Australian singer, actor Rick Springfield pens apocalyptic novel 

click to enlarge Rick Springfield
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  • Actor-musician Rick Springfield — who appears in the Bay Area this week — recently has added fiction writer to his résumé.
At 64, Australian-born Renaissance man Rick Springfield has done it all, starting with his early-1970s stint as a teen idol with the hit “Speak to the Sky” and the Saturday morning cartoon “Mission: Magic,” in which he transformed into a caped superhero (Quentin Tarantino once approached him, praising the show).

Later, he played Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera “General Hospital,” to which he recently returned, with the script attributing a 23-year absence to a Doctors Without Borders career.

And he’s still acting. Coming off a recurring role in “Californication,” he recently filmed a cameo for “Drop Dead Diva.”

Then there are his smash pop singles, such as 1982’s Grammy-winning “Jessie’s Girl.”

Springfield, who plays two Bay Area shows this week billed as “Stripped Down — An Intimate Solo Performance of Music and Storytelling,” also can claim another title: New York Times best-selling author.

In October 2010, his tell-all autobiography “Late, Late at Night: A Memoir” rose to No. 13 on the list, prompting his publishers to point him in another direction.

“They liked my voice from the autobiography and said, ‘You should be writing fiction,’” says Springfield, a lifelong bibliophile. “And in school, I’d always wanted to be a prose writer. The only thing I got good marks for were my essays.”

Instinctively understanding how a book should flow gave him the courage to tackle “Magnificent Vibration,” his first novel, which is slated for release in May.

He admits that having the discipline to complete the book was difficult. He says, “It was like anything. You get inspiration, but the hard work of nailing and finishing it is brutal.”

He describes the beginning: “I was on vacation in Australia, and I got up one time at 3 o’clock in the morning and thought, ‘If you don’t get up right now, walk to the computer and write Page One, then you’re never going to do it.’”

The plot started with a fun concept — a protagonist unearths an 800 number that’s a direct line to God — then spins off onto apocalyptic, environmentally concerned tangents, a la the singer’s dark 2012 album “Songs for the End of the World.”

He kept working on it — on planes, in hotel rooms and in one final burst at home while his family was away for five days. He’s already considering a sequel.

Springfield admits that red wine helped his creativity. He says, “I had to get a little buzzed to finish it. But I got so involved in the characters, I couldn’t wait to get back to it, just to see what would happen next. It was like reading a book — I was really sad to see it end, actually!”

IF YOU GO

Rick Springfield

Where: Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $99 to $175

Contact: (510) 238-9200, (415) 655-5600, www.yoshis.com

Note: Springfield also appears at 8 p.m. Thursday at Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., S.F.

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Tom Lanham

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