On Monday night’s episode (March 3), ARCHER fans are in for a fantastic night! Iconic musician Kenny Loggins will be making his animated way into the Danger Zone and singing said Zone song with none other than Cherlene. The song will also be available on digital platform March 3rd with the release of an ARCHER 12-track album titled CHERLENE.
Kenny Loggins’ career began after graduating high school forming his own band ‘Second Helping’ and through a series of song and gigs he met Jim Messina forming the duo Loggins and Messina.
In 1977, Loggins released his first solo album ‘Celebrate Me Home’ followed by the 1979 album “Keep the Fire’. He also collaborated on songs with other popular artists such as Melissa Manchester and Michael McDonald. Loggins also began working on epic soundtracks including CADDYSHACK “I’m Alright”, FOOTLOOSE “Footloose” and OVER THE TOP “Meet Me Halfway”.
It would be from the film TOP GUN that the song ‘Danger Zone’ became a huge hit. So this Monday on ARCHER Kenny Loggins, oh excuse me “K-Logg” will be bringing serious danger to the ARCHER zone.
Lets get a heads up from K-Logg himself about working with the insane ARCHER cast and how he feels about the change in music.
So is K-Log your new name?
Yes, yes, that’s it from now on. It beats the funnier guy nickname.
How were you approached to be part of ARCHER?
Well, as you know, Archer’s been referring to “Danger Zone” for a quite a while. So I have five kids, my oldest is 33, and he thinks it was inevitable that they would call and say, “would you like to be a character on the show”? So I think they just finally went, well, we’ve gone so far with this joke we have to take it all the way.
How did you like playing a crazy version of Kenny Loggins?
I think that’s what I love about it the most is that it really takes and extends the character beyond anything that I’ve ever been, and I’m total badass in this episode and it’s fun. In an interview I did this morning he referred to it as opposite world, and I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s pretty fun.
Is there any of your songs that could go country?
Well I never would have thought “Danger Zone” would make a good country song. But, yes, “Footloose” was rerecorded by Blake Shelton, because it always had country roots to it. Especially the early stuff, the Loggins and Messina era, lends itself to being countrified easily.
If you were asked would you make another appearance?
Well, I really enjoyed doing it, and I’d be happy to do another appearance. I’m sure they’re watching to see how it goes over, and I think the episode came out better than we had anticipated. It really works, and I’m hoping to get to do it again.
Has anyone called you K-Log before ARCHER?
No that’s a total Archer creation. I had a few friends do it jokingly years ago when that was actually something that people were doing, but it was always a joke. So I’ve never been called that. That’s why it works; that’s why the joke works is because it’s so absurd.
You mentioned your kids liked ARCHER, when you did make the connection between ARCHER and yourself?
Well, I’ve been a fan of Archer from the beginning. My oldest boy, Crosby, turned me onto Archer right at the very beginning. I missed the last season, but I got back in. Yes, so I’ve watched I think from the very beginning. Everybody was calling me going, “Have you seen Archer’s referring to ‘Danger Zone’?” Absolutely. We saw it right from the beginning.
Was there ever a time where you thought, “I want to be on the show”?
Absolutely. My son, Crosby, has been–now he’s 33–and he’s been writing letters to the Archer team at FX now for a couple years saying, “When are you going to put my dad on the show?” I’m sure they’ve been blowing it off, but he kept telling me, “Dad, you should get somebody on this. You should be on that show.”
What was the process like for you doing ARCHER?
They sent me the script, as first they wanted to see if I was interested, then they wanted to check and see if I’d be willing to sing “Danger Zone,” which I was on both counts, and then they fleshed out the script and sent it to me. They fleshed out the images; there were about four different versions of me as a cartoon that they had wanted to run by me to see which one I liked the best, and the one that they used is sort of a composite of three different versions of “K-Log.” So I was in on it a little bit; I was in on the dialog a little, I was in on the image a lot. From there I just had to go into the studio, and the director and the writer were on the phone ISDN live with me and I was in the studio in LA, and they directed me on how to deliver each line, do three or four passes on each line in different ways so they had a lot of options in the editing room.
Did you actually do the duet in the same recording session?
