I spent this morning how I’d prefer to spend all my mornings: on the phone with Grammy award winning musician and gatekeeper to the Danger Zone, Kenny Loggins. Via FX’s Media Relations, Loggins spoke on the phone with myself and a handful of journalists about his upcoming cameo in the sixth episode of Archer‘s revamped 5th season – Archer Vice. In the episode, titled “Baby Shower”, the Loggins-crazed Archer has decided that his gift for Lana’s baby shower will be capturing Kenny Loggins and forcing him to do a live show for her. When Loggins pairs up with Cherlene (Cheryl’s country music persona), they manage to collaborate for a catchy country version of the Top Gun classic “Danger Zone.” K-Log’s cameo airs next Monday night (3/3) at 10e/p on FX.
On how his animated cameo came about:
We were all very eager to hear about how Loggins first got involved with this episode. Being an Archer fan from the start, Loggins was well aware of the “Danger Zone” references, but it turns out that his oldest son had the most to do with initiating his appearance on the show.
“I’ve been a fan of Archer from the beginning … my son Crosby – he’s 33 – he’s been writing letters to the Archer team and FX for a couple years now saying ‘When are you going to put my dad on the show?’ … he kept telling me ‘Dad, you should get somebody on this. You should be on that show!”
Eventually Crosby was able to put enough pressure on Loggins and his manager to finally put the wheels in motion for a cameo.
“First they wanted to check if I was was interested, then they wanted to see if I was willing to sing ‘Danger Zone,’ which I was, on both counts.”
On his appearance in cartoon form:
“They fleshed out the images of me – there were about 4 different versions of me as a cartoon that they 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 3 different versions of K-Log.”
Loggins later added that it was a no-brainer to go with a more ’80s version of himself (full beard, aviators, and the Miami Vice-style blazer over t-shirt), since that’s ultimately the appearance that most people associate him with.
On his character:
In “Baby Shower,” Loggins plays the version of himself that we all hope he really is, a kickass rock star who has the world at his guitar-shredding finger tips. “I’m a total badass in this episode” says Loggins, later saying, “I was hoping they’d take it out of the norm, and they sure did.”
On the Season 5 promo video:
For those of you who haven’t seen it, the Archer team put together an outstanding homage to the original Danger Zone video from 1986. In the clip we have Archer as Maverick (naturally), Lana as Charlie, and Cyril as Goose (also, naturally). Loggins was very familiar with the video, saying “it was really well done” and adding that it did a great job of “hinting at my character without giving it away.”
Was Sterling Archer the first to call you K-Log?:
In “Baby Shower”, Loggins’ cartoon version demands that people call him by his nickname, K-Log. I asked Kenny if the he’d ever been given the nick-name “K-Log” before the show or if the title is purely an Archer creation. Loggins admitted that he “had a few friends do it jokingly years ago, when that was actually something people were doing, but it was always a joke.” I’m assuming “years ago” refers to the bygone era of A-Rod and K-Fed popularity. Should the nickname catch on in real life, I asked Loggins whether or not he’d embrace it. Loggins said he’d have to simply “cross that bridge when I come to it.”
On the “Countrification” of “Danger Zone”:
Loggins was very pleased with how the twangy, banjo-assisted version of his hit turned out, though it wasn’t a no-brainer that it would necessarily work. “I never would have thought ‘Danger Zone’ would have made a good country song,” said Loggins. Though country “Danger Zone” works, Loggins pointed out that some of his other songs are probably even better candidates for the steel guitar since “Footloose” actually was covered by Blake Shelton and some hits from the Loggins & Messina era have a folk feel to them to begin with.
More K-Log appearances to come?:
Seeing as the “Danger Zone” references have had a presence in all five seasons, I asked Kenny if he’s on board for more episodes should the joke stay alive. Loggins said, “I think the episode came out better than we anticipated. It really works and I’m hoping to get to do it again.” Can we expect Cherlene and Kenny to team up for country versions of “I’m Free” and “I’m Alright?” Let’s hope so.
Check out FX’s preview for Archer Vice: “Baby Shower” below.
Speaking of taking jokes to the furthest possible degree, Cheryl’s self titled album “Cherlene” was actually produced and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes. In addition to the Loggins/Cherlene duet, the album features three original Archer songs such as “It’s All About Me” and “Gypsy Woman,” as well as covers of classic blues tunes like the oft-covered “Baby Please Don’t Go” by Big Joe Williams. All songs are produced by Kevn Kinney (Drivin and Cryin) and have Jessy Lynn Martens on vocals. In this 5th season, Martin voices Judy Greer’s Cheryl as soon as she takes the mic as Cherlene. Though the album is not available in full until March 3rd, you can listen to a sizable chunk of each song, including the twangy version of “Danger Zone” that is still stuck in my head.