"So let me get this right," said the Boston Globe reporter sitting in my hotel room as he sipped his Arnold-Palmer-and-Red-Bull. "You're 64, and you're starting a new band? Isn't that something 18-year-olds do?"
"Hell," I replied, "that's not all. I'm also starting a new record company. And a new relationship. I've fallen in love at 64."
"Holy crap," the Globe reporter said. "You really are 18 again."
"Yep," I laughed. "Haven't you heard? 64 is the new 18."
When I was 18, "let's start a band" was the rallying cry of a motley assortment of high school rebels, pimply-faced John/Paul/George/Ringo wannabes with drum sets in their parents' suburban garages, Beatles songbooks on their music stands and stars in their eyes. For me, it was more than that. "Let's start a band" was the call that turned my life into an avalanche of adventures, starting at age 22: Meeting Jimmy Messina and starting Loggins & Messina. Signing a recording contract with Columbia Records. Signing a management contract with Schiffman/Larson. Signing a performance agency contract with the William Morris agency. Finding the musicians who would be the Loggins & Messina band for the next four years and a whole flotilla of firsts that made up my first reinvention.
Embracing this carpe diem attitude opened my mind and heart to whatever mystery was out there, just beyond my sight. As soon as I said "yes" to the band, to my creativity, it was as if I'd said yes to all of life as well. Within days of meeting Jimmy Messina and his wife, Jenny, I met Jenny's best friend, Eva. A beautiful, 5'11" Estonian blonde, Eva quickly became my best friend, my first love, and eventually, my first wife.
In the summer of 1976, after six heady years, Jimmy and I decided to disband and I launched my solo career. My first solo album, "Celebrate Me Home," was a homecoming indeed. Once again I was building a new foundation for my life, learning as I went, adding new tools to my belt along the way. Homecoming -- and leaving the nest -- became a theme throughout my music. Fittingly, I shot the album cover for "Celebrate" at the Santa Barbara beach cottage I shared with Eva.
Suddenly, I had a new musical style, a new band behind me and by the end of the year, a new marriage. I was ten feet tall and bullet-proof and, like most young, stupidly successful musicians, I just naturally assumed it would all last forever. Ignorance truly is bliss, and I was one happy puppy, head out the window, tongue lapping up all those exciting new scents, ears flapping in the wind.
To me, "let's start a band" was synonymous with "let's have a whole new adventure." The '80s would be that adventure, packed with music and movies, accolades and awards. The arrival of three beautiful kids, Crosby, Cody and Isabella, made all the crazed excitement make sense. But it all added up to a highly flammable, intoxicating, often overwhelming concoction.
You know what they say about "what goes up." In 1990 my beautiful house of cards came tumbling down, and my perfect marriage fell with it. The movie producers who'd commissioned my songs for their soundtracks seemed to have lost my number. My record company stopped returning my calls. I was lost at sea, depressed and looking for a new direction. I sensed a time of reckoning was at hand, but I fought it with all my might. In 1991 I wrote a song called "Now or Never" which included the lines, "Just when I thought I was out of the rain/suddenly I'm in a hurricane... they say the future's out of our hands/so why is it making demands?" My music was trying to get my attention.
And yet there was a familiar pulse beating in the center of the storm, a calm excitement I recognized as the energy of another beginning. Slowly, the fog began to clear. As if waking from a dream, I suddenly realized that I'd surrounded myself with people who didn't believe in me because I'd stopped believing in myself. I set about cleaning house. I renewed my commitment to my creativity, and things started falling into place. Within six months I had a new musical vision, another brand new band and yes, a new love.
With Julia by my side, I set a course for the unimaginable, the sweet whatever, where anything is possible, and where, as I wrote for the "Leap of Faith" album, "Love exists and courage is always rewarded." And so the album "Leap of Faith" birthed itself in 1990, kicking and screaming into existence, and so did I.
No birth comes without pain. But once again the pain of rebirth gave way to the ecstasy of falling in love, a transformation in my music and a transformation in myself. "Leap of Faith" was written from one of life's major moments of change. I consider myself lucky to have been making an album while I was in the throes of the end of one life, the beginning of another.
And now? In 2012, I'm the age the Beatles warned us about and yes, I still love life "when I'm 64." I'm still the carpe diem puppy who sees the car door open, jumps into the passenger seat and begs for another ride. I have five kids ranging in age from 15 to 31, and though they don't all share the same mom, we've made a family that keeps me grounded, happy and extremely grateful.
In 2010 I met the new love of my life, showing that this old dog still has a few tricks left. I also started a new band, Blue Sky Riders, and as we speak I'm on the road again, ridin' on a tour bus, loving the rush of concert halls full of dancing and singing fans grooving to our new song, "Dream."
Who are you to tell me what I can't do? Well, that ain't right.
As if all I've been is all I'm going to be for the rest of my life...
These are the glory days/don't let them slip away...
All I can do is believe in myself
So let's feel it all one more time.
Let's write a reckless, foolish song.
Let's bite off more then we can chew.
Let's get swept away by love one more time.
Let's start a band.
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