top of page

Jimmy Messina live at Yoshi's

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

Music that the brain never forgets.

If you enjoyed the music of Buffalo Springfield, Poco or Loggins and Messina, you are familiar with this man, Jim Messina. Messina has produced, written and played on so many familiar tunes throughout the past fifty+ years. For me, Loggins and Messina was an annual summer pilgrimage to the Universal Ampitheatre in L.A., with my youth group. I was young, but finally, my parents trusted this group of young people to accompany me to live music events. And that was it for me. From then on, I was hooked on live music. Although Loggins and Messina was not my first, they were definitely a yearly summer event. And I loved it. I had all their albums and loved all their music. But this isnt about the duo of my youth, this is about Jim Messina. Still playing, touring and making great music. Occasionally he teams up with his old partner, Kenny Loggins but only a handful of times since they were in a band and made records together. The duo formed in 1971 and went their separate ways in 1976. But they made quite an impact in only five years, selling sixteen million+ records. With hits such as Dannys Song, House at Pooh Corner, Your Mama Dont Dance, Vahevala, and Angry Eyes. 'Jim' Messina, as he goes by nowadays, has been writing music since his teens. By the time he was 15 he was in a band. In the beginning were The Boutonnieres, then, The Pendeltons, and The Jesters, before Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and finally, Loggins and Messina. Aside from touring, and performing his solo work, as well as those old favourites from Buffalo Springfield, Poco and Loggins and Messina. This coming July he will also be playing one of the rare shows with Kenny Loggins at The Hollywood Bowl, July 15 and 16. They plan to have two 60 minute sets. One will be only Kenny Loggins, the other set, both Loggins and Messina. Actually, the show is called, Kenny Loggins with Messina Sitting in, just like the title of their first album.

I interviewed Jimmy the week after the show at Yoshi's. I found him to be very level headed, a deep thinker, hard working, creative, both left and right brained, and at the core, a real down home family guy. He loves his life in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, horses, donkeys, and chickens.

Jimmy Messina, is a top notch musician, engineer, producer, singer, songwriter as well as painter, and carpenter. He paints with water colors and acrylics, and he loves to make furniture. Jimmy Messina has been in the music business for SIX decades! A real pro. Being that hes been in my world, and on my turntable since I was a child, it was lovely having a chat with him, knowing that he's given me part of my personal lifetime soundtrack. Lots of Loggins and Messina on that soundtrack in my head. And from that standpoint, it meant even more to me. We began this interview last week but had to cut it short and reconvene due to his being under the weather with throat and lung issues. I found him to be very easy to talk to. Heres how the conversation went:

Interview by Cheryl Alterman - TMS

TMS: Your merch and tour says, 'Jim Messina'. I've known you as Jimmy. Which do you prefer? Jim or Jimmy?

Jim Messina: It doesnt matter. As long as you dont call me late to dinner. Whichever you prefer. If you know me as Jimmy, thats fine with me, you call me Jimmy.

TMS: You know I'm a lifelong fan, so to me, you're Jimmy. Are you feeling better from last week when we spoke?

Jim Messina: Yes I'm feeling better from the California trip. Between the ragweed and the smog I smell it and react to it heavily. My lungs were infected by ragweed and the pine. Settled into my throat and then i couldn't sing. I used to get that when I lived in San Ynez Valley. I took my Covid test and I was fine. I got through the gig that was two days after we spoke. I was able to get through the set, but constantly thinking about pitch, air to hold, not to hold in order to make the notes sound decent coming out of my mouth. Holding a note was difficult, my voice broke a couple times but i got through it.

TMS: What do you listen to on your downtime?

Jim Messina: My interests have been very diverse and i had two different households one was italian and the other native American Indian. I grew up listening to my uncles playing Polkas, and mandolins. And, on the other side, part American Indian and your basic redneck, listening to Bob Wilson and the Texas Playboys, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, and Spade Cooley. Bob Wilson was who my dad listened to. My mother was the rock n roll mama and she liked Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson, and race music, so i grew up with all kinds of music in my home. For me, when I listen to music its what it feels like, its energy, the arrangements and excitement and what it does to me. I dont have a favourite music. I understand the rap stuff, theres some really interesting poets there in that culture of music. Its not something I go to. For me i want music to feel like a soundtrack to what I'm doing. I like Flamenco music its a whole different vibe. As is Indian music, tabla players and the rhythm. I'm intrigued by rhythm and melody...i don't know if I've ever gravitated to commercial music. I'm not a musical junkie. I don't fall back on any specific music.

TMS: So you dont fall back on, The Beatles for example?

Jim Messina: No I fall back to silence. All i heard is music. I'd be hearing the track I'd been working on all night in my brain. I've had to have a balance of music and common ordinary life. People love music here in Tennessee. I never liked the abnormality of Hollywood, like my mother, she thought there was lots of opportunists and narcissists there. I had to be in LA for a while. But I couldn't be there. I'm glad I dont have to be there everyday now.

Jim Messina: I grew up in Hermosa Beach, I was a surfer kid in the 7th, 8th grade. But then I had to move out to the Inland Empire. But it was great for me cause all I had to do was play music. No distractions, I didnt want to do anything but my guitar. My first gig was the Boutonnieres then the Pendeltons, cause we were surfer kids. then The Jesters. I earned my money from music from very early in life. Playing for CYO, (Catholic Youth Organizations). The Jesters played there, and we got $10 each.

Jim Messina: My first album was when I was 15. My mother signed my contracts. and she signed half of my publishing away. She didnt know it. But it was my first experience as a musician being ripped off. But it all worked out great. I just learned recently there is a tribute band of Jim Messina and the Jesters. I didnt think The Jesters would have a tribute band, but they do.

