Rick Springfield calls his upcoming disc, Rocket Science, “probably the most positive album I’ve ever written.” And it’s not just because he expects big sales or lots of attention for it.
“I was just wanting to change my attitude,” Springfield tells Billboard. “Pissing and moaning about something and dooms-daying is not gonna help anything. I’ve always been a big one to do that, pissing and moaning. So I wanted to have some solutions for once rather than just moaning. I’ve been having a better mindset lately and focused on different things. I’m always fighting the depression — that’s taught for me — but the way I deal with that mainly is just to write, and feeling that I’m doing something creative really helps my mood.”
That said, “Let Me In” — the first song Springfield wrote for Rocket Science, which comes out Feb. 19 — was drawn from darker circumstances in his life. “I was having issues with my primary relationship, and it came out of that,” explains Springfield, who’s been married to wife Barbara since 1984. “The best songs come from a moment of truth for me, and that was an issue I was having a really tough time with, so it came from that. I’m very guilty of creating conflict to get the emotions stirred up and be able to write. There’s deeper stuff in conflict; That’s the only time you stop and think is when things aren’t going well. When things are going well you’re kind of full steam ahead, and I don’t really write much when I’m happy.”
Billboard is exclusively premiering “Let Me In” below, as well as Springfield performing an acoustic version of the track and a behind-the-scenes video about the song.
Fans will also notice a distinct country flavor to Rocket Science, Springfield’s 18th studio album overall. It’s evident in many of the song structures and melodies, as well as instrumentation that crops up throughout the album. “It’s not a country album; It’s a pop album, but it does have country influences that I love and have always loved,” says Springfield, who co-produced Rocket Science with longtime cohort and current Elton John bassist Matt Bissonette. “I’ve always loved the fiddle and the lap steel, the pedal steel, I love all the banjo picking with guitars. I did write a couple songs with some country guys (including Rascal Flatts‘ Jay DeMarcus on the track ‘Down’), but that’s where pop has gone. So we thought we’d just do an album with those influences present.” And Springfield also brought in Justin Niebank (Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Hunter Hayes, Kid Rock) to handle the mix. “They know how to put it in so the guitars are still the dominant instrument, ’cause I write everything on guitar pretty much,” he explains.
Springfield is spending some time in his native Australia before Rocket Science’s release, and the year’s touring gets underway Feb. 12-13 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Springfield recently wrapped a new independent film, Traces, after appearing in HBO’s True Detective last year, and he’s working on ideas for TV series as well.
The singer-songwriter-actor-author is also writing a sequel to his philosophical novel Magnificent Vibration, though he’s keeping the idea of adapting that for film at arm’s length right now. “It’d be a very expensive film,” Springfield notes. “It’s very wide-ranging. I think maybe when I finish the sequel, the two of the together might make an interesting movie. There’s a lot of stuff in it that I’m interested in and I’m sure a lot of people are — certainly the planet and God and what the fuck is it all about is a pretty big question.”