Rick Springfield still has the human touch

For many people, Rick Springfield is permanently frozen in ’80s music videos, a good-looking young buck in leather surrounded by brick walls, dramatic lighting and coifed with what may have been the most perfect mullet ever devised.

Springfield wants to let people know that time hasn’t stood still for him. He has a memoir that debuted at No. 13 on the New York Times Best Sellers list last year and went to paperback in July. He released his 14th and 15th albums in the last few years, “Venus in Overdrive,” and a children’s album, “My Precious Little One.”

He has an app.

Springfield plans to perform at the Eastside Cannery on Saturday, fresh off his fourth and last annual Rick Springfield & Friends Cruise in the Caribbean.

“The cruises were great, a really unique experience,” Springfield said. “We’re out there for five days, and we do stuff we wouldn’t normally do in a show. But we’re going to do something different next year.”

The cruise reunited him with his old band mates from Zoot, the group he performed with in Australia when he was 21. When the band split up, bass player Beeb Birtles went on to form The Little River Band, and singer Darryl Cotton became an Australian television actor. Springfield moved to America and became an actor and pop star.

“We haven’t performed together in 40 years,” Springfield said. “It was great fun being in that band when we were kids. I think that’s what brings these old guys together again time after time, trying to relive their youth.”

This will be a bit of a homecoming for Springfield, who spent time here in 2001 and 2002 playing the lead role in “EFX,” the big production show at the MGM Grand.

“I had a great time in Las Vegas,” Springfield said. “Every other town seems dull after playing Las Vegas for two years.”

Springfield’s American fame really began in 1981, when he had a major role in the soap opera “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake at the same time his hit album “Working Class Dog” was released. He has juggled a music and acting career off and on since. He most recently played a version of himself on the Showtime program “Californication” and is pondering his next role.

The next big film to feature Springfield is “An Affair of the Heart,” a documentary about his loyal fans. The film is in screening previews and is expected to come to the Las Vegas Valley soon.

“Vegas is definitely on our radar,” said the film’s executive producer, Melanie Lentz-Janney. “We plan to hit the film festival circuit the beginning of 2012 in search of distribution.”

The film interviews several Springfield fans who have seen him scores of times and proudly proclaim that it’s a thrill each time. It’s clear from the preview footage of the film that the fans’ love of Springfield is matched only by his love of the fans.

“The hardcore fans have a lot of energy,” Springfield said. “And they did a great job on the film. The director’s definitely got the goods.”

It may have been one of those fans who sent Springfield a link to a YouTube video of his latest bit of odd fame, Jonathan Coulton performing his new song “Je Suis Rick Springfield,” a song sung entirely in French that Coulton describes as being about a man trying to pick up two French girls in a bar by trying to convince them he’s Rick Springfield. The man may or may not be Springfield.

“Someone sent that to me. It’s bizarre,” Springfield said. “I don’t know what to think of it. It’s funny. I think his introduction is hilarious.”

To some extent, Springfield hasn’t changed that much, at least physically. He still looks much younger than his 61 years, and he hits the stage hard, performing hour-and-a-half to two-hour sold-out shows.

“It’s a pretty high-energy show,” Springfield said. “There’s not a lot of downtime, and I’m pretty shagged by the end of it.”

Springfield is set to perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Events Center in the Eastside Cannery, 5255 Boulder Highway. Tickets are $29.95 to $49.95. For more information, visit eastsidecannery.com. For information about “An Affair of the Heart,” visit rickspringfielddoc.com.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.

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