Interviewed by Bill Louis
BL-That guy is the voice that sounds a whole heck of a lot like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with some friends, from the Steal This Movie soundtrack. The one and only Timothy B. Schmit. Timothy, Thank you for joining us today.
TS-Thanks for having me.
BL-Absolute pleasure to chat with ya, and I'll tell ya, you go sometimes a few years between seeing you on a solo kind of basis and when I saw your name on the credits of the Steal This Movie soundtrack and played Carry On, I thought "Wow, incredible rendition of an all-time classic!" How did you get involved with that movie soundtrack?
TS-Well, I've been working with my friend, Mark Hudson, on a solo project, and we've been trying to pull that off--get that off the ground--for quite a while now. Let's see--I'm not sure who approached him--I think Steve Greenberg, who was doing music supervision for that movie, contacted Mark and Mark said, "I've got the guy for this song." Actually, Mark did two songs for that album. He also did Power To The People, which, even though I'm not credited, I played bass on, as well as sang background. I did that with Ringo too, so...
BL-Yeah, Ringo's on there and Eric Burdon and Billy Preston do the vocals...
TS-Anyway, so, we got together with our, you know, our crew of musicians and cut it--did it.
BL-Incredible! Gerry (he pronounced it as "Gary") Beckley from America, yourself--the vocals are almost a duplicate. The harmonies, and that's a tough harmony to duplicate, is seriously true to the original of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Was it your idea to try to do that with the vocals and then punch it up a bit, or how was that approached?
TS-Yeah, that's basically right. We actually just listened to their version as a guide. I actually thought, I envisioned the song being a little bit farther away from their rendition, but Mark wanted to stay closer to it obviously, and so I went with it and it came out good. Coincidentally, last night, I was part of a show, a benefit, here in L.A., and I sang a little bit with David and Graham and I forgot to tell them about this. I don't know if they've heard it yet, but...
BL-It wouldn't surprise me because word of quality stuff gets around. We're talking with Timothy B. Schmit, the guy who's been singing Carry On from the Steal This Movie soundtrack, which is in stores on Artemis Records. We've been playing it for a while, but the movie itself--the life story of Abbie Hoffman--isn't coming out for another couple of weeks, I believe.
TS-Yeah, I've been invited to a screening here in L.A. on the 15th, so I suppose sometime after that it will be in general release.
BL-Of course, Abbie Hoffman, his story is widely documented. A Yippie leader and a man that was--a lot of that at the time of this movie--say for example the Democratic convention in 1968, where he was highly active, is chronicled in this movie. So, that's 32 years ago. Where was Timothy B. Schmit 32 years ago?
TS-Ah, 32 years ago--Did you say '68?
BL-Yeah--Summer of '68.
TS-I was just on my way to L.A. to join the band Poco, probably. Somewhere around there I was doing that, and I ended up...I actually didn't land that job right first off. I came in 1969 and then definitely stayed.
BL-And you were actually asked originally to be in the legendary band, Poco, and you were kind of having problems with the draft yourself and decided to stay in school?
TS-Well, it's a little more complicated than that. My school deferments had run out and they had the lottery and I had a really low number and so I found some ways to...I figured it out. I figured it out and I stayed out of Vietnam--thank God--and I was able to do what I wanted to do, which was pursue music and I got the...I eventually did get the job with Poco and I was with them for, I think, around seven years.
BL-And an incredible stretch that was. Right now, he's been "Carrying On" right up to the present. Let's hear it, from the Steal This Movie soundtrack, this is Carry On. We have the pleasure of chatting with Timothy B. Schmit, the voice of this in the Classic Cafe on 98.5 NCX.
Plays Carry On.
BL-There's just a little more energy in that song and it's just a great rendition. You can like the original from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and you can also like Timothy B. Schmit and Gerry Beckley and Mark Hudson and all the people who put it together on the Steal This Movie soundtrack, which is available in the stores on the Artemis label.
BL-We talked about the project. You've been around in--we talked about Poco, what an incredible band--and then way earlier in your life, there were bands called the Contenders, and the New Breed and Glad and it's been kind of a musical continuum for you.
TS-You have done your homework!
BL-Ah, gotta do somethin'! You first played with Don Henley and Glenn Frey, I believe, on a tune for Linda Ronstadt?
BL-James Taylor's song, "You Can Close Your Eyes?"
