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Duo reunites in hard times

During Loggins' divorce, he and Messina teamed

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina quietly reunited as a singing duo last year, but it was just a casual thing, performing for charities.

"I was actually going through a divorce," Loggins said by phone from his home near Ventura, Calif. "Jim, who has had his dark days, reached out to me. We wound up playing a couple of charity shows and it felt good."

But the audience reaction was amazing, said Messina, who phoned from his home in Santa Barbara later the same day. "We played two four-hour sets. Kenny agreed to do a show with me for one of my charities and I paid back the favor — and both shows were packed. We had to do two shows to accommodate the demand."

More shows followed until both Loggins and Messina decided it was time to formally reteam.

"We are more mature these days," said Loggins with a laugh. "We enjoy working with each other, and we don't let things get to us."

The duo originally got together in 1971. Loggins was a singer/songwriter and Messina was a producer/engineer and member of the country/rock group Poco. When they got together, it was supposed to be a one-time thing. But people loved to hear their collaboration.

Throughout their career as a duo, Loggins & Messina released six studio albums, one live album and a slew of greatest-hits compilations. "Your Mama Don't Dance," "House at Pooh Corner" and "Watching the River Run" are some of the most popular L&M songs.

But in 1976 the two artists parted ways.

"We had a lot of pride back then," said Messina. "But now we are having more fun than we have throughout our career. We're riding the same bus and watching movies together. I think with age, we've come to realize that we are two different human beings and have learned to deal with it."

Earlier this year, Columbia and Legacy Recordings released another compilation, "The Best of Loggins & Messina: Sittin' In Again," which features 18 L&M hits.

"We worked together choosing the songs for the new release," said Loggins. "That was easy. We chose some of our favorite songs."

It was a different story when choosing the set list for the tour. "We butted heads a bit," said Loggins. "But we worked through it."

"Kenny wanted to do some songs and I wanted to do others," said Messina. "But we, overall, wanted to put together the best set list we could that would represent what we've done."

Throughout the tour, the two have tweaked the set list, though it's pretty solid for the larger shows. The McKay Center show will be one of those larger shows.

"We do a full 2 1/2-hour concert, with a break," said Loggins. "And it's filled with songs that people know."

"We were thankful that we didn't record a new album before we decided to do the tour," said Messina. "People want to hear songs they know."

"They grew up with these songs," said Loggins, "and they were released during important times of their lives. We want them to relive that feeling."

One thing Loggins has realized is that his solo songs are aimed for a specific demographic. "They are for the ladies," he said. "It wasn't until this tour that I realized that Loggins & Messina songs were more directed at the '70s rocker men crowd."

One rocker band that recorded "Your Mama Don't Dance" back in 1989 was Poison, and the tune reached the Top 10 in Billboard's Top 100 singles charts and hit No. 9 in sales. It remained on the charts for 14 weeks.

"I didn't know they did the song," said Messina with a laugh. "My attorney came in with the single and said, 'Do you know about this?' I said, 'No.' And took it from him. After listening to it a few times, I went and bought the album ('Open Up and Say . . . Ahh').

"After listening to that album a couple of times, I thought to myself, our song sounds like everything else on the album. But then it hit me. Duh! That's the whole creative process. They make something and even remake something that fits their style. It's like me painting a picture. I see it one way, but someone else who paints the same picture will see it another way."

If you go

What: Loggins & Messina

Where: David O. McKay Center, Utah Valley State College

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

How much: $34-$45

Phone: 467-8499 or 800-888-8499