Kenny Loggins ready to head back into danger zone


Kenny Loggins has been a household name for the majority of his long-running career. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist started off by selling millions of records as part of folk duo Loggins & Messina. In the decades since, he’s sold millions more as a pop star on his own.

The two-time Grammy winner also reached the top spot on Billboard’s Top 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, sang as part of USA for AFRICA’s We Are The World, logged a dozen platinum albums, and authored a handful of books.

Yet, it’s likely he will be most remembered as his one-time nickname, “King of the Movie Soundtrack.”

From Top Gun to The Tigger Movie (and everything in between), the popularity of Loggins’ musical contributions on celluloid is unmatched. And with the Tom Cruise-produced Top Gun 2 in the works, it’s likely Loggins won’t be getting a new nickname anytime soon.

Even his latest book, 2016’s Footloose, is a tale for children based on the performer’s hit soundtrack song.

And while the veteran artist isn’t afraid of branching out — recently appearing on Grammy-winner/Kendrick Lamar-collaborator/bassist Thundercat’s 2017 Drunk album, as well as a few episodes of Family Guy — he still feels most comfortable on stage, where he will be on July 6 at Pala Casino.

PACIFIC recently caught up with Loggins by phone before a show in Park City, Utah.

PACIFIC: How’s it going?

KENNY LOGGINS: Good, good. Not really on a crazy touring schedule, but still doing 20-plus shows a year. I like to stay creative and, you know, “keep the pipes working.”

First it was a Broadway play, but now Footloose is a children’s book?!

Yes! (Publisher) Quarto is into it. They want to re-release it this year. It did well enough to keep kicking at it (laughs).

That’s crazy, right? Children whose parents and grandparents loved that song are enjoying it in a whole new way. Circle of life stuff.

Big time. But you don’t think about any of that when you are however old I was when it first came out. At the most — you might be thinking of starting a family of your own. Being a grandfather was a million miles away. But I have one granddaughter now and I’m really enjoying it.

And I just wrote a new last verse to (1971 hit) Danny’s Song because it is really about that — that circle of life. I wrote a verse about seeing the child in my son’s eyes. So now you kind of get the idea of the character now being a father himself.

Footloose articulated into a children’s book — probably not something that was part of the original plan.

I hadn’t really thought of it until Charlie Nurnberg, who was working with Quarto at the time, came to me. He and I had done a Frosty The Snowman book with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. He came to me and said, “What do you think of making Footloose into a children’s book?” But the only thing he really envisioned was a lot of animals in it. So I just took that and ran with it!

Ironically, you’re also right there in the pop culture mix again — doing things that your grown children can appreciate.

It’s kind of trippy how that goes. Two of my kids, Crosby and Luke, both called me when they heard Thundercat naming Michael (McDonald) and I as people he wanted to write with.

And honestly, up until that point, I had never heard of Thundercat. But I’ve gotten to know him, write with him, and he’s really a cool guy.

The other thing they loved was when they animated me into one of the (FX sitcom) Archer episodes. It was hilarious. And now I’ve been on Family Guy a couple of times —all things I’d love to do again. It’s really fun. I like the voiceover thing a lot.

Another entry in the cultural lexicon you’ve essentially been a part of since Caddyshack. Amazing to be able to do that decade after decade.

Really, I think a lot of it is luck. It’s just about being in the right place at the right time. The rest of it — I don’t know how to explain it. Some artists just keep hanging out. And I think I’ve been lucky that way.

And that luck is likely to continue. Top Gun 2 is less than a year away.

Yeah, they’re filming in San Diego! I haven’t heard anything back from them yet, but all of the previews I’ve seen online have Danger Zone in the background. It’s hard to imagine the movie without it, but we’ll see what happens.

For me, it’s all about staying active and keeping the creative juices flowing. I actually haven’t given it that much thought, just have to wait and see how it develops. But I’m looking forward to it either way.

I recently met Tom Cruise on (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy) Fallon. All these years, I had never met him. Knowing that he was producing the new movie I asked him about it, and I’ve got him in my corner.

Writing good songs probably also helps.

Well, I think you’re right. But I was lucky that the movies I hooked in with are cult classics now. It was the early-era of National Lampoon with Caddyshack, which also connected to Saturday Night Live. So you had Bill Murray and Chevy Chase.

Then you have early Tom Cruise with Top Gun. That was only his second big hit after Risky Business. And then, of course, you have early Kevin Bacon with Footloose — all of them heavily rented movies, even to this day.

Still, most are lucky to have one of those. You’ve had a handful.

I have to say that I’ve actually done nothing to make that happen. I don’t have a publicist out there who’s beating the brush trying to get me in the next hot TV show. Part of my luck has just been being part of that zeitgeist. You hook into that, and the next thing you know you’re flowing through people’s awareness.

Kenny Loggins

When: 8 p.m. July 6

Where: Pala Casino, 11154 CA-76, Pala.

Cost: $59-$79