A Conversation with Kenny Loggins
HULICK: What made you guys decide to do another tour?
LOGGINS: We had toured in 2005 and once we did that tour and it went so well… great audience response and Jimmy and I got along really well, we thought when the time was right we’d give it another shot. Really, the most important thing was how we would relate to each other and how it would feel.
HULICK: You are about two weeks into the tour. How’s it going?
LOGGINS: Really well. We’ve had sold out houses in most of the places we’re going. We’re getting enthusiastic response and it’s been fun.
HULICK: What song gets the biggest audience reaction?
LOGGINS: I would say “You Need a Man”…it’s one of Jimmy’s. Then “Angry Eyes” gets a good response. There are a number of tunes that get a very strong response…“Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner.”
HULICK: Let’s talk about the very exciting solo project you have coming out, an album of up-tempo music for the whole family called “All Join In.” Do you have a tentative release date yet?
LOGGINS: We don’t have a tentative release date; they’re still working on set up. We were going to release it in July but we wanted to do some shows like “Rachael Ray,” but they don’t tape in June and July. So we thought about pushing it back to a Christmas release to be able to get a couple of the shows like “Rachael Ray,” “The View,” which would make it a much better set up. In the meantime we’re working on Internet stuff…a lot of parenting blogs, mommy blogs and daddy blogs, anything we can to get the word out. Plus we’re selling the record on the road. I’ve marked it down to nine dollars to give the grandparents the incentive to buy for their children who are having children.
HULICK: That’s a great idea! I’ve listened to some of the tracks and it’s a terrific album. I especially like “You Can All Join In.” I read that all five of your children collaborated on the album.
LOGGINS: Thank you, I’m glad you like it. Yes, all five of them showed up. I have a 16-year-old baseball player who did it kind of like “O...KAY” (laughs). Then my 27-year-old was just being very sweet coming along for the ride because he doesn’t think of himself as a singer (laughs). There’s comedy voices on “Moose ‘n Me” and some laughing and just goofing off and it fit in perfectly. I think right now that adults hear the record and they like it but they’re not sure their children will because it’s not childish enough. But I think it’s very lighthearted with children’s voices all over it. My daughter Hana’s all over it. She sings lead on three of the songs and she and her friends are my children’s choir. They were totally thrilled to be a part of it and every time we turned on the recording machine they were giggling and laughing and playing games. We got it all on tape and we used a lot of it.
HULICK: Two of the songs you wrote 30 years ago, “Moose ’n Me” and “Long Tailed Cat.” You were just saying the parents weren’t sure it was childish enough for kids, but I would think “Moose ’n Me,” in particular, would draw a small child in right away, being about a dog…your dog from long ago.
LOGGINS: Yes, and it surprisingly draws adults in. The GM of Disney, in the music division, loves that song. That’s his favorite song on the album. I thought of it more as a kid’s song and that’s why I never recorded it with Loggins & Messina. So I finished it up and what surprised me was…in writing the last verse (chuckles)…I kind of killed him off (chuckles). And I thought, “Oh! I didn’t want to kill him off, I just wanted to write a nice little song about a boy and his dog,” and instead it’s a song about meeting him in heaven.
HULICK: You, of course, have had great success with two previous albums of lullabies for children, 1994’s “Return To Pooh Corner” and 2000’s “More Songs From Pooh’s Corner.” What made you decide to go into children’s music?
LOGGINS: Originally I had the idea of writing a new third verse to “House at Pooh Corner.” My wife at the time, Julia, was pregnant with Luke and I wrote this third verse from the point of view of not being a dad for a while and having a completely different perspective on whether or not you actually do leave your childhood behind. Once I wrote it I thought that this is the beginning of a record. And I was in charge of putting the kids to bed and I would sing songs to them as I rocked them to sleep and gradually over the years I got what we call today a “play list” of tried and true songs. So I thought someone should make an album for children that the parents would love just as much because I noticed that very little of my kids’ music was anything I could stand. Then I thought…I’ve got the list, maybe it’s something I should do myself.
HULICK: You actually took some flak for going toward children’s music.
LOGGINS: Well yeah…you know in those days it was a very big deal to lose your rock credibility. Nowadays a whole lot of acts are jumping on the bandwagon.
HULICK: And “Return to Pooh Corner” is still a top selling album.
LOGGINS: Yeah, I think that’s what happens when you get to a place that’s “word of mouth.” You get an “ever-green audience.” The president of Disney Records, David Agnew, was a big fan of “Pooh Corner” and raised his kids with that album. Sixteen years later he calls me and says he wants another album just like that one only make it up-tempo, and that’s how I got started on this new album.
HULICK: You and your music have ties to almost anything in the industry…the 1970s with Messina, soundtracks to some of the most popular movies, lullabies, holiday music, Disney and now building a connection between older children and parents. It’s like you are an old friend who shows up and shares life with you. Does that hit you? Do you have a sense that you are part of all that?
LOGGINS: I think I’m a lucky sort of by-product of following my own heart, doing the stuff that draws me in.
HULICK: I want to ask you a couple more questions about Loggins & Messina before you go. Who’s changed the most over the years?
LOGGINS: (laughs) Visually or personally?
HULICK: (laughs) Both.
LOGGINS: (laughs) Well I’m not going to touch one of those (laughs). I would have to say we’ve both changed a lot and the biggest change is that we’ve begun to accept each other for who we are, warts and all. And that’s the biggest factor in being able to get along. We see each other’s strengths, we see each other’s weaknesses…and when you can really forgive someone for their weaknesses, accept that that’s how you perceive it. You know, I read a book about the Beatles and how John Lennon always hated Paul McCartney’s material, and it dawned on me that it’s because of their professional jealousy, that when you have that you can’t see what the other guy is bringing to the table. So we diminish that and criticize that. It’s partly our own insecurity… we don’t feel secure enough to let there be two kings in the castle. So I like to think that over time Jimmy and I have mellowed, we’ve grown up a little bit, we’re more willing to help each other and accept each other, and that’s what’s making it work.
HULICK: Well originally you two were brought together kind of unconventionally, by public demand from the success of your 1971 album “Sittin’ In,” rather than how most acts come together, based solely on their own vision. Do you think that contributed to the complexities of your relationship?
LOGGINS: Absolutely! And also because I came to Jimmy looking for a producer, so the relationship was unequal from the beginning. How can you have a partnership that’s unequal?
HULICK: You can’t.
LOGGINS: And it goes on and on and on like that. Now 30 years later we’re partners now; we have to think in terms of partners.
HULICK: It seems from everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve read, along with the reviews of the show, that this partnership is now on equal ground and that you guys are really enjoying being together on the road, being friends and just letting the music flow out and having a good time.
LOGGINS: You said it. That’s pretty much the truth.