Playin It Cool In His Latest Incarnation

From Rock Magazine, June 1985

The beginning of Timothy B. Schmit's rock n'roll career was hardly glamorous. All of 16, he would jump at the chance to land any kind of job, and was overjoyed to be offered $20 to play bass one night with a local band. But it turned out that the gig was at a bar, and the owner's were afraid to let anyone see the underage musician.

"They gave me a long cord to the liquor closet next to the stage," remembers Schmit. " I spent 5 hours in the liquor closet. I think it was the worst job I ever played, but I got my 20 dollars."

Times improved for Schmit, though, and he eventually played with such well respected groups as Steely Dan, Poco and the Eagles. After the Eagles disbanded, no one heard from Schmit for a while. He held back while ex-bandmates Glenn Frey and Don Henley launched their own solo careers.

"The first year and a half after the Eagles broke up." he says, smiling, "I spent a lot of time doing nothing and having a good time. Then I got real bored."

The result of that boredom is Playin It Cool, his first solo LP. Although Schmit wrote the Eagles' hit "I Can't Tell You Why," he always melted into the background of the band, creatively speaking. Given a chance to step out front, he seems to be making a good first impression.

Schmit says that part of the reason Cool came out soo, ah, cool was that he didn't have to go it alone. Aside from producer Josh Leo (a rock heavyweight not well known by the public, but very well known in the business), Schmit brought on board that group of artists collectively known as the "L.A. Session Mafia": Steve Lukaather and Jeff Porcaro from Toto, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Rita Coolidge.

Working in music just comes naturally to Schmit: He was born into it. His father, Daniel, was a club musician who took the family on the road with him as they traveled by trailer to gigs around California.

"He played some really strange places," says Schmit. "I remember once, we parked our trailer in the middle of the desert. I went, 'Whoa! What is this?' Then I realized that there were other trailers around us.

Tough traveling never discouraged the younger Schmit from his musical ambitions. He sang in the school choir, and picked up a bass guitar as soon as he and his friends discovered electric instruments. In 1968, he tried out for a spot in the Poco line-up. He lost out to Randy Meisner. But turnabout is fair play, and when Meisner quit the group after nine months, Schmit replaced him. Ironically, a decade later Schmit went on to replace Meisner in the Eagles

Schmit went back to his earliest musical influences on Playin It Cool in one respect: He dedicated the album to his father. "He's a great guy," says the younger Schmit. "He's not musically active any more, but that spirit that I remember of him just remains with me.

"My dad and I were never extremely close," adds Schmit. "I thought this would be a good way to let him know how I feel about him."

When he's not recording or playing, Schmit says he likes to spend time with "my girls." He's been married for a year and his wife recently had a baby daughter. And, surprisingly, considering his youthful looks and teen appeal, he also has a 14-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. His teenager, Jeddrah, is the other girl who commands his time.

"She's a great barometer for me of what's happening." says the 37-year-old singer. "I'm always finding out what she's listening to, what she likes and what is cool."

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