We Spoke With Kenny Loggins About Tonight’s ‘Archer Vice’ Cameo

By March 3, 2014
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On Monday, March 3rd in the Lord’s year of 2014, a prophecy three decades in the making comes to its fruition. That’s right, Kenny Loggins will finally guest star on the hit FX animated series “Archer” (or “Archer Vice,” as it’s being referred to this season). Any of you alive in the ’80s will know that Mr. K-Log here had a string of huge movie song hits – “Danger Zone” from Top Gun being the most iconic. Last week, we had a chance to chat with the music legend about his experience working with Sterling Archer and the gang on tonight’s episode.

On how the appearance on the show came about:

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. Crosby has 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.”

The experience playing this version of himself:

They wanted an ‘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. 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.”

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. 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. 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 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.

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On the process of doing the episode:

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.

On the show’s obsession of and the ongoing endurance of “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.

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 pseudo-intellectual reasons for that, but who knows really.

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On turning Danger Zone into a country song and the possibility of performing this version live: 

I met the girl who was the voice of “Cherlene” (Judy Greer) 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 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.

When people come to my show I think they want to hear the original and you never know, stranger things have happened. I could see me doing a duet with her. It’d be interesting to do an animated version of “Cherlene” singing her part and I would play the video and sing live with that. Let’s do that at the Emmys…

On the differences in recording a voice over compared to 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.

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?

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On his favorite “Archer” character and the show’s new direction: 

I think, of course, Sterling 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.

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.

It’s worth noting that in addition to lending his voice to the “Baby Shower” episode, Mr. Loggins’ duet of “Danger Zone” with Cherlene will be available via digital platforms March 3rd and will end up on FX’s 12- track soon-to-be-released country album aptly titled “Cherlene.”

Be sure to catch “Archer Vice” on Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX.

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Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.
  • Andrew L Gonzalez

    God I love this show. This one ranks right up there with Trippin the Rift in my book. I cannot wait to see it. Time for another quart of OE and a bag of cheetos.

  • Timothy W Williams

    Why is this show even around? Poor characters and writing. No real humor that hasn’t been done to death. I’ll pass.

    • This is pretty cool actually. You’re the first person I’ve ever run across that doesn’t like the show.