Jim Messina: Angels and devils have come into my life and used my talents to get something done. But it shaped me on who i am today. I look back on certain artists, like Frank Sinatra he had 20 years, and me having 60 years in this business. I am amazed.

Jim Messina: My step father wasn't supportive of my music career. He said get a real job. My mother was very supportive. I've far exceeded what my step father thought of me. He just didnt know. Thats where having a parent who believes in you, gives us the opportunity to do the best we need to do. And stay focused away from drugs and all those things. I've also done dumb things like everyone else. But I stayed focus.
You just need to be good at what you do and happy! The appreciation of what is happening in the moment.

TMS: If you werent a musician would you have been a carpenter?

Jim Messina: I can spend hours building furniture. I learned how to be alone with myself. In order to feel stable. I can be with myself and have the same gratification coming up with some furniture as i do writing a song. I remember it was my sons birthday and I didnt have money to buy him a gift. So i went down to the lumber yard and got materials to make him a bunk bed. Years later when he was too big for the bed, I put it in a consignment store to sell. A few years later, my wife and daughter and I were walking by that store and the bunk bed i made was there, my daughter wanted it, so i bought it for her!

Jim Messina: This is a question for a guitarist friend of mine in Quebec...He asked, what was your set up for the guitar solo on Pathway to Glory track?

Jim Messina: My guess because things were much simpler in those days. I was on a Fender super Reverb, my old Telecaster, and a dyna comp compressor.

TMS: I've always wanted to go on tour with a band in a tour bus. Did you like being on tour and why?

Jim Messina: I like touring more now cause i dont do it as often and people arent trying to get laid or drunk. We live for having a great performance. It was for a different reason than today. When I was young I liked being on tour because I got laid. Nowadays the reasons have changed and I like going on tour, but for the music these days. I play with great musicians. I didnt like tour busses when I first started cause I couldnt sleep. Then I bought a 45' bus, I eventually went camping in it. I had it for about 5 years. Then I got a sailboat, a 41 foot, Yankee Clipper. It had a glass hull but the rest of it was teak.

Jim Messina: Regarding art...My grandmother was a watercolour painter. And I had a girlfriend who also was a watercolorist. So I tried it and liked it. And I also paint with acrylics.

TMS: I know your son is in the biz do u work with him?

Jim Messina: I rememeber when Julian was 11 or 12, when boys are starting to sprout the family jewels...he started playing drums at about 4...then he lost interest...then when he was 11 or 12 he started getting interested again. So I told the dads at school to make an investment in their sons future...I said, Iwant each of you to buy your sons a pro tools system for about $3k...They did! And never did those boys go out and get drunk etc. They were always at our house working with their pro tools and recording music. So when Julian, eventually, on his own, went into a studio that I used to record in and I built...he got a job as an apprentice in that studio. Not my studio. Then he went to college until he didn't want to go to college...I said if you want to go back to college you have to pay your way through it as a recording engineer. He's now involved in engineering and virtual reality. He now calls me to ask questions. And we have conversations that are very infortmative to where his brain is at. Hes 29 soon to be 30.

TMS: My daughter is a few months older than him. March of 92. She lives in England and is a chocolatier. Does Julian live in Tennessee near you?

Jim Messina: No he lives in LA for his job, though i wish he'd move to Nashville. Maybe someday he'll live here in Tennessee.

Jim Messina: Last time i played a show up above Sacramento at the Kate Wolf Festival. I brought my very straight guitar tech. There was a strong smell in the air. Like pot in the air. We get there, and marijuana is planted everywhere around the area. Everyone at the festival everyone is lit up. In my early years it was illegal now its legal. Anyway, my guitar tech had never been around marijuana, he got a contact high and didnt know which guitars to hand me and was very confused... It was really funny to watch him laughing and confused all day simply from a contact high! I've never been a big fan of pot. When I tried smoking it, it was just never worked for me. Nor has alcohol. But the potsmokers don't bother anyone, they just laugh. I've never known anyones life that got ruined from smoking pot. So I am glad they have made it legal. But don't be smoking and driving. Be responsible.

TMS: I have to ask you a question for me and my friend in LA. We saw you and Kenny every year at the Universal Amphitheater together....Are you and Kenny friends? Do you ever talk to him or write with him?

Jim Messina: We haven't done anything creative for a long time. He's a hardworking person. We've done a few shows together. We did a benefit to raise enough money for someone needing chemo. We communicate as far as hellos. We've never been close friends. For me, i need to keep distance. We have different interests in life. Our humour is similar. We've just taken separate paths in life. He likes to be in the scene. I do not. I hang with people like plumbers and carpenters. We just have different interests. Had he been interested in carpentry we may have been in carpernter business together. Doing shows together is alot of work and not alot of fun. I said to my agent if we can do a handful of shows a years I would. Or maybe start with one or two, So we decided to do this one show, two days together at Hollywood Bowl for his book tour. He can promote himself and we can do one set together and one set with just Kenny. Two days. One set him and one set both of us. I'm letting Kenny do this. This is what he needs to do. So i suggested cut it into two. I dont know if he wants to open the show or both of us. It doesn't matter to me. Each show will be divided into two sets.

TMS: I want to thank you personally for your Loggins and Messina songs. You and Kenny are a big chunk of my personal life soundtrack. Thank you so much Jimmy. Looking forward to seeing you again at The Hollywood Bowl in July. And if you ever need a photographer to come on tour, I'm happy to hop on the bus!

Jimmy Messina photo gallery....

105 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page