Rick Springfield knows what you used to think of him. “I was a one-dimensional soap-opera pretty boy,” he tells The Post, remembering his role on ’80s daytime staple “General Hospital.” “The guy that produced [Springfield’s 1981 Billboard No. 1] ‘Jessie’s Girl’ warned me not to do the show. He said I didn’t need it and it wouldn’t be good for me as a musician. He was right.”
But in recent years, Springfield’s credibility has been increased by prominent roles in trendier TV shows such as HBO’s “True Detective” and, soon, the CW’s “Supernatural.” His music career also got a boost from his appearance in Dave Grohl’s 2013 documentary “Sound City,” which exposed his work to a new generation.
The Post spoke to the 66-year-old Aussie rocker ahead of his show at the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk next Thursday.
Post: Do you regret any of the TV stuff you did in the ’70s and ’80s?
Rick Springfield: No, but so many scripts were crap, and the dialogue was sucky. I did shows like “Incredible Hulk” and “Six Million Dollar Man” and it was pretty cheesy writing. They were recycled stories, but these days it’s much different. The last three or four things I’ve done, the writing has been as good if not better than movies.
Post: Did you ever reconnect with the girl who inspired 'Jessie's Girl?'
Springfield: No, [she] moved away before I’d even recorded the song. It was in 1979 in Pasadena, and I’d hit a block with songwriting, and so I started taking a stained-glass class. That’s when I met this girl who was dating a friend of mine called Gary. [Springfield changed the name in the song from Gary to Jessie because it sounded better.] No one’s ever come up to me and said, “I’m the girl” or “I’m the guy in ‘Jessie’s Girl.’ ” I doubt they even know the song’s about them.
Post: Did a fan really sue you for giving her brain damage with your butt?
Springfield: Yeah. During my shows I go out to the audience, and this woman claimed I hit her with my butt [at a 2004 show] and sustained brain damage. She went through about five different lawyers until she found one who thought she had a case. It was really aggravating. I didn’t want to throw money at her to shut her up. They actually held up a picture of my butt in court as Exhibit A. I don’t know if she was after money or attention or what, but it took us two years to win the case. She even asked me for tickets to a show I was doing during the deposition!