TS-Yep, and I saw her last night too. We were all there. Jackson was there. Even Randy Meisner was there. The first time I actually played with them, yeah, was on the Heart Like A Wheel album.
BL-You guys were young; probably living all in the same apartment, or they were. Was there even an inkling when you were in the studio that time that there were the seeds of an all-time classic supergroup? And not including Linda.
TS-Don and Glenn were already Eagles at that time. They were a brand new band at the time. I had known Don and Glenn because we did shows with the Eagles. We had done shows with Linda Ronstadt, actually, with the soon-to-be Eagles backing her up. So I knew those guys. I had no idea at the time that I would be asked to join some day, so, no.
BL-And what an incredible time. Not only asked to join, but, I mean, they actually came after you, and for a band that just put out Hotel California, and Randy Meisner left. He left Poco and that's where you joined Poco; then you joined the Eagles right after Randy. For them to really pursue you like they did and making you a full partner in the band, that's pretty high praise.
TS-It was great for me. I really believe this, and I don't mean it in a cocky way, but I believe it was really a good move for everybody--me and the band. They did pursue me. I hadn't played one lick of music--of Eagles music--with them, and they pretty much said "you're the one we want," and I just said " where do I sign?" And...
BL-Now, the song that you contributed--in writing and co-writing, but certainly brought most of, I Can't Tell You Why, to The Long Run album--was that something that you had pretty much done in your mind before coming to the band, or was that something that you sat down with them and got the creative juices flowing?
TS-Well, now, see, you're talking about a time when it's kind of hard to remember. But, what happened was, as far as I can remember, I had a seed. I had the original seed of that and I think it was after I had been asked to join, so I started to think of ideas, and then I brought it to Don and Glenn and we--on and off--worked on it until it got finished. It was actually the first vocal done on The Long Run album.
BL-Wow! And what a "long run" that was. Let's hear it. What a great song it is. Timothy B. Schmit out in front of the Eagles from The Long Run. He's joining us in the Classic Cafe and now singing up a storm with the Eagles on 98.5 NCX.
Plays I Can't Tell You Why
BL-I Can't Tell You Why, I just like the song. Sounds good and I'm really glad that Timothy B. Schmit, the singer, is joining us in the Cafe today. Timothy, after being kind of like away from things for a while--you were with Poco and doing, still, music--but when you joined the Eagles, that was really big-time stuff, and when you were in the studio, The Long Run took forever to get out and that was your first studio album with them. How did the experience of contributing to The Long Run album compare with Poco and other studio sessions that you had dealt with in your career?
TS-Well, the benefit I had was that I had recorded a lot--I had a lot of recording experience. So, it was way different in the fact that during my span with Poco, I was with them for seven, maybe seven and a half years, and we put out thirteen albums. So it was like a couple of albums a year and so it took us about a year and a half to finish ten tunes with the Eagles, but I was patient. I hung in there. I looked at it as "what do I have to complain about?" This is a great thing for me, I thought, and I was learning all their idiosyncrasies and they were learning mine. I guess the biggest difference was the amount of time it took.
TS-And the process. A lot of times the tracks were done way before lyrics, for instance and then they'd have to go back and write the song. It was all a little different for me, but nothing I couldn't take.
BL-Well, best of luck on the upcoming project you're working on. It would be great to hear another Timothy B. Schmit solo album. Playin' It Cool was in '84; Timothy B. was in '87; and maybe something in 2001, huh?
TS-Yeah, I hope so. I'm still looking for a home for it, but I'm undaunted.
BL-Well, that's the way to be! Timothy, congratulations on your success with Carry On off of Steal This Movie and thanks for joining us today in the Classic Cafe.
BL-Thanks again to Timothy B. Schmit for checking on in with us. What a nice guy--almost too nice! When we got off the line there, he said, "I didn't want to tell you in front of the listeners, but the guy I worked with was Gerry (pronounced "Jerry"), not Gary Beckley, and he spells his name G-E-R-R-Y," so I went with "Gary Beckley" and I was wrong, but he wouldn't point it out in front of an audience. Amazing! He doesn't listen to the show. He doesn't know we make mistakes just to see where they fly. Also, he was saying, "I really wish they would have called the name of the band, 'Schmit, Hudson & Beckley'." Well, too late. That's in print already. It's on the soundtrack, but best of luck to 'em.
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