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Singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself. Best known for his ‘80s chart-topping soundtrack tunes “Footloose,” “I’m Alright” and “Danger Zone,” he’s now playing a parody of himself on the FX animated series Archer.
Airing tonight, the episode finds former super-spy Archer “recruiting” Loggins to perform at Lana’s baby shower. The event takes an unexpected turn when the singer teams with Charlene for a country rendition of his Top Gun hit.
During a conference call to promote his Archer cameo, Loggins spoke about his musical legacy, working on the animated comedy and going country.
How did this guest appearance come about?
Kenny Loggins: As you know, Archer has been referring to “Danger Zone” for quite a while. I have five kids. My oldest is 22, and he thinks it was inevitable that they would call and say, “Would you like to be a character on the show?” I think they just finally went, “Well, we’ve gone so far with this joke. We’ve got to take it all the way.”
Did they just call you up?
It just came though my manager. An agent called a manager, or something like that.
Was it fun for you to get to play such an outrageous version of yourself?
I think that’s what I love about it the most. It really takes and extends the character beyond anything I’ve ever been. I’m a total badass in this episode. It’s fun. In an interview I did this morning, he [the interviewer] referred to it as “Opposite World.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s pretty fun.
Is there any other song from your discography that you think would make a good country song?
Well, I never would have thought “Danger Zone” would make a good country song. “Footloose” was re-recorded by Blake Shelton because it always had country roots to it. The early stuff especially lends itself to being countrified easily.
Kenny Loggins references have stuck around for five seasons. If the references go on, would you be ready to make a second, third or fourth appearance?
I really enjoyed doing it. I’d be happy to do another appearance. I’m sure they are watching to see how it goes over. I think the episode came out better than we anticipated. It really works and I’m hoping to get to do it again.
The cartoon version of you in this episode really pushes for the nickname K-Log. Is that an Archer creation or had anyone ever called you K-Log before the show?
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. That’s why it works, because it’s so absurd.
If it catches on, are you prepared to own that nickname?
I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
At what point did you realize there was an Archer/Kenny Loggins connection?
Well, I’ve been a fan of Archer from the beginning. My oldest boy Crosby turned me on to Archer right at the very beginning. I missed the last season, but I got back in. I’ve watched since the very beginning. Everyone was calling me going, “Have you seen Archer is referring to ‘Danger Zone’?” We saw it right from the beginning.
What was the process like once you committed to doing this?
First, they wanted to see if I was interested. Then they wanted to check if I’d be willing to sing “Danger Zone,” which I was on both counts. Then they fleshed out the script and sent it to me. They fleshed out the images. At first, there were four different versions of me as a cartoon that they wanted to run by me to see which one I liked the best. The one that they used is sort of a composite of three different versions of K-Log. I was in on it a little bit. I was in on the dialogue a little. I was in on the image a lot. From there, I just had to go into the studio. The director and writer were on the phone. I was in the studio in L.A. They directed me on how to deliver each line and do three or four passes on each line in different ways, so they had a lot of options in the editing room.
Archer tends to have each individual record separately. Did you actually do the duet together?
No, her vocal was done already. I met the girl who was the voice of Charlene at another show recently. Really cute girl and good voice, but enough like Charlene 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.
”Danger Zone” has had amazing endurance. To what do you attribute that to?
Boy, go figure. Certainly Archer has helped it the last five years. For some reason, three of the movies I’ve been in on have become cult classics: Caddyshack, Footloose and Top Gun all are still in the 100 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 are 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’s why [they endured]. But “Danger Zone”? Top Gun? You know, I think there are plenty of pseudo-intellectual reasons for that, but who knows really?
Since you mentioned Caddyshack, director Harold Ramis recently passed away. What do you recall about landing that gig and how instrumental was he in developing the theme song, “I’m Alright”?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a relationship with Harold. When they brought me in, the movie was almost done. They had one more scene to shoot with Rodney Dangerfield, which was to close the movie. I saw a rough edit that was almost a completed movie by the time I came in to do “I’m Alright.” So I never really met Harold.
What makes a good movie soundtrack song?
Well, something that may or may not be actually happening any more. I always think that the music should enhance the visual moment that’s taking place and not necessarily be a cross-current 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.
Archer airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.