No, her vocal was done already. I met the girl who was the voice of “Cherlene” at a show recently. Really cute girl and good voice, but enough like “Cherlene” that it actually works. That’s the bizarre part. I didn’t believe that they could turn “Danger Zone” into a country song, which makes it even funnier, because that’s the last song of my repertoire that you’d expect to be turned into a country song they went ahead and did that. They had that all done when I went in the studio and they played it for me there, and then I just learned her phrasing and sang along with her.
Why do you think Danger Zone has become such an iconic song?
Boy, go figure. Certainly Archer has helped it the last five years. But for some reason three of the movies I was in on have become cult classics. Caddyshack, Footloose, and Top Gun all are still in the hundred most rented movies, and when you think about the thousands of movies that have taken place since those were made it’s amazing that they’re still up there in that iconic level of rentals. I have no idea. They have nothing in common with each other except my music, and I’m not saying that that’s why. But “Danger Zone,” Top Gun, I think there are plenty of pseudointellectual reasons for that, but who knows really.
What did you think when you got the script?
Well, I laughed out loud. I thought this is great; it’s a great way to push the character. I was hoping that they’d take it out of the norm, and they sure did.
Did you get to find out what the obsession was with Danger Zone?
That’s a good question, and, ironically, I never thought to ask it, you know why me, why that song. But you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I love that they did. He says he’s a big fan and that it just sort of came out of a writing session, so I’m guessing that it was a spontaneous thing.
In your opinion, what makes a soundtrack memorable?
Well, something that may or may not be actually happening anymore, but I always think that the music should enhance the visual moment that’s taking place and not necessarily be a crosscurrent to it, but actually make the emotion of what you’re seeing much more palpable. In my experience, the challenge as a writer for films has been to take what they give me and make it even more powerful if I can.
Do you have a favorite composer?
You’re making me dig into my gray matter here. Actually, here I’m going to have to go to my iTunes to answer that question. Do you want to ask another one while I look that up?
Any advice to someone wanting to get into the business?
If you can quit, do it. You might as well go to Vegas. My son tried it from the time he was like 18 to 29, and it’s just extremely difficult. I’m looking here for my play list. But I think that you have to become a master of social media to break in and really pay attention to what it is and how it’s being done. I have a new band, and it’s like starting from the very beginning. Every year the last three years I bring Blue Sky Riders out with me, and I, we, open for me. So we also do about two weeks of headlining on our own, but for the most part we’ll go out for 10 weeks or 12 weeks and open for Kenny Loggins, whoever he is.
Do you have upcoming things you can tell us about?
Yes. I have a new band that I’m working with. We have one record out already called Finally Home. The band is named Blue Sky Riders, R-I-D-E-R-S; it’s Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman out of Nashville. Gary’s in the Songwriter Hall of Fame with sixteen number one songs to his credit and Georgia has three, and we write everything together and sing everything together. And that’s pretty much a crazy project, because everybody says they’re never going to play your stuff, you’re too old, but mostly as a creative endeavor to hopefully write some great songs and get to stay in the studio and keep doing what I love. And we’re working on our second record right now.
Do you have favorite animated shows?
Yes, animated show when I was younger, well, you could probably fill in the list; I watched a lot of them, if not all of them, when I was a kid. And, of course, The Simpsons for years. I guess Archer is pretty much the last of the animated shows that I watch. What am I forgetting? Yes. No. I know the others that my son watches I don’t watch, because I just don’t have the time. There’s a new one that they’ve been advertising a lot on. Oh, oh, of course, Family Guy.
Has rock music changed since your first album?
Yes. Well, I think that electronics has probably changed; the use of electronics and digital recording has changed the face of pop music the most dramatically. I don’t know whether you’ve read David Burns book or not, but he really does an in-depth history of the evolution of rock and roll from Bill Haley on. I think that creating music to be perfect using electronics has changed what music is most dramatically and the listener’s experience of music. The live music was the predominant music, and now live music is not the predominant source of music. Everything is pretty much canned. And I guess that’s the answer to your question in a nutshell.
You’ve crossed into film and television, how do you feel about that legacy?
Yes. I’m proud of the fact that it’s permeated pop culture as successfully as it’s done, and also for as long as it’s done. It is a trip. On the one hand it’s a very positive thing, my career to still be a part of pop culture, on the other it makes it really difficult for my kids to want to go into music, and we talk a lot about that. But I would say that the answer is it’s just something that I’m proud that it’s still relevant. It’s what I worked very hard to do as a writer was write things that would matter to people, and they seem to still matter.
