The Cussler Collaboration

By Warren Mason
April 28, 2011


Published in the winter 2011 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Famed bestselling adventure author Clive Cussler, whom Nils Lofgren met in 1989 while on the first tour with Ringo Starr, is both a longtime friend and collaborator.

Lofgren, an avid reader, “tracked down” his favorite author and invited him and his family to a show. “We always kept in touch. Since I moved to Scottsdale 15 years ago, Amy and I live just 10 minutes from Clive. Clive is an incredible writer and an even better human being,” Lofgren said.

Cussler echoed Lofgren’s sentiments: “I was truly honored to meet Nils. He is one of the kindest and most gracious men I’ve been lucky to call a friend. I can have no finer gift.”

In 2007, while out to dinner with Lofgren, Amy and Cussler’s then fiancée, Janet, Cussler remarked how he had always wanted to write a “corny country song.” Over the next few months Lofgren and Cussler meticulously crafted the evocative “Whatever Happened to Muscatel?”

“We started out writing Clive’s so-called ‘corny country song,’ but that’s not how it ended up—it’s quite cool,” Lofgren revealed. “What an adventure—writing about these great old liquors that have fallen by the wayside. I brought my rhyming dictionary and Clive brought his incredible writing and research expertise. I asked him to sing a few lines and, true to his spirit of adventure, he rose to the occasion. There are some great photos and video of those sing-a-long sessions on my website.”

Cussler explained, “As an adventure writer I would provide Nils with lines and quotes. He would embellish them into rhythm and harmony. We had so much fun. You can even hear us laughing at the end of the song.”

When Cussler and Janet were married in 2007, Lofgren gladly honored a request from Janet, writing and recording the beautiful ballad “Heaven’s Rain” for their wedding.

In turn, Cussler’s historical thriller “The Chase” featured Lofgren as a locomotive engineer who aided the protagonist, chasing the villain across the American West.

Cussler had this to say about his good friend’s talents: “Nils is without question the finest virtuoso of the guitar in the world of song. He brings a vibrant creativity to both his music and life that is unsurpassed.”

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