Rick Springfield and Richard Marx have a lot more in common than admirable hair and the same first name.
Between them, they’ve landed on the charts more than two dozen times with ubiquitous radio fare (“Jessie’s Girl,” “Love Somebody,” “Affair of the Heart,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” among Springfield’s list and “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting” and “Hazard” a smattering of Marx’s output).
About a year ago, the pair started playing a handful of acoustic shows together — they open together, each perform their respective set and then close together — and the result has been a lot of swooning female fans.
They’re bringing their shared show to Atlanta for the first time on Tuesday
Marx checked in last week from his home in Malibu to talk about working with Springfield, his new show on SiriusXM and one of his songwriting idols.
On how the two Richards got together:
“I’m always looking for a good package bill. It’s a little tricky with solo artists, but it’s worked out well. Rick started out a few years before me, so we have a good cross section of fans. My direct fans love him and vice versa. In terms of business, 1+1 = 3. Everyone is going to go away with tons of hits. He and I have been friends for 30 years. I actually don’t remember how (the tour) happened. We both live in Malibu and we would run into each other and say we should hook up sometimes and someone, I think one of our managers, picked up that ball, and when it was presented to both of us, we both went wow, let’s try it. The worst that could happen is that it won’t work. But it’s been great.”
On the format of the concert:
“Billy (Joel) and Elton (John) are the benchmark. You couldn’t pick a better pairing, and it was great to hear Billy sing Elton songs and vice versa (when they toured together). We do ‘Love Somebody’ together and Rick sings the first verse and chorus and when I start to sing the second verse, the crowd goes crazy, just like when Rick starts to sing the second verse of ‘Don’t Mean Nothing,’ the same thing happens.”
On his new show on SiriusXM’s “The Blend” channel:
“A gentleman there called me up and said, ‘I’d like to see how much more involved you could be with our company and we would love to have you host a program for us.’ One of their producers came up with a concept of a theme show and we call it ‘7 at 7.’ It takes no time to do and it’s fun. I just recorded a show all around the music produced by Mutt Lange. There’s at least one song Mutt produced that everybody loves. Or we’ll do songs about cars or driving. We’re doing another show with seven songs that feature well-known people singing background vocals. It’s just another way to be present on the radio.”
On his recent residency in Las Vegas:
“I was entertained during it, and we might do it again. Every night, the audiences were incredible. I thought there would be some element of, ‘Cher’s show is sold out so let’s go see Richard Marx,’ but every crowd was great. The crew, the technical aspects of it were great, too, but being in one place that long, it’s the antithesis of what I love about touring. I’m not someone who bitches about the grind of touring.”
On a recent writing session with the legendary Burt Bacharach:
“I started a couple of songs with him. We’re going to spend some time together over the next couple of months. It was so inspiring to see how into writing he still is. I’ve admired him forever; he’s a national treasure. I worked with him 30 years ago on one session — he hired me as a background singer on a record he was producing when I was doing session work. I ran into him maybe one time after that and hadn’t seen him since. He remembered all of it. He’s just the greatest guy. We just sat at the piano for a couple of hours and worked on some songs. I asked him, ‘What motivates you to write at this point?’ and he said, ‘When I’m writing, I can take my mind off all the craziness in the world right now.‘ To me it’s about, if you’re going to spend time each day, why not spend time making something beautiful? Writing used to be my safe haven, but the past few years, it’s been replaced by being outside and hiking and spending time with my wife and our dogs and doing things that are constructive to our health.”
Richard Marx and Rick Springfield
7:30 p.m. Tuesday. $39.50-$109.50. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.