If not for his fans, Rick Springfield would be 'bagging groceries'
Published Monday, April 30, 2012 10:45AM EDT
The world has seen many 1980s pop stars and their mullet hair styles fade into oblivion. Rick Springfield knows that he could have befallen that fate if it weren't for his fans.
"I always wanted to have a long career. If it wasn't for them, I'd be bagging groceries somewhere," Springfield said on Monday in an exclusive interview with CTV's Canada AM.
That relationship between the "Jessie's Girl" singer and his diehard following is the subject of the new documentary, "An Affair of the Heart: The Journey of Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans."
Directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Sylvia Caminer, "An Affair of the Heart" was screened on Sunday at Toronto's Bloor Hot Docs Cinema as part of the 2012 Hot Docs Festival.
Filmed in 2010 with the participation of Springfield, director Sylvia Caminer takes a quirky look back at the singer who first found fame in 1981 with the release of "Jessie's Girl."
That tune about a man in love with his best friend's girl turned the Aussie-born Springfield into an international heartthrob and a Grammy winner in 1982.
That success also led Springfield to acting and the role of hospital hunk Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime soap opera "General Hospital. Springfield starred in the role from 1981 to 1983 and 2005 to 2008.
Springfield's meteoric rise took its toll, however, on the singer's life and health.
In 1985, Springfield took a break from his career to deal with depression. Springfield had battled this disease since his adolescence, when career troubles and his father's ailing health in the 1970s caused the singer to contemplate suicide.
Those career highs and lows are clearly reflected in "An Affair of the Heart."
"In the 80s, wow, it was completely different," said Springfield.
"I thought they all loved me because I was so great. That was part of my breakdown," he said.
Yet Caminer makes the fans, not Springfield, the ultimate star of this documentary.
Through a handful of shared personal tales, moviegoers learn about the lasting bond fans felt over the years with the 62-year-old singer.
More than 1,000 people wrote in to share their stories with Caminer before she cast for this documentary.
Those numbers, as well as the emotional depth and significance of these tales, shocked the filmmaker.
"I knew there was some depth there, but I didn't expect it to go so deep," Caminer told Canada AM.
Indeed, in one moving account audiences learn about a female minister who overcame a sexual assault by listening to Springfield's music.
"It was horrible what happened to her," said Springfield.
"Stuff happens to us. But I think music is the great healer," he said.
Caminer's film also shatters one great myth about Springfield's allure. Men listen to Springfield's music.
During a recent screening in Sweden, Caminer noted that the theatre was comprised mostly of male moviegoers.
The filmmaker was thrilled at the sight of so many men in the audience.
Springfield, however, is not surprised.
"Lost of guys grew up listening to my music," said Springfield.
That they did, "through their sister's bedroom wall," he said.