Saturday, April 13, 2013

Writers Don't Get Hazard Pay

This is a story I didn't tell publicly for a very long time, for reasons I expect are obvious.  But a lot of years have passed, and I don't think I've ever shared the story with anyone who didn't say it was "great" (or some variation thereof).  So...what the hell?  Here it is.  I think it shows Rick Springfield for the exceptional person he is, despite the fact that it begins with a head injury.

In the summer of 2000, I was already writing about Rick Springfield and had corresponded with him a bit by email, but I’d never met him in person. So, when he bounced a camera off my head and gave me a concussion at the Taste of Minnesota in July, he didn’t know who I was.

At that time, Springfield had a habit of taking a camera from someone in the crowd, photographing himself and tossing it back to her.  This had been working out for months and of course the audience loved it.  But at the Taste of Minnesota, there was a barrier about ten feet out from the stage. That meant that when Rick threw the camera back, it wasn’t the gentle toss we’d all become accustomed to. 

Someone reached up to catch it, the camera tipped off her hand and bounced…right into my forehead. Hard.  The corner caught me above the left eye and immediately my forehead started to swell.

Thus far, it may be difficult to see how this becomes another “Why I love Rick Springfield” moment, but here’s what happened next:

Rick saw the camera hit me and he dropped his guitar and jumped off stage. Remember the barrier that caused all this trouble in the first place?  He climbed over it and was standing in front of me in seconds.  After asking if I was all right and kissing my forehead, he dispatched someone nearby for ice. Then, he picked up my then-five-year-old daughter and hugged her, started to turn away and then stopped and said, “She feels hot.  Is she okay?” 

And then, while thousands of people waited patiently (yes, really) for him to get back on stage and finish the song, he waited for an answer.  It was only after I showed him that she had plenty of liquids that he turned away again.

To be totally honest, I don’t remember him kissing my head.  After all, I had a concussion!  I’ve heard about it from a lot of people, though—some of them said I was “lucky”.  I’m not going to go that far.  I was in a lot of pain and six hours from home, I had to cancel family portraits we had scheduled for the following week when my stepchildren were visiting, I couldn’t drive for a couple of weeks and my poor husband got dirty looks everywhere we went over the vibrant black eye I developed. 

I was, however, very impressed when, about 15 minutes after the show resumed, Rick walked to the part of the stage directly in front of us and asked the people standing near me whether I was really okay.  I even remember that part.


Debbie said...

I have your Rick book and love it. Are you from Minnesota or lived here at some point? I only rediscovered him in Nov. 2008 but I was at the Taste of MN. for that show and remember walking by the stage when he was on saying to my son "Ah, I remember Rick Springfield" and stopped for a moment. Then I was at the NAMM convention in California in 2007 and so was Rick. I unfortunately waited in line to meet a stuck up Nikki Sixx instead of Rick. But our paths finally crossed and I've been hooked ever since and I'm going on my 20+ some show this summer :-)

Maybe I'll see you at a show soon!

Tiffany Sanders said...

Sorry I didn't see this right away! I'm from Illinois; we took a six hour road trip for that show at Taste of Minnesota, in the very early days when I was working on the book. The picture on p. 74 of the book is my daughter and was taken at that show.

I'm glad you liked the book. Researching/writing it was an amazing experience, in large part because he's such a great person. I haven't been to a show in quite a while, but am definitely planning to be at Ribfest in Naperville in July--it was at Ribfest in July of 1999 where I saw Rick for the first time since the 80s and decided to write that book.

DFTBASarah said...

I'm only 19 but I'm a big Rick fan because my momma raised me right. :P I just went to a show friday night and we were directly in front of the stage (no barrier yay!). When he was going around getting people to sing Don't Talk to Strangers, he put the microphone out for me but at the same time stepped on my hand so I ended up yelling instead. XD I probably shouldn't have had my hand on the stage but I was bracing myself against the crazies that seemed determined to squish me in order to get to Rick.