Richard Marx’s life these days sounds a bit like a line from Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” — “got a new wife, got a new life and the family’s fine.”
The lifelong Chicagoan now lives in Malibu, Calif., with model-fashion designer Daisy Fuentes, whom he married in December, a couple of years after his split with Cynthia Rhodes — mother to his three 20-something sons.
Marx, a king among hitmakers with a resume boasting pop smashes “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting” and a parade of songs written for and with other top names such as Keith Urban and Josh Groban, will perform Friday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre with his four-piece band. The Little River Band opens.
Last week, Marx, 52, checked in from California to talk about his “blessed” life and why he sticks to the hits onstage.
Q: Your show here is with the Little River Band. Are you doing other dates with them?
A: It’s just a one-off., I don’t really have a connection, but when Chastain booked the gig and they asked if I would be open to having them open, I said sure, it’s worth trying. In terms of packaging shows, it’s all one big experiment. (LRB) preceded my by a decade, but there was probably some radio overlap.
Q: Will you throw some of your newer material into the set or stick with the classics?
A: Very sparingly on the new stuff. I tell the audience, “I get it.” I know what they want. If I’m going to go see a band or artist who has been popular as opposed to one I follow because it’s a cult thing, that’s different. If I’m going to see an act that has been successful, I want to hear the hits and the good news is - I love playing every one of these songs. The truth is – and I say this with all humility - I worked really hard to write well-crafted songs that would hold up.
Q: Last time you were here you opened for Rod Stewart. That must have been a fun experience.
A: It was great. We’re not friends, but we met each other over the years. I think I’ve seen him in concert more than any other performer, not in terms of being an uber fan, but when an opportunity to see him live comes up, I go because the show is so much fun. We did a benefit show for a mutual friend who was fighting cancer about six years ago and we hung out a little, so when they called and said Rod wanted to know if you’d open for him, I said of course.
Q: Are you working with any other artists?
A: Not as much. I’m writing with a new group, The Blancos, a duo who reached out to me to write with them. Beyond that, there are things that come up that I think maybe from a business standpoint that would work, but it’s hard to get me to leave my house in Malibu. But to be honest, the people dominating the music industry right now don’t need my help. Every artist out there, pretty much, they have a team of people that make all of the music that we hear on the charts and the people who are great artists who are my peers, there’s also a lack of motivation because I think I could get together with Kenny Loggins and write the best song ever, but then what?
Q: You’re going to be on the finale of “Greatest Hits Live” (Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC). Have you watched the show?
A: I’ve seen clips of it, but the truth is – and I know this sounds like a joke - but Daisy and I have not watched an episode of TV since we met three years ago. We just do other things. We both went through a period where it was routine to have the TV on in the house and from the time we started dating, we didn’t go to movies, we would sit and talk for hours and hours.
Q: Wow, that actually IS hard to believe. What else do you guys do?
A: We do things. We’re involved with each other, not looking at a screen.
Q: You released a new single, “Last Thing I Wanted” via iTunes in May. Is that how you’re planning to release new music going forward?
A: I wish I could say I’m working on a new album, but I feel like what’s the point? Even if I were to do that, it would still be digested song by song, and I say that including myself. I can’t remember the last time I sat and listened to a whole album. We’ve all become so ADD - that’s just the way it’s become. I will keep putting out new music as it happens and hold no high expectations of it. For an artist like me or even 10 years younger than me, the chances of us getting through the way it used to be is so, so rare. I’m just glad that I got to experience that for 20 years, and that’s why I focus more on touring and other things creatively.
Q: The song seems to be a bit autobiographical. Apparently your new marriage is a good fit!
A: I’m very blessed. I’m really happy and grateful to be in a great relationship with an amazing, brilliant woman. It’s not lost on me that I get to pretty much do what I want to do every day. I work when I want to work, my kids are thriving, my pitbull rescues are thriving...it’s good.
Q: Daisy has a lot going on as well. How do you balance your careers?
A: It’s been pretty easy, and one thing that has been a plus is that with a lot of couples, they have a great relationship together but they don’t travel well. But she loves going on tour with me and when she has to go to New York for meetings or to Home Shopping Network, I love being the tagalong husband. I always find things to do, and so does Daisy. It’s been a pretty easy balance. We carve out really good quality time.
Q: You’re pretty vocal on Twitter about your feelings in this election. Any plans to do any formal campaigning?
A: I’m not a supporter of either. I sadly feel that this is the worst choice we’ve ever have. I think the political system has reached a point where I am so disgusted and disheartened. I don’t want to not vote, but it’s just painful. I don’t believe any of them, I think they’re all politicians. They’ve earned the reputation that they’ve all had. I’m just so disheartened. While I don’t believe Hillary or her administration will lead us where we need to be, I also can’t believe that Donald Trump is the nominee, that people have become so blind and Kool-Aid drinking that that’s they guy that they chose.
With Little River Band. 8 p.m. Aug. 5. $25-$85. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
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