Try 1 month for $5

David Cassidy has been having one of those weeks.

You know: when life's annoying distractions get in the way of life's coveted joys.

Even so, he thinks he love us.

In fact, he knows he does.

Just wait and see, come Friday night, he says, when the "Partridge Family's" favorite son takes to the stage of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts for his first-ever solo show in Central Illinois.

Promised are "all the hits," from both Partridge era ("I Think I Love You," "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted," "I Woke Up in Love This Morning," "I'll Meet You Halfway," etc.) and post-Family solo era ("Cherish," "How Can I Be Sure," "Rock Me Baby," etc.).

"My fans have been so incredible and supportive over the years and around the world," he confides with a genuine tone of gratitude, especially lately, with "The Partridge Family" celebrating the 45th anniversary of its September 1970 premiere.

"I know this is gonna sound corny, but (pausing to choose his words to avoid sounding same) ...  my first love has always been to play music, and bring happiness to the audience. I love to make people smile and even cry."

Sometimes, though, he's too depleted by life's interruptions to gauge the exact degree of that love.

Like the week at hand.

"I've had WAAAY too much going on, and my day got away from me," he adds with a sudden spasm of energy, all the better to explain placing this interview on pause for 24 hours for the sake of recharging his batteries.  

He's just emerged, exhausted, he says, from a 3½-hour session with lawyers, bankers and such, bringing to a close the extended saga that has been grist for the tabloids in recent months: his divorce from his wife of 28 years; bankruptcy woes; foreclosure; and the divvying up of assets, including their lavish Fort Lauderdale, Fla., manse.

All that, and the several DUI arrests in recent years that have plagued him, too, from grim mug shots plastered all over creation to buckets of spilled ink spelling out the community service work assigned him — work, by the way, that his Facebook page (managed by others but fully sanctioned by its namesake) proudly embraces, complete with links to photos and stories of a cap-clad Cassidy handing out free sack lunches to kids in a local park program.

Apart from his by-proxy Facebook association, "I don't do social media of any kind. And I stay off the Internet, where anyone can go and say anything they want."

That's one way of not losing your focus, he adds.

"It's a lot harder to work when there are so many distractions," says the 65-year-old man who grew up in the fast track as a pedigreed child of show business.

He belongs to a Hollywood dynasty that includes a legendary step-mom (Oscar-winning singer-actress Shirley Jones), a "half-genius/half-freaking nuts" (his words) father (actor-singer Jack Cassidy), a trio of performing half-bothers (Shaun, Patrick, Ryan) and, for his own contribution to the seemingly fathomless Cassidy gene pool, an actress daughter Katie (of CW "Arrow" fame).

"Having a career and the distractions can suck a lot of energy out of you," David says. "But, now, it's kind of like a page is turning, right now, as we speak."

As we speak, he's being asked to dig in deep and recall the last time he passed our way, which was, "for crying out loud, 23 years ago!" (his initial response).

August of '92, to be precise.

Does he remember his rental car breaking down on I-74 near Champaign-Urbana, en route to his comeback gig opening for The Beach Boys at the Illinois State Fair?

Followed by a pit stop at a Bloomington radio station for a quick live interview, during which time he was subjected to the usual wince-inducing queries about screaming girl fans tearing off his clothes and life after Keith Partridge, which in 1992 already added up to nearly two decades, and was no longer the kind of thing he wanted to rehash for the nth time.

"No, I don't remember any of that," he confides, laughing at the mere thought that he could recall one car breakdown and one local radio interview 23 years ago from a life in which such incidents have been par for the weekly, if not daily, course.

"What I DO remember, though," he says with sudden enthusiasm, "is playing with the Beach Boys, who were the ones who got me back performing live for the first time since 1984. I hadn't toured since then."

He then spends several minutes extolling the respective brilliance of the Beach Boys members he called friends, from Brian Wilson ("a genius"), Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston.

"Brian is one of my oldest friends, and it was really fun working together, always kinda high ... on music, not drugs," he adds.  

Ironically, Cassidy says he's never crossed paths with any members of the true-life family pop group that inspired "The Partridge Family," The Cowsills, one of whose members, John Cowsill, years later joined the Beach Boys' touring band (in fact, he was on stage with them at the Boys' 2010 U.S. Cellular Coliseum show).

Sealing the Partridge-Cowsills connection: the same songwriter who penned Cowsills hits like "Indian Lake" penned the Partridges' lone No. 1 hit, "I Think I Love You."

"People ask me that all the time," says Cassidy. "But I don't think I've met any of them even once; by the time we came along, they'd peaked and were kind of out of it by then. "

Cassidy, midway through his 60s, still loves his music, but now that he's moved on from a messy divorce and financial woes, he's ready for a change.

"I have a beautiful new partner who I love very much, and who loves me, and I have a sense of a wonderful kind of freedom," he says. "And I think now I am going to be semi-retired and retreat from live performing, except maybe for one or two gigs a year."

Meaning Friday's show here in Bloomington could be a last chance?

"Let's see ... you said 1992 was the last time I was through here? And I'm 65 now?" 

He does the math, and laughs in a way that says, "yes, I think I love you ... but let's be practical."

Follow Dan Craft on Twitter: @pg_dcraft


Load comments