the pan.

"The live shows now are the best shows we've ever done, the band and me," he says. "I never wanted to kind of die away. If you've got a lot of experience behind you, that counts if you're still in shape and can deliver."

Springfield also never forgets that he's not alone onstage, and for that he credits his father, a military officer.

"From my dad," he says, "I've always tried to treat people with respect. The band's been with me for 12 years, because I treat us like a band. They've certainly been with artists who treat them like sidemen and give them s---.

"I learned (from my dad) that I'd rather have friends out there than employees, because it's much more fun."


Wait! Just because I like you, here's a little bit extra from Springfield ...


On finding his inner wild man:


"I have to say these lines. I have to be truthful in them. I have to do certain things that I sure don't do in my real life. I've had a long time at being a musician, so I have done a lot of things that I can certainly use, but that's the same with any part.


"You've never killed someone, but if you play a murderer, you use whatever part of your could kill someone. That guy on the highway who cuts you off, if you had a gun, you'd shoot him right in the head. That's the part you tap into.


"So I tap into whatever parts of me are wild and hedonistic. They're certainly still there in different guises, but that's what an actor does. The best ones I know are the great American actors who come from the Actors Studio and use the real sh-t of what's inside them.


"Certainly that's what I aspire to be, that type of actor."


On the boot camp of daytime TV:


"You're hitting marks; you're talking to somebody; you're doing a lot of dialogue. It's all about dialogue, because there's no action in soaps. It really is the hardest acting and writing gig in TV.


"This is something that is a great boot camp for beginning actors. It's probably nothing I'd want to retire into, because it is so much work."

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