Engine Co. No. 28, the historic downtown Los Angeles building that’s home to Los Angeles Magazine, celebrated its 110th birthday on July 24. Helping toast the landmark firehouse, which houses a restaurant of the same name, was Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician, and actor Rick Springfield, who brought along his Beach Bar Rum (a collaboration with Sammy Hagar) for attendees to sample as part of a special drink menu.
Greeted by an assortment of hors d’oeuvres — including plates of fresh hummus paired with pita chips, slider burgers, mac n’ cheese balls, and buffalo-dipped cauliflower — guests were treated to a Q&A with Springfield conducted by Los Angeles Editor-in-Chief Shirley Halperin. In the wide-ranging, energetic conversation, the Australian-American star talked about his latest album, Automatic (out Aug. 4), life in L.A., the rigors of the road, and the General Hospital character he played, Dr. Noah Drake.
“When I first came here from Australia, I lived in Hollywood,” Springfield reminisced. “I would write to people I hardly knew in Australia just so I could sign Hollywood, California on the return [address].”
He’s since found home — like many others who cast their eyes on the Golden State — in sunny Malibu.
“I was there in ‘74 when I had my first band; we rented a house opposite Bob Dylan,” Springfield continued. “It was a little country town and people were saying, ‘Why are you going out there?’ and I wish I bought out there then… it costs you $5 million but it’s a great place to live.”
Halperin also inquired about what life would be like if social media existed during Springfield’s heyday—in 1981 when “Jessie’s Girl” landed him a No. 1 hit on the Australian and U.S. charts.
“I pity the young people growing up with all that it’s really a devastating thing,” He said. “It’s always been a really difficult business and now there’s social media. … that is a whole other ballgame.”
Halperin clarified that she was referring to more so of the misdeeds of his youth — chronicled in exacting detail in his 2010 memoir Late, Late at Night, to which Springfield joked that he “probably would have been in prison.”
Speaking of his regiment for the road, Springfield revealed that he was temporarily pausing consumption of alcohol and working with a personal trainer to get in shape for the trek which commences Aug. 4. A little further down the line: his I Want My 80s tour featuring the Hooters, Paul Young and Tommy Tutone (on select dates), which heads to sheds and amphitheaters this summer.
Asked whether he feels he’s lost ownership of his GH character’s name now that the biggest pop star in the world is Drake, Springfield answered with a laugh that he’d disconnected some time ago.
Springfield saw massive success in the 1980s with the singles “Jessie’s Girl” (Springfield says he doesn’t tune down an octave in order to sing it live), “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Affair of the Heart” and “Human Touch.” He’s also an accomplished actor, having appeared in True Detective, Californication and American Horror Story, among other screen roles.
Engine Co. 28, which hosts Los Angeles Magazine’s “Firehouse Talks” series, served as an operating fire station from 1912 to 1967, when it was closed down. Engine Co, one of the first reinforced concrete fire stations in the city, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In the late ’80s, it was converted into a restaurant and has been serving classic American fare since.