Q&A: Rick Springfield on Emotional 'Sound City' Movie
Rick Springfield performs at the concert to celebrate the premiere of 'Sound City' at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
Dave Grohl's directorial debut, Sound City, is a celebration of so many of the musicians who called the Van Nuys, California studio home at one point or another. From Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham to Trent Reznor and Neil Young, the remarkable film showcases decades of music's biggest stars.
But the film's breakout story is arguably Rick Springfield. The "Jessie's Girl" singer has a deep history with the studio, with his one-time manager, Joe Gottfried, having also been the building's owner. An emotional Springfield recounts his relationship with Gottfried, one that suffered when the singer abandoned him for another manager.
The two did eventually make peace before Gottfried's passing, making the film a celebration for the singer, who released a new album, Songs for the End of the World, last November. At the Hollywood Palladium, where Springfield joined Grohl, Nicks, John Fogerty, Corey Taylor, Rick Nielsen and many others as part of the Sound City Players, Springfield was clearly having as good a time as anyone.
Some of that is due to the always-enthusiastic Grohl, who says in the film, "I've been bragging to everyone, I'm calling Rick Fuckin' Springfield tonight!"
The day after the Palladium show Rick "Fucking" Springfield spoke with Rolling Stone about being featured in the same film as Paul McCartney, meeting Elvis and Elizabeth Taylor and why watching the movie is tough on him emotionally.
Did you know Dave was such a big fan before you worked together?
No, not at all. In fact, when you walk into someone else's kind of play area, you're kind of the new guy in school. Everyone's got their little clique going, and you don't really know what to expect. That's kind of how I felt walking into the studio with [Foo Fighters] the first time. They'd been together for years and had a lot of success, and I didn't really know what it was going to be like. And they were just all so welcoming and saying that they were fans. It instantly relaxes you, because you go in a little protective in situations like this. I even saw it with Paul McCartney – he walks in, and even though he's Paul McCartney, he's still being a little protective, and [then] he loosens up. And the whole band's attitude is they're music fans, and you get that right away. Dave comes from the perspective that great music's great music.
That shows in the movie, where it seems very natural for you and Lee Ving to be in the same setting.
For musicians, music is music, and we all started idolizing somebody and we all came from the same garage. We all were that same 14-, 15-year-old kid trying to bang out a decent cover of "Can't Buy Me Love" or something.
And now here you are featured in the same movie as Paul McCartney.
Yeah, that's a pretty big one for me [laughs]. I was talking to Pat Smear about it and he said, "He knows how you feel, because he's been around it all his life."
Did you actually get to meet McCartney?
I didn't meet him on this project, though that may still happen. But I've met him a couple of times. The first time it was actually when I was dating Linda Blair. She'd just come off The Exorcist and was in a Broadway show of Equus, and Paul and Linda were, like, five people down, and he leaned out and waved and I kind of waved back. And I went, "Holy shit, Paul McCartney just waved at me." Then I realized he was waving at Linda.