Rick Springfield
Credit: Jordin Althaus/Showtime

Rick Springfield phoned us this week to chat about his upcoming four-episode guest arc on Showtime’s Californication. (The David Duchovny sex romp returns this Sunday at 10 p.m. ET; Springfield makes his grand entrance on Oct. 11, playing a twisted version of himself. We’ll tell you more in the issue of EW on-stands Oct. 2.) At the end of the call, he dropped the news that he’s currently shopping his autobiography. He sent the prologue and opening chapter around town last week. Though (hopefully) not as explosive as Mackenzie Phillips, Springfield assured us he’ll be “brutally honest about anything other than the things that will put me in prison.” Nice start! Asked for a sample anecdote, he gave us a pretty great one:

“Well, I went to Vietnam in 1969, with a band when I was 17 or 18, and we toured Vietnam for three months. I almost killed the band, blew us up with a hand grenade. And we basically lived off the good grace of the hookers there and bought dope off the little kids. I look back on that and I think, I’m lucky I’m not dead from it. The only way girls could make money back then was to be a prostitute. I was a young man, and we were all pretty cute, and they would give us freebies. I went home with this one, and I said, ‘Okay, I got to go back to the barracks now,’ because we stayed with all the soldiers in tents. It was pretty rough, it wasn’t like a USO tour at all. It was just this private guy that brought Australian bands over because we’re the closest occidental country to Vietnam. She threatened me, ‘She said, if you leave tonight I’ll kill you.’ So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll stay.’ [Laughs] You never knew who had an AK-47 under their bed in Vietnam back then….”

And here, we thought we’d just be reminiscing because 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Springfield’s film debut, 1984’s Hard to Hold. Looking back at that, Springfield admits he learned a valuable lesson. “You can only polish bad writing so much. I thought Eh, the writing’s okay, but I think I can nail this one. It’s got to start with great writing.” He also acknowledges that “playing a rock star might not have been the very best thing because people thought I wasn’t acting. I don’t think people quite understand that when you’re a musician and you play a musician, if you’re doing it right, you’re still playing a character. I mean, you don’t hire a doctor to play a doctor on TV, you hire an actor to play a doctor. The fact that I was also a musician didn’t really enter into it when it came to the scenes because the scenes weren’t something I would say.” (For the record, Rick Springfield will be acting on Californication.)

One other bit of news: The second annual Rick Springfield & Friends Cruise is set to sail on Nov. 12 from Miami. Roughly 1,200 fans came aboard for last year’s jaunt. This year’s trip to Cozumel will feature special guest Richard Marx, who will also play intimate concerts and share the stories behind his songs; the company of Springfield’s 88-year-old mother, Eileen; a free CD of Springfield’s hits re-recorded with reggae beats; and, fingers crossed, plenty of alcohol. “Last year, I had a few too many glasses of wine and wandered into the piano bar at 2 a.m. and started playing songs,” he says. “To see hundreds of people crowding into this little piano bar, it was hilarious.” Drunken adventures with fans, Chapter 2?

Photo credit: Jordin Althaus/Showtime

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