It wasn't long after the release of his 2011 debut album, Have a Nice Day, that Jake Loggins surprised fans by announcing his retirement from music. With his first child on the way, the local blues-rock favorite insisted he'd only be picking up the guitar to sing a few songs for his family.
But these days, Loggins is back in a big way, fronting his own band and playing with the bluesy, five-piece Justus League.
So what changed?
"I got laid off three times this year," says the musician, who's now traded utility drilling and construction jobs for medical technology classes and club gigs.
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Although Loggins says the departures weren't necessarily his own doing, he figures it's all for the best. "I kind of have an attitude about people treating me like the scum of the earth, you know, because I'm at the bottom of the totem pole and using a shovel."
There were also occupational hazards. "One of my good friends lost a leg when it got run over by an excavator," says Loggins. "And I was really asking myself, do I want to do that? What am I doing? I lose a leg, I lose a hand, I lose a finger, you know, and then the majority of the time I put into the music was a waste."
So Loggins picked up where he left off. Earlier this month, Justus League released its debut CD, with songs from individual members as well as group collaborations. "Everybody in the group works really well together," says the guitarist. "We all lay our egos down, which is kind of hard to believe, and it's all about playing good music."
As for the follow-up to his own album, Loggins says it'll be a while. "Have a Nice Day drowned me," he says. "It was a very personal album, and it took all my powers for six months to get a lot of that stuff out. I guess I haven't lived enough life to put out another album yet."
Plus, there's the challenge of writing songs when you're happy. "Yeah, it's trying to find a different perspective to write from, instead of being all screwed up."
1st place: Jake Loggins and Grant Sabin (tie)
3rd place: Big Jim Adam & John Stilwagen