Rick Springfield: Shattered glass, $3 salad bowls and David Fincher

With this month’s release of Rick Springfield’s autobiography “Late, Late at Night”, we hear about his “General Hospital” years and hitmaking music career, his fights with depression and sex addiction, and that the Jessie in “Jessie’s Girl” is spelled with an “i” because Rick had a jersey with NFL wide receiver Ron Jessie’s name on it. In this excerpt, Rick touches on some of his more memorable experiences making music videos in the Golden Age, including working with a young music video director named David Fincher:

RCA gives me $1500 to shoot two videos. For what purpose, I don’t know. I write up a script and storyboard the “Jessie’s Girl” video but leave the “I’ve Done Everything For You” video to the cameraman/director Mark Stinson. We shoot everything in 3 days. It’s guerilla video-filming at its finest.

At 3:00 AM, we are shooting the opening scenes to “Jessie’s Girl” in a Hollywood alleyway with the song blasting through portable speakers when someone yells the cops are coming. We toss our gear into the van and tear off into the night. It’s so fucking cool. Our big expense in special effects is the 24 bathroom mirrors I break in the middle section of the song. No one, including myself at this point, understands my reasoning for smashing the mirror in a bathroom setting. They certainly don’t know about my adolescent years spent staring into that depressing thing. And that it’s precisely there, where the Darkness lives and breathes. Looking at the video now, there’s a lot of real pain on my face in that scene as I splinter the mirrors with the headstock of my guitar.

I meet an arty young guy from San Francisco named David Fincher who wants to direct my next music video. He will later become a very successful Hollywood director of hits like Fight Club, Se7en, and Panic Room [and the current hit The Social Network] but right now he’s a skinny, pasty-faced kid who looks like he’s seventeen. David says he has an idea for a sci-fi themed video for my new single “Bop Til You Drop”. He adds that he is in possession of a fine, $3 plastic bowl which, when inverted an painted gray, will look like a multimillion dollar space dome. He has some other pretty outrageous ideas, and I’m encouraged.

[Also, I spoke with Joe Dea, director of Greg Kihn’s “Jeopardy” music video, who was onset for the “Bop Til You Drop” shoot in San Francisco, wanting to check ou this guy David Fincher who had somehow gotten a gigantic budget for his first music video. “I was there, on the set. Just heard it was happening, I had a friend on the production, and I wanted to see what this guy would been doing. I’d heard about him, that he’d been working with Industrial Light and Magic, and he was virtually unknown, plus he was the competition, and it was a big budget thing. It was huge!”]

…when I see what he shoots and edits for the videos of my singles from Tao – “Celebrate Youth,” “State of the Heart,” and “Dance This World Away” [reportedly Rick’s favorite of all his videos] as well as “Bop Til You Drop” – I am absolutely floored. They’re still the only videos of mine I can sit through, aside from the original one from “Jessie’s Girl,” which will always have a cheesy/cool appeal for me. David then shoots my next concert video, The Beat of a Live Drum [see Entertainment Tonight story below on “The Tao of Rick Springfield”], and again does stuff no one else is doing with music videos.

Credit note: Springfield’s other notable videos were directed by the late Doug Dowdle (“Souls,” “Affair of the Heart,” “Human Touch,” and his Hard to Hold soundtrack hit “Love Somebody”), and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Don’t Talk To Strangers” were directed by the amazing Paul Justman, brother to J. Geils Band member Seth Justman and director of the documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”


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