So why do you think ARCHER has such a draw?
It’s funny, it’s smart, it’s very hip humor, and it’s very funny. I think that’s the only reason it survives.
Did you get to choose how you were animated?
No, they wanted a ‘80s version, and every composite that they sent me, every shell was a variation of the ‘80s Kenny Loggins because they just felt that would be the most recognizable, and I have to agree.
Strange to see yourself animated?
Well, I thought I looked a little bit like a terrorist. I kept saying, “Can we push it a little bit more towards the way I actually looked?” And they said, “Well, we think it is.” And I went, “Okay, well let’s work with that then.”
Is it different to do voice over compared to recording a song?
Oh, it’s dramatically different. You never think that you’re speaking— Most artists I know, and myself included, we never think that our speaking voice is the same as our singing voice. Our singing voice is our alter ego. And that’s the one I’m most comfortable with, so I haven’t really used my speaking voice that much. But I enjoyed the process; I was in the studio for a couple hours, they directed me in different ways to do it or the lines, and it was really fun.
Music has changes so much since your first album, have you been able to adjust to that?
Well, yes, the state of pop music has changed so dramatically. I pretty much follow what feels right to me, which is where the fun is and whatever feels like it’s something I can express myself in. My music has always been sort of separate from whatever the pop trend is, because I write what excites me and gets me connected to what I’m feeling. So over the years I’ve shifted and changed.
I think one of the things that’s allowed me to be around for so long is that I had two big brothers who were in two different kinds of music, so they raised me on country music, folk music, and R&B, rock and roll. My one big brother was into Platters, Coasters, Little Richard, on into Elvis, and all the rock and roll that came, including the Beatles years later, and so he was always guiding me in that direction. My other brother was big into folk music and some country. So I like to say I have two cradle languages, and I’ve recorded in a couple of different styles because they come natural to me.
Right now I’m working with Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman out of Nashville, and our sound is more country rock again, like where I started with Messina, and that’s comfortable for me, too. So I don’t feel like I’m pretending or trying to put on a cowboy hat and be cowboy Ken; it’s just part of what I’ve done my whole career.
Was there one line from the script that you just couldn’t get down the first time?
Good question. I wish I had a good answer. There was one line that was a little bit trouble. It was around the swimming pool scene. I don’t have the script memorized so I can’t remember the line, but I must have read it about 10 different ways. I think it was getting sucked out of the pool and that whole kind of screaming thing, “Scream it louder. Scream it different.” Where you going to go with that?
But that would be a good question for the writer, whose name is escaping me right now—I should have his name here—because there were a few lines that we went around on, and more than once. Because the thing was they weren’t exactly sure how they were going to play this, and I think they were leaving it open to see how well I would read their lines and how I would interpret what they had so that they would write based on my ability. But I’d like to think they were pleasantly surprised and we could go pretty much anywhere they wrote, so that allowed them to lock down the direction they wanted.
What do you think of this season of ARCHER so far?
I was surprised when they decided to go into the cocaine business and I wasn’t sure what they were going to do with that, still not. I was a little worried on those first couple episodes, because I didn’t do a lot of laughing, and I thought, well, they must be trying to establish this premise and they may be having trouble finding the humor in it. But I think certainly last week it’s taken off now, so I’m not worried.
Is there a character you like most in ARCHER, what about Pam?
Sort of. I think, of course, “Archer,” who always has the good lines. I like “Lana,” she’s the voice of reason this year certainly, almost always. “Pam” has definitely taken on a bigger role this year, and, of course, “Cherlene.” I guess I should be a “Cherlene” fan now, now that she’s so good at singing. Who am I forgetting? “Krieger.” Right. I feel like I’m forgetting one of them, but definitely “Lana” and “Archer” are on the top of my list.
In all the things you’ve done, has acting crossed your mind?
Off and on I have, but not seriously enough to actually dedicate myself to doing it. I’m thinking it might be fun to try, though, because if you can take your career and the legacy that it’s built over this 30 some years and use it for something, well, if I really wanted to go into Broadway or a film maybe I can parlay it into that. I haven’t really pursued that. I like the voice over thing; I’d like to do more of that.
Let’s hope that ARCHER will bring K-Logg back again and again! See for yourself this Monday night at 10:00 p.m. on FX and look for the digital version of ARCHER’S CHERLENE on March 3rd.