The "Jessie's Girl" singer talks about his new CD and "party animal" stage presence

By Marisa Laudadio
Updated August 10, 2008 07:05 AM
Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA

Eighties heartthrob Rick Springfield is back on the music scene with his highest charting album debut in more than 20 years.

Springfield’s 17th CD, Venus in Overdrive, came in at No. 28 on the Billboard charts this week. The Australian native, who found fame on General Hospital in 1980 and then followed withhis song hit “Jessie’s Girl” in 1981, has sold more than 19 million albums over his career.

“I haven’t been this excited about a new record since the ’80s,” Springfield tells PEOPLE. “I’m a loner in my private life, so the party animal only comes out on stage. That’s really my connection to people.”

Last year, the actor returned to General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake, as well as Drake’s alter-ego, a rocker named Eli Love. Springfield performed his new single, “What’s Victoria’s Secret?” in character on the popular daytime daytime drama last week (See video below).

Springfield, 58, still tours on the weekends and says he hasn’t grown weary of his ’80s hits. “I liken them to favorite children. You never get tired of trotting out your kids. When they do well at something, you’re really proud of it,” says the rocker, who lives in Malibu with his wife Barbara. (His son Liam, 23, is a budding musician and actor, and son Josh, 19, attends the University of Southern California).

With his original fan base growing older, Springfield’s thrilled that he’s developing a new audience. “There are a lot of people who were fans when they were little kids. They’ve grown up and are bringing their kids, and women are bringing their husbands,” he says.

But the women still make their presence known. Thanks to the new single (whose title was inspired by the Victoria’s Secret lingerie chain), “I’m seeing more underwear on stage,” says Springfield.

Rick Springfield as Eli Love on General Hospital