Loggins started his career “spoiled” by the early success of Loggins & Messina. At 22, he surfed the instant fame (“People showed up singing ‘Danny’s Song’; our tour was really profligate”) and left the details to the pencil pushers. “Later, I found out that accountants want you to lose money on the tour because they want you to keep touring—their percentage stays the same,” he says. “If you think stardom is the answer to your problems, you’re sadly mistaken. And if you can do something other than this, you should. I watch American Idol, with all these kids who think being a star is going to solve their problems, and I think, You fucking idiot. Stardom is good if you want a nice table and a ticket to a show. It’s not a free pass around all the problems of being human. And it can cripple you if it hits too young.”
You only get a certain time period in academia to establish yourself as a leading, competitive researcher. The Early Career Researcher (ECR) phase — the first five years after PhD conferral — are critical for journal articles and grant funding agencies. In that time period, you need to be mentored on the academic game; you need to conceptualise a research program; and you need to know what other national and international teams in your area are up to. Don’t leave the university research metrics or intellectual capital/property protection to the pencil pushers. Learn from Loggins: establish the necessary structures to build a long-term, productive research career.