Rick Springfield was shooting a music video
excerpt “Drummer’s History” Russell Buddy Helm copyright 2013 all rights reserved
1978. Rick Springfield was shooting a music video, the production coordinator, Anna Rita, called me up, “You want to be in the video? We’ll pay you.”
Various vignettes were set up around the gigantic soundstage; a funky old bus, a classy cocktail party, some surrealistic pedestals for the rock chicks in leotards to pose on, and a couple of real nasty looking hogs.
“Who owns the hogs?” I asked as they made me up to look like a teddy boy; long black Carnaby coat with velvet collar. I had my red roots shoes on. They gave me a stingie brim black hat.
I walked over to the refreshments and saw a big ugly biker with greasy long blond hair. He was sitting on a folding chair sucking on a Bud and watching the hot rock chicks in leotards working out. He had some of the crudest prison tattoos on his large biceps I had ever seen. An illegal length buck knife hung from his Harley belt like a sword. I stood next to him in my teddy boy outfit.
“Nice tattoos…” I said. He sneered at me then went back to watching the girls. “Where’d you get them?”
“Q…” he muttered, referring to that resort in Oakland called San Quentin.
“Papa John worked for me.” I said with that smug attitude that I had somehow acquired.
He looked at me comtemptuously, “What did you say?”
“Papa John. He used to work for me. In Miami.”
“My partner rode with Papa John. Come with me.”
He stood up and towered over my skinny six foot two height, scuffled off in his biker boots across the sound stage, I followed.
His partner almost looked like Papa John, we got to talking and they turned out to be really nice guys. Turned out they met at San Quentin. The one who rode with Papa John was a guard and the other one with the buck knife had been inside. They decided to ride together when he got out. We laughed and had a cigarette. The director yelled, “Buddy! You’re on!”
I walked onto the set, in my teddy boy outfit, a nice looking girl appeared on my arm, and suddenly Rick comes charging up and runs into me. I ‘m still in the biker mode and almost punched him out. He dodged by me and jumped up into the old bus.
“Cut! That was great,…Buddy! That was perfect!”
Rick’s band was in the video. Jack, the drummer, blond, good looking guy, came up to me and shook my hand, “I really wanted that Tim Buckley gig. I auditioned twice for it but they said I couldn’t play like you so I didn’t get it. So I got this gig with Rick instead, and I’m glad. But the Buckley gig would have been so cool. They told me right to my face that I couldn’t cut it after they had played with you.”
The Rick Springfield video is on youtube.
I’m glad Jack got the gig with Rick, I don’t think I could have done it.