Gary James' Interview With
Kenny Loggins




The songs this man has written! We're talking "Danny's Song", "A Love Song", "Whenever I Call You Friend" (co-written with Melissa Manchester), "What A Fool Believes" (co-written with Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers) and "This Is It" (co-written with Michael McDonald). We are talking of course about Kenny Loggins.

Q - I've been trying to get an interview with you for thirty-six years now, since 1978.

A - (laughs) Oh, my God. I believe you're persistent.

Q - I remember CBS Records telling me "Kenny Loggins doesn't give interviews. He's too shy." I'm glad you got over your shyness!

A - (laughs) I think that was a lie. I've never been too shy to give an interview. I've given a zillion interviews in thirty-six years.

Q - Back in June (2014) you were doing these Prom Shows. How did that come about? Was that your idea?

A - No. That was offered to me by the promoters of Night Of The Proms. It's a European organization based in Belgium. The people in charge co-produced with some American promoters to try and bring the concept to the United States. I think they are actually bringing Night Of The Proms this summer for like a three month run. I'm not sure who's in it.

Q - Were you friends with some of the people who were on the bill? Did you know The Pointer Sisters and John Miles and Nile Rodgers?

A - I didn't know Nile Rodgers or John Miles. I did know Michael McDonald of course. Michael and I have worked together for years. We sang a couple of songs together during the Prom shows. And The Pointer Sisters I recorded with years ago when they were the actual Pointer Sisters. Now I think it's just Ruthie and her daughter I think and one other.

Q - One of The Pointer Sisters passed away if I'm not mistaken.*

A - Yeah.

Q - You're also part of The Blue Sky Riders band, which is on your own record label?

A - It was originally. We started a record label to release "Finally Home". I think we're going to copy to a label services deal for the new album. We've had some interest from plenty of them. There may be a possibility of having that go somewhere.

Q - So, you're the only artist on the label?

A - No. It'll remain an independent entity unless they want to negotiate for it. "Finally Home" will be it's own thing. We're coming out with a second record sometime during 2015.

Q - I haven't heard any of Blue Sky Riders' music. I'm assuming it's more Country oriented, is it?

A - It's not full-out Country, but it's Country / Rock. More akin to the Loggins And Messina era.

Q - Country music doesn't even sound like Country music anymore. It sounds like Rock 'n' Roll.

A - Yeah, it sounds like '70s, '80s. It's modeled sonically I think after The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.

Q - When did you write your first song and did it come easy for you?

A - First song I wrote was as a Junior in high school and it came surprisingly easily. I was inspired by Bob Dylan called "Blowin' In The Wind". I heard that he had an album called "Bringin' It All Back Home", but there was no song on the album called "Bringin' It All Back Home", so I wrote a song called "Bringin' It All Back Home" in a very much a Dylan kind of vibe to it. That's why I started.

Q - When you were writing "Danny's Song" or "A Love Song", would that have been easier than writing "Whenever I Call You Friend"?

A - Well, yeah, chordally, melodically, musically, "Danny's Song" or "A Love Song" were much simpler songs. "Friend" was during a period when I was working with Michael McDonald. I made that melody up a cappella and then Melissa Manchester and I sat down at her piano and flushed out what the chords were, based on what I was hearing in my head.

Q - You worked for a time as a song writer for Wingate Music. What songs did you write for them?

A - They own the publishing on most prominently "House At Pooh Corner". That was one of the first songs I took to them. "Yukon Railroad" was a song Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded. Maybe they might have "Vahavala" from the first Loggins And Messina record. I think they have that, probably most of my material from my first Loggins And Messina (album). I withheld "Danny's Song" from my publishing deal 'cause I knew that was a winner. So I kept the publishing on that.

Q - When you wrote for Wingate, did you approach it as a job? Did you go in at a certain time of the day? Could you turn it on and off?

A - No, no. I've never approached my writing as a discipline as some of the greats. I know Jimmy Webb has an office and goes in every day, but I've never approached it that way. Some of the writers I'm with did. I just didn't need to do it that way.

Q - So, where did the inspiration come from for a song? Something you saw on TV? Read in a newspaper? Heard somebody say on the street?

A - It comes from everywhere. It can be something in a conversation. Sometimes it just comes out of the blue when you're writing fresh. Just sit down and write something and see what comes out of your psyche, relationships and friends. The song "Now And Then" was inspired by something a friend of mine was going through. As a writer, you become an observer of human nature for ideas and songs. If you're a writer of books, ideas come from that.

Q - What do you remember from doing that song, "We Are The World"?

A - I didn't realize it was going to be as big a deal as it was. I was flattered that Michael (Jackson) had invited me. I'd known Quincy Jones for a few years and been friendly with him. I was honored that I got to be on the front lines there and sing a solo line. It was fun and we could all tell that history was being made as it was happening. My favorite line in that was when Paul Simon looked up and said, "If a bomb lands on this room, John Denver is back on top."

Q - There were a lot of famous singers in that room!

A - Yeah.

Q - Do people ever ask if you and Jim Messina will get back together?

A - It doesn't happen so much anymore. We did have two reunion concerts in '05 and '09 and they went well. Tours actually. It's possible, health willing, that we could do it again, but there's no talk this moment about it. Blue Sky Riders has taken up a lot of my time and I'm going to take a year off.

Q - I'm just curious. Did your mother dance and your father rock 'n' roll?

A - Nope. Neither. (laughs)

*
June Pointer, the youngest of the four Pointer Sisters, died of cancer at the age of 52 on April 11th, 2006.

Official Website: www.KennyLoggins.com



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Kenny Loggins


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