Kenny Loggins is just like the rest of us in that he doesn’t like traffic. During an interview with the Sun Herald from his car, the Santa Barbara resident is attempting to navigate the traffic of Los Angeles, which can be a daunting task for anyone.
“Jeff, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be driving in traffic while we talk,” Loggins said as he made his way toward West Hollywood. “I’m using Waze because at this time of day, Maps is useless — I try not to deal with LA traffic whenever possible, but at this time of day, things are crazy.”
But for someone who has had a long career that centers on taking chances — he’s done everything from folk, rock, jazz pop and country, as well as acting gigs on “Raising Hope” and “Archer” — Loggins is up for the challenge. He periodically stops our conversation to give location prompts to his GPS navigation system and you can feel the same frustration we all have when it comes to talking to artificial intelligence.
Loggins returns to Biloxi for an 8 p.m. Friday show at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, bringing a career that spans more than four decades with him, a career that has seen hits such as “This Is It,” “I’m Alright” and “Footloose,” just to name a few.
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“I think Waze says I’m ready to go — let’s see what happens,” he said.
The model of the groove for ‘Footloose’ was ‘Modern” Love’ by David Bowie. That was the groove I wanted because it always made me dance.
Q: You’ve had a long writing history with Michael McDonald — do you have a favorite song you’ve written with him?
A: It would be between “This Is It” and “What a Fool Believes.”
Q: You released your own version of the song on “Keep The Fire.” Are you a fan of the version Michael did with the Doobie Brothers?”
A: Absolutely. I have a funny story about that. When I heard his version, I knew we had a hit. But I went to Paris a few years ago to play my own gig. We were at sound check and the promoter comes up to me and says, “Are you going to play the hit?” I said, “Dude, I’ve never had a hit in Paris nor in France.” He said that I had a hit record there and I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said it was “What a Fool Believes” and I said, “No. I don’t think so, I think you’re talking about the Doobie Brothers.” He said, “No, you had the hit here with your live version.”
Mike and I did a live sort of “Al Green” version on the album “Outside: From the Redwoods” and it was apparently a hit in Paris.
So, we worked it up at sound check and performed it that night. I put it in the middle of the show, not realizing it was a huge hit. In the middle of the show, it gets a standing ovation and they remained standing from that point on.
Q: You’ve written with Jim Messina, the great David Foster, Peter Wolf, just to name a few. Do you enjoy collaborating with others on songs?
A: Very much so — when it works. The thing about collaboration is that doesn’t always work because sometimes you end up with less than either writer would write. But most of the time, I consider myself a pretty good collaborator. And most of the time, you end up with something better than what either of you would have done — that’s the goal of a good collaboration.
I would like to collaborate with James Taylor, but I know that’s not really his thing.
Let me check and make sure I’m going the right direction — OK, apparently I am. The first right or left you make is the most important one of the trip.
I flew all the way to Hawaii one time to write with Todd Rundgren and he had warned me that he wasn’t much of a collaborator and he was right. We spent all day together and he never once sat down at the piano to try and collaborate. But we had a great time. We got nothing from it except that it was a great trip to Hawaii.
Q: Tell me about “Footloose.” Was that an idea you had or was it something you brought to fruition for the film?
A: Dean Pitchford, who wrote the screenplay, asked me to read the screenplay and I said I would. Now, remember, in those days, I was living in LA and the cab drivers had screenplays they were writing. Wait — people drive so weird in this town.
I read it and it was pretty good, so we wrote a couple of songs together for the screenplay. One of them was for the barroom scene where they go out of town dancing for the first time. We wrote “Footloose” for that scene and I had no idea it was going to be in the opening and closing pieces of the movie. I’m forever grateful for that. We also wrote “Heaven Help the Man,” which was used in a montage scene.
It was all with Dean Pitchford. I had a little bit of the medley I had started. I told him I had one up-tempo thing I would like to work with him on.
I didn’t think it would ever work because it was so from left field because at that time I was doing almost smooth jazz with people like David Sanborn. This was a rock thing.
Q: How did it come together in the studio with what has become a signature rhythm track?
A: We just sort of developed it in the studio. (Drummer) Tris (Imboden) and I sort of had a shorthand when we were working together by then.
The model of the groove was “Modern” Love” by David Bowie. That was the groove I wanted because it always made me dance. We expanded on that groove by expanding from a two-bar phrase to a four-bar phrase. But that won’t interest your readers. I have a great “Danger Zone” story, if you want.
I wasn’t supposed to be the singer on that song. I always thought it was supposed to be Toto, but I found out from Steve Lukather that it was supposed to be Jefferson Starship with Mickey Thomas. They almost landed the deal but the lawyers couldn’t agree.
I got a call at the last minute, I was in the studio recording with Peter Wolf — “Giorgio (Moroder) wants to know if you can come in the studio and work on this tune with him.” I jumped at the chance to collaborate with Giorgio and I added some lyrics and melody and the next day, I recorded it.
It was all because they were out of time and they needed someone to sing it. I just happened to be down the street. You talk about amazing luck.
Q: You have so many songs that mean different things to different people — for me, it’s “Danny’s Song” because we had a miscarriage and then we found out we were having our son, Charlie. What’s the song for which you receive the most feedback?
A: Well, thanks for saying that. I appreciate that.
“House at Pooh Corner.” It’s been the one that people tell me they sing to their children and fathers tell me it was their first dance with their daughters at their weddings. It’s a really sweet song. I’ve had people tell me that it helped with premature babies and autistic children. It’s the one song that I hear the most about.