It’s your boy, Thundercat
If you haven’t heard the track “Show You The Way” from Thundercat’s latest release “Drunk,” I suggest you stop reading this and listen it to it — there’s a link further down the the page. And not because I want you to “get” what this post is about, but because it’s the best song you’re going to hear in the first part of 2017. This is not “fake news” or “alternative facts” but rather a superlative — “Show You The Way” is a great track.
It’s a collaboration between bassist Stephen Bruner (Thundercat), who has played with the likes of Kamasi Washington and won a Grammy in 2015 for his duet “These Walls” with Kendrick Lamar, and the dynamic duo of Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald.
It’s a mid-tempo smooth R&B number that sounds like 2017 and the “yacht rock” or “smooth jazz pop” or whatever stupid label you want to put on the late 1970s-early 1980s music of Loggins, McDonald, George Benson or Steely Dan. Seriously — “Show You the Way” could have easily been a leftover track from “Aja.”
Loggins, “singer/songwriter and possible Faustian deal maker,” who will be at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on Friday, was gracious enough to talk with me, and once again from his car, about teaming up with Thundercat and McDonald.
Tell ’em how you feel Kenny — Kenny Loggins
“Your heart is struggling, baby
Trying to believe
That there might be something you just couldn't see
But what if I told you babe
It’s all so easy “
Since our last conversation, I’ve become obsessesed with “Show You the Way.” I love that song. How were you approached about recording with Thundercat?
Well actually, when he won his Grammy last year, he said in an interview that he would love to write with me and Mike McDonald. My son, Luke, who was 22 at the time, called me and said, “Dad, you have to write with Thundercat —he’s like the sh--.” Almost at the same time, my oldest boy Crosby, who’s 36, called me and said the same thing.
I went through the channels and called the manager and I ended up talking to Thundercat and we put it together. He drove up to Santa Barbara to meet Michael and I and we wrote a few things and “Show You the Way” was the best and he asked us to sing on it. So we just sort of went from there.
This song is blowing up and everyone is talking about it. Are you surprised with the response it’s getting?
Oh yeah, it’s very cool, I finally get to be cool to my kids again and it’s been a long time. It’s fun to see this cycle come around again and to see this sort of thing in the window. I appreciate it for what it is. I know it will last about an hour-and-a-half, but it’s fun to see it come around.
Is there any talk of you guys playing it live?
Yep. He asked us to join him on “Ellen” and “Jimmy Fallon.” I’m not sure exactly when it’s going to happen, but you haven’t missed it. It hasn’t happened yet.
So man, everyone wants to know — what was in your briefcase on “Archer?”
I wish I knew. The best guess is somebody’s soul, but I’m not sure whose. My next animated character will be on “Family Guy,” so that will be cool. I’ll be playing myself, but only for about 10 seconds.
What’s it like for you to be such a part of pop culture, from the “Yacht Rock” series to “Family Guy” references and the “Archer” gig — all of these things seem to have a deep affection for Kenny Loggins and his music.
I have to say it’s a good thing because I’m actually negotiating a record deal. We were talking about doing a completely different kind of record but when the Thundercat thing happened, they asked if I would be interested in working with young writers and making a duets record. I said, “Well, if you’re going to throw money at me, I will.”
As long as I can still sing, I want to keep writing and singing in the studio. I tried retiring years ago and I went crazy. I know I have to stay creatively active to keep my head together and that’s a good thing.