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Eagles Bassist Timothy B. Schmit Looks Back at Recording With the Beach Boys, Witnessing the Beatles' Final Show
- Posted on Dec 5th 2011 5:00PM by Chris Epting
C Brandon, Redferns
Just before beginning rehearsals, Schmit spoke with Spinner about transitioning from arenas to clubs, hearing his himself on the radio and witnessing the Beatles' final concert.
How strange is it for you to go from playing some of the world's biggest stages with the Eagles to doing an intimate club tour?
The only thing that's really the same is getting up on the stage and playing! Everything else is really different. It's easier to be under the wing -- no pun intended -- of the Eagles, to play for 10, 20, 30,00 or whatever, than playing for a few hundred. In clubs, you can see everyone; you're right here with them. Which is really nice but a little intimidating. When 'Expando' first came out in '09, I was touring as a solo artist for the first time in my career. It was a great time. The people that are there are there because they really want to see you, and you can play off the audience a bit, too, which is fun. The connection can be very powerful.
You've sung, in some capacity, on so many hit records. Is it weird to always hear yourself on the radio, even when it's not with the Eagles of Poco?
It hits me once in a while. The other day, I had on satellite radio and [heard] 'Night by Night' from the Steely Dan album 'Pretzel Logic.' To hear my young voice on there was kind of bittersweet -- so many memories from back then. I looked at my wife and said, "A near perfect record." She agreed [laughs]. I've had so many Cinderella moments in my career. Recording 'Caroline, No' with the Beach Boys, then getting to sing background vocals on it, too, with them -- I got to be a Beach Boy. So many artists I love and respect I've gotten to sing with.
You had a lot of nice collaborations on 'Expando.'
I got really lucky. When I recorded, if I thought there might be a nice part for someone, I just called them. I didn't want the record to be all me. I needed other textures. And in most cases, the artists took me up on it. Keb Mo was such a sweet, soulful guy -- just amazing. I had a tune called 'Parachute' that had a Crosby, Stills and Nash feel to it, so I called Graham Nash to sing on it. He's a good friend. And I bumped into the Blind Boys of Alabama on an elevator while on tour and just invited them there.
No doubt many fans recall their first Eagles show. Do you remember your first concert?
Growing up in Sacramento, I saw a very memorable doo-wop show at a local movie theater one afternoon. I was about 9, and it just struck me as amazing music. And I saw the Beatles twice -- both times in San Francisco. The first time was at the Cow Palace, and the next time was their last show ever, the one at Candlestick Park. I was a teenager. I remember sitting behind the first base dugout. An armored truck pulled out behind the stage in the outfield, and people thought they'd come out of the truck, but they just walked out of the dugout right in front of me. Interesting, too, because over the years, I got to meet all the Beatles and even go to tour with Ringo.
Finally, is that really your wife, Jean, at the beginning of 'This is Spinal Tap,' the blonde groupie talking about why she loves the band?
It is! She was doing some acting then, and that's the part that got her into the union. She really had fun with that. It was all ad-libbed, and as I remember, they shot that scene on line at a Van Halen concert.